Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Night was the thing that I was looking forward to the least on our trip to Orlando. I don’t like being scared and I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that shit can get real in these places. Haven’t you seen Scream 2?! The fear that the maniac wielding the chainsaw could actually be wielding a real chainsaw was real. I was terrified!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t be outdone by my 12 year old niece who, along with the other half, was dead set on going to HHN28. What was wrong with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
After we’d finished our epic Disney World adventure, we moved hotels to our base for the next 5 nights whilst we explored Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay. We left the daytime free and headed to Universal for 1600. The park closes at 1700 on HHN nights but as we had daytime tickets as well as HHN tickets, we were able to enter the park and get ourselves in to a good spot for the evening frights.
Universal Studios cordons off 3 holding areas for guests with day and HHN tickets. We stationed ourselves in the holding area surrounding Finnegan’s Irish Pub as that was closest to the first house we, along with everyone else in the park, wanted to visit; Stranger Things.
The holding area was split in to 2 lines with the left line only being filled once the right line was filled. We managed to get a spot about half way down the right line which meant we were some of the first people released in to the park. They only opened the left line once everyone in the right line had walked out of the holding area.
There was food and drinks stalls but access to bathrooms was limited due to the massive line to get in to Finnegan’s. There’s limited shade and it was baking hot in the afternoon sun, and there’s no shelter from heavy rain.
The park opens to night ticket holders at 1830 but the holding areas open at 1730 with houses opening at 1745. Once we were released, we headed straight to Stranger Things which instantly had a 40 minute wait. Now, I don’t watch Stranger Things but the other half and my niece do and they were blown away by how realistic the set was. Even the actors in the house looked like the actors from the show. Whilst I didn’t understand the story of the house, it was a terrifying 6 minutes and I absolutely….bloody loved it!
There’s a handful of rides open on HHNs and there was no line for the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit so we took advantage before heading to our next house of the night; Scary Tales. Based on a twisted fairy tale with an evil witch, the decor, scares and smells started as soon as you stepped through the door. As I was leading the group, I jumped, screamed and nervously laughed my way around the house with everyone clinging on behind me. Scary Tales proved to be my favourite house of all!
The Transformers ride had a 5 minute wait as we stalked around the Killer Klowns from Outer Space scare zone so we dived in whilst we could. Not everyone was scared by the Klowns anyway!
With the sun setting, we moved on to our third house of the night; Slaughter Sinema. Featuring 80’s B movie gore, we were haunted by werewolves, killer babies and cannibals. The smell of popcorn filled the air as we waited in line and you could feel the atmosphere change as the sky went dark.
The 80’s theme really came in to its own at the vampire New Years Eve party. With the murdered rock band, still on stage, impaled by their instruments and vampires stalking the streets looking for prey, licking baseball bats covered in blood, you get immersed in horror nostalgia.
Whilst the lines for the houses got longer, waits for the rides stayed short and we managed to walk straight on to Revenge of the Mummy, which remained one of my favourite rides in the park. We waited 17 minutes for Fast & Furious but the ride is utter rubbish and we all wished we hadn’t bothered! Considering that this is one of the newest rides in the park, we expected something really special and it was a massive letdown. Fortunately, we were able to squeeze in one more ride on the Rip Ride Rockit as we were leaving the park and it was awesome to ride in the dark!
As our ticket covered 2 entries to HHN on any night except Saturday, we decided to go back on Sunday evening to try out some of the other houses. We followed the same strategy as the Thursday night and headed to the holding area at Finnegan’s. This time, when the park reopened at 1730, we headed straight for the Poltergeist house. We waited in line for 20 minutes which basically took us up to when the houses officially open at 1745. The scares started straight away with darkness shattered only by strobe lighting and the flickering tv screen synonymous with the 1982 flick.
We spent some time exploring Diagon Alley and riding Escape from Gringotts, which had just a 10 minute wait before doing our last house; Dead Exposure. Set in a French quarantine zone fighting a deadly zombie virus, the other half was quite looking forward to this house as he’s into zombie stuff. It wasn’t that exciting an experience in the end and neither was The Horrors of Blumhouse which was easily the most boring house we walked through. So boring that my niece just screamed “I haven’t screamed at all in this house” about a thousand times in my ear as masked men stepped out from the dark and attempted to scare us.
The Sunday night was loads busier than the Thursday night and we didn’t have the energy to wait over an hour for a 6 minute scare. We decided to give the Cyberpunk show a go but it was no more than average. Some of the laser effects were pretty cool, but the dance moves were very samey and ended up being boring. People just got up and left in their droves before the show finished, and we joined them.
Although I really wasn’t looking forward to HHN, I really really enjoyed it! The houses were amazing and I wish we’d had more time to experience all 10 of them, especially the Michael Myers house. My favourite part of the whole shebang though was the vampires. I loved their confidence and sass. I just wish that I could relive that first night over and over again, it was so fricking awesome!
Date of trip: October 2018
Price paid: £60.00pp for the 2 nights for the price of 1 ticket to Halloween Horror Nights booked through Floridatix.
Points earned: 180 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points for paying for the tickets on my Virgin Atlantic reward credit card.