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Terrifying Tips to Maximize Your Time at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

by Leap on August 28, 2023 793 Orlando

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Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida is a monstrous event. With 10 haunted houses, five scare zones and one sinister show — not to mention an epic tribute store, tons of delicious event-exclusive food and drinks and Death Eaters in Diagon Alley — there's a lot to experience during your fiendishly fun night at Universal Studios Florida. While just the idea alone of tackling all of it can seem scary, it's not exactly impossible. As veterans of this eerie event, we've learned over the years all the best ways to go about conquering this fear fest that will help you get the most out of your limited time, whether you want to be frightfully frugal or don't mind spookily splurging. Sound intriguing? Then keep reading for all our top tips to maximize your terrifying time at Halloween Horror Nights!

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Dr. Oddfellow

Unholy Upgrades at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

While certainly not a necessity, there are two appallingly awesome add-ons you can purchase to make your nefarious night a bit easier to manage.

Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass: Similar to a Universal Express Standard pass at the theme parks, the HHN Express Pass allows you to skip the regular lines one time at each haunted house (including the rides that are open during the event). There's still an Express Pass line, but the line is significantly shorter than the regular standby line and can end up saving you hours during your visit! We've easily conquered every single house in one night using the Express Pass.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Yeti Queue

Scream Early Ticket: With this add-on, you can enter Universal Studios anytime from 3 to 5 p.m. the day you're going to HHN. At 5 p.m., you'll make your way to one of several Stay & Scream areas (depending on what your top priority houses are) while the park transitions from a world of movie magic to one of murder and mayhem. Within the next 40 to 60 minutes, you'll be released and free to get in line for your first house. At most, that's almost an hour of extra event time before Halloween Horror Nights officially opens to everyone else at 6:30 p.m. Believe it or not, we've been able to knock out as many as three houses during the early entry period — each with a short wait time! (Popular houses may have a lengthier wait, but it's usually the lowest it gets for the night.)

Haunting Arrival Hacks for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

Now that you've decided whether or not the add-ons are worth it for you and your scream squad, you need to figure out when the best time to arrive is. Well ... it depends on whether you you've splurged and added one or both of those aforementioned upgrades. To make things easier, we're going to break down our advice based on which add-ons you have in your arsenal.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Dark Zodiac

With Early Entry: As I mentioned above, with the Scream Early ticket (or just regular daytime admission to Universal Studios), you need to arrive prior to park close at 5 p.m. to access the Stay & Scream holding areas. Target the Springfield holding area to hit the houses in the back of the park first. These typically maintain short wait times within the first hour (or more!) of the event since guests entering through the main gates tend to tackle the houses up front first. Therefore, you'll be able to get through a lot of them fairly quickly.

With Express Pass ONLY: Most of the time, you'll find that Universal opens the front gates prior to 6:30 p.m. Hence, we recommend arriving at least by 5:45 p.m. to be ready for when they do.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Universal Monsters

Without Express Pass OR Early Entry: Quite the brave soul you are. For this daring pursuit, we recommend arriving by 5 p.m. to be closer to the front of the entry line. As we say around this pond, the early frog gets the fly! The earlier you arrive and the quicker you get in, the shorter the line you'll see at your first house. (You'll also be in a prime position to watch the Opening Scaremony through the park gates!)

For Universal Hotel Guests: If you're staying on property at a Universal Orlando hotel and plan to arrive a little later, use the priority entrance gate near the former Blue Man Group theater. This entrance is open from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and won't see the same crowds that tend to appear at the front gate.

Petrifying Plans of Attack for Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Jungle of Doom

You've made it through the gates and are in line for your first house. Hooray! Time to start strategizing how you want to conquer the rest of the event. Again, based on which upgrades you may or may not have, it completely depends. While no two nights are ever the same, we've definitely noticed certain patterns and trends over the years. Keep reading to find out what we recommend for the average event night.

With Early Entry AND Express Pass: Because your Express Pass will only let you skip the standby line once per house, we recommend saving it for at least after 7 p.m. when lines start to get longer. That way, you can make your way through some houses a second time later in the night after you've braved them all at least once. After you've conquered your first few houses during the early entry period, just continue to make your way around the rest of the park in a big circle so you're not hopping back and forth.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Vamp 69

With Early Entry ONLY: Since you've opted against being able to skip the lines, you're still going to need to be strategic with your night. Make sure you target the houses in the back of the park during the early entry period since the lines tend to stay fairly long all night. You'll be able to knock out a good one to three houses before the event officially starts. After you've done those, make sure you hit up any other top priority houses you have first — just so you can breathe easy later knowing you've already done them.

With Express Pass ONLY: With your Express Pass, you're pretty much guaranteed to be able to hit up every house at least once. Once you're inside the park, just pick where you want to start and continue to move either clockwise or counterclockwise to minimize the amount of hopping around you'll do.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Collection of Horror

Without Express Pass OR Early Entry: If you've opted to tackle the event without any help, be aware there's a possibility you most likely will not be able to hit up everything. Conquer your top priority houses first before circling around and doing any other houses or scare zones you missed. Good luck, brave soul.

Other Tips and Tricks for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

Halloween Horror Nights isn't only the houses and scare zones. There are plenty of other things to see and do and, if you want to check them all out, they require some planning, as well.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - CarnEVIL Dog

  • Eat early. One of our favorite parts of Halloween Horror Nights is all the devilishly delicious food and drink items scattered around the park. Whether you want to fuel up on grub at one of the themed event booths, sit down at one of the restaurants open in the park or even grab a meal outside the gates before you enter, eat dinner early. Food lines get longer as the night goes on. However, if you find yourself with an empty stomach and some time to kill later, be sure to splurge on event-exclusive snacks as the food booths are closed during normal park hours. We also noticed that food lines dropped considerably after 12 a.m., so consider getting a midnight snack before you leave.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Twisted Origins

  • Hit a popular house shortly after the official opening time or in the last hour of the event. Your top priority houses tend to be most people's top priority houses. Those big, headlining houses will undoubtedly see long waits all night long. However, the prime times to conquer them are around 7 p.m. — after all the early entry guests have gone through them but before more crowds make their way into the park — or in the final hour of the night. Since the event ends at 2 a.m., most frogs start getting tired and exit the park around 1 a.m. On every visit this year, we've seen consistently the lowest wait times just before the gates close. On opening night this year, only two houses continued to have a posted wait time of over an hour in the last hour of the event.
  • Ride attractions early. Yes, a select few attractions are open during Halloween Horror Nights! However, only three attractions stay open past midnight. If you want to get on a ride, be sure to hop on it earlier in the night.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Nightmare Fuel

  • Watch the show if you need a break. Need to give your webbed feet a rest ... or maybe even your lungs a break from all that screaming? Hop by the former Fear Factor Live stage to witness the spooktacular stunt show, Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios - Tribute Store

  • Skip the Tribute Store. While the Tribute Store has four intricately decorated rooms and tons of epic HHN merchandise, hitting it up during the event is by no means a necessity — especially if you have general daytime theme park admission. The Tribute Store is open during normal park hours, as is Five & Dime (also in Universal Studios) and the All Hallows Eve Boutique in Universal's Islands of Adventure. You can find event merch in all three of these stores, as well as the Universal Studios Store and various kiosks around Universal CityWalk which you can stop by on your way back to your car at the end of the night.

Have you been to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida before? What are your favorite time-saving tips? Share with us in the comments below.

Related: A Scaredy-Frog's Guide to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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351–400 of 786 comments
Sep 6, 2023 at 3:23 a.m. Miranda Says...

I love that there are tips for both having and not having express pass!

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Sep 6, 2023 at 3:16 a.m. dannyg Says...

like the tip to skip the tribute store

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Sep 6, 2023 at 2:50 a.m. Deb L Says...

Spooktacular stunt show sound goods to me.

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Sep 6, 2023 at 2:47 a.m. Becky Hirschi Says...

Love all the tips and tricks to help maximize our time around the park. For someone that’s never been, I want to know how to take it all in!!

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Sep 6, 2023 at 2:25 a.m. Brittany G Says...

thanks for sharing!

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Sep 6, 2023 at 2:18 a.m. Marie Says...

I don't think my heart could take HHN

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Sep 6, 2023 at 1:59 a.m. Ashley D. Says...

I like how you included options for both express and not express

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Sep 7, 2023 at 10:10 p.m. Barbara Anne Drabek Says...

Love the park, we saw everything in one night last year. We were familiar after being there a couple of days during the day. The food is great, the rides are fun, houses are scarier and the show is great as well as the scare zones. Each time the themes are different.

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Sep 6, 2023 at 1:55 a.m. JoAnna B. Says...

Awesome tips! Have loved following your Instagram during party nights!

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Sep 6, 2023 at 1:43 a.m. Allison e Says...

Awesome!

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Sep 6, 2023 at 1:43 a.m. Allison E Says...

Awesome!

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Sep 6, 2023 at 1:11 a.m. Steven Says...

I've never been to Halloween Horror Nights and would love to go!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 11:12 p.m. jlrii Says...

Love the rides, love the place!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 10:26 p.m. Janine25 Says...

Great tips

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Sep 5, 2023 at 9:45 p.m. Kaypee Pratt Says...

Great tips! I’ve never been to a show at HHN, but this year’s looks fantastic

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Sep 5, 2023 at 9:39 p.m. Melissa Larsen Says...

If I were going an express pass would be a must to be able to do everything I'd want to do.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 9:37 p.m. samdoeesq Says...

I'm still thinking about that special corndog, honestly.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 8:25 p.m. Nicole Piccione Says...

Love that they honor fast pass

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Sep 5, 2023 at 8:22 p.m. India Says...

very helpful

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Sep 5, 2023 at 8:08 p.m. ellory Says...

Great help for early entry

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Sep 5, 2023 at 8:03 p.m. Allie Falvey Says...

this is great, so helpful!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 8 p.m. Sara Aras Says...

Interesting

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Sep 5, 2023 at 7:28 p.m. Lorilu717 Says...

Early AND Express is on my list. Thanks!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 6:58 p.m. honore Says...

hope i get to visit!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 6:41 p.m. Karen Says...

So helpful!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 6:39 p.m. Chelsey P Says...

Eating early is a great concept, but my kids eat constantly

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Sep 5, 2023 at 6:29 p.m. Nikki B Says...

This looks so exciting!!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 6:26 p.m. Miranda Huntsman Says...

What helpful advice to eat early! I think that’s where things can go wrong is in the excitement of all these activities, remembering to eat before the crowds and lines pickup as the night goes on. Thank you!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 6:19 p.m. Renee Bates Says...

Thank you for all of these tips and tricks. I will definitely be saving and using these on our trip to Orlando the spooky season, if we are very lucky to go. :)

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Sep 5, 2023 at 5:54 p.m. Lori hoelscher Says...

Always such great information

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Sep 5, 2023 at 5:31 p.m. Raul R. Says...

Awesome!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 5:11 p.m. Patricia Mormile Says...

Thank you for the suggestions! Very helpful.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 5:02 p.m. lctheo3 Says...

Maybe next year - all about food for me!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 4:54 p.m. Vanessa Guzman Says...

Am I the only who just wants to ride the rides and could care less about the haunted houses?!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 4:45 p.m. Minagarie Says...

I'll have to share this with my daughter she'd love to go to this too.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 4:37 p.m. pbain1977 Says...

Always great tips from you guys (and gals)! Some day I might make it for this. I looks fun, but super creepy too.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 2:52 p.m. katiemyfriend Says...

One day i'll go to horror nights. If i'm brave enough. haha!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 2:34 p.m. Ryan Says...

Great tips!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 2:16 p.m. Tateyana W Says...

Love Love Love!!!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 2:13 p.m. Garrett Says...

I've never been to Universal for Halloween.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 1:10 p.m. Kristyn Says...

Looks super fun!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 12:44 p.m. Poollady Says...

I love theme park vacations but always feel like I need another vacation after. Lol

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Sep 5, 2023 at 12:42 p.m. Janah Says...

Spooky Fun for next year!!!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 12:18 p.m. Stephanie Says...

Looks spooktacular!!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 12:18 p.m. Daisygrape Says...

Maybe next year...??

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Sep 5, 2023 at 12:07 p.m. LisaP Says...

Hoping using Early Entry and Express works for me, only 1 night to see it all!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 9:25 a.m. Lorie Resnick Says...

Another reason to splurge and stay on resort:)

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Sep 5, 2023 at 7:18 a.m. Hilda Says...

Good to know!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 5:18 a.m. Kaci Says...

It’s been too long since I was able to go to Halloween Horror Nights. Would love to go this year.

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Sep 5, 2023 at 5:18 a.m. AJ Says...

Sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing such great info!

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Sep 5, 2023 at 4:41 a.m. R.Miller Says...

Thanks for the info!

Reply
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