Halloween News: Here's your attack plan for Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

August 21, 2014, 9:43 AM · Now we know what you have to fear -- now the question is how is the best way to experience your favorite Halloween events. This week I’m going to take a look at the most efficient way to enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Walking Dead at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights
The Walking Dead at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Promotional image courtesy Universal

First, here is the requisite Horror Nights news from the past week. Tickets for the event are on sale now -- this gives us a look at the ticket pricing as well as the start date for the event. Hollywood has creeped back even earlier in September; opening night is on September 19. That’s nearly a full week earlier than Knott’s Scary Farm’s debut night (September 25), for whatever that’s worth.

Second, a quick perusal of the Horror Nights website reveals a sort-of-surprising omission: no shows. Horror Nights in Hollywood has run the Bill & Ted show for many years and the Hot Rumor was that in spite of last year’s controversy they had every intention to bring it back. Clearly that is not the case, as the show is nowhere to be found on the official website, nor have there been any shows announced to replace it.

If you’ve been reading me for long enough, you’ll know I’m not going to miss the show -- it has long been my least favorite part of the evening. That being said, it seems odd that Universal opted to not replace the show with, well, another show. The additional maze (seven as opposed to six this year) now starts to make a lot more sense, but nothing eats up guests quite like a show does. As someone mostly interested in mazes and scare zones, I’m pleased to get an extra haunted house -- I imagine there are many who feel differently.

Knott’s Scary Farm got a chirp in at Horror Nights’ expense -- boasting their two shows and 11 mazes. For Knott’s it has always been about quantity over quality; though in fairness, it has worked out just fine for them in the past.

So you don’t have to worry about show times for Halloween Horror Nights this year -- but you do have to worry about Terror Tram. The most unique part of the event, where you’re kicked off the studio tour tram to wander the backlot, is back this year with a Walking Dead theme. If there is a must-do for first-timers (or any-timers, for that matter) it’s Terror Tram.

The lines can get quite long, particularly if you go during the middle of the event. If you plan to stay for the entire night, save your Terror Tram experience for the end. The Terror Tram may close as early as midnight on weeknights (Sundays/Thursdays), so be aware of that. For my money, the best place to start is the lower lot -- and particularly the backlot, where there will be three mazes in 2014.

As soon as you walk through the gates head down to the lower lot. The trams to the backlot board near Transformers -- once you’re back there, you can do the three mazes (Walking Dead, Alien vs. Predator and From Dusk Till Dawn) in any order...if you head down there first thing, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. If you’re really lucky, you’ll beat the crowds and have a chance to wander through a maze virtually alone -- like I did in the Silent Hill maze a couple of years back.

Once you’ve wrapped up the backlot, I would finish the Lower Lot starting with An American Werewolf in London. From there, hit the Clowns maze and then head back up top to finish off your night. Assuming the crowds move similarly to the way they did last year, this is where you’ll have to wait in a line or two. Dracula won’t be the draw of the event, but theme park crowds have a tendency to hit the first (non-House of Horrors division) maze they see.

After Dracula and FaceOff are in the books, finish off your night with a ride on the Terror Tram. Assuming the park isn’t bursting at the seams busy, you should have a chance to go back through your favorite mazes again! If you can stand waiting in the lines you missed out on earlier, anyway.


Replies (5)

August 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Anyone ever bought an express pass for Halloween Horror nights? Worth it?
August 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM · We're making our first visit to HHN Hollywood this year, so these tips will definitely come in handy. While Bill & Ted could be mixed bag in the past it is still kind of sad to lose that little bit of Halloween tradition.
August 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM · I don't know about in Hollywood, but if you're talking HHN in Orlando -- yes, the express pass is worth every penny, especially if you only have one night to see everything.
August 22, 2014 at 2:04 PM · That express pass in needed in Hollywood as well. Makes things much easy as wait times can easily exceed an hour or more.
August 22, 2014 at 7:29 PM · We buy VIP every year - insanely expensive but so worth it - multiple rides on all the attractions and unlimited front of the line maze entrance - plus special Terror Tram tour and a VIP lounge with food. HHN is insanely packed - spending the extra dough to be able to experience all you want with no stress and no standing in line is worth it to me.

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