Universal Introduces Unprecedented Change to Theme Park Policies

in Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood

Crowd of people at an amusement park entrance with a large globe sculpture labeled "Universal" overhead, surrounded by colorful buildings and palm trees.

Credit: Republica from Pixabay

In a bold move, Universal Parks in America announced an unprecedented policy change, introducing more complications for Guests.

Universal Studios Hollywood in California and Universal Studios Resort in Orlando are home to some of the most exciting experiences for families, thrill seekers, and movie fans in America. With rides and entire lands inspired by popular franchises like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, The Simpsons, Transformers, Despicable Me, Minions, Super Mario Bros., and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — despite the historical backlash against a particular movie franchise at the Parks — it’s not hard to see why millions of fans, friends and families visit Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort — home to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay, and, soon, Universal’s Epic Universe — every year.

A family walks towards Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World at Universal
Credit: Universal

Related: Universal Orlando Spares No Expense in Latest “Disney Killer” Update

And while the Parks have plenty of reasons to draw large crowds year-round, thousands of fans go wild for a yearly exclusive.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida are a yearly tradition for horror fans in America. The separately ticketed event takes place on select nights from September through October at Universal Studios Hollywood and from September through November at Universal Studios Florida and lets fans be immersed in different experiences inspired by some of the most popular horror franchises like Stranger Things, The Last of Us, and more.

Unfortunately, an unprecedented change is coming to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights that will put a strain on Guests wanting to experience the thrills this Halloween season.

multi-day halloween horror nights
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Related: Halloween Horror Nights Coming to Life Inside Universal Park

While, historically, Guests visiting Universal Studios Hollywood during Halloween Horror Nights could access the Park before the event’s official start, the Southern California theme park introduced an upcharge to gain early access to the event, putting a bigger strain on the wallets of horror fans wanting to make the most out of their Halloween Horror Nights experience.

“Halloween Horror Nights Early Access Ticket” is a new offering at Universal Studios Hollywood that allows Guests to enjoy select experiences one and a half hours ahead of the event’s official opening.

Prices for the new ticket add-on range between $10 and $25 depending on the date and include “early access General Admission to select haunted houses (starting at 5:30 p.m., subject to change) prior to the scheduled Halloween Horror Nights event opening.” Universal states that the ticket is not valid for Halloween Horror Nights admission, which must be purchased separately for the same date, and that daytime entrance to the Park and access to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD during Halloween Horror Nights event are not included.

Halloween Horror Nights Coming to Life Inside Universal Park
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Additionally, Universal Studios Hollywood offers “AFTER 2 PM DAY/NIGHT,” a special ticket that grants access to the Park after 2:00 p.m. and general admission to Halloween Horror Nights Event, including same-day access to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (subject to change) and early event access to select haunted houses starting at 5:30 p.m. (subject to change). Universal Studios Hollywood’s “AFTER 2 PM DAY/NIGHT” prices range from $149 to $182, depending on the selected date.

The Universal arch lit up for Halloween Horror Nights
Credit: Universal

Similarly, Universal Orlando Resort offers the “Scream Early Ticket,” which allows Guests to start the thrills early at Universal Studios Florida from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. before waiting in a “Stay & Scream” area until the event begins. Event admission for the same day is required for this add-on and is not included in it.

While all these offerings practically grant early access to some of the most wanted experiences of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, lower crowds, and an extended stay at the event, it is inevitable to think that Universal is following on Disney’s disgracious steps, introducing upcharges for experiences that used to be free for Guests with tickets to the exclusive event.

Will you visit Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort for Halloween Horror Nights this year? Are the different upcharges worth it for the experience? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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