2021 Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Survival Guide (13 Tips for Beginners)

13 Tips for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Survival 

Are you ready to be paralyzed with terror? Do you have what it takes to venture out to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream?

If so, you are in for more than ghostly encounters. I’ve gathered the best tips to help you survive Howl-O-Scream , based on my most memorable past experiences.


What to Know Before You Go

Before we get into the tips, let’s go through a few things you can expect this year at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream.

Howl-O-Scream Tampa Tips with foreboding sign.

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream 2021 Dates

The 2021 dates for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream dates are from September 10th through October 31st 2021, every Thursday through Sunday.

Times: Fridays & Saturdays 7:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. and Sundays 7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

What Rides that Are Open During Howl-O-Scream?

  1. Tigris
  2. Cobra’s Curse
  3. Cheetah Hunt
  4. SheiKra
  5. Falcon’s Fury
  6. Montu
  7. Kumba
  8. Scorpion
  9. Sandserpent

New For 2021 Blood Bar for Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa

This year Busch Gardens is bringing in some ghastly concoctions to help you celebrate this Halloween event.

HowlOScream BloodBar
Photo Copyright | SeaWorld Entertainment
  • Swamp Water: Milagro Tequila, Flor de Caña Rum, Beefeater Gin, Monin Granny Apple
  • Witch’s Brew: Tito’s Vodka, Blue Curacao, Grenadine, Cranberry Juice
  • The Bite Jell-O Syringe Shot: Milagro Tequila, Berry Jell-O

Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to stop by the Shop Of Horrors to pick up some fun Howl-O-Scream souvenirs to commemorate your night.

Howl-O-Scream Houses 2021

There are three new haunted houses and scare zones this year! Let’s go through them all.

1. NEW: Witch Of The Woods

Don’t get caught up in this deep, dark forest filled with no way out as you are summoned deeper and deeper into something wicked in the Witch of the Woods haunted house.

Witch of the Woods Howl O Scream
Photo Copyright SeaWorld Entertainment

2. NEW: The Forgotten

The underground realm of vampires are waiting on you, its next victim, to be lured into the hidden world for some surprising hidden terrors that will be lurking around just for you in The Forgotten maze.

The Forgotten Howl O Scream
Photo Copyright SeaWorld Entertainment

3. NEW: Cell Block Zombies

Serve your afterlife sentence in this decrepit penitentiary of purgatory filled with lunatics and lawlessness in Cell Block Zombies.

Cell Block Zombies Howl O Scream
Photo Copyright: SeaWorld Entertainment

4. Death Water Bayou: Blood Moon

You’ll want to avoid the deep depths of this bayou if you know what’s good for you…

Many have gone missing in the moonlight as unimaginable dark curses and ravenous werewolves fill Death Water Bayou: Blood Moon.

Howl O Scream Death Water Bayou
Photo Copyright: SeaWorld Entertainment

5. The Residence

Don’t let the suburban façade deceive you. This home holds sinister secrets that are waiting patiently for you to discover at your own demise in the The Residence haunted house.

The Residence Howl O Scream (1)
Photo Copyright: SeaWorld Entertainment

Hipster Power Tip: Don’t miss out on the CRASH TEST ZOMBIES that you can find on the Ubanga Banga Bumper Cars.

2021 Howl-O-Scream Scarezones

  1. NEW: VOODOO: Ravenous werewolves and witch doctors await you here…
  2. NEW: SKELETON CREW: Avoid these undead pirates who will be rising from their watery grave to take your soul…
  3. NEW: IN THE SHADOWS: Stay alert as you pass through ghosts and other horrifying legends in this eerie Howl-O-Scream scare zone…
  4. THE SHORTCUT: Don’t take the shortcut through the cemetery…
  5. LITTLE NIGHTMARES: Skip this demented neighborhood for your trick-or-treating adventure. You don’t want to become this next victim…
  6. THE JUNKYARD: You don’t want to become one of the scrap parts of the junkyard…do you?
  7. DEADLY TOYS: Your dreams become a nightmare when your favorite toys come to life in this creepy scarezone.
  8. HIDDEN SCARE ZONE & ROAMING HORDES: Keep a look out for unexpected popups of demented creatures through hidden scares zones as you make your way through Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream.

ORDER NOW to secure your theme park ticket reservation in the parks! GET MY TICKETS.

How much does it cost to go to Howl-O-Scream in Tampa?

Prices start at $41.99 if purchased in advanced. Please remember that this ticket does NOT include your daytime admission to Busch Gardens.

You can however, get your Busch Gardens day ticket and Howl-O-Scream ticket for one cost here on Undercover Tourist.

Hipster Power Tip: Purchase the UNLIMITED ADMISSION TICKET to HOWL-O-SCREAM. It’s an incredible deal if you’re a big fan of the Halloween season as it will allow you to return to the event every night from September 10th through October 31st 2021 with prices starting a t $119.

How to Get to Busch Gardens from Orlando?

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is about 70 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort (an hour and 25 minute drive). There is a Busch Gardens shuttle service that offers round-trip transportation to the park.

Falcons Fury Busch Gardens Tampa orange and blue drop tower

The round-trip fare is free with park ticket purchase and departs Orlando daily with a maximum of three stops to Busch Gardens.

Reservations are highly recommended and can be reserved by calling 1-800-221-1339 or visit Mears Destination Services online.

How to Get to Busch Gardens Tampa from Disney World?

  • Travel WEST on I-4 to I-75 (About 58 Miles)
  • Merge onto I-75 NORTH via EXIT 9 toward Ocala (stay on I-75 for about 3.74 miles)
  • Take EXIT 265 toward Temple Terrace (this exit is also the exit for the University of South Florida)
  • You will merge onto E Fowler Ave/FL-582 W via EXIT 265 and stay on here for about 4.65 miles
  • Turn left onto N McKinley Dr/County Hwy-585A (stay on here for about 1 mile)
  • Make a U-turn onto N McKinley Dr/County Hwy-585A
  • Arrive and park at Busch Gardens

Are you trying to choose between Halloween Horror Nights or Howl-O-Scream? Find out which one is better here!

What is Busch Gardens Tampa Address?

The address for Busch Gardens is 10165 N McKinley Drive Tampa, FL 33612.

The Phoenix Pantopia Busch Gardens orange and blue swing ride.
The Phoenix inside Pantopia at Busch Gardens

What are Busch Gardens Tampa Hours?

Busch Gardens usually opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. However, during the peak summer days the park may be open until midnight.

Remember when planning your trip, always check the park’s website or mobile app for the current hours and wait times.

What should I pack for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream?

  • Comfy Shoes
  • Small Bag
  • Breathable Clothing
  • Sun Protection
  • Downloaded Howl-O-Scream Map
  • Small Umbrella
  • Water
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Phone
  • Howl-O-Scream Ticket

You can get the full Theme Park packing checklist here!

How to Survive Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (13 Pro Tips)

Although this year’s event is slightly altered, you use some of the tips below to help prepare for your 2021 Howl-O-Scream trip.

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Tampa Bay. Zombie clown ready to prance on you.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

1. Start Early

I cannot express this enough. Unless you’re getting the Front Line Fear Pass, I would suggest you get to Busch Gardens at least 45-minutes before the start of the event.

If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to get into the park early and knock out two to three houses within the first hour.

2. Solo trip vs. Group trip

Going to Howl-O-Scream solo is terrifying, but quite an adventure in its own right. However, going as a group is sooo much fun and increases the excitement of the night!

3 – Should You Bring Your Kid to Howl-O-Scream?

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie clown carrying a brain.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

According to Busch Gardens, Howl-O-Scream contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood and is not intended for children.

So, basically leave the kiddos at home.

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

4. Know What to Wear to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

I recommend choosing comfort over style, but I understand if you’d rather be quite stylish.

I’m trying to get better at combining the two.

My top recommendation is to wear comfortable sneakers for all of the standing, walking, and running you will be doing…

…. trust me, you will thank me later.

5. Have a Game Plan and Itinerary for Howl-O-Scream

Get a park map and route your path around Busch Gardens in advance. Ride the permanent attractions on another visit or wait until after you have finished all of the haunted mazes.

2021 Howl O Scream Map Busch Gardens Tampa
2021 Howl O Scream Map

6. Attend Howl-O-Scream on Off Peak Nights

Visit Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream on Sundays or Thursdays to take advantage of the smaller crowd. Avoid Saturdays and holidays.

These are the worst days to go because you will not be able to enjoy all the houses. You will also have to fight through an extremely crowded night.

When is the best time to visit Howl-O-Scream?

The best time to attend Howl-O-Scream is during the first few opening weeks of the event.

7. Purchase Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Tickets in Advance

It’s best to buy your tickets ahead of time. This prevents waiting in a line once you arrive at Howl-O-Scream. The line to buy tickets can exceed the usual queue that’s operational during regular theme park hours.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream Tickets and Tips with haunted houses.

Learn more about getting discounted ticket for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream here!

The Unlimited Scream Ticket is a way for you to visit all 22 nights of Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for only $119.99 (price subject to change).

I recommend buying your ticket from a trustworthy website such as Undercover Tourist or directly from Busch Gardens’ website.

Hipster Power Tip: If you’re and Annual Pass PLATINUM MEMBERS, then you can GET FREE ADMISSION ON OPENING WEEKEND of Howl-O-Scream. That’s such a great perk!

8. Buy Front Line Fear Pass

Howl-O-Scream is an extremely popular Halloween event in Florida. In order for you to enjoy your evening, you may want to splurge on a on a Front Line Fear Pass.

This special add-on gives you front-of-the-line access to haunted houses of your choice and special discounts at gift shops throughout the night.

Howl-O-Scream 2012 Blood Asylum Haunted Maze
Howl-O-Scream 2012 Blood Asylum Haunted Maze

Front Line Fear Howl-O-Scream 2021

This upgrade allows you to get front-of-the-line access to 5 haunted houses of your choice.

  • Single-use front-of-the-line access to five houses
  • Prices do change daily
  • Front of the Line Fear Pass starts at $59

Front Line Fear Extreme Howl-O-Scream 2021

This upgrade allows you to enjoy front-of-the-line access at 5 haunted houses and 7 major thrill rides of your choice.

  • Single-use front-of-the-line access to five houses
  • One-time front-of-the-line access to Falcon’s Fury, Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Kumba, Cobra’s Curse and Tigris.
  • Prices change daily
  • Front Line Fear Extreme Pass starts at $69

This will help you conquer each haunted house at Howl-O-Scream.

If you want to avoid spending extra money on the Front Line Fear Pass, then it’s best to get to Howl-O-Scream early. The wait times are shorter at the beginning of the event and also towards the end of the event.

9. Buy a Unique Experience

If being in a larger group with V.I.P perks appeals to you, then I recommend getting the Ultimate V.I.P. Tour.

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie clowns taking away Busch Gardens worker.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

You’ll get a guided tour through Howl-O-Scream. Each tour includes:

  • Admission to Howl-O-Scream and customizable private tour (up to 7 hours)
  • Unlimited front-of-the line access to haunted houses & thrill rides
  • Private complimentary beverage locations that include beer, wine, water and soft-drinks
  • Complimentary photo & reserved seating at the Fiends show
  • Minimum of two guests required
  • Complimentary preferred parking
  • Prices start at $229 per person (minimum of two people)

10. Purchase a Unique Activity at Howl-O-Scream

Do a behind-the-scenes tour at Busch Gardens.

This tour is one of my favorites as it allows you to tour a haunted house during the day  to see what it takes to put this event on and all the little details that you can’t see during the night. Mainly because you’re too occupied with screaming and running.

On this Howl-O-Scream tour you’ll:

  • Learn what goes into the scares on this behind-the-scenes tour
  • See one of the iconic houses in a new light, with a unique photo opportunity
  • Includes a 1-time/1 house priority access to one of our houses at night during the event
  • Prices start at $49.99

You should also think about doing a VIP Tour for Howl-O-Scream if you really want to do it big!

The Ultimate VIP Tour Howl-O-Scream 2021

  • Admission to Howl-O-Scream and customizable private tour (up to 7 hours)
  • Unlimited front-of-the line access to haunted houses & thrill rides
  • Private complimentary beverage locations that include beer, wine, water and soft-drinks
  • Complimentary photo & reserved seating at the Fiends show
  • Minimum of two guests required
  • Complimentary preferred parking
  • Prices start at $229 per person (minimum of two people)

11. Stay Hydrated

Howl-O-Screams requires A LOT of walking and sweating! Something Floridians are used to, but not a common thing for out-of-towners.

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.. Rocker zombie chick.
My Deadly Ex at Howl-O-Scream

Plan to drink a few ounces of water every hour while at Howl-O-Scream.

12. Monitor the Weather

The weather in Florida from September to early November can range from extremely hot and humid to rainy and sometimes (very rare) cool October days.

Always check the weather to know what to expect. The weather will make or break your trip, especially if it’s scorching or if there’s a rainstorm.

13. Watch Vlogs

View vlogs (YouTube videos) such as the Tim Tracker to help get you excited for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream in Tampa Bay.

Halloween in Orlando with lady holding Pumpkin.

Personal vlogs will show you some of the things to expect and will let you know the intensity of the event.

The vlogs also show different ways people enjoy the spectacular annual event.

Final Thoughts on Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

Remember to just have fun!

You’re really going to have a great time, so try not to stress too much and enjoy the chilling frights of Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream!

I hope this survival guide helped you prepare for this year’s event. Remember that it is one of ThemeParkHipster’s favorite fall Florida event.

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie clown and open casket.
Pin for Later!

Let me know what your favorite Howl-O-Scream maze is of all time in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!


(Original Article Date: Fall 2012/Updated September 9, 2021)

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