Good evening from the very first night of Halloween Horror Nights! Thanks to our annual pass, we arrived at the event early, allowing us to experience Stay and Scream. This feature grants us access to the park before it officially opens for the event, providing a head start that eager Halloween Horror Nights enthusiasts like us truly appreciate.

Arriving at the park around 2 in the afternoon, well ahead of the event’s official 6 PM start time, revealed the dedication of fellow fans. Some had already formed a line near the gates, eagerly anticipating the festivities. This year, Universal had made a few noteworthy improvements, including better audio outside the gates and moving the scare zone and opening ceremonies closer to the iconic arches to provide a better view. A platform was also set up for Dr. Oddfellow, the event’s icon, to perform the opening ceremonies.

Our chosen Stay and Scream location was the New York area, conveniently located near Finnegan’s. This area not only offered food options but also served as the waiting spot for those aiming to get into the haunted houses first. The line had already snaked around the park, but our determination fueled our excitement.

The weather took a spooky turn as the rain began to pour and lightning flashed nearby. It added an extra layer of thrill to our adventure, but we were well-prepared with umbrellas in hand as it is tradition for rain on opening night.

We couldn’t help but notice the changes to the scare zones’ setup as we ventured further into New York. The preparation for Halloween Horror Nights was evident, and we knew we were in for a night filled with spooky surprises and adrenaline-pumping jump scares.

Our first stop was the Stranger Things house, which boasted a pleasantly short 25-minute wait time. Venturing into the Upside Down, we encountered familiar scenes and characters from the show. From Eleven’s telekinetic powers to a terrifying Demogorgon, the house immersed us in the world of Hawkins, Indiana, setting the tone for the night.

The scares in the other houses, such as Blood Moon: Dark Offerings and The Exorcist: Believer, were equally thrilling, with each offering its unique brand of horror. Dueling Dragons provided a nostalgic twist, and Yeti Campground Kills added humor to the mix.

Venturing into Dr. Oddfellows and Dark Zodiac scare zones immersed us in macabre and celestial nightmares, respectively. Vamp ’69 took us back in time to an music festival with a great soundtrack. Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count balanced humor and horror, entertaining us with its killer doll antics.

As the night progressed, the scare zones came alive, adding an extra layer of excitement to our adventure. These zones were a delightful mix of fright and humor, with scare actors playing their roles to perfection. It was in these zones that we truly appreciated the creativity and dedication of the event’s team.

With the clock nearing midnight, we decided to tackle one more house, The Last of Us, along with a stop for pizza fries. As for the house, while it closely followed the game, some references eluded us as we had only seen the show.

Halloween Horror Nights had delivered an unforgettable evening filled with frights, laughter, and the kind of immersive horror that only Universal Orlando Resort can provide. With tired but exhilarated hearts, we left the park, already anticipating our return to face the terrors of the night once again.

In the end, Stranger Things remained our favorite house, capturing the essence of the show that had thrilled us throughout the night.