Universal Orlando announces 2019 Horror Nights dates... or does it?

December 16, 2018, 2:17 PM · According to Universal Orlando's website, the next run of Halloween Horror Nights will start earlier than ever, on Friday, September 6, 2019.

Or not. Because shortly after posting the dates for the Halloween Horror Nights 29 yesterday, Universal Orlando deleted that information. Now the page just says that HHN will run on select nights this fall.

Did Universal post next year's dates early by mistake? Or was someone on Universal's website team just pushing dummy data live in error?

Your guess is as good as anyone's. But starting Halloween Horror Nights one week earlier seems plausible. With crowds packing the event from its opening night through close, Universal surely would make more money by extending its biggest and most lucrative hard-ticket event. And it's not like people wouldn't be in the mood yet for a Halloween event on September 6 versus a traditional mid-September Friday start on September 13. Rival Walt Disney World already successfully broke the Labor Day barrier for starting Halloween events by kicking off its Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in August this year.

Universal Orlando announced the dates for 2018's Halloween Horror Nights in March, so dropping that information before Christmas definitely was not expected. Universal typically switches its focus to the Mardi Gras event immediately after Christmas and doesn't start hyping Halloween Horror Nights with date and house announcements until Mardi Gras is underway in the late winter or spring.

Universal also has a new roller coaster-based attraction in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade to promote in 2019, for which we haven't yet gotten an official name or opening date. But its pace of construction suggests that new attraction will open before Halloween Horror Nights gets started in September, so one might expect some promotion for that before the HHN hype train leaves the station.

The dates that Universal had published for Halloween Horror Nights next year were September 6 through November 2. A spot check of Universal's website for hotel rates shows higher prices for the weekend of Sept. 6 than the two weeks preceding or following, which suggests that might indeed be the opening date. But again, we don't know for sure, and probably won't until Universal makes its announcement — for real, this time — likely in February or March.

But if you want to gamble, go right ahead.

Replies (4)

December 16, 2018 at 7:32 PM

"traditional mid-September Friday start on September 13. "
Well... A Friday the 13th date would definitely fall nicely

December 16, 2018 at 9:10 PM

That's actually more incentive to move opening night up a week, IMHO. Friday the 13th for HHN is gonna sell out on its own. No need to leave money on the table by making it the opening night, too.

December 17, 2018 at 5:51 AM

Friday the 13th … 2 hr+ waits, massive logjams at parking and the turnstiles. A hard pass for me.

December 17, 2018 at 1:23 PM

It was wild to me how many people just went to HHN this year and hung out. People all over Central Florida would just head to the parks like that was the place to be for the evening. They were buying up drinks, foods, and deserts like they were spectacular (personally I thought they were w/e). It was like everyone had this plan to only see a house or 2 a night but visit the event a dozen times!

Maybe that's just my skewed impression about Orlando. Maybe I'm old now and didn't get the memo... idk.

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