Everything to Know About Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights

Are you heading out to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights soon? In this guide, we cover all the houses, scare zones, shows, food/drink, tickets, express pass/VIP, and tips needed from HHN29 to make your night a scary success. Read on, if you dare.


HOUSES

There are 10 houses for HHN29:

  • Stranger Things
  • Jordan Peele’s Us
  • Universal Monsters
  • Ghostbusters
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • Depths of Fear
  • Graveyard Games
  • Nightingales Blood Pit
  • Yeti: Terror of the Yukon

Each house is designed with intricate details and a lot of scares in mind. Waits can be as little as 15 minutes for the supporting houses, but the main houses (Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Us) can reach long waits – typically of an hour or more. As the night goes on, however, waits usually increase at the supporting houses to at least 30+ minutes on average.

If you can’t make it to all houses in a night, we recommend skipping Nightingales Blood Pit. After that, House of 1000 Corpses would be the next to pass on. Both of these houses were our personal least favorites. Nightingales was a bit odd – with (spoiler) some scare actors in giant chicken costumes. Still not sure what that has to do with Ancient Rome. House of 1000 Corpses had high expectations, but we found it fell pretty flat.

As for ones to make sure to visit, I definitely recommend going to the main houses that you’re personally a fan of. We are fans of Stranger Things, so we actually enjoyed that house a lot. There was a few spots that could’ve been improved to match the quality of the rest of the house, but it still was impressive to us. Speaking of us, Jordan Peele’s Us house was interesting. I watched the movie beforehand (always recommend doing this before going – my other half didn’t & he was confused) & I saw how the house followed the progression of the movie. A house worth mentioning is Universal Monsters. I didn’t have high expectations from this house (because personally, werewolves and vampires seem overdone), but it actually was one of our favorite houses of HHN. Shout out to the amazing scare actor at the beginning!


SCARE ZONES

There are 5 scare zones for HHN29:

  • Zombieland Double Tap
  • Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe
  • Anarch-cade
  • Vanity Ball
  • Vikings Undead

As fans of the original Zombieland, our favorite scare zone goes to Zombieland Double Tap of course. This zone had zombie and human characters roaming around, as well as some prop setups from the movie. A great feature of this zone were the ‘mini-shows,’ with scare actors portraying the main characters from Zombieland at two different areas of the zone and replaying a few iconic scenes from the movie. Best part: Beware of Bathrooms stalls – make sure you open the door.

The other scare zones were decorated just as well and scare actors didn’t disappoint. Anarch-cade wasn’t necessarily scary (unless the chainsaws scare you), but since it was at the entrance, it definitely set the mood for a fun time.


SHOWS

There are 2 shows at HHN29:

  • Academy of Villains – Altered States
  • Halloween Marathon of Mayhem

If you haven’t watched an Academy of Villains show at HHN, did you even go? Seriously, AoV is an impressive dance crew that creates a story to fit into the HHN event. This year focused on a Jekyll and Hyde story line – and it was honestly their best year yet! While all the crew of AoV deserve immense accolades, we wanted to give some extra special shout outs to Pharside, who is the artistic director of AoV and plays Hyde in the show. He really knows how to interact with a crowd!

Halloween Marathon of Mayhem is a lagoon show located in the center of Universal Studios. It features water-jets (the highest you’ll ever see), lights, music, and iconic scenes from some of the houses’ shows (Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Universal Monsters, & Killer Klowns from Outer Space). We were honestly just impressed with the height that the water was projected. It can be seen from all around the lake, but best viewing is on the east side of the lake because the scenes are played on that side of the mist. There is a dedicated seating area for the show, but it gets full pretty fast.


FOOD/DRINK

There are 15 specialty food & drinks at HHN29 (and 10 located in CityWalk):

  • Pizza Fries – Kidzone Pizza Company in Universal
  • S’mores Fries – Kidzone Pizza Company in Universal
  • Ghostbusters Trap Popcorn – Popcorn Carts in Universal
  • Strangers Things Triple Decker Extravaganza – San Francisco Pastry Company in Universal
  • Ole Amingo Nachos – Starcourt Mall Food Court in Universal
  • Hawkins Heroes – Starcourt Mall Food Court in Universal
  • Imperial Panda Bento Box – Starcourt Mall Food Court in Universal
  • Dessert Tent (Doughnuts, Bacon) – Starcourt Mall Food Court in Universal
  • Twisted Taters – Twisted Tater Tent in Universal
  • Blood Pit Alcoholic Drink – Various Tents in Universal
  • Candy Corn Non-alcoholic Drink – Various Tents in Universal
  • Syrup & Waffles Non-alcoholic Drink – Various Tents in Universal
  • The Saturn Alcoholic Drink – Various Tents in Universal
  • The Twilight Gateway Alcoholic Drink – Various Tents in Universal
  • Vampire Curse Alcoholic Drink – Various Tents in Universal
  • Stranger Things Doughnuts – Voodoo Doughnuts in CityWalk
  • Vampire Bar – Voodoo Doughnuts in CityWalk
  • Chicken & Waffles Sandwich – Bread Box in CityWalk
  • Maple Shake – Bread Box in CityWalk
  • Creepy Bun – Cinnabon in CityWalk
  • Blood Slush (non-alcoholic) – Fresh Eats in CityWalk
  • Halloween Waffle Bowl – Menchies in CityWalk
  • Strawberry Waffle Frappuccino – Starbucks in CityWalk
  • Jack O’ Lantern Milkshake – Toothsome in CityWalk
  • Special Treats at Toothsome Gift Shop – CityWalk

There is one more place to get treats that isn’t listed on the Universal website and that is located at the Tribute Store in the Zombieland scare zone. The Tribute Store has merchandise featuring the main houses (Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Universal Monsters), as well as a pastry case at the very end where the checkout line is. You can find themed cupcakes, cookies, and a few other treats there. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend the cookies, but the waffle shots were delicious.

Taking place in Universal’s Classic Monster Cafe, guests who pay for the Scareactor Dining Experience ticket will get the opportunity to eat before HHN opens and take pictures with various scare actors who visit each table. This buffet-style dining experience includes 3 salads, 5 sides, 7 entrees, and 3 desserts. There are typically 5 different scare actors, most revolving around Frankenstein this year with one exception – Shorty from Killer Klowns in Outer Space.


ADMISSION TICKETS

  • Single Night General Admission – $67.99+ (Online) or $119.99 (Gate)/per person (+ tax)
  • Frequent Fear Pass – $119.99+/per person (+ tax)
  • Frequent Fear Pass with Express Pass – $399.99/per person (+ tax)
  • Frequent Fear Plus Pass – $139.99/per person (+ tax)
  • Frequent Fear Plus Pass with Express Pass – $459.99/per person (+ tax)
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass – $259.99/per person (+ tax)
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass with Express Pass – $679.99/per person (+ tax)

A little more information about the Frequent Fear Pass system:

  • Frequent Fear Pass – 27 nights (Sunday-Thursday, plus the first weekend and last Friday)
  • Frequent Fear Plus Pass – 35 nights (Sunday-Fridays, plus the first 2 nights and the last Saturday). *Online price with $20 savings. Gate price $159.99.
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass – Every night + free parking after 5pm on event nights. *Online price with $20 savings. Gate price $279.99.

EXPRESS PASS/VIP/DINING ADD-ONS

  • Scareactor Dining Experience – $49.99/per person (+ tax)
  • Scream Early Ticket – $25/per person (+ tax)
  • HHN Express Pass – $89.99+/per person (+ tax)
  • HHN After 10 Express Pass – Varies
  • HHN R.I.P. Tour – $199.99+/per person (+ tax)
  • HHN Behind-the-Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour – $79.99+/per person (+ tax)

The Scream Early ticket is available online, but only during the checkout process. Annual passholders or daytime ticket holders (with HHN ticket for the night) do not need to purchase this option as it is already available to them.

The Behind-the-Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour is during the daytime only as the tour allows guests to tour 3 or 6 houses with lights on prior to the HHN event.

The After 10pm Express Pass will vary in price and availability. It is not available online. Typically, the price is around half the cost of the regular Express Pass and guests can only use this from 10pm to close. It’s worth noting that if the regular Express Pass sells out, this pass will not be offered. It’s possible it may not be offered on extremely busy nights either.


TIPS

After visiting HHN for several years, we have honestly learned what works on creating a night where we can get through all houses, see the shows, explore scarezones, and shop/eat. At HHN29, we accomplished everything by 11:30pm (closing was at 1am). Of course, it has to do with planning, luck, and an express pass. At a previous HHN, we utilized the After 10 Express Pass instead of the regular Express Pass. While we stayed until close to accomplish it all, we were also able to ride several rides – something we didn’t do at HHN29 (but definitely had time for). So here are our best tips:

  • Invest in an Express Pass or a Multi-night Ticket. You won’t get it all done without one of these.
  • Make a plan. For those who do plan, it can vary by what ticket/pass you got and the night you go. So be flexible in creating an itinerary. For us, a plan is absolutely necessary. Again, we arrived 30 minutes after opening and did everything by 11:30 because of planning.
  • As with planning, prioritize. Prioritize what you want to see/do & take into account the crowds – there are usually less crowds during shows or at the end of the night.
  • Is RIP (VIP Tour) worth it? If you are going for only one night & on a busy night (weekends and/or near Halloween), it may be worth it to purchase the RIP tour to get everything done. The Express Pass guidelines are typically that they reduce your wait by half – although we found that this varies immensely by who is working at each house. With the RIP tour, you immediately skip to the front of the line – plus you get the Unlimited Express Pass after the tour is finished.
  • There are multiple park attractions open during the event – such as Transformers, Rip Ride Rocket, Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black, The Simpsons Ride, Escape from Gringotts, and Fast & Furious Supercharged. Waits are typically low for the rides compared to normal park hours.

Halloween Horror Nights is a fun event that typically runs from early September until early November. We hope that this guide helps you for not only HHN29, but for all the horror nights to come. Let me know what tips you have for HHN in the comments below.


Several photos provided courtesy of Mark.

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