Tourism officials expect Labor Day weekend in Orlando to beat pre-pandemic numbers

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando is one of the top attractions luring people to Orlando this weekend and tourism officials expect it to be a big Labor Day weekend in Central Florida.

"I live for it. Every year. It’s my favorite thing so I’m so excited," said one woman visiting from Tampa.

Tourists are thrilled and so are tourism officials, hoping to bring lots of visitors to Central Florida this holiday weekend.

 "I’m very optimistic that we’re going to be resilient. We’re going to be able to recover," said Visit Orlando President and CEO Casandra Matej. 

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Visit Orlando said with the return of Halloween Horror Nights and other events like Magical Dining, this holiday weekend could even beat pre-pandemic levels. 

This is all based on a successful summer, which saw a 156 percent increase in hotel occupancy this June compared to last June and a 162 percent bump in July compared to last July.

"We usually go to the beach around our house and stuff, and it’s always packed but we wanted to come and get out of town," said Jason Jeffries, who’s visiting from Largo.

Jeffries said he wants to go to Halloween Horror Nights this weekend, though he may have a hard time. According to Universal’s Twitter, tickets for Friday night were sold out and they have temporarily suspended online sales of the multi-night Fear Passes until Sunday due to popular demand. 

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"I’m surprised by that honestly. I think it’s the hype from it not being open last year really so a lot of people are really excited to get back there," he said. However, he explained that nothing was stopping her from going this year. "I was one of those people that called and kept bothering them like ‘are you offering that?’ And they’re like ‘I don’t know yet.’" 

Halloween Horror Nights will run through October 31.

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.