There is nothing I love more than Halloween, unless it’s Halloween plus my favorite Florida theme park. For 2009, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights will have 8 haunted houses, 6 “scare zones”, and 2 new live shows. The park does a great job of reworking these shows every year, so you could make it an annual event and never see the same thing twice. Universal’s hanuted houses are scary too, and are not for kids or faint-hearted adults.
The theme for 2009 at Universal is “Ripped from the Silver Screen” with haunted houses and events focused on your favorite horror movies. You’ll see scenes from classics like Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein, plus new favorites like Saw, Child’s Play and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures (who knows where that one came from!). Most of your favorite rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure will also be open, so take a break from all the horror by hitting up the new Simpsons ride or the classic arcade-style Men in Black.
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights are open on the following dates for 2009:
October 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 21-25, 28-31
Most nights the park is open from 6:30 pm to 2 am, though it closes at midnight on Sundays. While this is one of the best Halloween attractions in the country, it’s also one of the most crowded, so it helps to know how to beat the crowds.
Luckily, Universal has plenty of optionsto allow you to by-pass the lines, which can be more than two hours long for the best of the haunted houses.
The best way to beat the crowds is to come on a rainy day. Most attractions are inside anyway, and the park is open rain or shine. Plus, it’s Halloween, so all that rain and gloom just adds to the spooky atmosphere. It’s still in the mid 90′s in Orlando at this time of year, so you won’t even be cold.
If you want to come when it’s not raining, come early and buy your tickets ahead of time. Head straight for the most popular haunted houses while the lines are short, then hit the shows and lesser attractions while the crowds start to build.
Another option is to splurge on a Universal Express Pass or VIP Tour. Passes range from $40 to $75 depending on the night, and tours start at around $150 per person. Both allow you to head to the front of the lines and start having fun.
Finally, all guests at Universal Orlando hotels get free Express Passes automatically, so it may be worth staying on site to enjoy this privalege. Try booking one of the hotel’s package deals, which include tickets and accomodations at a discounted price.