Halloween Horror Nights 26 Scare Zone Pictorial
Scare Zones are outdoor areas that are spaced around the park during Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). Each zone has a theme, special props, and costumed Scareactors who interact with guests in various ways.
Scare Zones are one of our favorite aspects of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). There are no wait times to experience a Scare Zone, and each walkthrough feels unique. Scare Zones can also provide some of the best scares at HHN. While you are busy staring at props or a Scareactor who is in front of you, it is easy for a second Scareactor to sneak up behind you and give you a good scare.
You can get a brief overview of each Scare Zone and see a list of Haunted Houses for this year in our HHN 26 Event Guide. Since HHN is a separately ticketed event, you may also want to explore our Guide to HHN Ticket Options.
HHN 26 Scare Zones
Halloween Horror Nights 26 features five Scare Zones:
- A Chance in Hell
- Vamp '55
- Dead Man's Wharf
- Lair of the Banshees
- Survive or Die
A Chance in Hell
A Chance in Hell is a showcase of sorts for Chance, this year's HHN icon. It is located in the Production Central area of Universal Studios Florida. You'll find it between the American Story House and the Krampus House. The Scare Zone features several small stages decorated with blood-based graffiti and the remains of Chance's most recent victims. Chance, herself, can be found on one of the stages, where she giggles a lot, makes small speeches, and interacts with guests. She is even willing to pose for pics if you're feeling brave enough to approach the stage. Chance's many cellmates/followers roam the street between the stages looking for recruits.
All of the Scare Zones have great Scareactors who are really good at what they do. They work hard to scare the guests that come through and seem to do everything they can to make sure people have a good time. The Scareactors in A Chance in Hell are especially fun to interact with. They laugh manically, put on small skits, and create a certain level of insanity that can't be found in the other Scare Zones.
If you step though the Universal Studios Florida gates and walk into the Hollywood area of the park (on the right), the Vamp '55 Scare Zone is one of the first things you'll encounter. This Scare Zone takes guests back in time to the 1955 Hollywood High School Homecoming Parade where everyone showed up to demonstrate their school spirit - the principle, the teachers, the football players, the cheerleaders, the Homecoming Queen, and even the school band. But then a group of greasers from a rival school rolled in, and the parade took a dark turn. The greasers had more than just leather jackets and a bad attitude - they also had fangs - and now the whole school has been bitten and turned into a horde of vampires.
Vamp '55 is definitely our favorite HHN 26 Scare Zone. The props are mostly limited to a couple of floats and a school bus, but the overall vibe of this area was really fun. The costumed Scareactors look the part, and the 1950's era music adds an extra layer of appeal while providing a nice contrast to the scenes that unfold in front of you. Some of the students wander around looking dazed, not quite sure what has happened to them, while others seem to have embraced their new vampire identity. The greasers are typically the scariest vamps, because despite the fact that they have clearly bitten and fed on quite a few people already, they are still roaming around with expressions that clearly say "I'm hungry, and you're dinner." The fact that the Hollywood High School team is called "The Suns" and their rival team is called "The Bats" is also an amusing touch.
Dead Man's Wharf
Dead Man's Wharf is appropriately located in the San Francisco area near the docks. You'll find it between the New York and London areas. This Scare Zone is haunted by a fishing vessel, named Annabel Lee (in a nod to Edgar Allan Poe), and the vessel's crew, who were lost forever in 1931 after bad weather prevented a search and rescue operation. Dead Man's Wharf is a memorial to the lost crew. The entire area is covered in a thick blanket of fog. Every now and then, lightning flashes, illuminating the ghosts of the doomed men, who haunt the wharf, seeking to punish the villagers who abandoned them.
We have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Dead Man's Wharf. On one hand, it is really cool. Most of the Scareactors in this area are tall and broad-shouldered, which makes them seem really intimidating, especially if you are short and smaller than them. The shipwreck is very neat, and the weather effects (thunder and lightning) are awesome. The problem with this Scare Zone is its size. The area where you walk through is exceptionally narrow, creating a bottleneck of sorts that leads to traffic issues. At night, when HHN is in full swing, it is very difficult to walk through this area without bumping into people. Sometimes the pace slows to a crawl, and the foot traffic is at a standstill. So, even though the dockside location fits the theme, it was not the best setting based on the number of people trying to squeeze through this place.
Lair of the Banshees
The Lair of the Banshees Scare Zone is located on Sunset Boulevard next to Central Park. This Scare Zone is a straight path that is flanked on each side by small stone alcoves and walls that provide good cover for the Scareactors who are wandering around this foggy area. The entrance to Lair of the Banshees was exposed when the magical barrier of vines separating our modern world from an ancient world was torn, allowing HHN guests to walk amongst banshees and a whole host of other ancient creatures.
We were excited about Lair of the Banshees Scare Zone when it was announced. The prospect of walking into an ancient lair filled with evil spirits sounded very cool. But the actuality of it is a little less exciting. The Scareactors in this area are very nicely costumed, but the Lair of the Banshees is lacking when it comes to props. Of course, the limited number of props does make it easy to walk through this Scare Zone without getting squeezed by all of the people, which is a plus. We walked through this Scare Zone quite a few times on the nights we were at HHN, but we never stayed for long.
Survive or Die
Survive of Die is the largest Scare Zone at this year's Halloween Horror Nights. It is spread throughout the streets of the New York area. This post-apocalyptic Scare Zone is filled with roaming members of three groups. One of the groups has secured a desperately needed machine that cleans the air, and other other two groups want it. As you walk through this Scare Zone, you are encouraged to choose a side.
The size of this section is unbelievable. We wish that every Scare Zone could be this large. There also seems to be more Scare Actors here than anywhere else. Survive or Die is less scary than some of the other zones, but the props are extensive. There is an abandoned car, graffiti-covered barrels, piles of items collected by the survivors, enormous pieces of scaffolding that tower over the streets, and more. You should definitely take time to walk every street in New York so that you can see everything.
The Scare Zones aren't the only places where you can find Scareactors at Halloween Horror Nights 26. The streets are also filled with roaming hordes of Scareactors with chainsaws.