Twenty-one years after its dastardly debut at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Howl-O-Scream has arrived at SeaWorld Orlando. SeaWorld Orlando will once again be hosting Halloween Spooktacular this year, but tadpole parents, take note: Howl-O-Scream is not suitable for ages 13 and under, so if you're trick-or-treating it up during the day on a night when Howl-O-Scream is taking place, you'll want to make a quick escape with the little ones when the family-friendly event ends, before the park gets a little more intense. For 27 terrifying nights, guests brave enough to face the wrath of the Bayside Lake siren can experience haunted houses, scare zones, shows and more.
SeaWorld knew it needed to make its mark on the Halloween circuit and, boy, did it deliver! From the moment we got out of our car, we heard menacing music blasting from the parking lot ... luring us toward the fog and all of the creepy creatures lurking within it. We knew we were in for a treat when a scare actor at the entrance skidded right next to us on the ground and created sparks at our feet by scraping metal on the pavement — making us jump right out of our sneakers. What we particularly enjoyed about this event is that, because it only covers half of the park, it's fairly easy to hit all of the stops you want to throughout the night. With only four houses, four scare zones and two shows, we didn't feel like we were in a mad dash to see and do everything. You can pace yourself really well in here.
All in all, the Inaugural Fear of Howl-O-Scream Orlando is an absolute hit! We can't wait to see how SeaWorld ups the ante in the years to come. For now, scroll down to learn all about Orlando's newest Halloween event!
Howl-O-Scream Orlando 2021 Dates & Ticket Information
SeaWorld Orlando's Howl-O-Scream is a separately ticketed event that runs on select nights from Sept. 10 to Oct. 31, 2021. The park will close to daytime guests at 7 p.m. (except for Oct. 7 when the park closes at 6 p.m.) before it turns into a place of terror from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays and Sundays. However, you may enter the park as early as 5 p.m. You'll receive a wristband to put on yourself, so team members will be able to know you're there for the event (and they may ask you to show it before entering certain sections of the park before it is cleared of daytime guests).
At Busch Gardens' version of the event, crowds are historically lighter on Sundays and gradually increase as it gets closer to Halloween. The same could very well be true at SeaWorld. We conquered the fog here on a Sunday night in mid-September and the wait times for the houses and rides were incredibly short. It didn't feel crowded whatsoever, which makes sense considering it's a brand-new event. Though we still anticipate it will get more crowded as it gets closer to Halloween.
Howl-O-Scream 2021 Dates
- Sept. 10-12, 17-19, 24-26
- Oct. 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31
You can now purchase tickets directly through your favorite frogs! We also offer day tickets with admission to Howl-O-Scream included, as well as tickets that allow you to visit Howl-O-Scream at both parks (Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando!). Be sure to check out all of your ticket options.
Make the most of the spooky season and maximize the fear factor with any of three unholy upgrades, which can be purchased directly through SeaWorld. The Front Line Fear pass grants you single-use, front-of-the-line access to each haunted house and single-use, front-of-the-line access to a single ride during your visit. Meanwhile, the Front Line Fear Extreme pass grants you unlimited front-of-the-line access to each haunted house, unlimited front-of-the-line access to every ride open during the event, one-time reserved seating to the Monster Stomp show and even access to exclusive bonus rooms in one of the haunted houses. There's also the VIP Terror Tour, a private, customizable guided tour that grants you unlimited front-of-the-line access to each of the haunted houses, unlimited front-of-the-line access to each ride open during the event, priority reserved seating to the Monster Stomp show, four complimentary beverages (alcoholic or nonalcoholic) and access to those exclusive bonus rooms in one of the houses! (Event admission is required for the VIP tour and not included in the price.)
Howl-O-Scream Orlando 2021 Haunted Houses
Once you enter, there's no turning back. The four haunted houses at SeaWorld's debut event are dastardly and devious. The next scare can come from anywhere so summon all of the courage you can to brave dark passageways and round dimly lit corners. The only way out of these demonic dwellings is through the thick of it.
It's off to Davy Jones' locker fer ya! A fearsome force has possessed a shipful of pirates and — against your better judgment — you've decided to climb aboard the murky and rotted remains of this lost vessel. Unfortunately for you, the cursed captain is seeking revenge and the one thing standing between you and the exit is his condemned crew. Remember pirates live and die by one motto: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Fair winds, matey!
The sounds of clanging swords, water dripping and crows cawing really help set the atmosphere in this nautical labyrinth lit mostly by lanterns and blacklight. Make your way from bow to steer as you pass under Jolly Rogers, hanging vines and cargo nets. Just be sure to stay away from the captain's stolen treasure, otherwise you'll be next to walk the plank.
Beneath the Ice
When a research facility in the Arctic Circle gets buried beneath the snow, you choose to join the rescue party. As you descend further into this glacial tomb, you feel a strange chill — and it's not just from the below-freezing temperatures. Within this ice cavern dwells inconceivable horrors. Frostbite is no longer the only thing you have to fear as you attempt to make it out of this frozen fortress alive.
Enter (if you dare) what remains of Base Camp Aura. The researchers and rescue team alike are possessed by a force so frightening, you'll be wishing you can turn back. As the darkest and loudest house of the event, it's truly terrifying not knowing where the next scare is going to come from. Be prepared because scare actors might even escape their confinement and start following right behind you as you move closer and closer toward your frosty fate.
Among the trees and beyond the brush resides a terrifying force of nature. There's someone sinister lurking in this jungle and whoever she is has turned you into plant food. Make your way through the dense undergrowth and hanging vines as you find a way out of this carnivorous labyrinth. There's poison in these woods and it's not just the ivy.
As you enter the garden shed of a Victorian mansion, nothing seems to be awry ... until you walk down the next hallway and the foliage reaches out for you. Under no circumstances should you play dolls with the children or join their tea party. They're just trying to stall you. There's a powerful hex controlling this flora and the tendrils of the plants are quickly climbing toward you.
Water's Edge Inn
This is one getaway you won't be able to get away from. The owner of this seaside inn has long been obsessed with the sirens that supposedly reside in the nearby waters. However, there might be just as much to fear on land as there is at sea. Restless souls have booked an extended stay at this hotel and are haunting every crumbling hallway and decaying guest room. Even worse: The demented staff has no intentions of letting you leave. Once you check in, there's no checking out.
As we were making our way through the cursed corridors, a maid cut Flora and I off from the group of frogs in front of us and pointed at a different hallway she wanted us to walk down — the exclusive bonus rooms for those with Front Line Fear Extreme passes and VIP Terror Tours. The next thing we knew, a man with a knife was yelling at us to "FIND THE STONE!" I thought we were once again being cut off from the doorway, but he finally let us pass and we eventually circled back around to the maid. However, just when we thought we could catch our breaths, a man with a chainsaw chased us out of the exit (which conveniently is steps away from the park exit so we highly recommend saving this house for last)!
Howl-O-Scream Orlando 2021 Scare Zones & Roaming Haunts
Our favorite thing about Howl-O-Scream: the scares and screams aren't confined to the houses. With several scare zones scattered around the park and blood-curdling beasts sneaking in the shadows, nowhere is truly safe. Howl-O-Scream Orlando is home to four scare zones, along with three different groups of roaming haunts. Be prepared and stay alert because you never know what haunts are waiting ahead of you in the thick fog ... or are silently lurking behind you.
Scare Zone: Sea of Souls
Shiver me timbers! You might have made it off the ship but vengeful spirits still lurk in these murky waters. Forever doomed to haunt the site of their horrific shipwreck, these moaning marauders have some unfinished business: seeking revenge on those who escaped their phantasmic fate. Be careful. These savage specters give no quarter to the unlucky landlubbers who cross their path. Oh, and did we mention this scare zone reaches a dead end? You have no choice but to venture through here twice. Find these bemoaning buccaneers just beyond the entrance to Mako.
Scare Zone: Frozen Terror
Outside the confines of the entombed research facility lies a desolate Arctic wasteland. Through the frost and snow, you might think you see survivors but think again. Armed with shovels and pickaxes, these subhuman walkers roam this frozen tundra with only one goal in mind: turning you into one of them. It is genuinely creepy watching the scare actors contort their bodies like a member of the walking dead. We definitely wanted to escape this polar purgatory. Find these frozen zombies beneath the tracks of Ice Breaker.
Scare Zone: Witchcraft Bayou
Dark magic is in the air and no rune will protect you. The voodoo cult that resides in this bewitching bayou are looking for their next sacrifice and, just their luck, you happened to stroll right into their territory. Stay alert and evade the alluring pull of the zealous worshippers and their Wiccan ways. They won't rest until your soul is theirs. Find these sinister shamans next to Infinity Falls.
Scare Zone: Deadly Ambush
You've traveled back to 1961 and stumbled upon a quaint campground hidden deep within the forest. That rumbling in the bushes and the roaring in the distance isn't the local wildlife — it's something much scarier. Get back to civilization before these terrifying creatures make you their next meal! The park ranger and several unfortunate campers have all been bitten or scratched, and they're warning you to leave while you still can. The ranger station is locked, the Winnebago is up in smoke and the outhouse is ... well, you probably don't want to go in there anyway. The flickering lights overhead and jazzy music playing over the jukebox really add to the alarming atmosphere of this cursed campsite. The vintage vibes made this our favorite scare zone of the night. Find these condemned campers on the pathway along the lagoon.
Roaming Haunt: The Sirens
There's nowhere to hide when the sirens lure you with their sinister singing.
Roaming Haunt: The Creatures
Watch out for the bushes. You never know what's hiding behind the trees.
Roaming Haunt: The Minions
Escape the sinister occult zealots and their evil spells.
Howl-O-Scream Orlando 2021 Shows & Rides
Monster Stomp: Slasher Alley
Travel back in time to Victorian-era London for a rock 'n' roll musical spectacular. Meet the infamous Jack the Ripper and watch him take the stage like never before. This pulse-pounding performance combines electrifying percussion, dancing and singing acts. Honestly, you can't go wrong when you score a show to the music of Imagine Dragons, Evanescence and more iconic rock bands. This 20-minute musical in the Nautilus Theater is also a great way to escape the scares for a little bit and enjoy some much needed air conditioning.
You've heard all about them. This is your chance to hear their side of the story. If you're brave enough, face the infamous Bayside Lake siren herself — along with the ones she's summoned from the deep sea. Prepare for special effects, mesmerizing dancing and spellbinding storytelling as you're surrounded by the sirens.
What's fun about this show is that you have 360-degree views in an outdoor setting. Park yourself in front of any one of the sirens or roam around the courtyard to get great views of each of them. There's even some unexpected atmospheric effects that truly help bring the sirens' story to life. Darkness, Hex, Frost, Flame and Scratch can't wait to meet you. You can catch them several times a night right next to Altitude Burgers.
Everything is scarier in the dark. When the sun goes down and monsters come out, enjoy Mako, Orlando's tallest and fastest coaster, and Infinity Falls, Florida's tallest rapids ride.
Howl-O-Scream Orlando 2021 Themed Bar Experiences and Food
Whether you need some liquid bravery or are just parched from all that screaming, Howl-O-Scream has unearthed several watering holes for you to wet your whistle ... and join in on the scares with some spooky surprises.
Defrost after your Arctic expedition at this creepily cozy inn — the one place where a cold frosty is actually a good thing. If you’re feeling mischievous, you can even pay to press a button to bring scares to the rest of your rescue squad while they’re braving the hellish horrors beneath the ice.
Be careful what you sip. The merciless mistress of ivy and evil has invited you to her (super)natural lounge and conjured up some deadly delicious cocktails for you to try — making this the perfect place to unwind. Be sure to pay your respects, though. She's always watching.
If you have a sweet tooth, I can't recommend the Poison Apple cocktail enough. This candy-esque concoction is made with Crown Apple Whiskey, Salted Caramel Monin, Granny Apple Monin and Ginger Ale and comes with gummy worms on top! Oh, and be sure to keep your eyes up in here. This bar features a rotating team of aerial dancers performing just above your head.
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and be merry at this seaside tavern where pirates frequent to warm their bellies. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled. You might find that an old SeaWorld treasure has been (partially) resurrected.
Sirens' Last Call
Journey down to this underground warehouse, where creatures of the deep come to play — and where the siren's fiercely protective followers keep a watchful eye on all who enter. They know how to spot an outsider so be sure to pay homage to the wailing woman of the sea by trying the bar's signature drink, "The Siren's Kiss."
We took a risk and, instead of ordering The Siren's Kiss, had the delicious and tropical Paranormal Potion made with Tito's Vodka, Midori, Monin Passionfruit Puree, lemon and lime and the tadpole-friendly, Freaky Fanta. With music blasting from the speakers and sirens dancing all around you, this bar right next to the entrance gate is the perfect place to down some liquid courage before conquering ... well, everything else.
Food Stands and Restaurants
Aside from the themed bars, you can grab grub at Waterway Grill and Altitude Burgers to fuel up for a night full of scares. In need of just a quick snack? Panini Bistro, Pretzel Kitchen and select food kiosks can be found around the park. I grabbed a bowl of Monster Mac and Cheese with pesto sauce at a kiosk outside of the Monster Stomp theater, while Flora got seared tofu off the regular menu at Waterway Grill.
Our Terrifying Tips for Howl-O-Scream Orlando 2021
Buy tickets in advance
The last thing you want is to be waiting in line at Will Call or risking the possibility of tickets selling out for the night! The only surefire way to guarantee admission to the event is to purchase your tickets early online (plus it saves you time and money!).
Leave the tadpoles behind
With the plethora of violence and gore on display, the event is targeted for adults. We typically leave Lily and Tad behind with the grandfrogs! While teenagers and children are allowed to attend, we do not recommend it for tadpoles younger than 13.
Despite the sun going down, the hot and humid Florida weather keeps September and October nights warm. (You might run into some rain, so check the forecast before you head out in case you need to bring a poncho or umbrella.) Dress in clothes that allow you to stay cool, and opt for comfortable shoes. For the safety of the scare actors and other guests, costumes and masks that cover your entire face are not allowed.
Pay attention in scare zones
I may be stating the obvious, but be aware of your surroundings as you walk through the scare zones. The scare actors like to get super close to you. But they will not touch you, and you should not touch them. Also, listen closely to what they have to say because they like to improvise. Be courteous of fellow guests too. You may have the gut instinct to run away at the sight of a siren, but you have to be careful not to bump into anyone else. If you prefer not to be scared in the scare zones, you can purchase a "No Boo" necklace for $15 plus tax (however, the necklace does not work in the houses).
Are you ready to face your greatest fears at SeaWorld Orlando's first-ever Howl-O-Scream? Let us know in the comments below what you're most excited for!