Planning a trip can feel pretty scary, but there’s one time of year it definitely shouldn’t be. More than any other holiday, Halloween is filled with plenty of spooky traditions. If you’re a fan of amusement parks or haunted houses, you’ve probably heard about one experience you can look forward to in Florida: Halloween Horror Nights.
Each year, as the Halloween season draws closer, Universal Studios’ iconic park transforms at night. Fog rolls in, the streets are filled with monsters, and the park opens its iconic haunted houses for guests to explore.
If you hope to be among the many people who enjoy this Orlando tradition, this guide is for you! From what happens at the park to where you can stay, here’s what you need to know to make planning for Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) a bit less scary.
What Are Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights?
Halloween Horror Nights may sound exciting, but if you’re new to them, you may wonder how this experience works. Universal Studios hosts this experience each night from September 1st to November 4th this year. During this time, the park hosts scare zones: themed areas where actors dressed as monsters, ghosts, and more will chase unwitting guests, surprising them around every corner.
While strolling through Universal and getting spooked by these creatures can be intense on its own, the night's highlights are the ten haunted houses scattered throughout the park. These houses feature movie-quality sets and are packed with scares.
What Haunted Houses Are Part of Halloween Horror Nights in 2023?
- The Last of Us
- Stranger Things 4
- The Exorcist: Believer
- Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
- Universal Monsters: Unmasked
- Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins
- Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
- Yeti: Campground Kills
- The Darkest Deal
- Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings
Tips for The Best Halloween Horror Nights Experience
While Halloween Horror Nights are sure to bring a lot of thrills and chills, there are a few things you might want to know if you’re hoping to have the best experience possible. Here are just a few tips to help you maximize your fun during the spooky season.
Choose The Day You Visit Wisely
Like any other theme park experience, some days are better to visit than others. Crowd sizes tend to fluctuate based on what day during the week you visit, which can affect how long the wait times are to get into each of the haunted houses.
Generally speaking, Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest days of the week, while Wednesday is usually the quietest. This means that if you want to make the most of your time, you’ll want to go on a weekday. Keep in mind that Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights aren’t open on Mondays or Tuesdays, so your best bet is likely to be either Wednesday or Thursday.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
With ten haunted houses to explore, another important part of managing your time will be planning out your route through Universal's foggy labyrinth.
Some of these houses attract bigger crowds than others, with the Last of Us and Stranger Things in particular having longer wait times than the rest. As a result, you’ll want to visit these two houses as early as possible. Ideally, try getting to the park a bit before it opens at 6:30 p.m. so you can head over to these two haunted houses and minimize your wait times.
Take Advantage of Special Tickets
If you’re willing to spend some extra money, you can purchase a Scream Early ticket for $40.00. These tickets allow you to enter the park from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Then, at 5:00 p.m., you’ll wait in a special Stay and Scream area until the event begins. Staying in one of these areas lets you get a head start on the crowds that will have to wait in line, scan their tickets, and slowly work through the park entrance.
You can also purchase an Express Pass, which puts you in a special express line and lets you skip the much longer standard lines. This ticket will save you a lot of time, especially as wait times get longer throughout the night. But be warned that you can only use the express line once per house.
Remember To Take Breaks
There’s nothing scarier than getting worn out before the night is over. While it’s normal to want to see as much as you can in one night, it’s just as important to pace yourself before being burned out.
A good way to stay entertained while giving your feet a break is by enjoying Universal’s special HHN show, Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream. The show features dazzling pyrotechnics, jaw-dropping aerial performances, and pulse-pounding electronica and metal music.
Aside from the show, you can also enjoy plenty of event-exclusive food scattered throughout the park. From specialty cocktails to horror-themed snacks, you’ll have plenty of chances to refuel before diving back into the nightmares-filled houses at the park.
Where To Stay to Experience Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights
One of the most frightening parts of planning a trip is figuring out where to stay. As any avid theme park goer will tell you, convenience is key while traveling. So when you visit Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights, you’ll want to stay somewhere that’s near the park. Fortunately, Orlando is packed with grand resorts that are close to Universal Orlando.
Here are a few of the best resorts to stay at when you want to experience Halloween Horror Nights.
Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive
Located just 3 miles from Universal Orlando, you’ll have no issues reaching Halloween Horror Nights from this resort. Aside from its proximity to the park, Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive is also just steps away from Icon Park. Plus, the resort is surrounded by all the restaurants and shopping you can find on International Drive.
As one of the best vacation clubs to join, the Wyndham is filled with amenities to help you relax after a night of terror. Cool off in the sparkling pools or unwind in the lush gardens. You can also savor a delicious meal at the Gatorville Poolside Bar and Grill, which features frozen drinks, burgers, and flatbreads.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort
Another resort that puts you close to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort. This resort features a lazy river, sports courts, and two mini golf courses to entertain you and your family.
There’s also plenty of on-site dining with six different restaurants. From seafood to burgers to pizza, there’s something to satisfy even the pickiest taste buds. The amount of entertainment options at your fingertips makes this Holiday Inn Club Vacations property worth it for those looking to have fun both in and out of the resort.
Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas
Are you hoping to visit other theme parks like Disney World and SeaWorld during your trip? If you like killing three birds with one stone, it doesn’t get better than Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas. You’ll be just a short drive away from the scares of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights of course, but you’ll also be near Disney World and Sea World. Not to mention, the resort is also close to Disney Springs, one of the biggest shopping and dining centers in Orlando.
When you’re not visiting the parks, you can play tennis, basketball, mini golf, or take a dip in one of several pools. There’s also a poolside bar, Italian restaurant, and Key West-themed restaurant and bar.
Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa
If you want to have a lot of space while staying within arm’s reach of Universal, Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa is an excellent choice. The resort boasts a luxurious spa with plenty of relaxing treatments in a relaxing setting. It's perfect for unwinding after an exciting day outside.
You’ll also find a full-fledged water park at Westgate Lakes. Treasure Cove Water Park features wave pools, water slides, splash pads, and more for some family-friendly fun. Four restaurants and three poolside bars ensure you’re well-fed no matter where you are on the property.
With so many ways to kick back and relax, this is one of the best Westgate resorts for anyone looking to experience Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.
Preparing for Halloween Scares at Universal Studios
Are you ready to face your fears this Halloween? With familiar frights and new nightmares, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will surely make this spooky season one you’ll never forget.
If you plan on visiting the park this year, being prepared is important. From planning your route through the park to renting a suite or villa somewhere nearby, there’s a lot you can do to make the most of your time in Orlando. Halloween is scary enough, but planning for the season doesn’t have to be.
Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.