“We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.”– Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters (1984)
That’s the best quote for how I felt after conquering Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights twice this season! I can’t believe the “Halloween on steroids” event has been around for 29 years. No other Halloween themed event compares. And there’s plenty of fun food, drinks, incredible haunted houses, scare actors, shows and more to keep you busy.
Read on for my Must Eat, Must Drink, Must See and Must Do. Plus, there’s one thing you must not do! The pro tip at the end will tell you how to avoid the biggest no no of #HHN29.
If you’re a Halloween / Horror Movie fan of monsters and gore, you’ll love it. If you’re more of a light horror fan of Stranger Things and admirer of great sets, drama and make up, you’ll love it too. If you’re not a fan of being startled and spooked, best bet is to stay home.
What is Halloween Horror Nights?
Halloween Horror Nights 2019 is the ultimate Halloween experience where some of the biggest names in pop culture, crazed cult favorites and original abominations take over Universal Studios Florida, as the sun sets on days filled with thrills and the night awakens with a frightening chill.
Guests face 10 elaborately-themed haunted houses, five scare zones filled with menacing scareactors, and live entertainment – including an all-new nighttime lagoon show, “Halloween Marathon of Mayhem.” And when you need a break from the screams, enjoy Universal Studios’ most exhilarating attractions.
Must Eat at #HHN29
Stranger Things fans out there? There are many, if all the themed t-shirts around the park and the incredibly long line for the haunted house are any indication. Visit The Starcourt Mall “Food Court”, located across from Monsters Cafe to satisfy your hunger before the screams.
This area is more like food tents at a carnival than a court, but suspend reality and go with it. The food was quite good.
Ole Amigo Nachos with Queso Fundido offered a generous portion enough to share. Topped with queso with sausage, tomatoes, fresh jalapenos and cilantro. It was a solid choice! Fresh, flavorful and nothing like what you get at the mall with that fake orange cheese. The Grilled Street Corn also looked good but we wanted a filling bang for our buck.
In the mood for a sandwich, Hawkins Heroes featured a turkey roast beef deli sandwich as well as an all veggie hero.
It’s nice to see Universal Orlando have veggie options available.
Merrill’s Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts, also found at the Stranger Things Starcourt Mall Food Court, were frighteningly delicious. There are eleven fresh made to order pumpkin spice mini doughnuts per order. Get it, eleven?
Topped with a green glaze slime over “dirt” (Oreo cookie crumbles) as reminder of the rotten pumpkins in Merril’s Farm from season two. Gross! But Tasty!
The only thing rotten was when they all vanished. Perfect portion size to share with a few friends.
They even have chocolate covered bacon!
One of my Must Eat favorites from 2018, Pizza Fries are back! You can find them in the Kid’s Zone Pizza Company. Who can say no to french fries topped with marinara, mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni? Not me.
Must Drink at #HHN29
There are plenty of bars around the park to quench your thirst. Specialty themed cocktails can be found in dedicated tents. Keep in mind each cocktail has its own tent as you walk around.
Most specialty cocktails are very sweet. My top choice was The Saturn. A gin-based specialty cocktail with passion fruit, velvet falernum, sour mix and walnut liquor. Just the right balance of sweet and sour, and easy to drink. Found at the bar next to Monsters Cafe.
You can get your cocktails in a collectible glass and refills are available at a reduced price.
Or you can just get your cocktails in a regular plastic cup. Your call.
Must See at #HHN29
Academy of Villains Altered States Show is not to be missed. Absolutely incredible dancing from this talented group which competed in America’s Got Talent. It’s a brand new show this year, and much more disturbing in the best way, most scary way possible. Plan your night around show times and get there early for seats.
Must Do Haunted Houses at #HHN29
There are 10 houses. You may or may not be able to see them all. I got to see 7 out of 10. Everyone has favorites based on their level of tolerance for scares and gore.
For nostalgia: Don’t miss Ghostbusters. Every major scene from the original 1984 movie was depicted including the slimy green goblin! Plenty of Dana and Zuul. Plus, the appearance of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man even came with the smell of toasted marshmallows. Overall, not a scary house. Perfect for those who want horror light.
For TV Fans: Stranger Things is a must do for anyone who watches the Netflix hit. The level of detail is incredible. It is a different house from 2018 as it incorporates scenes from season 3 Starcourt Mall and others. It’s like stepping into Hawkins Indiana and the Upside Down. The actors resembling show characters are uncanny. I did not find this house scary. Those who have not seen the show may not get it.
For Old School Scares: Universal Monsters features lots of screams! Cool throwback to Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, Bride of Frankenstein and more. One of my favorites this year.
For The Biggest Scares: Graveyard Games and House of 1,000 Corpses. Scream after scream at every turn in both these houses. Probably the most popular aside from the film/TV houses.
For Gory Scenes: Nightingale Blood Pit. Ugh! Even the smell was gross. But I know many like that sort of thing.
For One of The Most Scary Scenes: US. Jordan Peele’s movie comes to life literally. It’s a bit unsettling and one scene in particular was truly the stuff of nightmares. Hide those scissors.
Didn’t make it to Killer Klowns From Outer Space but heard it was fun and Yeti Terror of The Yukon is the best to get out of the heat.
Must Do Scare Zones at #HHN29
Walking through the Scare Zones is practically unavoidable as you make your way around Universal Studios. I found this year to be much more toned down in the scare factor. Not all scare actors popped up at you. But those that did got their share of screams.
You’ll enter the Anarch-cade first if you head straight in from the entrance. Arcade games, chainsaws and few surprises. But it’s a very different experience if you enter while it’s daylight vs. nighttime.
Zombieland Double Tap “Beware of the Bathrooms” area is the the place to be for the most laughs at others expense. If you like potty humor, you’ll love this area even more. Pun intended.
The zombies in this area were actually quite funny to watch. And they definitely got in your space. Beware if you want to get a photo!
Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe felt like stepping into a rock video. Not many scares in this zone. But a hell of a good time!
The Vikings Undead Zone was by far the scariest. Maybe it’s the confined dark spooky corridor going through the tall trees. Maybe it’s the scare actors that come out of nowhere.
Vanity Ball had the best scare actors makeup! This area was a definite not so subtle PSA against the dangers of plastic surgery.
The ONE Thing You MUST NOT DO at #HHN29!
Don’t Stand in long lines!
Here’s my pro tip: Get an Express Pass and skip the super long lines.
The difference in wait time for most haunted houses was average 10 minute wait with an express pass vs. 45-60 minutes without a pass. That is the difference between seeing a few houses vs all the houses.
If you have $300 burning a hole in your pocket, spring for the RIP Tour. You get escorted by a guide into each house as well as a few other perks. I don’t think it’s worth it but I saw plenty who did.
Pro Foodie Tip for Universal Studios Orlando
Here’s another tip: if you’re starving and want to sit down with good grub, well above traditional theme park fare, check out The Today Cafe. You’ll find wine and cheese platters, fantastic pastries and coffee, salads and hot sandwiches made to order. If you want a proper cocktail rather than the standard themed cocktails, head over to Finnegan’s Bar & Grill.
Check out my Stories for more HHN Fun!
If you went already, I would love to hear about your favorites.
Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights from now until November 2 and begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights and to purchase tickets, click here.
Disclosure: I was an invited media guest of Universal Studios for promotional purposes during one of my visits. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!