Halloween Horror Nights Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to See, and How to Save

Categories: Travel

All photos courtesy of Universal Orlando
Darkness creeps up on you while you're standing in the middle of a field, and all you can see is an old farmhouse and windmill. Is there enough time to make it there before they find you? Before you can turn to run, the walking dead are upon you, bloody-faced, dragging their limbs, and hungry for human flesh.

OK, maybe you won't get eaten by flesh-eating zombies, but you'll still get a heck of a fright from seeing professionally made-up undead actors coming toward you during this year's Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights 23.

Every year, tourists and horror enthusiasts rush to Orlando to experience one of the largest displays of terror. Beginning at 6:30 on select nights, Universal Studios transforms into one of the most haunted places in Florida, and this year, eight terrifying haunted houses have been crafted with your worst nightmares in mind.

Universal is a four-hour drive from Miami, but HHN has become an annual pilgrimage for South Floridians who love to be scared. We spoke with organizers to find out the best way to plan your trip: where to stay, what to do, and most important, how to save money.

Mike Aiello, creative director of Halloween Horror Nights 23, warns us that the streets are full of hungry walkers, and you don't want to miss "the interactions between our survivors and the walkers themselves; in certain moments they are literally attacked by the hordes, and some don't make it through the night."

An American Werewolf in London
Though Aiello cannot rank the eight houses from most to least frightening (that would be like choosing a favorite child), he does mention one house in particular was very rewarding to bring to life: "This year in particular was fulfilling given the fact that we were able to bring An American Werewolf in London to fruition; this has been a passion project for us for years." He adds how the haunted house has been quite successful and a crowd favorite.

First things first: You can't get in without tickets. But don't worry -- no scary prices here, just frighteningly good deals for Florida residents and those who purchase their tickets in advance online -- the early zombie gets the juiciest brain. A regular general admission ticket for the HHN festivities costs $91.99 for any day of the event; however, don't forget that being a Florida resident gets you these sweet deals:

Sundays-Thursdays: $42.99 Fridays: $53.99 Saturdays: $69.99

Aside from admission, Aiello highly recommends purchasing an Express Pass for the haunted houses. The lines border on ridiculous, so the best way to shorten your wait time is by purchasing an Express Pass. These puppies usually sell out pretty quickly, so be sure to check online before making any plans -- it could happen that your entire group of friends buys a pass and you're the lone wolf without one, and you don't want to be a lone wolf during Halloween Horror Nights.

Pricing for an Express Pass varies on select days:

Oct. 16, 31, & Nov. 1: $49.99
Oct. 10, 13, & Nov. 2: $69.99
Oct. 11, 17, 24, 27: $79.99
Oct. 18, 20, 25: $89.99
Oct. 12, 19, 26: $109.99

Certain Coca-Cola products or Burger King cups can save you up to 50% off tickets on select nights, too. And remember, Horror Nights requires a special ticket -- it is not included in a day park pass for Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, nor does an HHN ticket get you park access during the day. Express Passes are also a separate purchase. Check out more ticket options and pricing here.

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This article could have been a lot better without the obvious Universal shilling and a little more actual research on cheap properties nearby for example... or something, anything! As it stands, any of this information can be easily gleaned from the official Universal Halloween Horror Nights page. A for effort though...

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