We love hopping to the lands of wizards, superheroes and minions any time of the year, but there's just something special about the fall season. Whether it's the beautiful weather, the seasonal spirit in the air or all-new attractions, we have quite a few reasons why we enjoy visiting Universal Orlando Resort in the fall. Let's explore all of the fall fun in store this year, starting with the nation's premier Halloween event!
Our Favorite Reasons to Visit Universal Orlando This Fall
Spooky Seasonal Fun
Halloween Horror Nights is back and better than ever this year! For its 30th anniversary, Universal Studios Florida pulled out its greatest tricks and treats to deliver 10 terrifying houses, five frightening scare zones and two titillating shows. From HHN Icons: Captured — which celebrated every master of scare-emonies from Horror Nights' past — to Beetlejuice — which paid touching tribute to Universal's resident "ghost host" — there wasn't a single haunted house that didn't have our frog legs hopping several inches off the ground. However, with its two pitch-black hallways, some crazily creepy effects and a Tall Man Ghost that is still haunting our nightmares, we have to say The Haunting of Hill House was easily our favorite house of the night. The two shows this year, Marathon of Mayhem: Carnage Factory and Halloween Nightmare Fuel, are also incredibly entertaining and a great opportunity to slow down and catch your breath in-between scares. (Not to mention they both feature an epic metal soundtrack!) The event runs until Oct. 31 so there's still plenty of time to get in on the terror!
Save some green on a single-night ticket when you purchase through us and read up on all the event has to offer over on our ghastly guide to Halloween Horror Nights. If you're not a huge horror fan and are just looking to test the waters — er, fog — before conquering all the event has to offer, be sure check out our Scaredy-Frog's Guide to Halloween Horror Nights Orlando to see how you can enjoy all the treats without any — er, most — of the tricks.
The fearful fun doesn't stop at Universal Studios, though! If you're staying on-site at a Universal Orlando hotel, be sure to head on over to Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort to experience the brand new Jack'd Up Experience and get inducted as an honorary "Maniac". Fright-filled photo opportunities await in this hall of horrors until Oct. 31.
Over at Universal's Islands of Adventure, once the sun goes down, fog and green light fill the air as Death Eaters infiltrate the streets of Hogsmeade. If you're not ready to come face-to-face with Jack and all his fiendish friends over at Halloween Horror Nights, this is a good starter scare zone to test your (spell) limits. (Young wizards are even encouraged to "duel" with the Death Eaters. Tad was more than ready to take on the challenge!) If you're lucky, you might even catch some magical effects when you least expect it!
However, that's not all Hogsmeade has to offer. Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle has made its ominous return this year! Watch in awe as Lord Voldemort summons Dementors, Inferi and other unspeakable creatures to storm the halls of the castle in this sinister projection show featuring lights, music and fireworks. The eight minute-long show runs nightly once the sun goes down and repeats approximately every 20 minutes until the park closes.
Back for another year is the Scarecrow Stalk scavenger hunt, which is also available until Oct. 31 throughout Universal Orlando Resort. Purchase a map (which comes wrapped up with a milk chocolate bar!) and a bag for $10 total at any of the 14 participating locations across Universal's Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida and Universal's CityWalk. At each location, you'll find a uniquely themed scarecrow that fits right in with the theming of each store. (Our favorites were the scarecrows modeled after Poseidon's Fury's Tour Guide Taylor at Treasures of Poseidon in The Lost Continent and Jurassic Park's Dr. Ian Malcolm at Dinostore in Jurassic Park.) Find a team member and whip out your map. They'll stamp the respective location and fill your bag up with candy. This is a great way for the tadpoles to get in some trick-or-treating during your vacation!
From exploring the Tribute Store and brand new All Hallows Eve Boutique (if you dare) for HHN merch and event easter eggs from years past, to braving some of the creepiest coasters and their queues (looking at you, Mummy and Skull Island: Reign of Kong!), there's no shortage of adrenaline-pumping experiences at Universal. You can also get some laughs in at Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show. Even better, themed treats and eats can still be found all around the park!
Scrumptious Seasonal Sweets and Treats
Two words: HOT BUTTERBEER. As of May 2021, Universal Orlando made this once-seasonal drink a year-round treat. However, there's truly no better time to enjoy this toasty beverage than when the temperatures start dropping. You can find this Hogwarts favorite at select food and beverage locations in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
While Horror Nights favorites like Pizza Fries and Twisted Taters are only available after hours during the event itself, you can still find lots of festive food in the theme parks and Universal CityWalk throughout the fall and into the holiday season. Voodoo Doughnut usually makes specialty treats for the Halloween and Christmas seasons. We've already spotted a Pumpkin Spice doughnut, a Vampire doughnut and a Bride of Frankenstein-inspired doughnut! There's also HHN food trucks currently parked around Universal Studios Florida serving up chicken tenders and arepas. Islands of Adventure is even getting in on the fall fun with menu offerings like the savory Pumpkin Hummus at Confisco Grille.
If you're looking for some liquid courage, head over to Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The hotel's Swizzle Lounge lobby bar has transformed into the "Horror Icons Bar" and features specialty beverages and snacks inspired by the event's most infamous icons, as well as props and costumes that pay an eerie homage to HHN past.
Lastly, the Tribute Store sells some devilishly delicious desserts, including cupcakes, s'mores and cocoa bombs. We were especially delighted to see the Beating Heart Gummy again alongside a new addition — the Light Up Brain Gummy! If you're looking for something heavy on the chocolate but light on the frosting, we highly recommend the Vegan Skull Brownie.
Lower Crowd Levels
Harry Potter headed back to Hogwarts on Sept. 1, just like many other tadpoles in the muggle world who had to hop back to school by the time Labor Day weekend was over. Because school is newly in session, generally there are fewer frog families planning trips to Universal Orlando in September. Not to say there aren’t any crowds, but they are usually lower this month. For that reason, September is generally one of the best times to visit Universal Orlando! Crowds should even be fairly level through the rest of October and November, with the exception of Thanksgiving week.
Toadally Awesome Hotel and Ticket Deals
Be on the lookout for amazing rates at the Universal Orlando hotels. Help your wallet out even more by booking through your favorite frogs! Whether you’re sticking to a budget or wanting to splurge, Universal Orlando has a variety of options, ranging from value to premier hotels.
Take advantage of the special perks you get when you stay on-site, such as Early Park Admission. If your frog squad is staying at a premier hotel, the entire party will be able to skip the lines with free Universal Express Unlimited passes at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Already thinking about making a reservation? Take the leap, and book your hotel stay for the fall!
What's more, Universal Orlando Resort is offering some toadally great ticket deals this fall (including some super savings on 4-Day and 5-Day Park-to-Park tickets when bundled with 4-Night OR 5-Night Hotel Accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Universal’s Aventura Hotel!). Be sure to check out all of the deals available now before they hop away!
When fall hits in Florida, there isn’t much of a significant change in temperature during the day compared to the summer months. It remains warm and toasty, so you can still wear a T-shirt and shorts and hop on those water rides! But once the sun sets, it cools down and you may actually need a light jacket or sweater. September can still have moments with inclement weather (be prepared with a poncho or an umbrella!), but the overall rainfall begins to decline this month, which makes it less humid too. It isn’t usually until November when the first cold front of the season passes through. Generally, you’ll get enjoyable weather if you visit Universal Orlando in fall!
Hoppy Holidays at Universal Orlando
Halloween transitions into Christmas faster than you can say, “Jack-o’-lanterns and jingle bells.” After Halloween, colorful garlands quickly replace the somber decorations from spooky season. The festivities of Holidays at Universal Orlando will run Nov. 13, 2021, to Jan. 2, 2022.
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter toadally gets you in the holiday spirit, as does Grinchmas in Seuss Landing! We can't wait for The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle and The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular to return to the parks. However, it's truly not the holidays without Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's and we are hoppy to report the larger-than-life balloons will be floating down the streets of Universal Studios Florida once again this year!
The holiday cheer even continues over at the on-site hotels. With Christmas Tree and Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremonies, Holiday Meal Specials, Strolling Carolers and so much more, there's no need to sacrifice partaking in any holiday traditions just because you're not at home.
If you've yet to race against the raptor pack, fall is the perfect time to hop onboard Universal Orlando's newest attraction, VelociCoaster. Feel the thrill of the chase on a coaster that features four inversions, two exhilarating launches, a one-of-a-kind 360-degree barrel roll right above the lagoon, an inverted zero-gravity stall that sends you upside down across 100 feet of track and a 155-foot tall “top hat” with a 140-foot drop at eighty degrees.
What do you like most about visiting Universal Orlando in the fall? If you're planning a fall trip this year, let us know in the comments and share this post with the rest of your frog squad!