Halloween Fans Fill Universal Orlando to Capacity Again

September 19, 2020, 2:07 PM · All three Universal Orlando theme parks temporarily hit their pandemic capacities again today, as the opening of two houses from the canceled Halloween Horror Nights event drew fans to the resort.

Locals have been flocking to Universal Orlando on weekends ever since the resort launched an aggressive seasonal pass offer to Florida residents, giving them access to the parks through Christmas Eve for the price of a one-day ticket. The parks filled to capacity over the Labor Day weekend, and the opening of two Halloween Horror Nights houses today provided another strong draw to the parks.

Universal canceled its after-hours, hard-ticket Halloween Horror Nights events in Orlando and Hollywood earlier this summer. But with two original IP houses basically complete inside the sound stages at Universal Studios Florida, the Orlando resort decided to open those walk-through experiences to day guests this weekend.

The resort is billing this as a test, for one weekend only, so that likely inspired more fans to come out today and tomorrow, rather than risk Universal not continuing the test on future weekends and causing fans to miss out on this chance to see any part of HHN this year.

Of course, limited capacities for the physically distanced experiences meant that many fans who did come out today would not get to go through the houses anyway. Universal was using its Virtual Line system to assign entrance times for the two mazes: Revenge of the Tooth Fairy and Universal Monsters - The Bride of Frankenstein Lives.

Since I am in Southern California, I was not able to go through the houses today to review them for you, but I will hope that Theme Park Insider readers in the Orlando area will provide their thoughts about the houses for us in the comments. From what I have heard initially, Universal is using a Hollywood-style pulse system to stagger people's entry into the houses, with team members inside to enforce six feet of safe physical distancing between groups. Universal also has installed clear plastic barriers between guests and scareactors, which some fans have described making the house feel like a walk through a museum exhibit.

But fans have been praising the set decoration and art design of the houses. Even behind Plexiglass, scareactors can still find ways to make your scream, too. After all, a Halloween Horror Nights museum exhibit is still better than no HHN at all.

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Replies (7)

September 19, 2020 at 4:30 PM

Any word on crowds at Blackpool Pleasure Beach? Almost all of Lancashire has been put on enhanced restrictions, except oddly the city of Blackpool. I can’t help but think someone influential was planning a trip...

September 20, 2020 at 3:21 AM

Chad, my friend went last week. The Pleasure Beach is operating measures similar to other parks in the US - pre-booked tickets, reduced capacity, certain open-areas off limits etc. Whilst the rest of Lancashire is having further lockdown restrictions Blackpool appears exempt based on it's infection rate, being separate from the rest of Lancashire Council and Government sanction, however, the resort is seeing an increase in cases, albeit, not a high as other areas, particularly the metropolitan areas. A strange decision but one which appears to protect its tourism for as long as possible. A dangerous precedent to me.

September 20, 2020 at 11:26 AM

I agree it was strange Plum. How were the crowds though? Has Illuminations started yet?

September 21, 2020 at 2:32 AM

Chad, the police warned people not to have a "final blast" this weekend before the heightened measures are introduced on Tuesday, and, according to press reports yesterday, Blackpool was very busy with social distancing being ignored. Idiotic, if you ask me. The "Illuminations" are still scheduled to take place.

September 21, 2020 at 8:02 AM

i'm a stickler about covid safety so wouldn't embellish a visit just for good PR but i have been hitting my backyard orlando parks hard since they've reopened. for one, i'm out of work and have APs to all parks, so i've been taking advantage of the short waits. i've probably ridden space mountain more in the last 6 weeks than in the last 6 years. overall, i think the parks are doing a great job and i have never once felt unsafe. however, i do wish sea world would get stricter on people walking around with no masks. i did go to universal last weekend and whereas it was busier than it's been, i still thought they were doing a really good job and once our virtual queue time came up, the rides were basically walk ons (even hagrid's). so i say get out and enjoy your local parks while you can. they are helping me keep my sanity!!

September 21, 2020 at 10:46 AM

Maybe it is just me but I think Universal should make park reservations like Disney or even Seaworld are doing. It is super frustrating to go there and wait in line for a while only to be told the parks are full!

September 21, 2020 at 2:08 PM

Without a reservation system. Anyone know how Universal Orlando is handling capacity limits with on-site hotels such as Hard Rock, Royal Pacific etc...? We used to go to the parks in the morning, come back and hit the pool, and then head back in the parks. Pre-Covid. Stay safe everyone.

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