Halloween Horror Nights 2023 – Universal


On September 1st, Universal Orlando Resort debuted the 2023 edition of its beloved annual event, Halloween Horror Nights. Many fans are hailing this year’s version as the best one ever. 

Once I describe the Houses and Scare Zones, you’ll probably agree. Halloween Horror Nights 2023 will delight you. Let’s talk about these spectacular experiences. 

What You Should Know about HHN 2023

Let’s start with the basics. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida shares a similar timeline to the Disney Vacation Club. Both of them started in late 1991 and have since exploded in scale and popularity. 

I’m not being hyperbolic when I state that Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is the most significant event on the Universal annual park calendar. Fans love it so much that Universal recently announced a permanent, year-round installation in Las Vegas. 

Still, the first one happened at Universal Studios Florida, which makes this park home base for the signature event. If you’re unfamiliar with HHN, think of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party without the words “not” and “so.” Yes, this after-hours ticketed event is a creepshow that turns the night into a traumatic event for guests.

Tourists roam through Scare Zones on their way to Houses. In the Scare Zones, Scareactors intimidate and threaten park guests with everything from cutting words and gestures to chainsaws. It can get pretty intense, too.

Last year, an intimidated guest freaked out and bodied a Scareactor, breaking the Universal employee’s arm in the process. Stuff like that happens because Scareactors genuinely terrify guests so much that they temporarily forget the whole thing is fake. 

In 2023, Universal officials could do something that hadn’t been the case in four years. They could plan a full event without the constraints of pandemic-related issues. Also, NBCUniversal’s corporate owner, Comcast, increased the budget as it recognized the explosive growth of HHN and Universal Studios as a whole. The results are obvious. 

Let’s Talk about the Big Three Houses 

HHN 2023 operates ten Houses, all of which are worth your time. However, three of them have garnered more attention than the rest. So, let’s discuss them first.

The Last of Us recreates memorable images and scenes from the popular PlayStation franchise as well as the blockbuster hit series on HBO. The core concept is pretty straightforward even if you haven’t played or watched the franchise, though. It’s the zombie apocalypse.

A father named Joel loses his daughter but then becomes a surrogate to another teen girl named Ellie. The two of them try to stave off frightful monsters, including the dreaded Clickers. You can watch the experience here:

Universal also presents another Stranger Things House this year. We’ve had this franchise before, but this particular House is Stranger Things 4. It recreates some memorable moments from season four of the series.

For fans, that means lots of appearances by Eddie Munson, the dungeon master who…well, you know. We also see Vecna quite a bit, and one of the most memorable deaths from the season, one involving a cheerleader, occurs right at the start. There’s even a bone-crunching sound. Eek!

Finally, the new House that has people talking involves wizards…but not the ones you’d expect. Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate tells the story of two competing wizards fighting for the same spell book. Somehow, the two of them suffer a curse that turns them into dragons. 

You effectively pick a team here when you choose your fate. You can side with fire or ice. Your choice determines what you see in the final scene. 

All three of these Houses are shockingly good in terms of quality and storytelling. More people are talking about Dueling Dragons, but I think the Stranger Things House is perfect!

The Other Seven Houses 

HHN hosts several other Houses connected to iconic horror stories. Those titles are Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count, The Exorcist: Believer, and Universal Monsters: Unmasked. 

The Chucky House is pretty self-explanatory, and while fun, it’s nothing HHN fans haven’t seen before. The Exorcist: Believer is a bit unique in that the House opened before the movie, which is currently scheduled for release in early October. 

Finally, the Universal Monsters House will surprise you in that it’s not based on the most recognizable characters. Instead, characters like Quasimodo and The Invisible Man anchor this year’s Classic Monsters House.

One other House bears mentioning for what it represents. In HHN lore, Dr. Oddfellow is responsible for the death of Jack the Clown. Many of this year’s HHN events explain the life of Dr. Oddfellow. The character also gets a House, Dr. Oddfellow: Twisted Origins.

This year’s event also offers three entirely new House premises. My favorite of them is Yeti: Campground Kills, which is pretty much what it sounds like. A yeti kills a lot of people at a campground. There’s also a clever Expedition Everest reference thrown in for Disney fans, though. You should have no problem spotting it:

Finally, we have Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings, a cult sacrifice story that ends with a terrific gauntlet section, and The Darkest Deal. The latter tells a variant of the story about Blues musician Robert Johnson, who allegedly attained his musical prowess by making a deal with the devil at the crossroads. I’m a bigger fan of Bloodmoon, though. 

Other HHN Highlights

This year’s event hosts five Scare Zones. The best of them is Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood. The concept here is that some Woodstock-loving hippies run afoul of a vampire that turns them. So, you’re squaring off against lots of vampires clad in tie-dye. 

All the other Scare Zones connect to the Dr. Oddfellow theme this year. Those are Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror, Dark Zodiac, Jungle of Doom Expedition Horror, and Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged. You can watch them all here (warning: there’s some swearing from terrified guests):

I also want to highlight a couple of other noteworthy aspects of this year’s event. You’ll face perhaps the longest wait of the night when you order some food at Surfer Boy Pizza. 

The restaurant shown in season four of Stranger Things appears here. Guests seem to like the pizza fun, but they love the experience of eating here just to say that they did.

Finally, there’s this:

Yes, that’s a choreographed flash mob of M3GAN dolls. This dance happens at every HHN event, and it might be the scariest encounter of all. 

Ready to use your Disney Vacation Club Points to head to Universal and check out Halloween Horror Nights? Reach out to our knowledgeable DVC Resale Market Swap Advisor, Ellie Fletcher, and discover the seamless process! Ellie will provide expert guidance and support to ensure a smooth and informed Swap experience!

If you prefer not to utilize your DVC points for booking, you can contact our World of DVC Travel Agency, Be Our Guest Vacations. Simply complete the Universal Quote Form. Our team of experienced Universal planners will assist you in planning your trip at no extra cost!


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