The Universal Studios Halloween season is upon us. That means this Orlando theme park transforms into a scream park. Entering its 29th year, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2019 brings back monsters, zombies, clowns and a host of other creatures from your nightmares. Here’s our guide to handling the horror.
Halloween brings us all the fun of jack-0-lanterns, costumes and trick or treat bags filled with candy. It also brings creepy witches, spooky ghosts and machete-wielding villains frightful enough to induce blood-curdling screams from even the bravest souls. At Universal Studios Orlando, you’ll find the latter in abundance.
Enter the Scariest of Scare Zones
Universal Studios Halloween events don’t just scare you—they assign terror by zones! This year, there are five scare zones lurking around the park: Zombieland Double Tap, Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe, Anarch-cade, Vanity Ball and Vikings Undead.
Encounters with bloodthirsty zombies abound in the United States of Zombieland. Be careful in the bathrooms…you never know what that fog is hiding. And don’t forget to double tap.
Heavy metal horror awaits in Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe with twisted other-worldly creatures and pulsing music. Neon slashers from the 80s have taken over Avenue of the Stars in Anarch-cade where “Game Over” are words you don’t want to hear.
Going under the knife takes on a deeper meaning at Vanity Ball where the streets of Hollywood have succumbed to knife-wielding artists eager to carve subjects into living works of horrific art. Meanwhile, in Central Park, bloodlust is alive and well as undead Vikings carry out a ruthless siege.
Don’t Miss the Universal Studios Halloween Shows
Assuming you survive the scare zones, there are a couple of shows you’ll want to catch. Academy of Villains: Altered States drags man’s true nature out into the dark, gothic streets of anarchy through an epic experiment of mind and body.
New this year, water effects, lasers and projections combine to showcase spooky scenes from Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Universal Monsters and Killer Klowns from Outer Space in Halloween Marathon of Mayhem.
Of course, there’s the ever-present show on the streets as scare actors keep a watchful eye out for their next victims.
Haunted Houses for the Bravest Souls
If the scare zones and shows aren’t enough to scare the pants off of you, the haunted houses will do the trick. There are 10 to choose from: Nightingales: Blood Pit; Universal Monsters; Depths of Fear; Yeti: Terror of the Yukon; Graveyard Games; Killer Klowns from Outer Space; House of 1,000 Corpses; Ghostbusters; Us, and Stranger Things.
For this year’s event, Ancient Rome makes an appearance in Blood Pit as grisly nightingales feast on the dead and dying left behind from continued gladiator games ordered by a ruthless emperor.
Dracula in his gothic castle, the Wolfman in a dark Bavarian forest, and the man-made monster within Dr. Frankenstein’s lab await in Universal Monsters. Think you can beat them in their own environment? Think again.
Imagine being trapped underwater in a claustrophobic mining installation with countless slithering “mouthbrooders” spewing flesh-eating acidic eggs at humans. Depths of Fear definitely reaches the depths of mine.
Entering the labyrinth of caves deep in the remote tundra of the Yukon, you’ll hear the screaming echoes of those who couldn’t escape the inevitable—the Yeti. Good luck.
Graveyard Games shows us why playing in a cemetery might be a bad idea. Lots of teens do it, but the teens at Ascension Parish Cemetery went too far and defaced the cemetery awaking the spirits. Don’t ever do that.
The Killer Klowns from Outer Space are getting a promotion this year. Last year these uber-creepy characters were a scare zone. This year they’ve earned a house. Don’t let the sweet scent of cotton candy and the bright neon color scheme fool you, these suckers are dangerous—and they’re everywhere.
Not surprising, the House of 1,000 Corpses offers guts and gore galore. Recreating the 2003 torture film, the terror begins with the roadside Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Keep an eye out for Fish Boys, the collection’s latest addition. You’ll also confront the Firefly family and, of course, Doctor Satan.
More Horror from the Big Screen
Preparing for the 35th anniversary of the movie, Ghostbusters makes its first appearance at HHN. The voracious Slimer, the all-power Gozer the Gozerian and Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man are among the spirits in the house.
Time to meet your evil doppelgänger! Based off the Jordan Peele horror film, Us, in this house you’ll follow in the footsteps of Adelaide Wilson through the Wilson family beach house and Santa Cruz Pier. You’ll also wander through the underground tunnels that stretch for miles below America. While you’re down there, keep an eye out for “the Tethered.”
Come face-to-face with snarling Demodogs as you travel back to the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. While you’re there, walk through some of the most terrifying scenes from Seasons 2 and 3 of Stranger Things. It scared us last year and this year the Stranger Things haunted house will have skin-crawling coast-to-coast from Universal Studios Orlando to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Beyond the Horror
Regular attractions running during Universal Studios Halloween include Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Transformers: The Ride – 3D, Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black Alien Attack, Fast & Furious – Supercharged, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. With all the Halloween Horror excitement, the lines are typically much shorter for regular attractions. Just be sure to check the closing time for each, because it’s often earlier than HHN.
What You Need to Know
As for crowds, Universal Studios Halloween is as popular with locals as it is with tourists. As a result, weekend nights are the busiest. If possible, plan to go midweek for fewer crowds. And, of course, the closer to Halloween, the bigger the crowds.
The Halloween Horror Nights Orlando 2019 dates are:
September 6-3, 12-15, 18-22, 25-29
October 2-6, 9-13, 17-21, 23-27, 29-31
Remember, HHN tickets are separate from general theme park admission tickets. You’ll need a regular park admission ticket if you want to take advantage of early entry to Halloween Horror Nights.
Tip: If you’re staying at one of the Universal Orlando Resort properties, you can take advantage of the priority entrance gate until 8 pm to get into the event faster.
Finally, if you need a break for an hour or so from all the horror mayhem, most HHN passes include admission to CityWalk’s clubs. Take a break, refuel and head back in for more chills and thrills.