It’s hard to believe it, but we’re running into the final weeks of the haunt season. As an Orlando local, I get to visit two of the nation’s premiere events, Halloween Horror Nights and HowlOScream, multiple times. I get a Frequent Fear Plus pass for Halloween Horror Nights that lets me in every night but Saturday, and it has express so I can go in all the houses once through the express line. However, I take it as a point of pride to see how many houses I can get through without using express.
Whether you have an express pass and want to save it to do some houses twice, or whether you don’t want to shell out the extra money and just want to see the houses as efficiently as possible through the regular lines, here’s how to do it (this is what I do every night, and I rarely use express until the last three or four houses):
1) Either visit Universal Studios Florida during the day and stay in the part after it closes or be one of the first in line outside. You can wait in a holding pen til Halloween Horror Nights open if you have a day ticket and stay until closing time. Otherwise, get to the front gates early and stake out a spot. All of the gates open, not just the center, so choose the one with the smallest crowd.
2) Wait in the kids zone holding area or head to the kids zone as soon as you get in. Most people go right to the sound stages, but the zone is home to two houses that you can knock off quickly (Roanoke and the creepy dolls). The exit of the first one leads right to the entrance of the other. The doll house lets out by the entrance to Halloween; if it’s already open, do it next. Otherwise, hurry over the Giggles and Gore by Disaster, do that one, then come back to Halloween. The Halloween line gets longer as the night goes on, especially when the Bill and Ted shows let out, so doing it early is wise.
3) Do the soundstage house with the shortest line. After you’ve knocked out the first four houses I mentioned, head to the soundstages. Out of those four, The Walking Dead always has the longest line, and Dracula has the shortest. If the Dead line isn’t bad yet, do it now. Otherwise, do Alien Vs. Predator, which also gets a pretty hefty line, or Dusk Til Dawn, which isn’t usually as crowded. Save Dracula for last if the other lines aren’t long yet, since Drac attracts a smaller crowd for most of the night.
That’s the pattern I use on every visit, and I rarely have to use my express pass on anything but the three most popular soundstage houses and sometimes Halloween. Then, when it gets more crowded, I can do a second round with express on the houses that I did via standby earlier.
Even though it’s past the event’s halfway point. there’s still plenty of time to see it. Here’s Mike Aiello talking about the latter half of the season:
I also chatted with Lora Wallace about how the scare zones are breaking in nicely:
Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your night and the videos will get you bumped up for a late season video. I’ll also toss in a little plug, since I belong to Crowdtap, and one of my recent product samplings tied in perfectly with Halloween Horror Nights. I received samples of fast-acting Advil Film-Coated pain reliever, which really helped me get going after a long night of hustling to as many houses as possible. I always wake up with stiff muscles, and it gets me back to functionality fast. I like the coating because it’s easy to swallow, and apparently it lets the medication work faster, too.
And speaking of all that walking, I’ll leave you with one last tip: wear sturdy and comfortable shows! Sturdy because you never know when the person in front of you in the haunted houses might suddenly run backwards and trample you and comfortable or you’ll end up with blisters. If you’re like me, you can’t afford sore feet because you’ve still got many more nights of haunts to enjoy.