With Halloween Horror Nights creeping up, we’ve decided it’s time to compile the latest news, rumours and speculation concerning the event. As it lands, we’ll update this blog with any slither of information we believe could impact this year’s line-up.
Here’s what we’ve got so far.
Rumours and speculation
None of the below is official or confirmed.
A Billie Eilish maze?
The most recent rumour links musician Billie Eilish with one of HHN mazes. The artists dark, adventurous, eclectic set of songs paint the perfect picture for an event like Halloween Horror Nights – which is up to the hilt with a dollop of horror and supernatural fiction.
Initially, the rumour was that Billie Eilish would create the soundtrack for HHN, but deeper speculations soon emerged. For Universal to cite one of her tracks for their soundtrack seems viable, given the audible fit and shared love. Only now, there are talks of a potential “Billie Eilish Maze” for 2020.
If we’re honest, it would be slightly naive to think at this stage something that started on a fan forum could inspire a huge collaboration between a growing superstar and the much-vaunted Universal Studios. But after further research, there’s more reason to believe this rumour could actually happen.
One of which is Eilish’s love for HHN, which was publicised in 2019 after images emerged of her having fun (and looking scared) at last years event. Another was a tweet linking Billie Eilish with a HHN maze, which the official Horror Nights page – blue tick verified – responded:
Fans of the World’s Premier Halloween Event have mixed views on the collaboration, with most comparing it to the collab with Alice Cooper back in 2014. As far as Halloween Horror Nights rumours are concerned, a Billie Eilish maze is at the forefront of most discussions. All we can say is watch this space as far as this rumour is concerned.
Are Bill & Ted returning?
With a new Bill & Ted movie on the horizon, the brassy duo will return in 2020. But the real question is: Will Bill & Ted return for HHN30?
Rumours circulating the World Wide Web say yes, and what better way to promote the latest movie – titled Bill & Ted Face the Music – than with a feature at this year’s event?
Long-standing Halloween fans will recall the Excellent Halloween Adventure Show in 2017, which was a well-deserved “farewell tour” with a strong script by writer-director Jason Horne. With extra performances scheduled to allow annual pass holders to say goodbye, on the final night, everything was very – well, final. In fact, “Dudes, your history!” was the final cry aimed towards the bodacious duo. Like the Billie Eilish rumour, this also stems from fan discussion, but not as you’d think.
Having missed the show so much, in 2017 and again in 2018, a group of fans hosted a Bill & Ted festival in Orlando to celebrate the news of the upcoming film. This is where we believe the rumours linking the duo to HHN30 have originated from.
The Walking Dead returns… from the dead
You may have heard the news that The Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood will close on the 4 March, making way for Pets Place and soon, a new ride in this land titled: The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! With this news comes a flurry of speculation as Universal announced they are, “Looking forward to the return of The Walking Dead as a focal point in our slate at Halloween Horror Nights maze this fall”.
For as long as it’s been open, the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead Attraction has been a prestigious and well-liked part of the Hollywood line-up. But with the attraction closing in March, and the 30th anniversary of HHN happening in September, what does this mean for The Walking Dead attraction and its legendary status at Halloween Horror Nights?
In our eyes, there are two possibilities. The first being that Universal will reimagine the existing attraction – pumping it with scarier, more intense effects than ever before – and then re-open it for HHN30. Or, they could flip it 360 and introduce a new type of maze entirely, taking influence from the much-loved attraction that once lived in Universal Studios Hollywood.
At this early stage, we don’t know what Universal is planning. Would we like to see a reimagined version of the old Walking Dead attraction? Yes! Would we like to see an entirely new build for HHN30? Absolutely!
Watch the space for further updates.
Stay tuned for more rumours
Whether it’s linked to a new scare zone, a haunted house or part of the live entertainment, you’ll find all the latest rumours here. While we’re busy doing more research, here’s a break down of what to expect at Halloween Horror Nights, along with our highlights from 2019.
Highlights from Halloween Horror Nights 2019
With all that talk of haunted houses and scare zones, you might be wondering what on earth they are, right? Well, if you’re new to Halloween Horror Nights, here’s a breakdown of what to expect if you’re lucky enough to have tickets to the 30th anniversary.
What is a Haunted House at HHN?
With ten unique haunted houses, five terrifying scare zones, plus the Academy of Villains dance show, and the new lagoon show – there’s a lot we loved about HHN29. Even for Universals high standards, Halloween Horror Nights 2019 was brave, intense and every bit mesmerising. Much of the event played homage to the 1980s, with Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Killer Klowns from Outer Space leading the 80s theme.
The first great thing about the haunted houses is that they are in the actual back-lot production studios at Universal. Each haunted house varies in length, size and scares. Some will make you jump, some will make you scream, others make you feel sick to your stomach – it’s all about what you prefer. But one thing’s for sure, they all offer graphic, true to life recreations and familiar imagery from the properties that inspire them.
The return of a Stranger Things house was a huge talking point before and after the event. For 2019, it featured season one, two and three, totalling 14-scenes of terrifying content for guests to experience and explore.
Also, there was the introduction of Jordan Peele’s blockbuster hit – Us. The house was every bit as terrifying as the movie, which saw a family encounter their murderous doubles known as “tethers”. The house delivered from start to finish, opening with an ultra-creepy remix of Luniz – I Got Five on It which was the film’s soundtrack. Of all the houses, it felt like the longest, thanks to its full-scale re-creation of the Vision Quest hall of mirrors that was an iconic feature in the film. From there, it was scare after scare as you passed through the tunnels where the tethers lived.
Universal’s original mazes often rank higher than the IP houses, especially among die-hard fans. For us, Graveyard Games topped the bill as the best original maze at HHN29, with the perfect blend of scares, storytelling and set design. There was one room inside the house that relied purely on set design to make you feel uncomfortable, playing panned sound effects simulating you were with someone.
We expect all the above to return in 2020, including Houses of 1000 Corpses and Ghostbusters which were also extremely popular houses in 2019.
What is a Scare Zone?
For once, when speaking about a Halloween event, the word “scary” isn’t too strong a word. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is the only Halloween event on the planet you go not to actually go there, but to get scared. No other Halloween event is capable of this. And the scare zones play a huge part.
Photo by That Florida Guy
Besides the extraordinary entertainment, anticipate an otherworldly atmosphere formed of neon lights, pyrotechnics, and smoke machines of the scare zones. As your placed in the middle of blood-thirsty zombies, otherworldly beings, and brutal maniacs (with chainsaws), it’s here where you’ll meet your worst nightmare(s).
Photo by That Florida Guy
Anarch-Cade was the most popular scare zone at HHN29. The twisted 80s arcade consists of gigantic arcade machines decked out in neon lights, and retro graphics that make up the famous “game over” signage. The atmosphere was steered about by neon lights, bright costumes, the classic HHN fog and, groups of slashers armed with weapons that glow, flash and reflect.
What rides are open during Halloween Horror Nights Orlando?
Halloween Horror Nights takes over most of Universal Studios, but the event isn’t just about the terrifying goings-on. You also have the unique opportunity to ride some of the parks most exhilarating attractions in the dark – which alone is worth the price of the HHN ticket, as the wait times are low and the excitement is doubled due to it being dark and somewhat mysterious. Late-night riding at Universal Studios feels more like a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience than a buyable; yearly event.
Photo by Halloween Horror Nights Year-Book
If HHN29 was anything to go by, we expect the following rides to be open during HHN30:
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Men in Black Alien Attack
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
- The Simpsons Ride (Open select nights only)
Note: Not all the above were open for the entire duration of HHN last year, and in fact, some closed two hours before at 11 pm.
What time does Halloween Horror Nights open?
Universal start letting people through the gates at around 6:30 pm. However, we recommend arriving early to ensure a good place in the queue and, a good view of the Scaremony which happens just inside the main entrance.
The opening Scaremony is all about building the tension. Typically, pre-recorded audio is blasted through the speakers while a series of actors introduce the event with a stunning performance. As soon as the gates open, all hell breaks loose and it’s a mad dash to your chosen maze.
Video by Five Fires
How much are Halloween Horror Nights Fast Passes?
Unfortunately, fast pass isn’t available for HHN. And unlike most other theme park events that gain attraction for one night or a specific weekend, HHN brings a crowd every night. For this reason, if you want to visit every haunted house and see all the scare zones, we recommend upgrading your ticket to the 2-Nights Flex Ticket which gives you 2 nights access for the price of 1!
More information is coming
With hype for HHN30 boiling, there’s no doubt Universal will be releasing more information soon. We will be updating this page as soon as more information is released – so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, join our Destination Florida Facebook Group, and enjoy this video of HHN29 captured by Josh Solomon.