Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando will soon be upon us, so in the words of Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are plan to fail.” We must act now to plan for our beloved event. But I hear you say: How? Why? When? What? Don’t fret as this blog will explain what to do…. right now!
Okay let’s answer your questions…
How: I will tell you in a second, read on first.
Why: Well, to get the best out of the event, you need to have planned beforehand to give you the best experience. A ticket to HHN is very expensive, so planning to make the most of your trip is essential.
What: Well, if you don’t know what Halloween Horror Nights is, then allow me to explain. It’s the world’s premier Halloween event and although it is held in a few select locations around the globe, the world’s biggest, best, longest-running and altogether greatest version is held right here in Orlando. An unmissable after-hours party that sees guests from all over the world travel to Orlando to experience this mighty event. So sit back and let’s take the steps one-by-one of what you need to start doing right now…
First step: Book your stay!
Have you booked yet? The event is running for longest time ever this year, from September 16th to October 31st – that’s 31 select nights of pure Halloween awesomeness.
If you haven’t booked yet, then you need to get in touch with Dreams Unlimited Travel who can set you up with a great deal on where to stay. I would always recommend if you are attending that you need to stay onsite as you can casually stroll back to your hotel after the event and miss all the traffic. If not, look into doing maybe a split stay or staying at a Universal resort on the nights you plan to attend.
Second Tip: Get your tickets sorted!
Once your travel is sorted, you need to buy some tickets. For this you can go through various third party websites, however my top tip is to always book via the main event website at www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando. Buying direct gives you many different options of which ticket would be best for you. So if you plan on going more than a couple of nights, you will need a Frequent Fear Pass, or if you plan to go in late September/Early October, then a Rush of Fear pass would be best. All options also allow for you to purchase express options if you want to bypass the regular line and get into the houses/rides/shows that much quicker.
Note that if you stay onsite and get express privileges during the day, these do not work at Halloween Horror Nights, so you will have to buy them separately. I would always recommend the Express add-on option if you are going one night (to ensure you see everything!), otherwise I would not purchase if you were coming back for more than one night. Though it is always worth noting that in the past, the express option has occasionally sold out for the busiest nights.
Last top tip: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever leave buying your tickets for at the park gates on the night of the party. *face palm* This is a huge rookie mistake and makes you queue up for ages, while everyone else is inside enjoying the party – so always buy beforehand, like now! Go there and buy, we’ll wait here while you go.
Third Tip: Get a
reading watching list
Okay, so tickets in hand, days planned and travel booked – so what’s next? You need to read up! Universal has currently announced the following franchises will be present at the event: AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ (again), ‘The Exorcist’ from the original 1970s movie and ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’. You need to watch these shows/movies before you go, as a bare minimum.
Watching these movies will enhance your experience, as when you walk through these houses, you will see sets, props and characters from them. You will understand where you are, why you’re there and this will build anticipation; so much so, that the suspense will enhance the scares and ergo ensure you have as best experience as possible. It’s science, don’t argue.
Blockbuster Netflix is your friend.
Final Tip: Research your scares…
There are other movies that you could watch and you could read up on which is the best touring plan to suit your situation, all of which can be read in my new book ‘The Complete Survivor’s Guide to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights’. Along with these features, I also document exactly how this amazing event is put together, charting its history and how it arguably saved the Universal park back in the early days. It’s available in all good book stores or from one click of a finger on Amazon in either Kindle or print form.
But the absolute last piece of planning that must be undertaken is to ensure that when you go, you have the best time you can and let everyone know about it. On The Dis forum you can post trip reports, share tips and chat to your fellow Universal fans. Or listen and/or contact the team at The Dis Unplugged Universal Edition for more great tips! For details of what to do the night before the event, I will be back with a follow up blog for that soon (spending money, ID etc.).
Otherwise, I’ll see you at the event! And remember, keep your eyes closed and your ears open!
Christopher Ripley is the author of the recently released best selling ‘The Complete Survivor’s Guide to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights‘, co-host of Scarezone (a HHN Podcast) and Dis After Dark.