Halloween Horror Nights 2013: Veteran review, new approach to a touring plan & even more expert advice


So, what does it take to get the most out your Halloween Horror Night experience? Well, definitely plan on arriving early, around 5:30pm, to make sure you’re in the front of the pack when the gates open around 6:15pm. Every minute you are in the park prior to 8:00pm is incredibly valuable and must be maximized.  Note that Universal is not providing a texting service for wait times this year, but if you are in the park you can view HHN wait times and schedules on this page. Otherwise, there is an unofficial app available for download.

Entrance to Halloween Horror Nights 2013.
Entrance to Halloween Horror Nights 2013.

Go straight to Cabin in the Woods and catch one of the two best houses this year. The exit from Cabin in the Woods will take you to Evil Dead and American Werewolf in London. By visiting both of these houses very quickly, you will save time by going to the one with the shorter line first.

Next, journey to La Llorona back to the misfortunes of a wasted catholic school youth mixed with murder. It’s good to see Universal took some advice and put nice facades on the non-soundstage house.  The authentic Mexican chapel and sound mixing really take you to this urban legend.

Urban Legends: La Llorona at HHN 2013.
Urban Legends: La Llorona at HHN 2013.

As you exit from La Llorona, follow the path to After Life.  At After Life, the sounds of Johnny Cash will take you to prison in Carey 1933. The 3D effect is amazing and allows for extra scares as the glasses block your peripheral vision.

When leaving After Life, check the wait time for Havoc, if it is below 30 minutes go directly to there. Havoc is a futuristic saga of soldiers in a train derailment.  If the wait is more than thirty minutes, go to the Bill and Ted show. This show is awesome! Very funny and well acted. Visit Havoc afterwards, if not before.

That leaves you three attractions left and the street performances. My suggestion is to avoid Rocky Horror at all cost unless you have multiple night passes or you just want to sit down, instead catch the real Rocky Horror at Universal Cineplex or on Netflix have a better time. This show most closely resembles the infamous Narnia attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios. Very lacking and leaves you wondering why?! Honestly, we left in a mass exodus.

Enjoy the Walking Dead street experience and their “scare zones.” I really hope next year Universal will bring back real scare zones. Zombies are okay, but what about all the other classic HHN street characters… and maybe some new ones?


Monitor the wait times for the Walking Dead House and if the wait drops below 45 minutes late in the evening. Do make sure to catch it then.

Resident Evil is overall the worst house this year. It diverts from the cold, classy, brutal franchise that is Resident Evil. White hospital walls, smears of blood, decapitated rogue scientists… that’s what this house needed. But instead, a dilapidated Italian restaurant and a dry cleaner… really Universal?!


A few last words of advice:

– Do take advantage of the lines for drinks in the exit areas, as many guests will walk right by and promptly get in longer line in the park.

– If you are drinking beer, do not buy the souvenir glass as there is no advantage. However, for liquor drinkers, there is a solid amount of value when getting refills.

– I would recommend purchasing multiple nights instead of the Express Pass. You can enjoy a greater value with the multiple night pass. The HHN Express Pass offers false hope because it only cuts standby wait times in half, and it restricts you to one night. With multiple nights you can arrive early, thus cut “your wait times in half” and still enjoy the streets for less money.

All in all, you do not want to miss Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2013.


Links to learn more:

While Dan’s advice differs ever so slightly from mine, there is an official OI touring plan for HHN 2013. The big difference is that I suggest you check out Bill & Ted’s before going to all the houses if house wait times get high, whereas Dan’s touring plan takes you to all the houses and recommends you leave the shows for later. Ultimately both approaches will work, it is just a matter of your priorities and whether you’re able to stick around all night.

New this year, OI has a page for “real guests” to share their reviews of HHN 2013. Once you’re done reading my take on the event, see what others are saying.

Keep in mind the HHN touring plan and “real guest reviews” page are just two pages in OI’s insider’s guide to to HHN 2013 — for the most effective planning, you’ll really should to read everything.


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Bruce S Benzing
Bruce S Benzing
October 2, 2013 11:00 am

Has this reviewer actually ever played a RE game? I don’t remember any RE game taking place in a hospital…

October 2, 2013 11:33 am

Bruce S Benzing – I personally don’t know much about Resident Evil, but a quick Google search came up with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGYVERpPO0o.

Bruce S Benzing
Bruce S Benzing
October 2, 2013 11:57 am

yeah a few random scenes but the reviewer implied that the franchise as a whole was about being in a hospital. Lab, yes, hospital, not really. This house was based on RE 2 and 3 and the beginning of RE 2 did take place in an Italian Restaurant. I agree though that the house could have been better.

October 3, 2013 12:31 pm

@Bruce S Benzing While Resident Evil is one of the most popular game franchises in history.  It’s pop culture relevance is mainly tied to its movie franchise and this was researched…as the most popular game sold 8 million copies world wide and the average movie sold 8 million tickets (domestic) and that is prior to DVD sales and cable broadcast.   The franchise has always been based on a very style driven feel…and this house had a generic feel that could have been repurposed in a day for a different house.  The hospital reference is towards the look of the labs not… Read more »

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