• The Thrills Come at a Price: Long Lines, No Snacks, and Limited Access for General Admission Leave Horror Fans Feeling Spooked
The looks of the guest who were closest to the Maze of Holidays of Horror.

Los Angeles, CA – Universal Studios Horror Nights in Hollywood, the much-anticipated annual Halloween event, promises spine-tingling scares and unforgettable experiences. However, as attendees flocked to the park, many found that the promise of terror came with a price that extended far beyond the ticket cost. For those who did not splurge on the $212 Express Pass, spending hours in line and facing restrictions on bringing in snacks or water left a sour taste in their mouths.

The event, which runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., requires early arrival due to notorious LA traffic, leaving thrill-seekers with an unpleasant choice between general parking for $60 or front gate parking. Either option subjects’ guests to long lines at the security checkpoint before even reaching the park’s entrance. Those who opt for general parking must trek through Universal City Walk, adding further delay.

The most sought-after attraction, “The Last of Us” maze located in the lower lot, becomes a lottery of sorts. Arrive too late, and you may find yourself excluded as Universal Studios closes the line when it becomes too crowded. The only surefire way to avoid this disappointment is to shell out for the exclusive Express Pass, a move that disappointed many fans.

Adding to the frustration, the Terror Tram had an hour-long wait and closed at 11:45 p.m., cutting off access for those who wanted to experience it later in the night. For those looking to switch gears and enjoy some rides instead, Universal Studios closes some attractions early, like Jurassic World at 12:15 a.m., a move that left patrons feeling rushed to maximize their experience.

While not all is doom and gloom, with mazes like “Evil Deadrise” and “The Exorcist” receiving praise for their well-executed theming and jump scares, it’s clear that the park experience may not align with everyone’s expectations.

Creepy Goblins watch guests as they enter the maze.

The real bone of contention, however, is the stark contrast between Express Pass holders and general admission attendees. Express Pass holders enjoy seamless access to mazes, bypassing the lengthy queues that can stretch for over two hours. This disparity raises questions about fairness and whether the event is truly accessible to all horror enthusiasts, regardless of their budget.

Universal Studios’ no outside food or drink policy only adds to the woes of those stuck in long lines. Waiting times for food can reach alarming levels, with attendees spending hours just to grab a bite. When you factor in that the event’s operating hours are already limited, every minute spent waiting for food can feel like precious time lost.

In defense of Universal Studios Horror Nights, the event isn’t without its merits. The dedication to theming in mazes like “Evil Deadrise” and “The Exorcist” is commendable, providing a genuinely immersive experience. However, these positives often get overshadowed by the frustration and disappointment brought on by long lines and limited access.

Furthermore, the brevity of the mazes is a notable concern, with most lasting just 2 to 3 minutes, leaving visitors to question whether the spine-tingling experience justifies the lengthy wait times. Additionally, the scarcity of scare zones, particularly in the lower lot of the park, leaves guests yearning for more immersive horror experiences between the major attractions.  

For those who have been on their feet all day, the lack of seating options exacerbates the situation. Universal Studios staff strictly prohibits guests from sitting on railings or on the ground, a policy that can have a negative impact on visitors who are exhausted from hours of walking and waiting in line. The absence of rest areas can leave attendees feeling physically drained and detract from the overall enjoyment of the event. 

 Universal Studios Horror Nights in Hollywood can be a mixed bag. Depending on personal preferences, attendees might find themselves thoroughly entertained or left pondering whether the wait times and restrictions were worth the price of admission. While the event undoubtedly delivers on horror and thrills, the overall experience can leave some guests feeling like they’ve spent more time queuing than screaming. Universal Studios may need to consider a more balanced approach to ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy the nightmares they’ve crafted.

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