Photo by Barry Kaufman
Halloween Horror Nights is going full steam for its 26th year at Universal Orlando, and if you’ve never been, you’re missing out on some outrageous Halloween fun. The event attracts people from all over the globe as it transforms one of Orlando’s premiere family destinations into a nightmarish party zone.
The event isn’t for the faint of heart, and it’s certainly not for kids. But it is one of the busiest and biggest Halloween events in the country. So, how do you make the most out of your visit and get the most scares for your dollar? We have ten things that you need to know before you go!
6. The event is not for kid: While Universal Orlando is fun for the whole family, Halloween Horror Nights is not. It has the word horror in the name; that should be the first clue. The event is recommended for those over 13, but even then it’s not for everyone. Parents should know that kids will not be granted immunity, and there are no refunds. If you take your kid to HHN, it will most likely end in tears. Everything that most kids fear is there in full force, including darkness, creepy characters in the shadows and lots of loud noises and blood. We can’t say enough that this event is just not for kids, at all.
5. The lines get long: Most theme parks get long lines for attractions on a regular basis. HHN isn’t most parks. The lines at HHN average anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours. Yes, three hours! It’s important to choose your nights wisely, and also think about add-ons like Express and even an RIP Tour.
4.Alcohol is served: Alcohol at a theme park is nothing new, as most parks really push the sale of liquor (i.e. Food & Wine Festival). However, the feeling at HHN is a little different, as alcohol acts as a lubricant for many people. Those who are normally scared, feel they may be invincible, and may act out. There’s tons of security, but sometimes it’s not enough. If you decide to drink, please do so responsibly, and also be aware of those who are drinking.
3. There are 17 Halloween Attractions just for HHN: Universal Orlando has dozens of great attractions year round. When HHN rolls around, the park rolls out new attractions just for the event. The event changes every single year, and nothing is exactly the same as it was the year before. This year there are 17 new experiences. Two shows, five scare zones, an upcharge VR Experience and nine haunted houses. That’s a lot to handle in one night. You won’t want to miss any of it, but there’s a chance that you won’t get to some of it. It’s important to plan your attack, and get the must-see houses on your list.
2. Start Early: The early bird gets the worm, but in this case the early bird avoids being worm food. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with the park closing at 5 p.m. Try to be in the park by closing. You’ll be put into a holding area, and as soon as the park is cleared, you’ll be released into certain houses. Find the holding areas closest to the house you want to start at, grab a drink, and wait. American Horror Story is the must-see house this year, so we recommend starting there and running through all the houses up front before heading towards the back.
READ MORE: Halloween Horror Nights 26: Homegrown Terror
If you can’t be in park, be at the front gate at 4 p.m. to wait. Yes, you’ll be sitting for more than two hours, but they tend to open the gates early and you get a chance to make a mad dash for your first house a full few minutes early. Just like everything, people tend to get there later in the night, and you won’t see crowds get really bad until after 7 p.m.
1. Save the rides for last: Look, we know you go to a park to ride the rides, but this is Halloween Horror Nights. It doesn’t happen year round, and every year things change. The rides will be there year round, but the event and haunted houses won’t be. Come back either during the day, or at another time and do the rest of the rides. If you absolutely want to see the rides, wait until closer to the end of the night to do your rides. The houses will only get busier as the night progresses.
We hope these tips help you have the best experience…or as good as you can while you’re being chased by chainsaw-wielding maniacs. Happy Halloween!