May 12, 2020
By: Rick Wilks
We still don’t know when Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure will open. Some employees at City Walk said they were told last week today, May 11, was going to be the opening date for them, but then that didn’t happen, Universal decided to wait longer and no reopening date has been announced yet.
But, many of us are asking about one of the top-rated Halloween events in the country, “Halloween Horror Nights”!? Is it going to happen? Scheduled dates are September 10 – November 1, 2020. How many houses will there be? I’ve heard 10. What about scare zones? 7 or 8? Will the rides be open? After all, it will be the event’s 30th Anniversary, so let the rumors begin.
Rides are normally lightly attended at these events with all of the other activities of the night taking place, so social distancing guidelines should be doable for them, but what about those 1-2 hours or longer wait lines for the houses, let alone the bumper to bumper snake of people once you are inside the house? and the tight spaces, plastic curtains, drapes and such dividing up the scenes as you walk through the haunted house maze, everyone comes in contact with these and has to touch?
Actors are not allowed to touch, to all other issues should be able to be fixed and redesigned without anything taken away from the scares we are all used to. The lines will be a bigger obstacle as 6-foot social distancing will require more thought. Ticket sales may also be an issue and need to be restructured as even though there are date-specific tickets, many ticket options in recent years have provided multi-visits or even unlimited visits throughout the run of the event with no specific dates having to be reserved prior to showing up at the gate.
Rock and roll has been a part of many of the prior years, houses have been designed with the help of Slash (by the way Slash, are you still coming to Raymond James Stadium in August with Axel?), Ozzy, Rob Zombie, and Alice Cooper. Well this year, it is rumored that Billie Eilish will help in the designing of one of the house mazes, maybe even with her music? She is a big fan of HHN and she did attend the event in 2018 and 2019. Others rumored include possibly houses or scare zones based on Beetlejuice, Haunting of the Hill House and maybe even another Stranger Things house, and don’t forget those ever-popular famous Universal Monsters always get mentioned.
We should know soon enough though because this event requires a massive set construction with props, costumes, mazes, and such starting months ahead of time. We will update this story as soon as details are rolled out.