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The Ultimate Guide To Maximize Your Experience At Horror Nights

Looking for a place to go before the spooky season ends? Well, I’ve got the perfect place and one that will keep you on your toes all night! Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights is an event you do not want to miss. It’ll make you scream, laugh and possibly even tear up, but it’s a memory you’ll want to have. Now I know it can be a little scary and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time, but it’s important to have a plan in order to make the most out of the event. In this guide, you’ll find the best way to manage your time at Halloween Horror Nights and overall have a great experience!

/ Unsplash

The Ticket That Will Maximize Your Experience

Before we go into detail, it’s important to know what ticket works best. Halloween Horror Nights runs from Thursday to Sunday, with Friday and Saturday being the most packed days. General Admission is usually everyone’s go-to ticket. It includes early admission (only if bought online) allowing guests to enter the park around 5:30 PM. There are three mazes that open at 6 PM, one hour earlier than the actual event time: The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge. Purchasing a general admission ticket online has its perks because you get a head start to make the line for the featured mazes.

However, the “After 2 pm Day/Night” combo is a couple of more dollars, but definitely a better choice. Not only can you come into the park at 2 PM, but you get to knock out most of the rides allowing you to focus on the mazes once the event starts. Making line for the attractions during the event is going to hold you back from doing all of the mazes or at least most of them. Although the attraction’s wait time usually ranges from 20 to 60 minutes, it’s enough to prevent you from going to one or two mazes. If you are just coming for the mazes and have no intentions of going on rides then general admission is for you! But, if you would like to be able to go on the attractions and also enjoy Horror Nights, the day and night combo will come in handy. There is also the option to buy an express ticket, one time per attraction or unlimited. The pass would be extremely helpful, you wouldn’t have to really worry about what to do or plan much because it’s more likely that you’ll get to do everything. The prices change depending on the day so it’s good to look into it if that’s something you’d like!

The best days to go to Halloween Horror Nights are Thursdays and Sundays because they are the least packed days. However, recently tickets have been selling out, so make sure to get your tickets as soon as possible!

Don’t Forget! Covid-19 Vaccine Cards Or A Negative Test

Before attending the event make sure you have either a vaccination card or proof of a negative test. It is a must to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccine or of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. There are lots of places that continue to do COVID-19 testing, but if none are near your home, Curative is doing testing at Universal Studios CityWalk. They’re located every day at the Jurassic Parking Garage, Level B1-M. Currently, their hours are from 10 am to 4 pm. Be sure to have either of these ready in order to have no complications entering the event!

Get Ready To Wait For A While Because Lines Are Inevitable

Halloween Horror Nights is a popular event, that’s no surprise. This means that lines are inevitable. It is important to have patience because if not, you’re just going to ruin it for yourself. This year, they have eight mazes, including an all-new maze, The Haunting of Hill House. The top three featured are The Haunting of Hill House, The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is important to note that because they are the main ones this year, they will be the ones with the biggest wait time.

If you have early entrance, you get to go down to the lower lot or the studio tour to make time for either The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge. I suggest going to the lower lot and leaving the Terror Tram for later when the sun has fully set because it will be a better experience. Plus, the wait time is usually almost less than the featured mazes.

I have gone to horror nights twice and the second time I went I got to the lower lot at around 6:20 PM and both mazes were already around a 70 minute wait. My advice is to check in at 5:30 PM at the front of the park and then start walking down to the lower lot. They start letting guests into the queue at around 5:45 PM, but the earlier the better!

All the other mazes open at 7 PM with the exception of AMC The Walking Dead Attraction, which opens at 8 PM. As the night settles in and more people come in, the mazes will most likely have a wait time of around 60 to 120 minutes. It can be frustrating to have to wait so much, but time flies as long as you’re having fun with your group. So make sure to have some games ready to play such as “Heads Up” and “I Spy” to make memories while in line!

It is the banner at horror nights of Jabbawockeez (a dance performance done only during horror nights)
Original photo by Maria Alfaro

What Mazes To Do First And Which To Save For Last

Note: The order in which I list the mazes is just a suggestion. As long as you and your group are having fun, that’s all that matters!

1.The Exorcist

2.The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

3. Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge

4. The Curse Of Pandora’s Box

5. Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House

6. Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers

7. Universal Monsters: The Bride Of Frankenstein Lives

8. AMC The Walking Dead Attraction

Halloween Horror Night’s park hours are from 7 PM to 2 PM. You have about seven to eight hours to get through most of the mazes. It’s best to knock out the mazes in the lower lot first, so you don’t have to go back down later. Afterwards, make your way to #3. The Terror Tram closes earlier than the rest of the mazes, which is why it’s best to do it right after. Then comes #4 and #5, which are right across from each other. This is probably where you will be spending most of your time because they will be the most packed, especially Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House. If you manage to do the first five mazes, then congratulations! Those are the ones you do not want to miss. If you have time, make sure to check out the other three mazes on your way out which are located around the front of the park.

Note: Watching Jabbawockeez is optional

If you decide that you want a break from mazes and are trying to find a place to sit, I suggest going to watch the Jabbawockeez. Not only do you get to sit back and relax, but you get to enjoy a live performance of awesome dancers. There are specific times for this show so make sure to check it out on the Universal Studios App or the Studio Directory in the park. It usually lasts about 20 minutes, enough time to recharge your battery! I always make sure to go watch them when I go to Horror Nights because I love seeing dance performances. Personally, I love the show, it’s super fun and it gives me a break from all the spookiness outside.

Recommended Foods

This is super important! If you do not want to spend time eating inside the park, then make sure to have a big meal before the event. I made sure to eat well before going to Horror Nights my second time because I wanted to make sure my sister got to have a great first-time experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean not to eat the entire night. There are snacks almost everywhere in the park that sell churros, popcorn, pretzels and much more. These snacks are helpful and come in handy while waiting in long lines. Eric Bravo, a food cart attendant, tells us he suggests the Leatherface Texas Family BBQ located by the Revenge of the Mummy!

Remember to have fun and enjoy your time with your friends and family. If you do not get to do everything, do not worry: there’s always next time. Stay safe and spooky and have a happy Halloween!

Maria is a third year at UCLA majoring in Sociology and minoring in Spanish. She loves meeting new people and learning new things. In her free time you can find her going out, dancing, binge-watching, or simply relaxing.
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