Starting Saturday and Sunday, September 26th and September 27th and then going October 3rd to November 1st, Universal will have many Halloween events for the day ticket guests. This is not like Halloween Horror Nights where it is a separately ticketed event. These activities are available to everyone on a day park ticket.
One of our advisers, Roxann Capehart, has experienced all the activities twice, once as an annual ticket holder and then as a regular day guest on Sunday, September 20th. She has been gracious enough to share a little bit of information for us on these small slices of a return to some normal seasonal activities.
On Preview Day, the lines were much longer. They stood in line for one of the houses for about an hour and a half. The second day they went, Sunday, they had the virtual queue and didn’t stand in line nearly as long. The line was maybe 20 minutes at that point.
In regards to the virtual queue, you do not need to be physically within the gates of the park. You can be somewhere on property. They were sitting in their hotel room at Hard Rock and made their virtual reservation 10 minutes before the park opened. There are a few places that won’t recognize you’re on property for whatever reason. For example, if you’re in Volcano Bay in some locations.
Roxann said the virtual line worked pretty well. She waited like 20 minutes, but the line is completely outside and not covered. One of the houses wraps around by Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket and the backstage area. The other line is the grassy area in front of the stage and then eventually goes into the backstage area. Both houses are in soundstages backstage. You can’t see anything about the houses from the outside. If you’re traveling with little ones, they’re not going to see any of it.
The two Haunted Houses are very “Halloween Horror Nights”. One is absolutely not child friendly at all.
The first house is not as gory. Bride of Frankenstein lives.
The first scene is where Frankenstein has died, and now the bride will do anything in her power to bring him back to life. She meets up with a mad scientist, and they work to put him back together. This is more of a classic, monster house. It’s not quite as scary.
There were still jump scares where they’re coming at you, but the overall vibe of the house wasn’t as scary. Keep in mind, though these are not for children. These are meant for those over 13. We did see children in these houses, and it wasn’t good. Please think before taking your children even though it’s daytime and it’s included, these are still very much Halloween Horror Night houses.
The second house is called Revenge of the Tooth Fairy. It starts as a Victorian book, and there are pages of the book hanging from the ceiling to set up the story. The story is about a little boy who does not want to give his tooth to the Tooth Fairy. And let’s just say the Tooth Fairy did not care for that. It was very, very gory. This one is definitely not for kids. This one they’re jumping out at you. There’s a lot of gory scenes.
As far as social distancing, there’s plexiglass where the scare actors are going to jump at you. You can see the plexiglass, and there’s a few times where the plexiglass will be on one side of you, but also the other. So you don’t know where the scares will come from. As you go into the house, they’re pulsing the people. So one group will go then a pause and another group will go. This made it scarier because they would reset by the time the next group would come in. This meant they were scaring everyone. In past years, they weren’t pulsing the group. So it was just a conga line of people. This meant the group ahead of you may get scared, or the group behind you would get jumped at and you wouldn’t. This year, everyone was getting a jump. They did not hold back on this at all.
The Halloween Horror Nights Tribute store can be scary as it set up in three separate rooms and they do have, scary props in them. I would keep little ones out of there. The first room you go into is Frankenstein, and he’s under a sheet being electrocuted. The next one, has pumpkins and scary clowns, and then you walk down a hallway, with all the posters and pictures from the last 30 years of Halloween Horror Nights. The final room you go into is Beetlejuice themed. And it’s fantastic!
Another great event is the Scarecrow Stalk. There are skeletons and scarecrows set up in 13 of the stores in Universal Studios, and they are themed to each store. Some are kind of campy but kind of cute. Some of them can be scary, but you can see those from pretty far away to know if your kids are going to be scared and to stay away from them.
When you need a break, swing into Skeleton Bar. They have themed drinks and food. This has been a hit the first few days it was open.
For the younger kids, there is trick or treating at Islands of Adventure for kids age 12 and under. There are several shops around the park where they can stop and get candy. They don’t have to be in costume, but you can. Everybody can wear a costume this year, and that’s a first for Universal. They usually don’t allow costumes. They are not allowing anything gory.
Halloween always has to have treats, and there are lots of treats. The Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store has great treats and you can mobile order them if you choose. They have gummy beating hearts on a special tray. It actually looks like the heart is beating. There are rice, crispy treats, cupcakes and doughnuts as well. There are also food trucks with themed goodies.
Halloween is such a huge part of the seasonal events at the theme parks. It is so nice to have this even in a slimmed-down version for all to enjoy.
Thank you Roxann Capehart for sharing your experience! Follow her on Facebook @earsofexperiencebyroxanncapehartTweet