Halloween Horror Nights has been busy this year, and the crowds will only grow as we get closer to the holiday. If you can afford it, an Express Pass is the way to go. It lets you use a much shorter line for each of the houses, which means you’re pretty much guaranteed to get into all of them. However, it can be a pricey proposition that you might not be able to swing.
If you can’t afford an Express Pass, here’s how to see the event efficiently and minimize your waits. I do it myself on every visit, and even though I have an Express Pass, I never start using it until the last four or five houses:
1) Get there early early early. It’s best if you can do Stay and Scream, which means having a day ticket to the park and then staying inside in one of the holding areas until Halloween Horror Nights starts. Choose the holding pen in the kids area, which puts you in prime position to do my favored pattern. However, if you don’t have a day ticket, get to the front gates very early and stake out a spot in line. They open all of the archways, so don’t be a sheeple and line up where you see the biggest crowd. I’ve actually seen a line in the middle with no one on the sides. If you see that, go to a side arch and slash your wait.
2) Start with the houses in the kids zones. Everyone heads to the soundstage houses first because they’re on the main path. Avoid that by going to Roanoke, the first house in the kids zone. That lets you out in the same spot so you can pop right over to Dollhouse of the Damned next door. It should be open already (the houses open on a staggered schedule), but if not, you can either wait or do Roanoke again as there shouldn’t be a line.
Dollhouse lets you out near the entrance to Halloween, so now you have a choice to make. Halloween opens at 6:30, so if it’s not 6:30 yet, there will be a huge line of people waiting. Instead of joining them, I recommend going to Giggles and Gore, which is near the Beetlejuice theater. It’s a bit of a walk, but there won’t be a line, and the initial crowd should already be through Halloween when you get back. Sometimes Halloween is already long enough to use my Express Pass at that point, but usually standby is still doable.
3) End with the soundstage houses. Two of the four soundstage houses, Walking Dead and From Dusk til Dawn, tend to have long lines all night, and Alien Vs. Predator typically sports a long line too. You can probably get through Dracula without much of a wait, but the last three are going to take up the biggest chunk of your time. Still, since you’re already half done with the houses, it should be no problem to get through them by the end of the night, if not well before.
4) See the shows and go through the scare zones when you’re done with the houses. The Halloween Horror Nights crowd is usually lighter at opening time and crowds as the night progresses. This is especially true on weekend nights when people have to get there from school and work. Use the precious early time to do things that have lines, then see the shows and enjoy the scare zones at your leisure.
I recommend the kids zone for Stay and Scream in this article, but there’s another spot I like to wait. Jump to this article to read about it. Want to avoid lines altogether? Check out this article.