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How to Slay Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry

by Leap on September 19, 2023
4 Los Angeles

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Halloween Horror Nights has so much hoppening and there's so little time to do it in. The hours race by like kids fleeing from Chucky. But there are a few tools you can use to get an early start on the fear ... err, fun. Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood early entry access is one affordable way to jump-start your night, but is it the best way? Read on to explore all of the Early Access options at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Entry Sign

Our frog squad divided up and used four different ways to get inside Universal Studios for the opening of Halloween Horror Nights. (We used a new Early Access ticket, an annual pass to enter early at 2 p.m. and regular admission at 7 p.m.) We bring you our best advice for early entry time at Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood, so you can make the best decision for you and your budget. But you'd better hop to it — some of these tickets and add-ons are selling out scary fast!

For daytime park guests, the park closes at 6 p.m. on Halloween Horror Nights. Attraction and ride entrances close at 5:30 p.m. and the escalators down to the Lower Lot close at 5:15 p.m. On opening night, passholders and daytime guests, who arrived early and had wristbands on, could still go down to the Lower Lot. However, things have evolved since then and we've been hearing reports that Early Access houses are being more limited to only people with Early Access and the 2 p.m. tickets — we are investigating the changes. Now, let's discuss the new Early Access ticket and other forms of early entry for Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Closing sign

Early Access Tickets for Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood

In 2023, Universal Studios Hollywood introduced an Early Access ticket add-on. No matter which ticket you purchased (even discount tickets through Undercover Tourist) you could go to the Halloween Horror Nights site and purchase a Halloween Horror Nights Early Access ticket. You must also have a Halloween Horror Nights admission ticket to enter the park with this Early Access ticket.

The Early Access ticket gets you entry into the park at 5:30 p.m., which is an hour and a half before the event kicks off and general admission ticket holders enter. The event officially begins at 7 p.m. So, what's open at 5:30 p.m.? Select haunted houses and food locations in the Lower Lot. You'll want to arrive by 5 p.m. so you'll be near the front of the line to get in for Early Access.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Holidayz in Hell

Pros:

  • You arrive early before most other guests.
  • It's affordable, starting at $10 per ticket.
  • If you are nervous about the scares, you can start your night while it's still light out and ease your way in.
  • You can access haunted houses with shorter lines.
  • You have time to get some food and drinks, fill your water bottle and go to the restroom before the night kicks off.
  • Beat the crowds. The guests who enter at 7 p.m. face long lines getting in and may need to arrive early anyway to get near the front of the line to get in.
  • Use the Early Access turnstiles to the left of the entrance.

Cons:

  • You are technically not the first guests in the park.
  • Early Access tickets are selling out quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you want to purchase this ticket. (Keep checking online as availability could change.)
  • The houses open at 5:30 p.m. and the park gates open at 5:30. Do you see the problem? It takes some time (about 20 minutes) to walk to the Lower Lot and take the four Starway escalators down to the Lower Lot. So you are not getting to the houses until Early Access is underway.
  • Some other guests have an advantage over Early Access guests. Who? Let's discuss.

After 2 p.m. Day/Night Ticket

Another ticket gets you in the park even earlier than Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood early entry. The 2 p.m. Day/Night ticket gets you in the door at 2 p.m. This ticket has several great aspects.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Minion Monsters

Pros:

  • You get daytime admission and Horror Nights admission.
  • Early Access houses are included with this ticket.
  • Access rides and attractions that will close early for the event.
  • Choose a regular ticket or one with Universal Express. (Express is good for one-time use for each ride during the day AND each ride and attraction at night.)
  • You are already in the park and can be ready to jump in line for the most popular houses before the Early Access ticket holders even enter the park.
  • You can eat before the event, bring in water and get refills before the night starts.
  • Catch daytime characters and Universal monsters such as monster Minions, Frankenstein and his bride, and Beetlejuice.
  • This ticket is the ONLY ticket that has access to Super Nintendo World from 7 to 10 p.m. during Horror Nights. (A virtual line may be in place.)
  • Use the 2 p.m./Early Access turnstiles to the left of the entrance.
  • If you are nervous about being scared, you can start your night while it's still light out and ease your way in.

Cons:

  • It costs more than Early Access (about double general admission).
  • Three hours before Early Access is not a ton of time, but you can do a few rides and attractions.

Annual Pass or Full Daytime Ticket

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Entrance to the right

If you are a Universal Studios Hollywood annual passholder (or a ticket holder with a ticket for general daytime admission and a ticket for Halloween Horror Nights), you can arrive early with your pass (or ticket). Use the turnstiles to the right of the entrance before the crowds arrive.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - People check in for Horror Nights in the park

Once in the park, you can check in near the turnstiles or the Box Office to get a wristband that allows you to stay in the park after the park closes. On opening night, our wristband gave us access to the Early Access houses. Now we are hearing reports that you get a different color wristband than the 2 p.m. and Early Access guests. That means you may not access mazes before 7 p.m. The frogs are hopping by to investigate, so stand by.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Escalators closing sign

Pros:

  • You get daytime admission and Horror Nights admission.
  • Access rides, attractions and characters that will not be part of the event.
  • If you already have a pass, it's no extra cost to get in early.
  • You avoid the lines outside the park.
  • You have time to eat, drink and se the restroom before the event kicks off.

Cons:

General Admission at 7 p.m.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Clock at Stranger Things

We mentioned having a ticket that gets you in the park at 7 p.m. That's when most guests can enter the park. We don't recommend it if you can find a way to gain early entry at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.

If you have general admission with no way to get in early, arrive early so you are at least near the front of the line. Lines can get scary long at 7 p.m. Once you enter the park, hit the Upper Lot houses first and the Terror Tram. Save the Lower Lot for when lines drop off since everyone with early access will already be there. You can check wait times in the app and on park signage.

Pros:

  • No more money spent or added on.
  • You can save on discount tickets.
  • You can start with the full event open to you (only frighteningly fun vibes when you enter).
  • No need to leave work early to get there.

Cons:

  • All the guests using ways to get in early are already in the park and in line, so you have a slight disadvantage. Hit the Upper Lot houses, shows (if important to you) and Terror Tram before heading to the Lower Lot.
  • You are are going to need Universal Express to do it all.
  • Entry lines are long. You should probably arrive by 5:30 or 6 p.m. before the event opens so you can get in the park ASAP once the gates open.

If you cannot arrive early, we advise you to get Universal Express if it's in your budget. That way, you can still accomplish all the houses, shows and Terror Tram. Don't have an Express ticket? It doesn't hurt to ask about upgrading at the park or buying the After 11 p.m. Express upgrade for a lot less money.

Which Houses Are Open During Early Access?

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - Eleven in Stranger Things

A few Lower Lot houses open at 5:30 p.m. Stranger Things 4 is one of the most popular houses of the night. The Last Of Us are also open and very popular. Holidayz in Hell is also open and is located just after The Exorcist.

Linger nearby (may we recommend a bench in front of Transformers: The Ride?) so you can hop in place when Stranger Things 4's line opens. Then hit The Exorcist: Believer and Holidayz in Hell. Both of those are near each other and had very short lines during Early Access. You'll be in good shape for the rest of the night with these out of the way.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - No line during Early Access

The other Lower Lot house is The Last of Us. This is also one of the busiest houses of the night, with wait times at 180 minutes on opening night. You can hop in line early for it if you like, but it opened a little later than the other Lower Lot houses the night we visited. Early Access house wait times do not always appear in the Universal Studios Hollywood app, so it's hard to gauge. House availability and opening times during Early Access are subject to change per night.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Early Entry - The Last of Us

At 7 p.m. all the houses are open. As the Lower Lot is full at this point, it's time to head to the Upper Lot and Terror Tram shortly after opening for the shortest lines. You may see lines temporarily close due to capacity. Keep an eye on the app before heading to a house.

Hopfully, we've helped you determine which ticket or add-on option is right for you when it comes to Early Access and other Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood early entry options. Don't pay scary high prices. Save on Halloween Horror Night tickets through Undercover Tourist.

Related: Your Screamin' Guide to Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood

Related: How to Maximize Your Time at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments

Comments

Oct 10, 2023 at 3:54 a.m.
Curt Rapala Says...

So any update on this? As an AP Holder I had always been able to access the houses early in prior years and assumed that would be the same this year. Going this Thur/Fri and only now am I finding out paid early entry is a thing this year. I'm seeing more reports that AP don't have access than I am reports that they do. Kind of annoyed/bummed I'm only finding out they changed things this year 2 days in advance when early entry tickets have already sold out for this week. : /

Reply
Oct 12, 2023 at 11:07 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Curt!

We continue to hear reports from other frogs and have checked in with Guest Relations, and annual passholders should purchase Early Access tickets to access the houses (they can still stay inside the park).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 22, 2023 at 2:33 p.m.
Andy Says...

Please note that your info on Daytime and Annual Passholders being able to use Early Access in incorrect. Universal has posted that they must purchase Early Access to go into the 5:30pm houses. The only exclusion is the 2pm Ticket Buyers. I had to check into this for our party. Annual Passholders and Daytime Ticket holders with HHN tickets can remain in the park, but will be denied access to Early Access houses if they don't have the right color wristband. Some YoutTube vloggers and HHN forum posts have confirmed that this is the case. Of course, actual enforcement at the lower low may vary.

Reply
Sep 29, 2023 at 9:09 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andy!

Thanks for hopping by and sharing. From our own experience, we used our annual pass to get in early and we were able to enter the Early Access houses without an Early Access ticket. That said, we're looking into it, as we know things can evolve from opening night.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply

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