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Our Halloween Horror Nights Guide

If you’re thinking of visiting Orlando, Florida, between 15th September and 4th November, then you are probably already considering Universal Halloween Horror Nights. This year’s season is running for a monster 34 nights, so there are lots of chances to visit one of the classic horror houses or see what new horrors Universal have come up with for this year.

This event has been running for 27 years, so it’s easy to see Universal Halloween Horror Nights is the nations premier Halloween event. Be prepared to meet hordes of zombies searching for brains, mad axe men and drooling monsters…and this is just the admission queue.

Joking aside, the Halloween Horror Nights are not for the faint hearted, having been to a few over the years, I wouldn’t recommend this for small children, in fact Universal don’t recommend this at all for children under the age of 13.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 entrance

This doesn’t mean parents going to Orlando between September to November need to avoid the park, since everything apart from the really big props are removed during the day.

For those who do dare, there’s lots to explore during the evening from haunted houses, scare zones and mazes as well as some of the parks usual rides and attractions.

When is best to visit?

As you can guess, the busiest Halloween Horror Nights dates (i.e. the ones that seem to sell out first) are the dates throughout October, with the peak nights being Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. This event is extremely popular with holiday makers and locals, so it’s always best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

  • September: 15th - 17th, 21st - 24th, 29th - 30th
  • October: 1st, 4th - 8th, 11th - 15th, 18th - 22nd, 25th - 31st
  • November: 3rd - 4th

That said, if you want to keep flexible and don’t mind going mid week you shouldn’t have any issues with getting tickets nearer the time.

Tickets and Options and Ticket Prices

Firstly, you need to remember that this is a separately ticketed event so you can’t use your ticket to get into the theme parks during regular hours. There are a lots of options from special tours, season passes and discounts so it all comes down to your availability and budget.

Add on Tickets – This year these start from $59.99 plus tax going up to $83.99 plus tax, depending on the night you want to go. When you book on of these you will need to select in advance the night you plan on going. Remember you will need to prove you have a daytime purchase on top of this, but you don’t have to use both the tickets on the same day. This could be a good option for people who are only in Orlando for a short time and want to ensure they have a ticket and it’s also the cheapest option. If you want to be flexible about the date and are happy to spend a little more then you might want to look at Flex tickets.

Flex Tickets, Sunday to Friday

Again, this is an add-on ticket so you still need to purchase a day time ticket. As you probably guessed these allow you to go any night (apart from a Saturday) for $77.99, a good option if you plan on being in Orlando for a few weeks since as you can just pick a night at your leisure when you’re there.

Both of these options are generally sold as a bundle with your day ticket, buy Halloween Horror Nights tickets.

If you have already purchased your ticket, don’t worry, you can still buy a ticket as an add-on by visiting any ticket window at Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. Again just remember you need to take your day time tickets as proof of purchase.

Express Passes

If you have been to any of the Orlando Theme Parks before you will appreciate just how valuable these can be, especially if you plan on going on a peak night. These are on sale and prices vary from $79.99 to $139.99, again depending on the night you want to go.

If you haven’t been before you will be bowled over by just how much there is to do with new things being added every year. If you don’t have one of these you may not get round everything in one night. They’re good for all the houses and some of the rides that are open at night too, if you have the budget then it is worth considering.

Rush of Fear, Best Value Ticket

So here’s the thing; as we have seen you can buy an add-on ticket, for a specific night only for $59.99. With this you will probably get round a few houses, but its likely to leave you wanting more.

Rush of Fear Passes, for $91.99 (plus tax) you can unlimited access for every event, every night, for the first 3 weeks… …yup, read that again. This has got to be hands down the best option available, that’s 10 whole nights including the opening night! Just don’t blame us if you’re a nervous wreck after this!

Of course there are tonnes of other options to mull over and this might not be the best option if you do plan on just going one night, but if you’re in Orlando during the first 3 weeks, then you would be as mad as the mad axeman not to consider this (see what I did there..).

So what can I expect from the Halloween Horror Nights houses this year??

Bill and Teds Excellent Halloween Adventure 2017 – The Farewell Tour.

This show has been on tour since the early days of Halloween Horror Night and I imagine they will be pulling out all the stops for the farewell tour. Expect cheesy jokes, 1990’s references galore and probably a time traveling phone booth.

Saw – The Games of Jigsaw

It’s been 8 years since the Saw franchise was at Universal so its exciting to see what they plan on bringing this year. Rumour has it that you will get a preview of a working trap that’s going to be featured in the upcoming film.

One thing we do know for sure, its going to be a creepy, claustrophobic and an edgy experience.

Ash Vs Evil Dead

This TV/Film franchise spans back nearly 4 decades and has a huge cult following, so you can be sure the writers and producers at Universal have paid special attention to this one. Again, new for this year so it will be exciting to see what is going to be included. Various sources have revealed this will follow some of the themes found in the TV series, but don’t worry if you’re not a huge fan, as they have promised a chainsaw fuelled, blood soaked, rock and roll tour-de-force. Fun for the whole family!

The Shining

For anyone who thinks that Jack Nicholson is just the crazy old guy from the film Anger Management, or the Mob Boss in the Departed, then I would encourage you to go and watch The Shining. Most people have heard the immortal ‘here’s Jonny’ line and this house will sure to have you looking over your shoulder at every corner looking for him! Like the film, this promises to be an intense psychological thriller, with a dark and creepy edge sharper than Jacks Axe. A haunted house at its best.

American Horror Story FX

Here for the second year running and for good reason. This boasts the largest mazes in Universal to capture the detail of the TV seasons. It promises new content from last years maze covering seasons 2,3 and 6. Be prepared to be immersed into the New Orleans scene and all its horrors from serial killer ’bloody face’ and Dr Arden’s freaky ‘rasper’ experiments.

And finally.. The Scare Zones

If you have been before, you will know there is no way of avoiding these, so be prepared to join in the black celebration as it rains blood (not actually) throughout the scare zones. This is where the scare actors bring the park to life. You see zombies, aliens, ghosts and witches if you don’t jump out of your skin, then check your pulse!

There are a number of zones you will pass through from The Purge, Treat Treat’, Academy of Villains, Invasion to name a few. As a lot of it involves live actors and props you’re never really sure what’s going to happen next which makes the whole experience even move un-nerving!

As you can see there’s lots to do over the Universal Studios Horror Nights, even the most brave will be in for a few frights. When I went, I took my girlfriend and mum, and hid behind them both, which brings me nicely onto my last piece of advice…..don’t go alone.

Special thanks to Kelly Verdeck.

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