Written by Alan T Vuong, Accessible Travels and Vacations, November 23, 2023
Last month, a friend and I flew to Los Angeles to attend 1 Sunday evening at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). We made it a 3 night trip during Halloween weekend which also included two day visits to the theme park. I love Halloween and watching horror movies, so was excited to see how wheelchair accessible this event would be.
Since we were already in the park, it made it easier for us to already have the AAP and to get the Halloween Horror Nights(HHN) wristband. The AAP was valid the whole day which was very convenient. Wristbands could be exchanged for your event ticket at any marked booth.
People without the wristbands must exit the park before 6pm. We saw a booth with hardly any lines and got ours just after 3pm. It was just after the Kung Fu Panda show when we were heading to the Despicable Me ride in the Upper Lot.
Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights started at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1986 and disappeared on and off for the next few years. Starting 2006, it was held every year since except 2020 due to the pandemic. For 2023, it runs select nights from September 7 to October 31 starting at 7pm and closes at different times depending on the night.
There are different types of tickets: General Admission, Universal Express, After 2pm Day/Night, RIP Tour, Early Access (5:30pm early access to select haunted houses), Frequent Fear Pass and Ultimate Fear Pass. We got General Admission tickets for $92 each as my Annual gave a $5 discount each ticket.
This event has 8 haunted houses, 3 scare zones, Terror Tram, 2 shows, unique merchandise and food. All the theme park rides are open too. Wait times will be shorter as most people are doing the exclusive horror nights attractions. We did all the main stuff at the park the last 2 days and will only do the Halloween attractions.
There was a policy of no costumes, masks and props so we just wore our regular clothes. Since we didn’t get the Early Access add on ticket for $20 each person, we could not start visiting the haunted houses at 5:30pm, we needed to wait for 7pm.
Time In Between Events
We went to a few souvenir stores as there was a 70% off sale of all Halloween Horror Nights except the Chucky popcorn bucket. I did buy a Stranger Things shirt which was regular $30. My friend did buy a few discounted items too.
To save time for later, we thought it would be best to take the accessible shuttle to the Lower Lot since we spent our whole day portion in the Upper Lot. With it not being too busy between 6 and 7pm, we could go down right away which means we only had to take the shuttles once after completing everything in the Lower Lot to go upstairs.
We still had a bit of time before it was 7 so we decided to eat something quick at one of the food kiosks in the Lower Lot. We had to show our event wristbands in order to line up at Mummy Eats to buy food. We both got Korean corn dog meals and ate it at a nearby table.
When it was close to 7, we were able to visit a staff member at a podium near Isla Nu Bar to get return times for all 4 haunted houses in the Lower Lot. The guy gave the first house slightly after 7 and a few minutes intervals for the remaining 3. We were told that all 8 haunted houses would be wheelchair and they were right!
Here is how our night went:
Haunted House #1: The Last of Us
The first haunted house we went to was The Last of Us. Based on the video game and the drama series, this was a very popular house with long lines. Lucky the AAP gets us a return time and into the Express line which was only a few minutes long. There were scare actors jumping out at us from behind curtains but it was never scary. Some of the pathways in the house were a bit tight and dark but it was never tough to get around in my wheelchair.
Haunted House #2: The Exorcist: Believer
We then went to The Exorcist: Believer which was based on the movie that just came out last month. I really liked the movie and this house really looked like it. Sometimes it was a bit hard passing through the plastic curtains to get to the next room but my friend made sure to move it out of the way to get through.
Haunted House #3: Holidayz in Hell
Next on our AAP list was Holidayz in Hell haunted house. Using a more comedic tone for this house was great as it shows that the HHN doesn’t take itself too serious. There is a turkey monster, Christmas trees wrapped in intestines and even a boy who blew off his limbs with fireworks.
Haunted House #4: Stranger Things 4
Stranger Things 4 was the new haunted house we visited. The regular lines for this house were really long too. I watched every season of this show and was excited to be transported into the world of Vecna and the Upside Down. Some of the scare actors had so much detail and really got into character but I never really got scared.
After looking around on the Lower Lot a bit more and taking the accessible shuttle to the Upper Lot, we continued with the rest of the houses and events upstairs. For the next 2 haunted houses, we had to bring our AAP to get return times from a staff member at the podium across from Cocina Mexicana.
Haunted House #5: Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
Chucky is another character that I am very familiar with. We enter the haunted house which has a bunch of Chucky dolls in their box out front. Once inside, we see different Chucky dolls kill everyone who enters each room. Again, I never really got scared when the scare actors jump out and wheeling around was easy.
Haunted House #6: Universal Monsters: Unmasked
Across from Chucky was Universal Monsters: Unmasked. Based on some classic Universal monsters like Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man and more. By now, all the haunted houses have been similar so we went to the accessible bathroom trailer right next door before going to the Terror Tram tour.
Terror Tram: The Exterminatorz
I was really excited to do this tour because I thought it would be similar to the Studio Tour. We waited at the regular Studio Tour accessible area but I was surprised when we were not getting loaded on the accessible tram with the rest of the people. Instead, an accessible bus picked us up and dropped us off where the regular tram drops everyone off.
Since, we weren’t on the tram, we missed the whole back story with tour guide Larry Larva and his exterminators who are out to get rid of human pests. There was also a pre show video explaining everything that was happening that night. We missed all of this which was unfortunate so I had look it up online afterwards.
Once we got off the accessible shuttle bus, Larry Larva and his chainsaw bugs terrorize guests as everyone heads towards cockroach motel. We actually get up real close to this motel as we just drive by it during the Studio Tour. There we see Larry Larva again with a bunch of scare actors covered in bugs.
We then go up a slight hill and get the chance to take pictures with Norman Bates at his house. We then enter Spider Alley where scare actor spiders jump out. Then we see the War of the Worlds crash set which was very cool to stroll through. We then go through Jupiter’s Claim set from the movie Nope and some scare actors with scissors from the movie Us.
The tram tour was now done so the accessible shuttle bus brought us back to the same spot as the pick up. Right by is a photo op with Santa Claus from the movie Violent Night.
This year’s HHN has three scare zones: Ghostz, Toyz and El Terror De Las Mommias. These are themed areas featuring scare actors who try to scare you by interacting with you up close and personal. This happens everywhere but at scare zones, there is music, with giant crowds.
We got caught in the Toyz scare zone as we were passing by. It was something really cool to see and experience that I would have to visit them all in future years.
The Purge: Dangerous Waters
The next thing we did was to get in line to watch The Purge: Dangerous Waters. This show was held at the WaterWorld stage which got me exited because I enjoyed that show too. This 15 minute brand new show makes its debut appearance this year.
The storyline revolves around what happens when citizens are angry about losing their friends and family members to The Purge, and the consequences once restrictions on politicians are lifted. The show focuses on a senator who leaves the mainland to hide out on an island in the middle of the ocean.
From there, chaos begins using explosives, water and fire effects.
Blumhouse: Behind the Screams
Blumhouse: Behind the Screams show takes place at DreamWorks Theater. In the waiting area before the show, we get to see costumes and props from Blumhouse movies like The Purge, The Black Phone, Five Nights at Freddy’s, M3gan and more. Everyone was so excited taking pics with Freddy Fazbear and gang.
The show itself is basically just clips from a bunch of Blumhouse movies. When the host is murdered by M3gan, we are treated to a short dance show by a few M3gans throughout the theater. It was fun and silly and I would definitely watch again.
Haunted House #7: Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America
The last 2 haunted houses require you to go directly to the entrance of the house where we ask a staff member to get an AAP return time. Only 1 return time is allowed at a time. Located in the Parisian Courtyard, there is a scare actor scaring people as they enter the house. I didn’t know too much about Latin American folklore but the 3 main monsters were cool.
Haunted House #8: Evil Dead Rise
Our last haunted left was Evil Dead Rise. I didn’t know that much about this movie and TV series. I thought the entrance was creative as it made it looked like we are entering a skinny scary alley that is between 2 shady looking buildings. We were surprised we managed to do everything by 1am as HHN ended at 2am on our day.
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 was a lot of fun and everything was wheelchair accessible. I am glad we did the rides earlier in the day so we could focus on doing every HHN attraction during the evening. I suggest getting the 2pm day/night ticket, 5.30pm early entry ticket, or the express pass to be able to do as much as possible. Nothing was really scary but I would definitely do this again soon.