Any tips on how to maximize my experience?

CoopF22

Rookie
Apr 4, 2018
172
So I've been going to HHN Orlando for the past four years. I go with a group of friends every year. We all purchase the express pass, go through maybe three or four houses, grab a bite to eat, and then finish the remaining houses. All while passing through the scare zones. Everything kind of feels like it happens really fast and the night ends before I know it. I have fun, but I always feel like something is missing.
Any tips on how to fully experience and enjoy the event? Or do we generally cover everything?
 
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Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
19,814
Orlando, FL
So I've been going to HHN Orlando for the past four years. I go with a group of friends every year. We all purchase the express pass, go through maybe three or four houses, grab a bite to eat, and then finish the remaining houses. All while passing through the scare zones. Everything kind of feels like it happens really fast and the night ends before I know it. I have fun, but I always feel like something is missing.
Any tips on how to fully experience and enjoy the event? Or do we generally cover everything?
Sounds like you're doing it right.
 

Imperius

Veteran Member
Feb 28, 2015
3,395
Are you doing stay and scream? If so do the early opening houses first without express and then any other house with a wait less than 30 mins. Then eat and hit a show. Then use express pass on any house you haven’t done and re-do the other ones with express. It’s what I always do.
 
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MrBlonde

Rookie
Aug 7, 2018
260
I always like taking a break in the middle and I usually go eat on Citywalk just to get away from some of the HHN crowds.

You should also try to just linger in an area and people watch. Some times that's some of the best parts for me.

The only thing I think that's missing is going back for another night! :freak:
 
Aug 1, 2018
117
As Mr Blonde rightly said, hang out in a scarezone. We've grabbed a slice of pizza (or pizza fries of course!) and sat outside Louies or Moes Tavern and just enjoyed watching the scare actors at work.

Chainsaw clowns in Springfield two years ago genuinely provided some of the best laughs we've ever had at HHN!
 

Neo

Newcomer
May 8, 2019
61
Do some rides! Rip Rocket is a million times better in the dark. Mummy is always a blast and MIB usually has almost zero line. You spend more time walking to the start of the line than you actually spend lined up. Fast and Furious isn't half bad, heard about how horrible it was for like 6 months prior to heading down for HHN (my whole group lives out of state) so expected it to be garbage...so we were all pleasantly surprised with it. And Gringots is great as well.

I personally don't care of the virtual rides, so Transformers, Jimmy Fallon and The Simpsons aren't my thing (Fast and Furious / Kong are my limit for virtual rides that don't give me an instant headache).

Rides are a great break from the houses when you have Express passes.

Hop outside the park and enjoy a hurricane and catch some dueling pianos at Pat O'Breins.

We used to go Uni/Islands at 8am and then do the stay and scream at Finnegans and then go non-stop HHN. Now that we're more laid back (aka OLD) and mix it up throughout the night it's a lot more enjoyable and we still get in as much HHN stuff as we did back at HHN14.
 

shiekra38

Veteran Member
Dec 13, 2009
9,827
Florida
So I've been going to HHN Orlando for the past four years. I go with a group of friends every year. We all purchase the express pass, go through maybe three or four houses, grab a bite to eat, and then finish the remaining houses. All while passing through the scare zones. Everything kind of feels like it happens really fast and the night ends before I know it. I have fun, but I always feel like something is missing.
Any tips on how to fully experience and enjoy the event? Or do we generally cover everything?
Time moves faster when I'm at the parks

Anywho, you're doing everything right it sounds like

Making a couple of days out of it would be the only suggestion I would have
 
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WelcomeHome

Newcomer
Jul 22, 2016
58
I agree that time really does fly no matter what you do, but doing multiple nights can help with that; alternately, doing S&S at at a minimum. I look forward to pseudo-traditions I have that are feasible thanks to S&S, like having a Dufftoberfest at the beer garden while we wait for the first houses to open or wandering through a dark, frosty Diagon Alley before the regular admission guests have made it to the back of the park. Having your bite to eat in view of a scarezone is a must, and I concur that if your timeline allows it, the rides at night are a blast, especially ones like the Mummy that already have a "spooky" vibe. Sometimes the pre-HHN traditions can add to the excitement as well -- I buy a T-shirt every year themed either to a house I'm looking forward to or something Halloween-y.
 
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Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
2,240
So I've been going to HHN Orlando for the past four years. I go with a group of friends every year. We all purchase the express pass, go through maybe three or four houses, grab a bite to eat, and then finish the remaining houses. All while passing through the scare zones. Everything kind of feels like it happens really fast and the night ends before I know it. I have fun, but I always feel like something is missing.
Any tips on how to fully experience and enjoy the event? Or do we generally cover everything?
Just sit around and watch the zones.
When you are eating maybe you can pick a place near a zone and eat near the zone. Or have something to drink near the zone. Thats all really.
 
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Campster

Newcomer
Sep 11, 2018
7
It really depends on your stay (or whether you're a local). If you're only able to do one night, rushing through all the houses with express is probably the way to do it - the houses are the main attraction, after all, and you only have a few hours to cram everything in.

But if it's at all possible, I'd recommend slowing down. There's lots to see and do. The scarezones are good fun, for example! There are props to look at and little mini-shows to see, from dance numbers to murderous skits to the occasional insult comedy bit. There are characters that have their own little ticks and quirks and you actually can interact with them, unlike the houses where characters exist basically just to distract or jump out. Some people love taking pictures of the twisted iconography or selfies with the monsters, other people like grabbing a drink and watching people get scared, and still others just like to absorb the mood (which can vary from a campy spooky party like Killer Klowns or Vamp '85 up through genuinely unsettling and aggressive like the chainsaw clown horde in the Simpsons).

I'd also recommend doing the houses more than once. While nothing beats a really great first run-through where surprises await around every turn, going through a house more than once is often pretty rewarding. There may be scares you missed the first time around for any number of reasons - the timing was off, the scare actor wasn't working that shift for some reason, you got caught up in a cast change, or maybe in the din of it all you just completely missed it. Or heck, maybe you forgot about one or two that *did* get you the first time. Either way, going through houses multiple times tends to reveal a lot of stuff you missed the first time, and while nothing is as sweet as that first walk through there's still plenty of enjoyment to be had soaking up the artistry, construction, and environmental storytelling if nothing else.

Then there are the shows. While I do miss the past few years where we had two different shows to go watch, AoV still puts on a pretty great dance show. It's not exactly terrifying, but it's loud and bombastic and high-energy, and the scenes they show tend to be tinged with aggressive/monstrous implications if not literally trying to scare you. It fits in with what HHN has sort of turned into - a spooky, horror themed party. Mostly it's a good way to get off your feet for a bit while still having a good time, especially if you've been hitting the houses hard.

Depending on your disposition, there's also merch. This varies wildly with how much disposable income you have and how much you care about the properties on offer in any given year, but it's at least worth stopping in the tribute store to see what they've got. Like, it's crassly consumeristic and I don't know how much anyone *needs* a Killer Klowns from Outer Space lanyard or a Hellbilly Deluxe t-shirt, but still, if you're looking for ways to make the event feel more meaningful that kind of stuff might help to get you in the mood.
Food remains like, the one big thing that kind of sucks at HHN (and in the parks at Universal more broadly). Still, it's not like there *aren't* traditions here that make HHN a bigger event than "slam some houses and hit the bricks." Twisted Taters are beloved, as are Pizza Fries. There are specialty drinks unique to each year (RIP Jack'd Up), and lately they've started doing themed foodstuffs for properties (all the Stranger Things waffles stuff, surely to be expanded with some Scoops Ahoy ice cream options this year). So that, too, can elevate the evening from "let's do four houses and grab something at Finnigan's" to a bit more of a special/event thing.

It really depends on what you're looking for and how much time you have. If you only have one night, and/or you just want to get most scared you can be as fast as you can, hitting up the houses and bouncing is probably the way to go. But really, HHN (and this is increasingly true in recent years) is less of an event aiming to scare the pants off of you and more of a big Halloween themed party celebrating horror films, spooky moods, and the occasional fright. And if you can approach it from that perspective it's a really fun event that has lots to do.