First Timers HHN Ticketing Questions

April 5, 2024, 1:47 PM

As I see, tickets are now available for HHN Orlando and as my other post expressed, we are UO newbs. So a quick 2 question post before I make a purchase....

1.) If doing the RIP tour, it says that admission to the event is NOT included. So if I read that right, we must purchase the base $89 ticket AND the $400 RIP if we want to do this? Yikes! That's almost $1000 for 2 people, yet HHN will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.

2.) All the HHN tickets (base, express, and RIP) all say non-refundable.YET the RIP says "48 hours notice needed for a full refund". I find that confusing. If we need to cancel the entire trip which is always possible, are we out whatever we invested in HHN?

As always, your input is valuable and greatly appreciated!


Replies (18)

April 5, 2024, 5:37 PM

The answer to your first question is yes. You need Horror Nights admission in addition to an RIP Tour reservation.

I'm not sure about your second question, as the language on the website does appear confusing. When in doubt, it can't hurt to reach out to someone at Universal Orlando for clarity. I'm not sure if travel insurance can be purchased for this sort of thing, but if it can, you might want to look at that as well.

Hope you have a great time!

April 6, 2024, 11:06 PM

I haven't done the RIP Tour myself, but this is what I was told from a friend...

1. Correct, you must purchase both a regular HHN ticket and a RIP Tour separately. RIP is an add-on product that does not include admission.

2. Just like most admission tickets, HHN tickets are non-refundable no matter what. The RIP Tour is refundable if canceled at least 48 hours before your tour time, and after that point refunds are not available. Therefore, if you had to cancel your trip, you would lose the cost of the HHN ticket but would be able to get the amount of the RIP Tour refunded.

Hopefully someone with first-hand experience can confirm that is correct, but if not and you're uncertain, I'd highly recommend contacting UOR directly before booking.

April 7, 2024, 8:47 AM

I don’t know if I would want to do the RIP since I often don’t want to spoil how things are done, but that is just me. I will say the express pass add on (whatever it is called) is absolutely essential. With that there is no need to worry about the waits. A couple of tips: 1. The houses are better once it gets dark, because it allows your eyes to acclimate to the darkness better. So save your favorite houses for later. 2. Wear good shoes as you will walk a lot. 3. It is definitely very R rated. 4. It is some of the most fun I have had at a theme park. 5. Don’t Miss any of them, as houses you may not be interested in could turn out to be your favorite. 6. Depending on the date it could be hot. This makes the express pass even more important as there is limited shade when the sun is still out.

April 8, 2024, 1:08 AM

No way in hell would I ever drop $1,000 on one night of HHN!! At that price if you do all the houses you are paying like $50 PER HOUSE (per person).

If you go on a weekday and get there early you can still probably do most if not all the houses. While yes you won't have as good of a time, and will wait in a few long lines, think of how much money a grand is to spend on ONE night!

Just my $.02

April 8, 2024, 6:06 AM

Of course those tours at Disney come at an unbelievably price. The RIP is a fraction, but I think the standard express pass plus the entry is all you need for HHN. My thought is that RIPs are good for super, die-hard horror fans who are really into the nature of haunted houses. I have put on and been involved in houses in Halloween, and that cost is too much for me. Also, one of what I liked about HHN was the spontaneity of the event, something you might lose on a tour, but whatever makes you happy.

April 8, 2024, 8:29 AM

@HappyHaunt - The traditional RIP tour does not really give any of the secrets away. Now, there is a daytime tour that Universal runs that allows guests to tour the mazes with the lights on and without actors. During the normal nighttime RIP Tour, you're guided around to the houses with immediate access to each one. The tour guides do provide some additional backstory to each maze (which I really enjoy because it's far more in depth than what is printed on the map) and talk about some of the highlights of each maze before you go in, but at no point do guests go "behind the curtain". Tour guides will also facilitate discussions after each house with your group and may talk about how some effects were done or how actors are instructed to perform, but none of that type of discussion occurs before you get to go through the house first. In other words, the guides do not spoil anything ahead of time, but might drop some hints of things to look out for before you go in.

I agree that RIP is really expensive, and personally it's a bit insulting that you not only have to purchase the tour, but you also have to but a standard HHN admission - I think they do it this way because a lot of people that do RIP have Frequent Fear passes and don't need admission to get into the event. However, having done HHN both ways, I've had far more fun experiencing the event with RIP. For me, doing HHN without Express or RIP is a lot of tiring work - and I've only done it as a solo visitor, so I can only imagine what it's like if you're with a partner or group. I've been able to see all the houses and scare zones in a single night on a normal ticket, but it was really hard, and you have to be disciplined to make sure to stay on your plan - it's also a REALLY long night and pretty much requires "Stay and Scream", meaning you're in the park during the day and likely staying past 1 AM (and probably getting up early the next morning for another grueling park day if you visit Orlando like we do). The other underrated aspect of doing HHN with a standard admission is that it's a ton of walking if you want to see everything in one night. I think I've noted this before, but not only are houses distributed across almost the entirety of USF (minus Diagon Alley), but all of the houses are in backstage areas. That means you're walking not only through the entirety of USF, but you're also walking MILES in backstage areas and through dozens of switchbacks in the house queues. The RIP Tour can cut a mile or more off your walking total over the course of the night because you walk between many of the mazes through the backstage areas instead of walking back into the park and the backstage again to mazes that might be right next to each other. Even if you buy Express, which is still pretty expensive (though significantly less than RIP), you still have to make those long walks backstage and back into the park between mazes.

In the end, it's a personal choice, and having done HHN both with and without RIP, I cannot recommend the RIP Tour more highly not only because of the efficiency and certainty it brings to the experience, but it's just a lot more fun, especially if you get a good guide and are touring with an active group, because it's so much more enjoyable to talk about your experience with other like-minded fans (most people that do RIP are serious fans and want to talk about the event).

April 8, 2024, 9:09 AM

Thank you all!! That is indeed valuable answers/input. We chatted at length about this last night and while one of us is a horror fan (me), one of us is not. Though my wife and I enjoy horror films together, I'm the "theme park" buff who loves this sort of thing. The first time I took her to Disney, we did the Backstage Magic tour which took 8 hours and she never let me forget it! Let's just say I got more out of it than she did.

She feels the RIP price is astronomical for what you get and we've already plunked enough down on the trip. And honestly, both being middle-aged and not in peak shape, we tire easier than we used to. So that's a feather in my cap for going with RIP. But base+express is half the price and will let us visit most houses just with more walking and fewer cool facts. I think that is where we will meet mutual ground. Maybe we just relax the morning of and not hit the park until the event starts.

April 8, 2024, 9:32 AM

@Sarah - It does sound like Express might be the best solution for you. However, I would just warn you that Express is not the "silver bullet" you might think it is. Express does reduce wait times pretty dramatically during the height of the night, but you could still find yourself waiting in some pretty long lines (120 minute waits might be reduced to 20-30 minutes with Express). I will also still highly recommend using Stay and Scream, because if you plan on showing up to the front gate when the event starts, you're probably not physically getting into the park for 30-45 minutes because getting through the gates can be such a chore (unless you're willing to show up at the gate an hour before the event starts). Maybe if you show up at 7-8, you might get through the gates pretty quickly, but anytime before 7 will probably result in a pretty long line at the gates, and that doesn't even include massive backups to get into the parking garage if you're not staying at one of the on-site hotels (or a nearby hotel within walking distance or with a park shuttle). Just something to think about, because I've heard nothing but horror stories about guests just trying to get into the park for HHN. I've always done Stay and Scream (even when I've done RIP), and it's a massive advantage just to get a head start on guests waiting to be let in through the front gates.

April 8, 2024, 10:47 AM

@ Russell - Sage words of advice and it makes perfect sense. We are at Royal Pacific so fortunately we need not worry about parking. And "Stay and Scream" seems to be the logical choice. However, I remember someone commenting about it being very hot and unshaded in the "waiting area" you use for Stay and Scream.

April 8, 2024, 11:04 AM

It depends on what holding area you choose. I've typically gone to the Finnegan's holding area in the New York section of the park. There's a decent amount of shade there, and you can always go inside and have a drink (though it can be pretty crowded in there during the changeover). The best part of that holding area is that you usually have access to 5-6 different houses, 4 of which are typically in the soundstages (i.e. not reliant on dark skies to be effective like the tents, though you should bring dark sunglasses so you can have your eyes adjusted to see everything). What I've found is that the park sets up barricades to form a queue to each set of houses, but you really don't need to get into those lines until @5:45PM unless you absolutely want to be first.

April 8, 2024, 11:53 AM

I go once a year using my premier pass, and I always do stay and scream. Yes, it can get 'hot' but dress accordingly and you'll be OK. I'll join the line around 4pm, and have always been let in before the official 6pm start. If you pick the right area you can visit 2 or 3 houses before the rest of the crowds arrive.

I always go in September, mid week, so it's definitely a quieter period.

April 8, 2024, 5:42 PM

Thanks for the RIP insight Russell. I might do it if I fall into lots of money. I did the stay and scream and express pass and enjoyed it immensely. I will add by the end of my night it was after midnight. I wanted to get a monsters coffee mug that I saw in one of the shops but waited until the end. It was one block away. I could not walk one extra step so I had to leave with my coffee mug desires unfulfilled. We had SO much fun. I cannot wait to do it again.

April 9, 2024, 12:42 AM

I think its worth noting in your original post from weeks ago that Russell said RIP is $200 on top of admission, where your post now is saying they are charging $400 on top of admission. It must have sold really well resulting in a massive price increase, and i'm sure at $200 it seemed more justified (I still wouldn't get it but its worth noting the difference lol).

Edited: April 9, 2024, 7:49 AM

Yep..."starting" at $359.99 this year. So plus base $82.99 is $442.98.

Edited: April 11, 2024, 5:42 PM

I must say, visiting that theme park was an absolute blast! I can confidently say that it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in a long time.

April 15, 2024, 8:10 AM

@Sarah- Nobody mentioned this, but I will. If you visit UO HHN in September, bring a poncho or an umbrella. It is still the rainy season down here at that time and when it rains, it is a monsoon. Be prepared to get soaked and walk in sloshy shoes for the night. Hopefully, your night will go well but it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. The last two years when I went, I left the parked drenched. Also, if it does rain, they close the houses in the back of the park and there aren't any scare actors in the streets. They will slowly return if the weather permits.

April 15, 2024, 12:46 PM

@MischeifManaged - Thank you! That is good to know because we haven't been to Orlando in September in quite some time. Our last trip was mid-October and it was over 100 degrees almost every day we were there (which CMs told us was very unusual for that late in the year). Since rainouts aren't refunded, that can seriously impact the value of whatever we end up purchasing.

Edited: April 19, 2024, 4:47 PM

Some great responses already but thought I would share anyways. (Sorry for the delay had a hard time logging back in!)

1- As mentioned RIP doesn't include the entrance fee so you do need to buy the $89 ticket and then the RIP tour.

2- The RIP tour is indeed cancellable 48 hours prior to arrival but the HHN tickets are not. Had to change our dates one year and ended up having to buy new HHN tickets but the RIP tour was easy to change without penalty.

We've done HHN 6 times now and our first 3 years we did Express only. All 3 times we managed to see everything and we didn't find the waits to be too bad. If you end up choosing this option make sure you book a Wednesday / Thursday night. Its less crowded so the wait times for express are not as bad as Fridays or the weekends. Also to maximize your day definitely plan to do the stay and scream.

After 3 years of doing that we splurged and did the RIP tour. We've never gone back to Express and would not do HHN now without RIP. Its a big decision for sure but we find the price totally worth it and such a stress free night. I'm the hardcore theme park person and my husband couldn't care less and is not a huge fan of horror like me but regardless of this he loves doing the RIP tour. The walking on the tour is massively reduced because the express lanes still have huge lines to walk but RIP skips that. There are plenty of breaks throughout the tour which have water stations and drinks for purchase if you want. Plus the reserved seating for the show is great since you don't have to line up for it to make sure you get to see it. (Express does have priority as well though)

If you do chose do to the RIP tour I would highly recommend you do the stay and scream at Cafe La Bamba to avoid having to do the check in at the VIP entrance of the park. The line for the check in when doing it directly at Cafe La Bamba is so much shorter and you are the first to enjoy the buffet before it gets crazy busy. It also means you can get on one of the first tours which will leave you extra time at the end to do rides should you wish.

If you find the RIP too expensive I wouldn't worry about getting Express its definitely possible to do everything but avoid Friday, Saturday, or Sunday :)

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