If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen all of my Halloween Horror Nights stories. Adam and I love going to HHN and usually purchase the Rush of Fear pass so that we can go all throughout the event. Now, I’ll admit, I hadn’t gone to HHN until I met Adam (the first one I went to was the 25th anniversary event) and I didn’t ever want to go; however, I can’t imagine another fall without going. Beginning in June, I start to get excited for the event and, after having gone for a few years in a row, I feel as though I know all of the insider tips and tricks. So let’s get started with the essential Halloween Horror Nights guide.
INVEST IN AN EXPRESS PASS
The biggest tip that I can offer you is this: splurge on the express pass. The lines can be between 60 to 80 minutes per house. Although the event is either six- or seven-and-a-half hours (depending on the night, the park closes at either at one or two am), I can’t imagine that one could get through all the houses, scare zones, rides, and the show without the pass. It has been invaluable to both of us and, if friends come with us, the relief of not waiting in those long lines is evident.
TURN TO THE RIGHT
Right upon entering the park in Orlando, there’s a right turn that’ll take you through a scare zone and over to where the children’s area is. This is absolutely the best way to begin your haunted adventure. If you go straight, you’ll end up in the most crowded area. In the beginning of the night, everyone is here, cramming into the some of the main event houses (this year it’s Stranger Things). Even with an Express Pass, these lines are ridiculous first thing. Wait to do these houses last.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE WRISTBAND
There are lots of places where one can stop and grab a wristband; however, even though the wristband identifies someone that’s 21 or older, you still get carded at the bars. Therefore, I don’t think there’s a real reason to waste your time getting one.
GRAB A REGULAR MIXED DRINK NEAR JAWS
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of the HHN pre-mixed drinks. They’re too sweet for me, and I’d rather grab a beer or a Ketal and Sprite. Beginning last year, I couldn’t grab my favorite mixed drink at one of the many pop-up bars around the park. I could only go to the bar inside one of the restaurants (which was another line that I had to wait in) or the little bar near the Jaws area.
TAKE YOUR TIME
If you really want the full haunted house experience, walk slowly through the houses. If you rush behind the people in front of you, you won’t get the full effect – and you won’t be able to admire the beautiful sets. Some of the work that they do, with the physical space and then also the special effects (such as the animatronics, etc.) is amazing.
The set builders do such a great job with creating these little worlds that you can lose yourself in (as long as you don’t look straight up!). I’ve seen them grow in the short time that I’ve been going. The use of acrobatics and sound is amazing this year.
STOP AND ENJOY THE SCARE ZONES
I truly love the scare zones. These little spots are so fun, and I love walking slowly through these too.
You can even stop to take photos with the actors (although I don’t do this). It’s fun to interact with them when they’re in character, and I love witnessing the amount of time the team must have put in to the sets.
RIDE THE RIDES
Don’t forget to slip into Diagon Alley and ride Gringotts. This part of the park is relatively empty, meaning that you can grab those must-have Instagrammable photos. The line for the ride is super short too – and don’t forget about the other rides, including my personal favorite: The Mummy!
SEE THE SHOW
With the Express Pass, you can go through all ten houses, ride the rides, and see the show. If you have enough time, it’s worth it; however, I will always recommend that you spend your time at the houses. So, if you don’t have the ever-important Express Pass, download that Heads Up game that everyone’s playing in line and hang out.
GO WITH FRIENDS
While Adam and I have fun at Horror Nights on our own, because there aren’t a lot of stops to make decisions, it’s such a fun thing to do with friends. Our friends have joined us on the typical routine (go to the right) – in fact, one of them showed us this little trick (thanks Dane!) – and it helps to ensure that things aren’t complicated.
So, if you’re headed out to Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, check out this essential guide. Believe me, these things will totally help. If you’re not going to Horror Nights, what activities will you do to celebrate Halloween?