Oh, Halloween! It’s that wonderful time of year again where visions of candy, costumes, and mischief spread throughout the area. Where kids and families walk around neighborhoods in hopes of filling sacks full of candy large enough to create stomach aches and last hopefully through the winter months. Just the thing dentist’s love.
However, there is also the other side of Halloween. The darker side. The side that most young ghouls dare not think about. The side that ripples your skin, twists your insides, and turns your blanket into a full suit of armor. This is the true meaning of Halloween and no one does it better than Universal Orlando Resorts Halloween Horror Nights.
This event is Orlando’s premier horror destination offering a plethora of haunted houses, scare zones, and access to attraction rides with lines under 20 minutes! AHHHHH! (Yes, you can actually ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts without waiting over an hour!) The event itself is always done to perfection. Upon entrance, you are greeted with the eerie sounds and dark atmosphere that starts to invoke the fight or flight aspect of everyone’s psyche.
Decorated from head to toe, the park is literally transformed and created into this bizarre evil vision of the Universal creative team’s mind. You will find many of the houses recreations of Universal’s movie projects like Saw, The Walking Dead, The Purge, and The Shining. There is also the more creatively inspired original creations that really open up your mind like Dead Waters, Scarecrow the Reaping, and the Hive. Each of these really showcase the level of creativity that Universal has as well as their ability to create new and inspiring ideas.
One thing to know about this event, is that it is POPULAR. Expect wait times of 45-90 minutes or more on most of the hauntedhouses. Getting to park as soon as the event opens ensures that you will be able to see a majority (3-4) of the houses. This can sometimes make planning your adventure more important that the actual experience. Universal does try to make it easier to get your blood boiling, by offering their RIP Tours which get you upfront access to ALL the houses plus the benefit of skipping the lines. This can be an expensive endeavor, but if you have a group of friends that are all horror thrill seekers, the benefit is unmatched. With guided tours, front of line access, and the feeling of a search party to navigate the night, you’re golden!
The first thing I always do when I arrive is head to the closest haunted house. I don’t usually care which one it is, I just want to get into the mood. After nearly escaping with my life in hand, I decided to traverse the area in hopes of keeping my nerves calm. Not happening! The areas between the houses are lined with amazing props, decorations, and of course chain saw wielding half pig men. Yup! Basically, anything you can think about from aliens to abominations, they are there. Ready to catch you at the most inappropriate time and scare you senseless. The mood is flawlessly done and really helps solidify the spirit of the holiday. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, you will be running. You will also find street performances, concert stages, and shows the help alleviate the mood and give you a moment to breathe.
Each house that you stumble upon is themed perfectly to capture the mood. While the major blockbuster movies and shows offer very little to the imagination in terms of originality, I want to point out the other created haunted houses are amazing. One of my favorite houses this year was Dead Waters. It was themed as a sunken and abandoned Louisiana bayou ship that had the scare factor perfectly done. There were even points that created the illusion of going up when walking down. Really something to behold.
After countless hours (six be exact) of screams, chills, and fright, the night was ending and all I could think about is how amazing this experience was. The sheer magnitude of engineering that goes into making this event the huge success it is every year is astounding. You feel like you are entering into a scary movie and leave running for the car. I left a happy living man (or screaming boy) and can’t wait to plan my return next year to survive again!
Rocco Arcuri | Marketing Coordinator