There are different ways people like to bring in the new fall season. For some it’s pumpkin spice lattes or decorating their homes with fall decor, but for us it’s attending the first weekend of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando!
Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is a seasonal event that happens at Universal Studios theme parks every year (they have the same event in Los Angeles, Singapore and Japan). And for the 28th year, HHN is taking it to the next level by bringing us more haunted mazes than ever before!
Every year at HHN, they go above and beyond to bring the scariest haunted houses and scare zones that transport you to your most beloved movie classics such as Poltergeist, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Revenge of Chucky, etc. And this year the house thats creating the most excitement is Netflix’s very own Stranger Things. And because of Stranger Things, this year’s event has an 80’s theme! We found this everywhere from their specialty drinks, set pieces, music, to the scare zones.
👻 Select Nights Sep. 14 – Nov. 3, 2018
💵 Tickets: $62.99 per person **pricing varies by date
If you’re coming from out of town, book a stay with one of Universal Studio’s 6 Resorts that are on property:
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel (blog post review coming soon!)
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort (check out our review here)
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
They offer water taxi’s and shuttles to the theme parks and City Walk, they also have a convenient Vacation Planning desk to purchases tickets (so you don’t have to at the parks), and guests get early access to the parks 1 hour before the general public and go through a separate priority gate!👍🏼
If you want to dodge the crowd at first, instead of going straight to the New York section of the park, take a right and head over to Hollywood. This is where they have the ‘Revenge of Chucky’ scare zone and the Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers house. We found that by going around the park this way we were able to avoid the long wait times, even for Stranger Things!
If you’re looking for the ultimate Halloween Horror Nights experience, grab an ‘Express Pass‘ to skip the regular lines (we suggest looking at the wait times in the park first)! Or look into the Extra Chills and book an R.I.P Tour, where you can get front of the line entry and other perks, and if you really want to get a closer look of the designs and art, they offer Day Tours of select houses with the lights on!
And all the houses are inspired by the 80’s!Stranger Things! It’s right in front of the “Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit” rollercoaster, so it’s easy to find. Luckily for us, it was only a 35min wait. (Although we did go on a Wednesday night during the opening week.) We’ve gone previous years and have waited in line for hours before! All the characters and creatures were so realistic, it seriously felt like we were walking through the scenes of the show! Overall, it’s worth waiting for but it actually wasn’t scary at all!
These are some of the other haunted houses this year, there is a total of 10 houses. And all the houses are inspired by the 80’s!
- Stranger Things
- Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces
- Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After
- The Horrors of Blumhouse
- Slaughter Sinema
- Dead Exposure
- Seeds of Extinction
- Trick ‘r Treat
- Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
We did about half of them and the ones we went through had so much detail! Our favorites were Poltergeist and Scary Tales.
- Poltergeist: Based on Stephen Spielberg’s 1980s classic film, (fitting in with the ’80s theme) this house has it all! Everything from crazy flashing lights, creepy children voices, crazy clowns, larger than life (HUGE) characters, and visually detailed scenes that feels like they’re pulling you into the movie!
- Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After – This one was amazing! The best part was near the grand entrance of the castle where we meet the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz! Each scene is so different and brings you back to your childhood favorite fairytale stories like 3 little pigs, Goldilocks, and Humpty Dumpty. But in a dark twisted way! Happy “deadly ever after”!
This year there are 5 scare zones! They’re seriously so creative, spooky and fun! We think they are actually more frightening than the houses because the characters are more spontaneous, interactive, and they really give it their all! Prepare to be scared beyond belief! 👻
This scare zone is where most of the crowd will run into first because it’s directly in front of the entrance to the park leading to the New York section. While walking through, we came across outrageous, tall, Pumpkin grim-reapers! They also had signs and props from each haunted house this year. This is a great scare zone to go through to introduce you to all the scares they’ll have this year!
Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve
This was our favorite scare zone this year, full of amazing 80’s tributes and throwbacks! Vamp ‘85 is ringing in the New Year in NYC with a countdown, live dance performances, and ball drop! It’s like a huge street party in the middle of the city! And of course, every huge event needs a “live taping” and celebrities. We spotted famous 80’s icons such as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. Unfortunately for them, they’ve all turned into vampires when the ball dropped as midnight strikes!🧛🏻♂️ We loved watching the scare actors perform, it’s seriously so much fun!
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Inspired by the 80’s classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space, this probably isn’t the best scare zone to go through for anyone with a fear of clowns because the clowns here are creepy with a capital C, or should we say K since they’re Killer Klowns. If anyone remembers anything from the 80’s horror films, some of them were super cheesy, including this one; but it still makes an awesome scare zone! Since clowns are silent killers theres no jumping out at you or screaming in this scare zone, they just walk around looking creepy. Luckily, looks are deceiving because they were our favorite characters to interact with!🤡
The beginning of the Twisted Tradition scare zone starts with an old abandoned home that leads you to the path of trees lined with glowing pumpkins.🎃 We think this is one of the most picturesque scare zones this year. It’s located in the “Central Park” area and it has a beautiful yet haunting feel. The only way to get through is to keep following the rotting pumpkins, if you can trust them!
Revenge of Chucky
One of the best features about this scare zone is the 80’s Toys found all over, from the stages to the characters! Bringing in all the nostalgic memories of slinky toys, legos, the Easy-Bake oven, as well as the monstrous Pumpkin Patch Kids and Care Bear characters chasing you! Does anyone remember the Hasbro game Barrel of Monkeys?🐵 Well they also came to life and scared the crap out of us! Lol And we heard that even Chucky himself makes an appearance where he roasts some of the audience!
Academy of Villains Show: Cyberpunk
We decided to stop in and watch the Academy of Villains perform and we’re so glad we did! It was an amazing show, especially if you like EDM music!🤩
Academy of Villains performs an over the top, fast-paced routine with aerobics, lasers, and storytelling. It felt like we were at a rave with all the neon lights! What we loved most about this year’s Cyberpunk performance is the interaction with the crowd by giving us three different actions to be apart of the show – Slow Mo, the Wave, and the Robot. It got the crowd (especially us) hyped up! This is Academy of Villains’ 3rd year at HHN and it keeps getting better and better every year!
There were four showtimes the night we went, definitely worth seeing!!
Rides Open During HHN 28
During HHN the houses take place of most of the rides that are there during the day. But there are 6 open that you can still ride! The waits are very low during this time, because all the focus is on horror nights. So if you’ve always wanted to ride one of these rides it’s a great time to do so!
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Transformers: The Ride-3D
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Men in Black: Alien Attack
They have these stands around the park where you can get specialty drinks in 20oz souvenir cups. These stands also serve canned beer, wine, bottled soda and water. The souvenir cups had a divider inside with a twisted straw that allowed you to drink from two drinks at once! How cool is that?! The cups also light up too! The initial cost with a souvenir cup is $12.99 and refills are $8.99! This year it was all about Stranger Things so even the drink names were 80’s themed. We decided to try the Totally L.I.T. mixed with the Wicked Rad Punch, a deadly but sweet combo!
Bring the memories home with you! There’s plenty of kiosks and stores around the park selling merch featuring the artwork for the haunted houses and scare zones like T-shirts, hoodies, lanyards, and we even saw mugs and phone cases! And you won’t be able to miss the popup stands selling flashing necklaces and glowing headbands! We suggest these if you want to stand out. Warning: they may attract more scares your way!👻
This is Universal Studio’s 28th HHN event, and it’s a record breaking year for them with more haunted houses than ever before! Like we’ve mentioned, we went on a weeknight during the first week so lines were a breeze, but expect them to be a long wait during October! The event goes on for 6 weeks and the experience is so worth the trip, especially if your a big fan of the classic scary movies and tv shows. We loved the 80’s vibes and think they did it so well this year, where we noticed consistent theming throughout the entire event! The houses we went through were so creatively done and have so many visual details and individuality (they really stand out from each other). We wish we could go back and do the rest of them!
This was our 2nd year of thrills at Halloween Horror Nights, we loved it so much that we might have to make it a Fall tradition! Do you think you could survive halloween horror nights?
Get a peek into HHN 2018 in our YouTube video!👻👇🏼