It’s coming up to that time of year again. Soon enough the worlds theme parks will be filled with Halloween events, many of which will be ticketed events, which of course means even more money needs to be spent on your visit. So, let’s have a run down of the major events to see what’s worth it and what’s not.
We’ll keep this pretty simply and compare only the big three, Universal, Disney and Busch. We will of course have a look at some of the smaller events around the world but there’s really no point in comparing them to the huge events put on by the aforementioned parks and resorts.
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights
It’s safe to say we know what to expect from Universals ticketed Halloween event and that’s perfection. Year after year Halloween Horror Nights at both their Hollywood and Orlando resorts have been loved by visitors and critics alike. This year is expected to be no different, Universal have got a great collection of haunted houses and other attractions ready to scare the living daylights out of nervous guests. All with a great movie theme, of course.
Halloween Horror Nights also offer something different from your normal events at parks around the world, Universal are offering what they have dubbed ‘R.I.P Tours’. Simply put, these tours are guided tours of the events at either park which allows for guests to get the most out of their experience at Halloween Horror nights. My particular favourite tour is the ‘Unmasking the Horror’ tour, which gives guests the chance to look behind the scene’s at Halloween Horror Nights including a lights-on look around one of the haunted houses.
There are of course some downsides to Universal’s Halloween offerings. In fact, the events main strength is actually its downfall. It’s just that little bit too scary. Now when I say too scary I don’t mean for an adult, I mean for children aged under 13. the primary demographic for this event is teenagers and young adults, leaving younger children out in the cold. Simply put it’s an event I wouldn’t recommend for younger children.
Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party
The mouse also has a great Halloween offering, although it’s certainly aimed at a younger target audience than its Universal counterpart. The event is held in the Magic Kingdom and as with Halloween Horror Nights is a hard-ticketed event. The event includes a number of unique attractions including trick-or-treating, stage shows and even a special Halloween version of Magic Kingdom’s long-running firework show Wishes, named HalloWishes. This event is brilliant for families with younger children, it gives the chance for the kids to dress up, and the adults too, if you really want to!
The main thing I like about the Halloween party is that it has a really great atmosphere, everyone seems really happy and is there to have fun. Plus it’s great to go and see what costumes people have come up with, from pirates and princesses to Storm Troopers and classic monsters. Adults, don’t be put off by the fact it’s children orientated, if you have kids your sure to have fun.
One thing I will say about the event is it’s really not for teenagers. The attractions are mainly ‘tween’ orientated and teenagers may find some things they find interesting but it’s most likely it won’t really be suited to them. So a great tip for families with young children and teens is to split up. One parent hit Universal with the teenagers whilst the other takes the younger children over to the World. Simple.
The Busch parks around the United States will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Howl-o-Sream events with a host of great attractions at their hard-ticketed events in Williamsburg, Tampa Bay and San Antonio. This Halloween event is certainly more adult-orientated, even more so than Halloween Horror Nights, for that reason I really wouldn’t recommend it for children. However, Busch have got a great host of shows, haunted houses and ‘scare zones’ across the three locations which should be both scary and entertaining, as they have been for the last ten years.
The only real downside to these events is that it’s not a great idea to take the kids, but at the same time that makes it even better for adults and teens as you know you won’t have young children running around your feet all night whilst you’re trying to enjoy yourself wandering around the many unique attractions and events.
So, what’s the best? Well, that depends who you are and who you’re going with. If you’re an adult who’s not planning on taking the children along Halloween Horror Nights takes it. Universals offering is simply brilliant and offers the perfect mix of scares and fun, a truly worthwhile experience. Going with children would lead you to the Mouse, the Halloween party is great for kids and parents alike. Don’t write-off Busch though, any of the three parks will offer you scares like no other, so give it a try.
Another notable mention for those in California is Knott’s Berry Farm’s event ‘Halloween Haunt’ which always goes down well with locals and visitors. It’s also close to both Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, so if you’re in the area for a long weekend it may just be worth checking out.