Colossal Fall Color

From theme parks to regional events, October is chocked full of shocks, screams and ghoulish delights.
By Deborah Reinhardt

If you’re wondering “witch” way to turn to cook up frightfully good Halloween fun this fall, look no further than some of the country’s top theme parks. SeaWorld, Universal and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando are open for Halloween’s season. Regional theme parks and Halloween events add to the holiday’s bag of tricks. Do you dare to take the tour?

(c) Disney

In Title: The family friendly Halloween fun at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida includes HalloWishes fireworks show inside the Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney World photo

Below: Eight haunted houses will get your heart pounding at Halloween Horror Nights, named the best Halloween event in the country. Universal Orlando photo

(c) Universal Orlando

Test your luck at Universal Orlando

Halloween Horror Nights 21 opened Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 31 at Universal Orlando Resort. Amusement Today recently named Halloween Horror Nights as the country’s best Halloween event for the fourth consecutive year.

This year’s content includes eight haunted houses, including Nevermore: The Madness of Poe; six “scarezones,” including Your Luck Has Run Out that brings guests face-to-face with Lady Luck, the force behind this year’s event; and two live shows, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” and “Death Drums.” The bewitching hour starts at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 2, 6–9, 13–16, 19–23 and 26–31. The event is recommended for guests 13 years and older.

With its 21-year record of thrills, the Halloween Horror Nights event is still going strong, said Show Director Patrick Braillard.

“Each year continues to raise the bar, and we are so incredibly proud of all the hard work out team puts into this event,” said Braillard, who is based in Orlando. “We make it our goal to ‘wow’ our guests each year with something new and outrageous.”

Universal Pictures has a long history in the horror film genre, dating to the classic “Universal monsters,” such as Wolfman, Frankenstein and Dracula.

“Twenty-one years ago, we decided to pay homage to that heritage by creating a three-night event with one haunted house, and we dubbed it ‘Fright Nights.’ It was so popular among our guests that it has grown to its current form, Halloween Horror Nights,” Braillard said.

AAA members can purchase a one-day/one-park admission to Universal Orlando for $88. “Stay and Scream” tickets, added on to park admission, range from $37–$67, depending on the day of week guests visit Universal ( For AAA discounted tickets, visit your nearest full-service AAA office or order tickets online.

Easy does it at Disney

For the younger crowd, check out Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that started Sept. 13 and will run through Nov. 1 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

The nighttime fun happens in the Magic Kingdom, starting with a Boo-to-you Parade at 8:15 p.m. that’s heralded by the Headless Horseman. A HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular follows at 9:30 p.m., and the parade is repeated at 10:30 p.m.

Children can trick-or-treat between lands in the Magic Kingdom, meet characters and enjoy the park’s attractions, such as the Haunted Mansion. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party runs from 7 p.m. to midnight on the following dates: Oct. 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31 and Nov. 1.

Purchase admission for the Halloween party for $51–$68 per person, plus tax, in addition to park admission. AAA offers various Park Hopper tickets at a discount, as well as full Disney vacation packages. For information about AAA savings at Disney, visit or see your AAA Travel professional.

Spooks at SeaWorld

Another event for children is at SeaWorld in Orlando, and the Halloween fun is included in admission prices. The Halloween Spooktacular takes place from noon to 8 p.m. on Oct. 1–2, 8–9, 15–16, 22–23 and 28–30. A craft station, apple-decorating post, shows and trick-or-treating are part of this event.

In addition, breakfast with The Count from Sesame Street and Halloween family sleepovers ($78 and $103) that include pizza dinner and breakfast are available.

AAA members receive a 10--percent discount on one-day SeaWorld admission (online orders).

Sep/Oct 2011 Issue


Let AAA help you celebrate Halloween.

For a getaway to Orlando, click on or to locate a AAA Travel professional near you, call (888) 366-4222.

Find discount theme park tickets at

Remember AAA has free Halloween safety material for you and your family. Send a SASE (business size) to: AAA Traffic Safety, Attn: Halloween Tips, 12901 N. Forty Drive, St. Louis, MO 63141.

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