Now that Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 28 has officially opened, it is clear that Universal knows what scares you. But are you prepared?
The premiere Halloween event is back. Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 28 opened last night to huge crowds. This year’s incarnation isn’t just the longest event run; it also offers the most haunted houses (10), five scare zones, and an insanely scary good time. Are you ready for what scares you?
This year’s theme to the annual Halloween event has a definite ’80s vibe. That hair metal, punk rock, old-school aesthetic is all around the theme park. Who knew that the ’80s were now so nostalgic? Actually, it all makes the whole experience both fun and creepy, a fine balance that Universal strikes extremely well.
While this annual event is always a huge draw for both Halloween and theme park fans, this year’s event is bringing even larger crowds due to the Stranger Things haunted house. Even if you have never seen this Netflix show (truthfully, who hasn’t seen it?), this haunted house is a must visit.Today, Universal Studios reveals first look images from the “Stranger Things” haunted maze coming to Halloween Horror Nights 2018. photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort
The attention to detail in this haunted house is absolutely amazing. It feels as if you have walked into the show’s world. From the family room and its Christmas lights to walking into the Upside Down, you will experience the highlights of the first season. All the major characters make an appearance throughout the house.
While the waits for this haunted house might be quite long (I saw 120 minutes on opening night), it is definitely worth the experience. Truthfully, I would recommend visiting this haunted house at least twice to see all the little details. Sure, the Demogorgon will get you a few times, but Eleven can save you, right?
Although Stranger Things might be the big draw, the nine other haunted houses are quite entertaining. Having gone through all the haunted houses on opening night, I decided to rank them in order of my preference.
Before ranking these haunted houses, I will be honest. It could be difficult to experience all the haunted houses, scare zones and performances in one night. Universal does offer an Express Pass and a RIP Tour which can make wait-times quicker. Even with Universal open till late (1 or 2 a.m. on some nights), it does take a smart plan to accomplish it all.
Also, anyone who visits Halloween Horror Nights needs to understand her scare comfort level. If you don’t like people sneaking up behind you, loud noises or the dark, this event might not be the best choice. While there are a few quieter areas, this event is meant to startle and scare.
Looking at the haunted houses, there are two types, original Universal content and intellectual property (IP) content. Stranger Things and Poltergeist are examples of IP content. These haunted houses are collaborations between the theme park and the original creator. The original content houses are from the twisted minds of Universal creatives. Sometimes the original content haunted houses are even creepier than the IP haunted houses.
After crossing off the Stranger Things haunted house, the next stop should be the Poltergeist house. Do you remember the story about the family who lives in the house over a graveyard? In this haunted house, you are called to go into the light. All the classic scenes are included. There is one section that is totally creepy. I don’t want to give away all the scares, but this one will definitely leave an impression.The world’s premier Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights, is now open at Universal Orlando Resort – with more haunted houses and scares than ever before. photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort
Halloween isn’t complete without a visit from Michael Myers. In the Halloween 4 haunted house, Michael Myers is everywhere. Around every turn and behind every door, various incarnations of this classic character is lurking. If you make it out of this house without jumping, consider yourself extremely lucky.
My top choice for an original concept house is split between two. First, Slaughtered Sinema is fun. While it might not be the scariest house, it has so much to see. With frights based on ’80s B-movies, there are so many references in this house that will have you wanting to stop and stare. Don’t miss the Critters scene in this house (it’s a great flashback).
While I chuckled through my screams in Slaughtered Sinema, the ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After was quite impressive. All those fairy tales have gone to the dark side. With the Wicked Witch casting her evil spell on everyone as they walk in, this fairy tale is more Grimm than happily ever after.The world’s premier Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights, is now open at Universal Orlando Resort – with more haunted houses and scares than ever before. photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort
My other top choices for must see houses are Trick ‘r Treat, Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces, and Seeds of Extinction. If you don’t like complete darkness and heavy strobe lights, I would suggest skipping Dead Exposure: Patient Zero. That one house had me completely turned around and confused.
Of course, the haunted houses aren’t the only frightening parts of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 28. The scare zones are wickedly fun. This year, there are five scare zones. From the moment that you enter the theme park, you encounter some creepy, eerie characters.The world’s premier Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights, is now open at Universal Orlando Resort – with more haunted houses and scares than ever before. photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort
Most of the scare zones are more fun than intensively scary. The creatures from the Harvest are intriguing, the Killer Klowns are creepy but totally captivating, and vampires in Vamp 85 are campy disturbing fun. The Chucky scare zone is quite entertaining with Chucky’s irreverent humor.
Twisted Tradition is a visually stunning scare zone. The trees filled with jack-o-lanterns are mesmerizing. Those sites make you unaware of the creepy creatures stalking around you.
Lastly, the chainsaw wielding scare actors are back. These people are definitely out to get people screaming and running. They are some of the sneakiest scare actors in the park. Definitely walk with a purpose and keep your guard up.
This year the Academy of Villains: Cyberpunk has a huge production in the Fear Factor space. While some people might miss Bill and Ted, this performance is quite impressive. If you are on the fence about watching the show, I would highly suggest stopping for a performance. It is interactive, entertaining and a great opportunity to enjoy a beverage and sit for a bit.
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 28 also incorporates Stranger Things themed food, Halloween inspired beverages, and the favorite Pizza Fries. The event tries to make the whole experience as immersive as possible.
This annual Halloween event at Universal Studios Florida is a separately ticketed event. It runs now through Nov. 3 on select nights.
Do you know what scares you? Just remember the rules of Halloween, and you can emerge unscathed. But, if you don’t, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 28 might keep haunting your dreams.