We are less than a month away from the official kickoff of haunt season with the opening date of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights. This year is an extremely eclectic mix of original ideas, and big name horror franchises from both television and film. With opening so close, we have a first look at this year’s map, to help you plan your escape. Are you ready to come face to face with terror? You’ve been warned.
What appears to be an official map has surfaced online, and it shows the layout of the houses, scare zones and shows. It also gives the entrance and exit of each house which is great for planning your attack on the houses. While we have known what the line up has been, we are now able to see where all of the houses are, which gives us two great pieces of information…where exactly will these houses be, and how to get through them efficiently.
While the final map may change, this is pretty much a good guide to get started with your planning, after all Halloween Horror Nights is a huge event with many different elements, and it’s very easy to get turned around and miss some of the great experiences.
So how do you get the most out of your Horror Nights experience? Let’s come up with a simple plan.
In the past, Universal has given early entry to day guests for Halloween Horror Nights. On event days Universal Studios Florida closes early, usually around 5p.m. They close in order to get the park ready for Halloween Horror Nights. Traditionally if you have both a day ticket to the park and a ticket for HHN, you can stay in the park when it closes, in certain designated holding areas. The park usually opens a few houses early for those in the holding areas before the crowds get through the front gate. All you need is a daily ticket, and a Halloween Horror Nights ticket, and you’re set! This works if you have an annual pass as well.
There are no “Stay and Scream” tickets for Halloween Horror Nights this year. If you want to be in the park before it closes, then you will need to purchase a regular day ticket, or have an annual pass. According to the official Universal information line, the park has done away with the ticket that allows guests to gain admission to the park a few hours before Halloween Horror Nights starts. If you want to gain entry into the park before the event starts, you will have to purchase a full day ticket. The option now gives you a discount on Halloween Horror Nights tickets, when you add it to your daily theme park ticket.
The phone number for Universal Orlando ticketing is 407-224-7840
There will still be “Stay and Scream” areas set up in New York/Sting Alley area near Finnegans for those wanting to get a jump on the crowds.
Now that you have your tickets, and you’re in the park, it’s time to figure out which houses to see first. The key to seeing all the houses is timing. Crowds can get very large, very fast, which can extend your wait time. The longer you wait, the more of a chance of not seeing everything. While you may have a “MUST SEE” house, you may sacrifice seeing the majority of the event for waiting in huge lines. However, an attack plan could not only help you get through your MUST SEE house, but also a ton of other houses and shows as well.
There’s eight houses, four in the front of the park and three in the back with one house all by itself in the middle. We suggest tackling either the soundstage houses in the front of the park first, then hit the middle house and then hit the back of the park…or hit the back houses first, then the middle then the front of the park. Either way, it’s best to hit a group of houses and then that middle house.
Based on the map, here’s our suggested order:
- From Dusk Til Dawn-Enter by Despicable Me, exit by Rockit
- The Walking Dead-Enter by Rockit, exit by Rockit
- Alien Vs. Predator-Enter by Twister, exit by Macy’s building
- Dracula Untold-Enter by Macy’s, exit by Twister
- Gore and Giggles Inc-Middle House, enter new Beetlejuice, exit by Disaster
- Roanoke:Cannibal Colony-Enter by ET, exit near Barney
- Dollhouse of the damned-Enter by Barney, exit by MIB
- Halloween:Michael Myers-Enter by MIB exit by MIB
After seeing the back area houses, we suggest hitting Bill and Ted, and then Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s a tough run, but it gives you all the houses and all the shows in one night with time to ride some rides later.O f course there’s no guarantee that this order will work, or that you won’t wait in line, but it has worked for us in the past. However there is only one way to guarantee that you not only see everything, but you wait in shorter lines.
There are two ways to “Skip the Lines” at Halloween Horror Nights, but they are going to cost you extra. They are both completely worth it if you’re not into waiting in super long lines, and have a limited amount of time.
- Express-Skip the long lines, and make your wait shorter. You can skip the regular line to each house one time with Express. More details.
- RIP Tours-This is our favorite way to see the event. You wait in virtually no line at all, and you get a very knowledgeable tour guide that not only gets you into the houses and shows but gives you a ton of information about each house. This option is a lot more expensive, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to see the entire event. It’s also very limited, which means you should probably book now. More details.
Halloween Horror Nights is a separate ticket event, and is not intended for young children. In other words, it’s not included with your daily park admission, and it’s not for kids…at all.
Stay tuned to us for more information, fun and surprises about Halloween Horror Nights 23 in Orlando. Be sure to get social with us on Facebook, and follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest fun and surprises!