Welcome to the nation’s premier Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights 2014 at Universal Studios Florida!
On June 9, the producers of Halloween Horror Nights sent out their first press release announcing the return of The Walking Dead as Orlando’s largest haunted house in the event’s history:
After rave reviews from fans on both coasts, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood are bringing back AMC’s “The Walking Dead” to Halloween Horror Nights for an unprecedented third consecutive year. Horror-hungry fans will experience all-new terrifying mazes inspired by Season 4 of the critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning television series.
This year’s bone-chilling mazes will place guests at the heart of a harrowing journey to seek sanctuary at Terminus, an elusive destination that promises community for all. Mirroring the terror that befell the residents of the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by savage walkers, the experience will send guests fleeing from the fallen prison into unknown territory as they once again stage a desperate battle for survival against flesh-eating walkers and ruthless humans.
You may have mixed feelings about The Walking Dead coming back to HHN – we do too. However, you might feel better when you know that HHN has confirmed it will only be a house, it will not takeover the entire street experience like last year.
In an equally unprecedented move, as of June 9, HHN has released all ticketing and Express Pass info for this year’s event. That wasn’t done in its entirety until the end of summer last year (and in previous years). The only HHN feature not yet published are details for the tours.
And it’s going to be a busy summer…
With the opening of Diagon Alley, very literally the biggest theme park development in the world, we here at Orlando Informer are going to be pretty busy for the first half of the summer. This means we may not get a chance to update our HHN 2014 guide with every single small development in July and August. However, do know that when we get closer to HHN 2014, we will provide our readers with intense coverage of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.
By September, our guide will include these pages:
- Admission guide: Tickets, Express Passes & Tours
- How to get HHN early admission
- HHN 2014 touring plan
- Our very best HHN tips, tricks & secrets
- Photos & video from HHN 2014
- This year’s haunted houses (mazes)
- Real guest reviews of HHN 2014
Bottom line is, if you’re planning to attend Halloween Horror Nights 2014, this is the page to bookmark.
What are the dates for HHN 2014?
Halloween Horror Nights 2014 will run from September 19 through November 1 on these select nights:
September 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 & 28
October 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30 & 31
In a nutshell, HHN runs Thursdays through Sundays in mid-September and into October. Then the event runs Wednesdays through Sundays for the last three weeks leading up to Halloween. We’ve listed the specific dates above – however, the list can be confusing, so feel free to view the events dates on our free 12-month Universal Orlando crowd calendar (that link will open in a new window for your convenience).
Will Diagon Alley be open during HHN 2014 event nights?
We now have an official statement regarding this, and, unfortunately, the answer is no. Please keep in mind, this means Diagon Alley (and the Hogwarts Express) will not be open during the actual HHN events at night; the new area will be open as usual during regular daytime park hours through September, October, and beyond.
Do I really need to buy my tickets now?
If you’re interested in purchasing season passes with HHN Express Pass access or standalone HHN Express Passes, yes, we recommend that you purchase those as soon as you are certain you want them. We don’t feel that there’s a chance those options will sell out before we get to September, but if you know for certain you want one, you might as well purchase them to be safe.
If you’re interested in getting general admission, there’s no rush at all. You can purchase them now if you’d like, but if you’re uncertain at all about what you might want or when you may visit, you can wait. Over the last few years, single-night general admission tickets only “sold out” the night of the actual event – never weeks or months in advance.
So are you saying HHN is not included with regular daytime admission?
Correct. Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event, sometimes referred to as a hard ticket event. This means, one way or another, you have to pay for separate admission to Halloween Horror Nights. There are many discounts, season passes, special tours, etc., which we will fully explain when all the details are announced. But at the outset, please know that HHN is not included with regular daytime admission to Universal’s theme parks like some of the resorts other popular annual events, like Mardi Gras and their holiday festivities.
If you’d like to see all our ticket-buying advice from last year, almost all of which will apply to this year, you can check out our archived HHN 2013 admission guide (the link will open in a new window).
One more extremely important note: the unlimited Express Pass benefit included with stays at Universal’s deluxe hotels does not cover Halloween Horror Nights. If you want Express for the event, you need to pay separately for an HHN Express Pass or an HHN season pass that includes Express. There are more details in our archived HHN 2013 admission guide.
So that’s it for 2014 coverage for now. Here’s one more pitch to join us in the OI Forums, then everything else below this point will be based on 2013 and previous years (which we provide to give you an idea of what to expect)…
Halloween Horror Nights 2013 – overview & explanation
Think you have what it takes to survive the biggest names in horror, from AMC’s The Walking Dead to The Cabin in the Woods to Evil Dead and more?
On select nights in September and October, your worst nightmares will take shape as Universal Studios Florida is transformed into the award-winning Halloween Horror Nights. See if you can keep your sanity as you experience terrifying haunted houses, electrifying scare zones, outrageous live shows, and other unspeakable thrills. There’s no better way to embrace the true spirit of Halloween than with the winner of Amusement Today’s “Best Halloween Event” Golden Ticket award.
HHN 2013 event dates & times
The official HHN 2013 dates are as follows:
Sept 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 & 29
Oct 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 & 31
Nov 1 & 2
You can also see these on our Universal Orlando crowd calendar (that link will open in a new window for your convenience).
Here is our projection for the busiest dates, also called peak nights:
Oct 5, 12, 18, 19, 20*, 25 & 26
These are marked on our Universal Orlando crowd calendar too!
*On October 20 HHN hosts Halloween Horror (K)nights for Universal of Central Florida students, who are able to purchase admission to USF ↦ HHN starting at 2:00pm for the discount price of $40. UCF is a huge school, and that’s a great price, so even though October 20 is a Sunday, we call it a HHN peak night for sure! By the way, if you’re a UCF student, tickets must be purchased in advance — you can learn more here.
6:30pm – 12:00am: Sept 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, Oct 3, 16, 23, 31, and Nov 1 & 2
6:30pm – 1:00am: Oct 6, 10, 13 & 17
6:30pm – 2:00am: Oct 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 & 27
*Please note that HHN closing times have been known to change once we get into October (opening time is always 6:30pm).
What is the HHN 2013 theme?
This is one of the most popular questions I get, so I’m going to answer it right away. In 2013 the theme for Halloween Horror Nights is officially “What Evil has taken root?” This plays into the branch-like artwork seen in the video below, and it also fits fairly well with most of the haunted houses this year.
However, the “unofficial” theme of HHN 2013 is really The Walking Dead.
If you watched the video above all the way through, then you’ve seen that the hit AMC TV show has taken over this year’s HHN street experience, making the show’s zombies, or walkers, the most common HHN prop/character/feature at Halloween Horror Nights 2013. Here’s another look…
Add to this the return of another Walking Dead haunted house (more on this in a moment), and you’ve got the real Halloween Horror Nights 2013 theme.
HHN 2013 haunted houses
Although there are shows, street scenes, and plenty of terrifying activities as part of Halloween Horror Nights, the haunted houses are the primary attractions for the event.
HHN haunted houses are best described as “movie set quality” recreations of fantastic and fearsome locations. Sometimes referred as mazes, each haunted house is indoors, usually set up in the unused queue area of a daytime attraction or one of the Universal soundstages. These haunted houses rely on every effect you can imagine to scare the pants off you, including hideous creatures, blood-curdling sound effects, loud music, tight passage ways, strobe lights, air bursts, 3D, mirror effects, and of course very elaborate — and in many cases very gruesome — props and set decoration.
While traditionally most haunted house themes have been original creations, more recently Universal has started to base houses on third-party licenses, like AMC’s The Walking Dead and Silent Hill. It looks like the trend is here to stay as check out this year’s offerings…
The Cabin in the Woods – Universal’s Entertainment team is partnering with LIONSGATE and film director and co-writer Drew Goddard to deliver a movie-quality haunted house experience that’s authentic to the film and places guests in the middle of an ancient fight for survival.
Evil Dead – Halloween Horror Nights will conjure unrelenting evil in a elaborately themed haunted maze based on this year’s box office hit, “Evil Dead.” Universal is joining forces with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to deliver an authentic experience that will immerse horror fans in the blockbuster remake of the cult classic.
The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven – Fans will have a chance to walk in the footsteps of human survivors as Universal debuts an all-new terrifying maze inspired by Season 3 of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning television series.
Urban Legends: La Llorona – Guests will come face to face with the 500-year old legend that has haunted millions of people in Latin America for generations, as the popular Mexican legend La Llorona comes to life.
Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance – Witness the brutal vengeance of his victims as they turn his afterlife into an inescapable hell… This fall, 2000 volts of electricity are going to send serial killer, Bobby “The Blade” Galleta into a horrific realm of suffering in this new, original 3D haunted house.
Havoc 2: Derailed – The train convoy has derailed and the bloodthirsty maniacs are loose. Escaping them this time will be a hard feat… the “Dogs of War” return to HHN 23 in this sequel house, Havoc 2: Derailed.
An American Werewolf in London – As the full moon rises, you will learn to fear the beast. Based on the John Landis horror classic, An American Werewolf in London, you’ll come face-to-face with the bloody chaos of werewolf attacks in this horrifying house.
Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City – Based on the second and third video games (not the movies), this house brings Raccoon City back from the dead with the series’ most recognizable locations and creatures — complete with a room that simulates hitting “pause” in the middle of the game.
HHN 2013 scare zones sponsored by The Walking Dead
Traditional scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights are essentially outdoor haunted houses set up in open areas around the Universal Studios Florida (for example, in the street area between Shrek 4-D and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem). The decorations and effects are usually not quite as elaborate as the haunted houses, but there are still many effects employed to get screams out of guests — and the “oversized” aspects of some scare zones, allowed by their position outdoors, often make them as entertaining as the average haunted house.
This year Universal announced: “For the first time ever we’re dedicating the entire HHN street experience to AMC’s The Walking Dead. Around every corner you will encounter iconic scenes from all three seasons of the show, while trying to avoid blood-thirsty walkers.”
The official HHN 2013 scare zones:
The Fall of Atlanta – The smell of death is in the air as you make your way past an iconic tank, sandbag barriers, and decayed rotting corpses on your journey through this decimated city. But be warned — the city’s not empty.
Woodlands – Tread carefully through these woods, as you never know who you might encounter. Lurking deep in the hidden depths are unforgettable scenes and characters from Seasons 1, 2 and 3.
Survivors Camp – There’s no one telling ghost stories at this derelict campsite, but there are plenty of undead. Will you dare to go closer to the eerily abandoned RV? Keep your wits about you or you might become a ghost story yourself.
The Farm – Something’s burning and it’s not a Sunday roast. Gasoline fumes ignite your senses as you encounter the smoldering remains of a singed country farm. See and smell the putrid barn, the red tractor, and more as you learn what’s causing that horrifying stench.
Clear – Turn around and live, proceed and face your fate. Stick together as you head down this street, because the spiked barriers are there for a reason. If you refuse to heed the spray-painted warnings, you’re in for a terrifying walk that will feel like an eternity.
HHN 2013 live stage shows
This year Universal is once again bringing back the perennial fan-favorite Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure:
Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted “Theordore” Logan return with an all-new, especially excellent Halloween adventure. Party on as those two most excellent dudes skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.
This show is similar in style to Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue — lampooning pop culture and so on and so forth — except it is written for more of an adult audience, it’s performed on the larger Fear Factor stage next to MEN IN BLACK, and photography is strictly prohibited. As expected, most guests reviews of 2013′s B&T stage show has been positive.
In addition to the two time travelers’ show, HHN guests can experience Universal’s tribute to Rocky Horror Picture Show, which has made a comeback after an absence of several years. As a live stage show, Rocky Horror is a perfect fit for Halloween Horror Nights, so it is no surprise that this revival has delighted fans. We don’t have any video from this year, but here’s a tasty clip we found on YouTube from the HHN 2007 production:
Rocky Horror Picture Show will be held on the smaller Beetlejuice stage and, like Bill & Ted’s, is a must-see if you have the time. Just keep in mind this show is very adult-oriented.
BONUS: Regular daytime attractions
During Halloween Horror Nights there are quite a few of the regular attractions running — and since they take a backseat to the HHN thrills and chills, they are often walk-ons. Here’s the official list for 2013:
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack
- Revenge of the Mummy
- The Simpsons Ride
- Kang & Kodos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- TRANSFORMERS The Ride – 3D
Please note that if you purchase an Express Pass for Halloween Horror Nights, it works on the rides in addition to the haunted houses.
Halloween Horror Nights park map
Here is the in-park map for Halloween Horror Nights 2013, showing the locations of each haunted house and the two stage shows. You can click the image to view it full-screen:
If viewing the map full-screen still doesn’t make it large enough to read it clearly, you have two other options. You can view/download our full resolution HHN 2013 map by right clicking here and selecting ‘Save Link As’, or you can view our HHN 2013 interactive map. (There’s actually more information on our interactive map because the “official” map displayed above doesn’t indicate where the Walking Dead scare zones are located.)
HHN 2013 Passholder Nights
Spend the day at the parks and then stay for the special Annual Passholder Nights at Universal Studios. Join your fellow HHN fans at Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. Passholders and one guest can enjoy:
- Early access through an exclusive entrance located at the front of Universal Studios Florida.
- Exclusive passholder early access to three designated haunted houses: The Walking Dead, La Llorona, and After Life: Death’s Vengeance 3D.
- Early access only for the first showing of Bill & Ted’s Halloween Adventure.
- Opportunity to purchase this year’s AP exclusive dog tag ($6.95, limited supply, can be purchased during HHN by presenting your annual pass at the main Universal store inside the USF turnstiles).
- Paid HHN 2013 admission still required.
2013 HHN Passholder Nights: September 20, 21, 27 & 28 (first two event weekends). RSVP required.
What Halloween Horror Nights is not
This event is not Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party set at Universal Orlando. There is no trick-or-treating, and there are no characters dressed up in cutsie outfits.
The single purpose of Halloween Horror Nights is to scare you. As such, Universal strongly advises that children under the age of 13 do not attend. I tell people that HHN is like a horror movie brought to life. If you like horror movies, you will love HHN. If you do not like horror movies, you will probably hate HHN. It’s that simple.
Just for clarification, the “children under the age of 13″ statement is a guideline, not a policy, so you can bring your kids to HHN and Universal will not ask for proof of age. However, be aware that if anyone in your party does not like the event and needs to leave early, Universal has the right not to refund used tickets or change the valid date. Since at least one adult will need to leave with an unhappy child, this could prove to be an expensive gamble. But again, no proof of age is needed just for admission.
Universal Orlando Halloween events for kids
The section above usually leads parents directly to this question: So what can I do with my kids during Halloween at Universal?
For better or for worse, Universal really puts all of their energy into Halloween Horror Nights. The “for worse” part means the resort won’t be organizing anything for kids this year. If you have young kids who want to celebrate the holiday, plan on taking them to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or SeaWorld’s Spooktacular. Personally, I recommend SeaWorld because their Halloween event is included with regular admission, and it’s a great event too.
Will my kids get scared visiting Universal during the day?
This is the other popular question asked by parents with young kids. Because many of the decorations for Halloween Horror Nights are elaborate and large, it is not possible for Universal to remove everything HHN-related during the regular daytime hours. This means, when touring Universal Studios Florida in September and October, you’ll occasionally come across stuff that looks like this:
The good news is that Universal doesn’t do a single thing during the day like they do during Halloween Horror Nights — not one scareactor, not one siren effect blaring, no sudden air bursts, nothing. So aside from the oversized props spaced out in a few spots around the park, there is absolutely nothing to fear visiting Universal Studios Florida during the day. Honestly, most of the HHN props look more silly than scary in the bright sunlight.
And remember, you’re at a working production studio after all, so just tell the kids that a movie with a pickup truck is being filmed at the USF entrance!
I wanna learn more about Halloween Horror Nights!
Not satisfied with an overview? While there just isn’t anymore 2014 information to share at this point, we do have an absolutely incredible archive of information, photos, and video from 2013 that you might enjoy looking through.
If you just want to get more of a “feel” for the event, check out our HHN 2013 video playlist on YouTube — you can experience the atmosphere of the event and see exactly what the scare zones looked like last year.
Then to learn more, you can visit our archived HHN 2013 guide. The very first page will look similar to this one, but use the navigation links at the top or bottom of that page to delve deeper and discover so, so much more.
Finally, if your HHN cravings still aren’t satisfied, you can view our HHN-related blog posts published on our site.
Thanks for using our Halloween Horror Nights 2014 guide!