Halloween Horror Nights has officially begun at both the
Universal Studios Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. Out of all the Halloween theme park events, Universal Studios reigns supreme with its haunted houses, cute merch, and scary good food. You can’t go wrong heading to either HHN this year, but you might be wondering, which is better between Halloween Horror Nights 2022 Orlando or Hollywood? Having gone to both events in Florida and California, there is a clear winner for which event is better this year for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights 2022.
When you think of Halloween Horror Nights, you may think of the
top-tier haunted houses that make you feel as if you’ve stepped into the movie, TV show, or story that has inspired the house. Universal Studios has a long history of monster movies, so it makes sense they’d know how to build sets and scenes that are totally immersive and put you right in the middle of the horror. Along with their haunted houses, Universal Studios also has scare zones throughout the parks that have their own themes as well. These two attractions along with the food, drinks, merch, and Insta-worthiness of it all were taken into consideration when determining which Halloween Horror Nights 2022 was better this year: Orlando or Hollywood? If you’re unsure where to go to get your spook on, here is a comparison of the two events to see which coast truly is the best coast for Halloween Horror Nights. Winner: Hollywood
This may seem blasphemous from the start, but hear me out. If we’re counting the Terror Tram at Universal Studios Hollywood as a scare zone, that automatically takes the gold. The Terror Tram is the one thing that sets Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood apart from its sister on the east coast.
For anyone unfamiliar, the Terror Tram is how Universal Studios incorporates their backlot tour into HHN. Guests get a chance to step off the tram and walk through iconic sets from
War of the Worlds and Nope that have scare actors placed throughout. There’s also an opportunity to take a pic with Norman Bates at the actual Psycho house. This year, Hollywood also has Death Eaters roaming Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
While Orlando has more scare zones spaced throughout the park, you can’t top Death Eaters and getting to walk through Jupiter's Claim.
In the past, Hollywood’s haunted houses have topped Orlando’s. While the Florida version usually has more houses with more park space, Hollywood knows how to put together a set that makes you feel as though you’re in the scene. However, Orlando really outdid itself this year.
There are several haunted houses that appear at both Orlando and Hollywood, like
Halloween, The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare, The Horrors of Blumhouse, and Universal Monsters: Legends Collide. While they may be the same, they are set up totally different and there’s a clear winner — Orlando. While the Blumhouse haunted house is far superior in Hollywood, Orlando wins at all the rest. Florida also has the most stunning and visually impressive haunted house of the year with Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake. Winner: Orlando
For variety, taste, and Insta-worthiness, Orlando wins for foodies. The Orlando event has become like a mini food festival with booths set up around the park featuring their frightfully fun menu. Some highlights this year include the skull pizza, rice crispy treat that looks like ground meat, and of course, the fan-favorite Twisted Taters.
Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood Winner: Hollywood
Sure, Orlando has the best drink available at Halloween Horror Nights this year with their Save Your Tears cocktail at The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare Bar, but Hollywood has a bigger and more picture-perfect menu. In fact, there’s an entire
The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare Bar with four themed cocktails, snacks, and photo opportunities in Hollywood.
Not only that, but they have the Dia De Los Muertos Plaza with a margarita bar and tons of space to hang out in and decompress after getting scared out of your mind at a haunted house. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there are
Killer Klowns-inspired milkshakes, Ruijing Popkorn Shake and Acid Pie Shake, as well. Winner: Hollywood
To remember your frightfully fun evening, you want to snap some scary good photos and Hollywood would be the most Insta-worthy of the two. As mentioned before, the Death Eaters,
Psycho house, and cocktails are all moments that are prime for the ‘Gram. I also found that they were allowing photos inside the haunted houses in Hollywood — as long as you don’t record or use external flash — which was not a thing in Orlando. So, go ahead and snap away. Winner: Hollywood
The worst part of Halloween Horror Nights is the long standby lines. Paying for an Express Pass may not be in your budget since it is expensive AF, but it does save you tons of time. However, if you’re going to be waiting in those long lines, Hollywood was at least a little better than Orlando. That’s not saying much, considering you have to walk what feels like forever to get to some of the haunted houses, but you won’t have to wait as long once you get there.
The Tribute Store at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando has become like an attraction itself. It’s where almost all the
themed merch for HHN can be found and is gorgeously set up with some photo-ops as well. This is why Orlando takes the crown for merch. You could find pretty much the same items on both coasts. However, I will give an honorable mention to Hollywood for having exclusive Nope and Killer Klowns from Outer Space merch that is not available in Orlando. Orlando
Just like the Mummy, Wolf Man, and Dracula fighting in the Universal Monsters haunted house, you may love both Orlando and Hollywood, but there has to be a winner. This year, Orlando just barely beats out Hollywood. While the west coast version may have won more battles, Orlando really is the premiere event with more haunted houses that are better designed, the best cocktail on the menu, and delicious as well as Instagrammable food. In the areas that Hollywood beat out Orlando, it was still a tight race. Reflecting back on both, Orlando just wins. However, either Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando or Hollywood should be on your to-do list in 2022.
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