2023 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.

HowlOScream BloodBar
Photo Copyright | SeaWorld Entertainment


What to Know Before You Go to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

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 2022 Dates

The 2022 dates for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream dates are from September 9th 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
  10. Iron Gwazi

Get up to 63% off of your Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream tickets with Groupon TODAY!

2022 Howl-O-Scream Houses at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

There are three new haunted houses and seven main scare zones coming to Tampa’s Premier Halloween event in 2022! Let’s go through them all.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay entrance to falcon's fury
Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens

1. NEW: Stranglewood Estate

Don’t let the grandiosity of the Stranglewood Estate fool you. Evil darkness now fills this once lively home sitting eerily in town…

Stranglewood Estate Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream

2. 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

3. 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

Recommended: 35 Scary and Fun Things to Do in Florida for Halloween 

4. Death Water Bayou: Blood Moon – The Final Phase

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

Howl O Scream Death Water Bayou
Photo Copyright: SeaWorld Entertainment

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

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

5. The Residence: Home for the Holidays

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

Except that this house returns with a twisted holiday chill…

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

2022 Howl-O-Scream Scare Zones

  1. RAVENS MILL (NEW!): Your worst nightmare is hidden within the foliage of the corn field of Raven’s Mill.
  2. BEYOND THE VEIL (NEW!): Tucked deeply in the path of Nairobi is an evil presence taking form in the dark forest. Be sure to look out for fairies and orcs on your nighttime stroll.
  3. VOODOO: Ravenous werewolves and witch doctors await you here…
  4. SKELETON CREW: Avoid these undead pirates who will be rising from their watery grave to take your soul…
  5. IN THE SHADOWS: Stay alert as you pass through ghosts and other horrifying legends in this eerie Howl-O-Scream scare zone…
  6. THE SHORTCUT: Don’t take the shortcut through the cemetery…
  7. THE JUNKYARD: You don’t want to become one of the scrap parts of the junkyard…do you?
  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 Orlando theme park ticket reservation in the parks! GET MY TICKETS.

2022 Howl-O-Scream Shows at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

If you’re someone who likes a good bit of entertainment mixed in with all of the scares, then you’ll be happy to know that Howl-O-Scream will have a total of four shows this year!

Crash test clowns at busch gardens howl o scream

1. NEW – 50/50: Choose Your Fate

You will NEVER win with this demented game show host because no matter what you choose, you ALWAYS lose!

50: Choose Your Fate Howl O Scream Busch Gardens

2. Fiends

This classic show is returning to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens to entice you through the pulsating dances and lure of the famous night nurses.

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

I wonder if the famous doctor will be returning this year? We’ll all have to make a trip out to Tampa this year to catch the fan-favorite show!

3. The Rolling Bones

Be sure to catch a “live” performance of this boney band performing classic rock songs in the Dragon Fire Grill!

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay dragon fire grill in pantopia
Dragon Fire Grill

4. Cirque X-Scream

Get captivated by aerial performances and incredible stunts during the Cirque X-Scream this year at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream in Tampa.

Acrobat Busch Gardens Cirque X Scream

Get your cheap Busch Gardens Tickets with CityPASS TODAY!

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

Prices start at $44.99 if purchased in advanced. Please remember that this ticket does NOT include your daytime admission to Busch Gardens.

Howl-O-Scream 2012 Circus Superstitions Clown

You can however, get your Busch Gardens day ticket and Howl-O-Scream ticket on the official website.

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 9th through October 31st 2022 with prices starting at $139.99.

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Iron Gwazi Entrance

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Tram stop at the park

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.

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.

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?

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 2022 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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay tiger topiary in front of cheetah hunt

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?

Although you can purchase a No BOO Necklace to prevent the Busch Gardens monsters from scaring you, there’s an official statement from the park that you should look at.

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay beautiful Kumba roller coaster
Kumba Roller Coaster

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Howl-O-Scream Map 2022
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Howl-O-Scream Map 2022 (Photo Courtesy of SeaWorld Entertainment)

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.

Howl-O-Scream 2012 Circus Superstitions Clown Busch Gardens Tampa

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 starts at $139.99 for unlimited visits or $124.99 for visits excluding Saturdays (price subject to change).

You can also get the Two Park Unlimited Ticket to both Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream and SeaWorld Orlando Howl-O-Scream from $169.99

SeaWorld Orlando Howl O Scream Sign
SeaWorld Orlando

I recommend buying your ticket from a trustworthy website such as Groupon 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.

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

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.

Front Line Fear Howl-O-Scream 2022

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 $69

Front Line Fear Extreme Howl-O-Scream 2022

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, Iron Gwazi, and Tigris.
  • Prices change daily
  • Front Line Fear Extreme Pass starts at $79

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 $249 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.

Howl-O-Scream 2012 Vampire dancing Busch Gardens Tampa

Plus, you’ll get 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
  • Cost is $29.99

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 Zombie Chris 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!

Cell Block Zombies Howl O Scream
Photo Copyright: SeaWorld Entertainment

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.
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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/UpdatedAugust 24, 2022)

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