Orlando sure knows how to celebrate holidays and Halloween is no different!  Universal Orlando will surely frighten  you with their famous Halloween Horror Nights (even the website is cool, complete with scary sounds).  This year is the 20th anniversary, called A New Age of Darkness, so they’ve got even more scary fun.  There will be live entertainment including the popular Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,  all-new haunted houses such as Hades, the Gates of Ruin, and frightening scare zones including Zombie Gras and Saws n’ Steam.  Check out some bizarre magic by illusionist Brian Brushwood in his show Menace and Malice.  Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event. This year’s event nights are September 24, 25 & 30; October 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 20-24, 27-31. They are posted on our calendar. Select rides will be open during the event.  You can’t come in costume, just come prepared to be scared.  This event is not suitable for small children (under 13), however, there is an alternative fun-filled event for the little ones.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an all-ages event where you can see your favorite Disney characters in costumes while you trick-or-treat around the Magic Kingdom.  Highlights include Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, which begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman and includes the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction as well as other Disney characters.  Don’t miss Happy HalloWishes, the fireworks show where Disney villains go trick-or-treating in the sky!  Guests are encouraged to come in costume to this separately ticketed event, and select rides are open.  Dates (shown on our calendar) are September 14, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31; November 1st.

Another great Halloween adventure,  about 80 miles from the Orlando area, in Tampa, is Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream.  This 18 and older horror spectacular is sure to give you a fright.  The theme this year is My X, based on an underground band whose lead singer, Sylvie, seems to be the main suspect after her longtime boyfriend comes up missing.  There are several scare houses, such as My X:  Revenge Rocks, where fans get to go backstage to meet Sylvie, but it turns into a life or death race to get out.  Scare zones include Road Trip, Light of Doom, Spiders and Snakes, Crazed Love, and Xtreme Fanatics.  There are also several shows including nightly concerts by the My X band.  If you’d like to dance after your scary night, hit the 21 & over dance club, Club X.   This is also a separately ticketed event, on select nights.

Some other great Halloween attractions include SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, a kid-friendly event complete with trick-or-treating, silly and spooky shows, and amazing sea creaturesSilver Spring’s Fright Nights will hold their 38th annual haunted house where you cross the bridge to Terror Island to visit the Spirit of the Swamp Cemetery, the Voodoo Bayou, Pirates Port Tavern, and more!  Check out Howling Halloween at Forever Florida for a Haunted Zipline Adventure!  They also have family friendly hay rides, a Haunted Coach Safari, entertainment, and more! Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will be holding their 20th annual Halloween festival, Wild ‘n’ Wicked Nights, which will showcase a Haunted Forest, Haunted Boat Ride, their famous mermaid show, and more.  The Central Florida Zoo is hosting Zoo Boo Bash, a kid-friendly trick-or-treating event through the zoo with face painting, a haunted hay ride and more.  If checking out real paranormal activities is your thing, then the nightFlight experience at Fantasy of Flight is for you.  Investigative team Apollo Paranormal Investigations (API) has conducted a series of scientific explorations of the apparitions, voices, and moving objects that have been reported at Fantasy of Flight.  They have rated the paranormal activity here an “11” on a scale of 1-10.  Spooky……check it out and decide for yourself if this attraction is indeed haunted.   (Check individual websites for specific dates and information.)

Orlando Tourist Tips:

For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween:

  • This is an event that is fun for all ages, kids through adult, so don’t get turned off because of the ‘not scary’ name.
  • If you are not a parade type of person, then head over to your favorite rides during the parade, much shorter lines.

For Halloween Horror Nights:

  • Go on an off peak night, Thursday or Sunday, for it to be a bit quieter.
  • Best advice for getting the houses done is to get there as they re-open the park gates and just hit house after house. Any house in a studio won’t be affected by the sun still being up, but the houses located in the JAWS queue, and behind the “Disaster” queue would be better visited when the sun is completely down.
  • The later in the “Season” you go, the better it gets, More Scare-ators and a little more fear. Also, the Bill & Ted show (A MUST) gets better day after day.
  • Be prepared most of the haunts have 1 – 1½ long waits, or more. If getting to everything is important to you, then you may want to purchase one of the expensive R.I.P. Tours or the cheaper express pass. The R.I.P. tour gives you behind the scenes info and front of line access to all the haunts and shows. The express pass gives you one-time access to the front of the line.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!