Comments for Halloween Horror Nights 2013 house-by-house review and tips as Universal Orlando unveils impressive scale in gory detail


  1. Michel Lichand Mendonça

    Wait, no comedy house this year?


    1. I was thinking exactly the same thing! It’s strange not to have one.

  2. Great report Ricky – a truly detailed and accurate insight into what, I’m sure, most HHN fans will rate as one of the best ever. And get the Frequent Fear pass, folks, it’s amazing value.

  3. Claire

    The last HHN I did was 2009 but I didn’t enjoy it as the park was really oversold lines for the “houses” were so long we hardly got to experience anything, I know this year’s has just started but from recent years do you think that this is still a problem? I said I wouldn’t do another one because of it but LOVE the Walking Dead so I’m really tempted.

    1. Mark

      Go on Thursday of Sunday if you wan to avoid the long lines. Also a lot of Walking Dead is in the scare zones so you still will get a huge Walking Dead shot without visiting the mazes.

      1. Matt

        Aren’t there special passes that you can buy that let you skip the lines?

        1. Love2Scream

          Yes they are kinda pricey but worth it

    2. Ricky Brigante

      The lines are atrociously long on Saturdays and Fridays are often tough too. It’s recommended to get there early and stay late. Go to the houses in the back of the park right away and there will be little to no lines. Then work your way forward, taking a break in the middle to hit the shows, eat, walk the scare zones, and/or rest. By the end of the night, the houses in the front of the park will have lesser wait times.

  4. The article was spot on! Exactly what we thought after also being there opening night!

  5. Don

    Hi Ricky, thank you for recording and publishing the Q&A session of this event, it was informative and funny. It was like being there and I loved it.
    I think the fact Universal is doing this event for 23 and make every year different and awesome is a testament to their creativity, love for the holiday and respect for their guests. Instead of rehashing the same stuff every year like most parks do they go above and beyond to delight guests. It’s the only hard ticketed event that is worth it’s money.
    Thank you for covering it and share the fun and putting us the readers Inside The Magic.

  6. Dan Milligan

    The scare zones were yawn. Too much walking dead. I love the show but thou title was very repetitive! One of my favorite things to do is sit and watch people in the scare zones. This year was just flat out boring. Most people saw the zombies coming and they were average at best! Last years were much better than this attempt. They should have limited the walking dead to an area. Hopefully next year they will return to real scare zones!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      They are definitely done with zombies for a while.

  7. Joe Spencer

    For the film based houses, Cabin n the woods, and American werewolf are both available on amazon instant. Although word of warning, the American Werewolf transfer isn’t the greatest.

  8. Josh

    I love the event, but you forgot about one of the best parts. I’m not sure if all of the Universal Parks have this, but I have l seen games being played during HHN at Universal Orlando. The one this year is called Legendary Truth. I’m still new to the game but it’s really cool. You get to investigate houses and you get a card to scan at the each haunted house.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I didn’t forget… I’ll be including plenty about Legendary Truth in an upcoming separate article.

  9. Jeff Lynch

    Wow. You did an AMAZING job with this report Ricky. It was so detailed. Just excellent, excellent reporting.

    I find it interesting that Universal still feels a psychological need to take jabs at Disney. I wonder if they will ever get over that. It feels like Universal has a real mental complex with this, always feeling a need to moon or blow farts at Disney…instead of just doing its own thing. You will never see Disney take jabs at Universal, because Disney is confident in its own brand and doesn’t feel a compulsion to fart at Universal.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      The crowd loves the jabs though. It’s a chance for everyone to be a little more lighthearted about the whole theme park community.

    2. mark

      Disney doesn’t have anything to jab at… Plus where would the jab from they have no humor in any of the shows.

  10. Ricky,

    Do you think they Universal lessened the stench smell due to complaints? I know you as well as others said it was terrible on preview night. On Friday night it was definitely there, but on Saturday, it was not as noticeable.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Not due to complaints. It’s part of the adjustment process. The smell was definitely terrible on preview night and much less in the days after. It’s in the fog, so if you get caught up in the fog when it comes out, you’ll definitely smell it. It’s there, just not as horribly strong.

  11. Out of curiosity – it looks like each house has security or something similar posted throughout, and it seemed like they were always waving you forward. Was their function primarily to keep the line moving? Are they technically supposed to be for the protection of the performers and/or guests?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Yes that is their primary function but they also make sure everything is running smoothly. If there are any problems, they will step in.

  12. Jakobus

    I know last year they had some (not a lot though) of Silent Hill merchandise at the Vendors, do they have any Resident Evil merchandise at the Vendors this year. I am a big fan of Resident Evil stuff so I am just curious.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      There is only a Resident Evil shirt. Nothing else.

  13. DAN

    Your review made me 1000x more excited to go this year (already have my tickets) and did substantially more to excite me than the official site!!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Fantastic! You’re going to have a blast.

  14. Marla

    I am going for the first time this weekend! Your tips are really helpful and although I am taking the surprise factor away a little by viewing the videos and photos and I was told nothing is quite like being there in person! I am very excited!

  15. Dizzy

    I have a problem with the haunted houses that feel like you are being buried alive, you know like the ones the roof and sides move in an squeeze you. You have to almost get on your knees to get out. Is there any house like that? I would need to avoid that house, I get anxiety attacks. Thanks.

  16. Krystal

    My husband and I have always attended busch gardens howl o scream event. In recent years it has become about nothing but alcohol so we have decided to give HHN a try this year. We will be there 10/5. Thank you for the in depth reviews of everything. Gives me a glimpse of what to expect as I hear HOS and HHN are not very comparable.

  17. July

    Incredible review, thank you so much for the details and tips!

  18. Derrick

    Ricky, you didn’t mention interactive elements in the houses (such as buttons to press or ropes to pull) or a lagoon show- are neither of these elements present this year?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I will be updating this article soon with new thoughts on all the houses and shows plus a whole lot more photos and video. There is no lagoon show, sadly and there are only a couple of interactive elements – though nothing too exciting.

      1. Derrick

        Awesome!! Any chance we can get some updates soon? I’m going to be there this Wednesday and Thursday. Maybe I’ll see you there, I did last year!

        1. Ricky Brigante

          Sorry for not updating this article as planned… but I didn’t really have anything to update. Very little has changed since opening night. I’ve noticed a few more actors in Resident Evil, including one in the Pause room, and a few minor effects changes in Evil Dead and Cabin in the Woods… but that’s about it. It hasn’t really been worth revisiting the topic.

  19. chris bittinger

    I do not recommend anyone waste their time or money on this place. I spent 2 hours waiting in line for 1 house. To only take 5 minutes to get through. Also one of the actors came out and got in my face. And I got threatened to get thrown out of the park for it. Its ran by nothing but rent a cops who abuse their power. Its 42 dollars for a waste of a night. The only decent thing about it wss the zombies on the street. Everything else was a MAJOR disappointment. and a major waste of time and money. And everyone that works there is a bunch of assholes who like talking down to people.

  20. Jennifer

    I have gone to HHN since 1990. This year was a huge disappointment! Hardly any ghouls, all zombies! Not even scary!! They need to bring back the Dead Parade and like one year they had both parks open for HHN. That would really lighten the crowds! Everything is revolved around The Walking Dead, which, I’m sorry is NOT Halloween! They used to play the song from Halloween throughout the park but don’t anymore. Afraid, we won’t be back!!

  21. marilyn

    I have not actually been to a hhn event but walking dead and resident evil are my favorite zombie flicks and I really want to go but a lot of people have told me that I shouldn’t go this year that it sucked and I should wait for a better year. Thoughts?

    1. Harvest

      My house mates and I just returned from the Wednesday 23rd HHN. I’d say it was disappointing.

      The “haunts” left a lot to be desired. It was pretty much just people with masks and bloody faces jumping out of dark spaces yelling at you.

      The houses themselves were so under decorated. There wasn’t any super impressive set design, special effects make-up or ambiance that I even recall. After an average line wait time of aprox. 60+ minutes, we were expecting some creepy WOW factor, but would walk out saying, “Umm, that was all?? after both the RE and WD house”

      I expected Universal Studios quality effects and performance and was left feeling I’d have better spent my money going to the local 15$ mall haunted house. We can best describe what we witnessed as “noise houses” instead of haunted houses. We chose to just go on the normal theme park rides which were a blast and somewhat made up for it. I wish they’d incorporate some kind of actual Halloween theme to the event, not just Hollywood TV show monsters. There was nothing “Halloweenish” at all there. Left me sad 🙁

    2. Ricky Brigante

      It’s definitely not one of the best years and those two experienced are just mediocre. An American Werewolf in London and Cabin in the Woods are much better haunted houses.

  22. Ginger Masker

    I want my money back!!! I went to HHN23on Thursday October 24th 2013. I brought with me my dad because we are both Resident Evil Fans and HHN23 advertised that Sundays and Thursdays were Resident Evil nights. We left Brandon, Fl at 5:45 got to Orlando at 7pm didn’t get through the parking gate until 8:30pm parked in 461 cat in the hat section walked to the first bag check then to the entrence gate where there was a second bag check and scanner once we finally mad it in the Universal Studio gates it was 9:15pm we went straight to Resident Evil House wait time was 60 mins. My father and I timed it to see if they were estimated times or approximate timing. Tured out to be approximate we stood in line for 90 minswent through the 3 minute house I was expecting great effects and lots of zombies and familiar characters. What we incountered was staff dressed in HHN staff shirts moving us along to the point that we didn’t have the time to see the details of the connection of the game. After the house walking to the main street we find ourselves pass two of the houses and had to back track geting lost on the way yes we had a mapwhich by the way had to hunt down in a shop. By the time we got to the next house it was 11pm we went to Havoc House wait time was 45 mins actual wait time was 60 mins I never heard of the show so my expectations were not that high. Even so once again didnt have enough time to actually experience the effects. Good thing was the exit walk way was not in BFE… 12:15am break from crowded line going to scare zones Because it was suppose to be Resident Evil night I thought that we wil experience slow zombies and street action and people dressed as the characters jill chris leon and the big t virus monster that says STAR. No on we got WALKING DEAD THEAM. … not a Raccoon Citycar crashed maze to survive ! A very boring walking dead sticks and junk statuets the barn was just like an old barn no zombie action. 12:45am enough time to go through one more house American Werewolf …wait time 90 mins and once again wrong 115 mins. Later we get in to the house I must say it was good but too many staff who look unhappy or even scary. 3 mins later we decided to go to the shops to find at less decent shirts we found the infected one that had print on both sides $22. Rough estimate. My dad bought 2 of them. We were looking for Resident Evil and only found one type with nothing on the back $25. Rough estimate. Print on front but not the back I bought one for my dad. So at closing time 2 am we were back at the car leaving and disappointed. I am a AAA member so I spent $88 for both tixs there were no discounts in the park and I forgot I bought 2 $8 each blood sucker packs which tasted like jello that went bad and I love jello shots…. will be waiting for a reply. Thank you.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I’m not sure where you read that Sundays and Thursdays are Resident Evil nights but there is no such thing. Every night at this year’s event features The Walking Dead as the entire street theme. There is the one Resident Evil haunted house that you walked through, nothing more from that franchise.

      But I agree that the staff moving everyone along inside the houses is always frustrating. Their job is to keep the line moving so they can get as many people through as possible. But that also can ruin the experience. The best advice I can always give is go early and leave late. Had you arrived at Universal at 6pm before the event began and stayed until the very end, you would have easily been able to experience every haunted house, as the wait times are quite short at the beginning of the night.

  23. Berenice Avecilla

    I am a big fan of HHN and have been going since 2006. This year I have to say i was disappointed. The whole zombie theme was too repetitive. The houses needed more actors and people actually scaring you. Many of the actors were just walking instead of scaring people. I will be going to bush gardens next year.

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