If you saw my post about Halloween Horror Nights last year, you’ll know that Erica and I absolutely loved it. If you don’t know much about the event, the easiest way to describe it is that the entire Universal Studios site is transformed into a living horror film, with five different scare zones: themed areas populated by roaming hordes of terrifying characters (or scareactors), as well as live shows and – the main event: nine mazes – incredibly detailed themed haunted houses filled with terrifying live scenes and actors, based on some of the most famous and blood-curdling horror films in history. Read on, to find out more about Halloween Horror Nights 27.
This year’s Halloween Horror Nights will span 34 nights, the longest set of dates so far – from September 15th to November 4th 2017 – and we were lucky enough to be invited to the Soho Hotel in London to hear all about the plans for this year’s event: the ‘festival of the deadliest’ – the greatest Halloween party in history.
So what do visitors have in store for them this year?
American Horror Story
If you’re a fan of this cult show, you’ll know that each season is different: this year, the maze will focus on three seasons: Asylum, where we’ll come face to face with some of Dr Arden’s horrific human ‘Rasper’ experiments and encounter the serial killer, Bloody Face; Coven, a New Orleans inspired, Salem witch story; and My Roanoke Nightmare, based on the horrific story of the Millers and their encounters with that horrendously terrifying Piggy Man. Ugh! The American Horror Story maze is huge, covering something like 12 – 13,000 square feet.
Presented in collaboration with the Kubrik estate, this maze looks like it’s going to be incredible. The maze will take us into the creepy Overlook Hotel, with ghosts and ghouls around every corner, and you bet we’ll all be looking out for the ‘here’s Johnny!’ moment too. Look away now if you’re easily scared!
There’s also another exciting new maze, the details of which haven’t been released yet, but I’ll tell you as soon as I’m allowed!
Frequently Asked Questions
After I posted about this on my Instagram, I got loads of messages asking questions about Halloween Horror Nights so I thought I’d answer the most frequently asked ones here:
- Do you need to buy a separate ticket? Yes you do – here in the UK, the best place to look to buy stand alone tickets is Attraction Tickets Direct. You can buy day/night combo tickets (from £110 per person), or if you fancy Volcano Bay as well, the Universal 3-Park Explorer with Halloween Horror Nights Combo Ticket is really good ( from £309 per person), and includes 14 days unlimited access to Universal Studios, islands of Adventure, the all new Volcano Bay and admission to all applicable Halloween Horror Nights within the two weeks. You can also buy ‘Frequent Fear Passes’ that enable you to attend multiple Halloween Horror Nights (from £104), which is a great option. You could risk buying on the door, but if it’s sold out, you’ll be out of luck and as always, it’s cheaper to book in advance. To book visit www.attraction-tickets-direct.
- Are there express tickets for Halloween Horror Nights? Yes, you can buy Express Passes at the gate or at your hotel – highly recommended if you’re going on a busy night. They’ll set you back anything from $80 to well over $100, depending on the date you go, but can cut your wait time in half.
- What are the best nights to go? As with any theme park event, avoid the weekends if you can – especially the October weekends nearest actual Halloween when you can queue for anything up to three hours to enter a maze.
- Can we take the kids? There are no actual age restrictions for HHN27, but obviously smaller kids are not going to enjoy these evenings. You’re going to have some pretty scary people running right up to you (they don’t actually touch you) and the haunted houses have been known to reduce some adults to gibbering wrecks, let alone kids! It’s a cult event, and obviously alcohol is being served, so as it gets later, you could potentially encounter some not-so-PG behaviour. However, it’s perfect for teens.
What else is going on at Universal Orlando
While I was at the opening of Pandora, Universal Orlando were busy with their own opening: their brand new water park, Volcano Bay. The 25 acre water park offers everything from the relaxation of a peaceful winding river, to proper thrills and spills in the form of multi-rider raft rides, body slides that drop into the volcano, and much more. The park is filled with all sorts of innovative tech, including the new TapuTapu wearable technology which includes:
- allowing guests to wait ‘virtually’ in line, while they can be off enjoying other parts of the park
- enabling guests to use the device as a mini wearable games controller, where guests can join in TapTu Play experiences, like shooting water cannons throughout the park
- eliminating the need for money in the resort by providing TapTu Pay: guests can make purchases throughout the entire park with their TapuTapu wearable
- using the TapTu Snap/My Universal Photo Access facility to link photos taken around the park to their account and then view, share and purchase them later.
- locker access with no key to lose
There’s also a new hotel, the tech savvy Aventura Hotel, due to open in August next year, and the new Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon ride is up and running now too, taking guests on an adrenaline-fuelled race through the Big Apple against Jimmy Fallon himself. The ride also features the brand new ‘virtual line’ system, allowing guests to bag their place in the line while heading off to enjoy other attraction while they wait.
I’m SO excited about Christmas at Universal Orlando this year. There’s a brand new holiday parade, with all-new balloons featuring audio and lighting, all made in conjunction with Macy’s and featuring the Minions, Shrek and Madagascar. There’s also a gorgeous new ‘overlay’ to the Harry Potter areas: Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and London, featuring new decor, food, drink and entertainment, plus a fabulous, state of the art projection show will transform Hogwart’s Castle. It sounds incredible (there’s a brilliant taster video just here) and kicks off on November 18th, lasting until 4th January 2018.
So that’s it. Prepared to be impressed/relaxed/exhilarated/delighted/terrified (delete as appropriate). Thanks to Universal Orlando Florida and to the lovely Michael Aiello.