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  • Writer's pictureStephanie West

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

Updated: Jan 6

Unmasking the Horror & RIPTour! #hhn31 #halloweenhorrornights

Halloween Haunted House - Universal Orlando Resort

I did one of my husband's favorite things without him. He would have LOVED this, Halloween is his favorite holiday. So, why did I do it without my best friend?

Traveling is my job. I'm so freaking lucky and grateful for this accidental career path.

Occasionally I get to attend site tours, events, and training by different companies to ensure that I can serve my travel clients to the best of my ability. This is a massive win-win because I love to learn and I get to visit sites. In this case, I was invited to attend a RIP Tour at Universal Orlando Resorts during its super fun Halloween Horror Nights event.

Halloween Horror Nights

This year marked the 31st year Universal has been conducting their HHN event. The RIP Tour, play on VIP, is an 8 - hour event that includes a dedicated guide who shares all kinds of nerdy, and cool information while escorting your group through the park. Like the general VIP Tour experience, this tour is completely customizable. It included dinner along with basic refreshments (alcoholic or specialty beverages were extra) and our guide took us straight on to each of the ten houses, one show with reserved seating, and all 5 scare zones in a little over 4 hours. We spent another hour jumping from one attraction to another via backdoors. Though we decided to call it a night at 11:30, we had until 2:00a.m. What?! Ok, I cannot wait to share more, eeek!!

I must say that as I share these experiences with you I should add a disclaimer that I can jump scared easily, but I usually don't at these events. I am so busy looking intently at all the details and honestly enjoying the creativity these creators have that I do not jump much if at all. I do, however, laugh and giggle a lot! These haunted houses and scare zones are all one big production. If you get a little scared or if you have someone who wants you to attend events like these, remember that they get paid to play make-believe and scare you. It s a show ;)

Before I dive deeper into the RIP Tour and all the nighttime thrills, I simply must share with you the Unmasking tour I geeked out over. First, I freakin love anything Behind the Scenes and this is very much so that kind of experience. We met up in the old Blue Man Group location. We were given lanyards and audio tour receivers with earpieces. Fyi, you can bring your own. The devices were not always necessary, but I found them helpful because the tour winds its participants through narrow, single-file spaces separating you from the tour guide making it difficult to get all the spooky or nerdy details.

Universal Orlando Resort
Unmasking The Horror - Behind the Scenes Tour

Unmasking The Horror

There are three and six-house tours. Unfortunately, the six-house tour was sold out. I cried and stomped my feet a little... le sigh. We ventured off with our tour guide who was a scar-actor and this made the experience even more awesome. She not only gave us all the typical behind-the-scenes information but she shared so much of why she loves this event and through this, I connected to it even more. Seeing someone's passion is so inspiring!

We started in Halloween based on the original John Carpenter film from 1978. I made sure to rewatch this movie because I wanted to really enjoy this house to the fullest and gosh it was amazing. I felt like a kid; totally giddy over all the details that went into creating such an immersive experience.

Next, we walked through Spirits of the Coven, a 20s-themed speakeasy yet as you descend into the depths of their coven you find yourself deep underground witnessing their acts of bootlegging a special brew of their own.

Dean Man's Pier Winter's Wake - Universal Orlando Resort

On our way to Fiesta De Chupacabras, we had a sneak peek at a fourth house Winter's Wake Dead Man's Pier, which later became my fave house. I mean come on, they not only had amazing details in this house but they also included some Amity Island references for the Jaws fans, What??!?

What I loved most in this house was that each of these chupacabra puppets were named and they were silly names. I mean some made sense, like Dante, but Skittles? I was laughing so hard. I also really loved that the couch they used for the Stranger Things house along with a Will Byers coat was in a room towards the end of this house. I'll just call myself what I am; a film nerd. All I could think about was strung-up Christmas lights.

The theme for this house is that the town is celebrating Fiesta de Chupacabras. The towns would lure in tourists who would be sacrificed to these mythological beats saving the townspeople.

The tour is conducted with the lights on. Our guide shared all the fun details of these houses! She identified different scare tactics and explained the measures taken to ensure the scar-actors are rested, taken care of, and energized to give us the best experiences.

"31" noted as the date at the start of Dead Man's Pier

We learned that this was the 31st year that Universal has been doing the Halloween Horror Nights event so there are "31"s incorporated at every site. only able to find one more during my tour later that night. I would share with you all of the details due to my sheer excitement, but come on, let's not spoil everything!

Haunted Houses

Walk through real soundstages that have been themed to scare you, gross you out, make you jump, and everything freaky! Click the link above to read the descriptions. For this year there were 10 houses and I've shared my ranking for each one and why.

  • Spirits of the Coven (#8 I liked the beginning but not as much at the end)

  • Hellblock Horror (#7 simple fact that they put this together in 30 days.)

  • Halloween (#3 but a close call because I was like walking through the film)

  • Fiesta De Chupacabras (#6 the chupacabra puppets were awesome.)

  • Dead Man's Pier - Winter's Wake (#1 for production value. Simply amazing!)

  • The Horrors of Blum House (#2 for Black Phone but #1 for scary)

  • Bugs Eaten Alive (#9 bugs don't really creep me out. Felt like Fallout the game come to life a bit)

  • Descendents of Destruction (#5 for number of jumps)

  • The Weekend (#10 - I liked the music because it's the Weened :D but the theming felt very detached to me. Others disagree)

  • Universal Monsters - Legends Collide (#4 because I appreciate the roots of where scary movies and monsters come from.)

For scares, I loved the Horrors of Blum House. This house was split between two films Freaky and The Black phone. The first half of the space of the Fast and Furious attraction was themed to Freaky. If you saw the film you'd know this is a scare-comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton in a freaky Friday kind of situation. Vaughn portrays a crazed serial killer who snags a blade that when plummeted into Newton's character initiated the switching of their bodies. It's silly and a little gorey. The Black Phone is more my speed if I am opting for something in the spooky season. It is more suspenseful with a touch of cerebral than anything else. The mask was super creepy so the fact that Universalfact used the actual STLs (think blueprint for digital prints) to create the 13 masks used is freakin cool! It felt the most immersive in a film of any experience I've had.

For theming, I LOVED Dead Man's Pier - Winter's Wake. It felt cold and eerie.

The snow looked and felt real as we walked through the wintery and deserted seaside pier. We witnessed the widow of the fisherman call and serenade him with her violin. It wasn't just him she spoke to, something else came from the depths and brought us down with it. We descended from the dock to the ship and then through this wooden ghost until we found ourselves among the depths of the icy waters sounded by its wooden keel.

Scare Zones

Walk through differently-themed zones of the park for scares. A little bit of information about Universal Orlando Resort. This name refers to the property in its entirety in Orlando. This means 3 parks; Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure, both of which are themed thrill parks, Volcano Bay which is a themed water park, and all the resort hotels you can sleep at.

The Halloween Horror Nights event takes place at Universal Studios Florida and throughout this park are five scares zones.

  1. Horrors of Halloween

  2. Sweet Revenge

  3. Conjure the Dark

  4. Scarecrow: Cursed Soil

  5. Graveyard: Deadly Unrest

I really enjoyed the classic Horrors of Halloween because that Pumpkin Lord is epic! After that, golly I don't know if I could pick one. Honestly, everything was so much fun! The scar-actors were so funny and dedicated to giving everyone a great expeirnece.


Walk through zones of the park for scares.

  1. Halloween Nightmare Fuel Wildfire

  2. Ghoulish

We did not watch the entire Ghoulish water production. It looked amazing but we just wanted more attractions since we were backdooring our way straight onto the ride! We did, however, watch Halloween Nightmare Fuel Wildfire and it was like watching someone's scary dreams where the characters are dark yet dressed for a sexy "pupfidence" kind of performance. I know this is not everyone's cup of tea, but let me just say why it is mine. I feel like we have been told to hide out sexuality. There is nothing wrong with feeling beautiful and sexy, we're human. There is a difference between feeling empowered and beautiful in your sensual attire. Be you. Feel beautiful. Feel sexy and strong. Do it for you and you alone!

Rides and Attractions Available

I would have only loved to have enjoyed more than two of the five attractions that were open within Universal Studios Florida. I am an early riser and so were many of my companions this trip so when 11:15 p.m. hit, we were like, "uhhh, *sigh* I'm exhausted!" We opted to call it a night.

Rides & Attractions that were open:

  1. Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket

  2. Transformers

  3. Revenge of the Mummy

  4. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

  5. Men in Black Alien Attack

This was such an amazing experience and now I cannot imagine doing it any other way! yes, it is expensive at almost $300 per person, but there was little to no waiting in line (better than an express pass) unlimited food and standard beverages were included, and we did everything! Okay, we did not do everything but we did everything we wanted. Just to recap, we started at 6:00 p.m., and began seeing the fun after eating at 6:30 p.m. We went through all ten houses, one 25-minute show, snacks, drinks, and two attractions in just under 5 hours, and the last 45 minutes of it were the two attractions we did. For me personally, this is money very well spent especially if you are only going to get one night to experience as much as you can.

I hope you all have a wonderful day, a lovely weekend, and for those who celebrate, a spooky-fun Halloween! Cheers and may you always find happiness living a brilliant, bold, and beautifully empowered life!

#themotivationalpinup #Missmotivationalpinup #brilliantboldbeautifullyempoweredlife #hhn31 #hhn #universalorlando #universalorlandoresort #universalstudiosflorida #riptour #halloweenhorrornights

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