• Halloween Horror Nights 27 overview, tips, and tricks in this week's Theme Park Thursday

    By: Shelley Caran


    Orlando, Fla. - On select night from now until November 4th, Halloween Horror Nights fills the streets of Universal Studios Florida at the Universal Orlando Resort with intricately themed and thrilling haunted mazes, multiple scare zones sure to get your adrenaline pumping with creepy characters around every corner, outrageous live shows, and acclaimed attractions.

    It's important to keep in mind that Halloween Horror Nights is not included with admission to Universal Studios Florida, and before the event they will sweep the park to clear it of guests at 5 pm in order to prepare for the frights.

    The gates for Halloween Horror Nights general admission officially open at 6:30 pm, but the closing time changes depending on when you attend. Halloween Horror Nights end at 1 am on September 21, 22, 23, 24, October 4, 11, 18, 25, 30, 31, November 3, & 4. And on the following dates Halloween Horror Nights end at 2 am on September 29, 30, October 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, & 29.

    Mazes & Scare Zones 

    Halloween Horror Nights is filled with nine haunted mazes and five scare zones this year, and they are all filled some truly horrifying characters and creepy effects.

    The Halloween Horror Nights 27 Mazes include movie and television favorites in addition to some original ideas, and they are:

    THE SHINING – Walk into The Overlook Hotel and right into the scenes of the iconic visually intense psychological thriller. This was hands down my favorite maze! I don't want to ruin anything, but everything you want from the movie is in the maze...EVERYTHING

    SAW: THE GAMES OF JIGSAW – The traps are set. All that’s missing is you. The Jigsaw killer has returned to torment you with his twisted take on poetic justice. What's awesome about this maze is that it includes a scene from the upcoming Jigsaw movie opening on October 27, 2017.

    AMERICAN HORROR STORY: VOLUME 2 – Experience three horrifying stories in one disturbing house as a deranged cast of characters seek not only your life, but your soul in this year's uber-maze that has 14 scenes. The sights, sounds, and smells in this maze are terrifying.

    HORRORS OF BLUMHOUSE – From the deranged filmmakers behind Insidious, Sinister and The Purge comes the Horrors of Blumhouse. They’ve all come back to haunt you, and the end of the maze is a treat for those looking forward to the release of Insidious: The Last Key in 2018 since the last 4 scenes are never before seen peeks into the film's scares. 

    ASH VS. EVIL DEAD – The STARZ original series, Ash vs Evil Dead, expertly blurs the line between horror and comedy in this horrifically hilarious addition to Halloween Horror Nights. This house is less scary, and more an homage to a horror series that holds a special place in fan's hearts.


    DEAD WATERS – Enter a pestilent swamp that oozes evil, the hellish realm of the Voodoo Queen. If you fail to escape, you’re in for a gut-wrenching sacrifice. This maze is full of carnival-like effects that put you in swamp and in the world of Voodoo.

    THE FALLEN – You’re about to be caught in the crossfire of the eternal war of light versus dark and no one will be saved. This maze is full to gills with awesome effects, so make sure you keep your eyes open at every turn. 

    SCARECROW: THE REAPING – At a long-abandoned Depression-era farm, vengeance takes root, and the only harvest that will be reaped is you. Hands down, this was the maze that had me screaming at every turn!

    THE HIVE – This house isn't about bees or insects! The crumbling house on 19 Hemingway Lane harbors a nest of bloodthirsty vampires. If you awaken them, you will face a savage bestial hunger.

    If you are looking for reviews of the mazes, head over to icFlorida where we've used the extremely scientific 'Ghoul Rating Scale'!

    While the mazes are the main attraction, don't rush through the Scare Zone this year!!! The scare zones aren't as structured as the mazes, so leave yourself plenty of time to explore them.

    THE PURGE – The Purge has returned to Halloween Horror Nights and overrun New York. No one is safe. Be a part of a proud American tradition. United we purge. Watch out not only for scares, but moving vehicles in this area of the park.

    TRICK ‘R TREAT – Break the rules. Pay the price. That’s the murderous moral of the five twisted stories in Trick ‘r Treat, a darkly hilarious tribute to Halloween that can be found near Central Park. This scare zone is too much fun to run through...even if you are scared.

    FESTIVAL OF THE DEADLIEST – The dead are throwing a heck of a Hollywood party and you’re invited. Your spirit will fuel the frenzy of this ghoulish gathering. Be on the look out for Bone the icon of this year's Halloween Horror Nights.

    INVASION! – The year is 1955, and a UFO has crashed onto the San Francisco wharf. Their goal: to conduct experiments upon you to prepare to invade Earth. These creatures are out of this world, but just don't get too close.

    ALTARS OF HORROR – Enter the nexus of evil as you are on the way to the mazes through out the parks, where all the most fearsome characters and nefarious creatures from each of the Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses lie in wait.

    Roaming hordes of Chainsaw Clowns

    This may be the most horrifying 5 words I've strung together, but it wound up being one of my favorite things!

    While they can be anywhere, most of the roaming hordes can be found in Springfield. However no area, other than the restrooms, are really safe, and in the past the sidewalk was a 'safe zone' but that's not the case anymore.

    If you want to really have fun in this area, talk to them and get involved with who they 'choose' by helping them spot unsuspecting guests!

    Live Shows 
    Halloween Horror Nights boasts two live action shows that are absolutely outrageous!
    Unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to see the Academy of Villains: Afterlife, but I am looking forward to going back on a night where I can see this award-winning performance troupe return with more mind-bending dance routines and special acts on a stage located near Mel's DIE In Restaurant.

    And you absolutely cannot miss going to Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure: Farewell Tour, performed on the Fear Factor Stage, several times a night. After 26 years Bill & Ted's are on their Farewell Tour and adventure through pop culture references, fun, and scantily clad dancers one last time in a show that is as crazy as ever.

    Some of my best 'Insider Tips'

    Here are some of my best Halloween Horror Nights Insider Tips, but you can find more on icFlorida.com in my 9 Tips for a frightfully fun Halloween Horror Nights:

    When looking for the best date to attend Halloween Horror Nights, the first thing to know is that the first three weeks of the event in September and November 3rd & 4th are historically less crowded, and will allow you to move a little more freely around the event. But we cautious when looking at the weekends, because the busiest nights at Halloween Horror Nights are Saturdays.

    If you can get into Universal Studios Florida before 4:30 pm on Halloween Horror Nights, you can wait for the event to begin at 6:30 pm in one of the 'Holding Areas' that can be found at Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, near the Hello Kitty Store, and in Springfield, USA so choose wisely based on where you would like to go.

    As you walk through the mazes you will find that you are in close quarters, so I would avoid bringing bags or bulky items that could distract you from the frights.

    Halloween Horror Nights happens rain or shine, so make sure you keep an eye on the weather! The easiest way to do this is by downloading the WFTV Channel 9 Weather app, available on iTunes and the Google Play Store.

    You will want to arrive early to the Universal Orlando Resort on Halloween Horror Nights, because free self-parking after 6 pm does not exist on event nights and there can be quite a back-up to park.

    Some really quick no-nonse tips are also to eat dinner before you arrive at Halloween Horror Nights and to wear really comfortable clothes and shoes!

    Finding the Right Ticket for you

    There are several different Halloween Horror Night ticket options, and on the official Halloween Horror Nights webpage, you can view a calendar that will let you know how much a base ticket is since  the ticket will range in price from $59.99 to $83.99. 

    If one night of living your nightmares isn't enough, you can buy a Frequent Fear Pass that allows you to come back to the event almost like an Annual Pass. With the Frequent Fear Pass there are several options that include a wide range of dates as well as Express Pass. You should definitely check it out if you are a local or if your budget allows because the price for the Frequent Fear Passes start at $102.99.

    There are discounts available on base tickets to Halloween Horror Nights! Make sure to purchase your tickets online in advance, and then you can save up to $50 on select nights with a UPC code from any can of Coca-Cola products or promo code that can be found on specially marked cups at participating Burger King restaurants.

    VIP Upgrade Options

    You can take your Halloween Horror Nights experience up a notch with two options that are an additional cost to your admission ticket to Halloween Horror Nights.

    You can purchase Express Pass which let you have shorter wait times at participating rides and attractions and ALL haunted houses. (Valid for one (1) time use per haunted houses and accessible rides and attractions, per one (1) guest). The price for express pass starts at $79.99, depending on the night you attend.

    R.I.P Tours let you enjoy VIP entry to all haunted houses (once per house), a commemorative R.I.P. Tour credential with lanyard, complimentary standard valet parking for one vehicle (subject to availability), exclusive access to the pre-tour reception with appetizers and a cash bar, reserved seating at Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure, and Universal Express ride access to skip the regular lines one time at participating regular rides and attractions after the tour (event hours permitting) Advance reservations are required for this tour, and prices start at $159.99 depending on the night you attend.

    That's it for this week's Theme Park Thursday! I hope that this in-depth look at Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando Resort makes planning your nightmares easier.

    Make sure you follow @icFloridaEvents on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram for the latest theme park news and tips.

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