Spending upwards of $300 is no joke. Whatever you’re paying for is going to have be something you’re really passionate about and as I learned this year, I’m pretty passionate about visiting Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood! On opening weekend, my brother and I dove in feet first to try the newly-updated RIP TOUR and I am very happy to say I felt like I got my money’s worth.
Making the decision to swing for the luxury experience was a tough one, initially. I was able to rationalize it by figuring that the RIP TOUR was like an add-on to the base ticket cost. I already knew I was going to do Universal Express (starting at $169 depending on what night you go). So when I considered that the RIP TOUR (starting at $299 depending on the night you go) would be like an add-on to the base ticket price it came down to figuring out if the “add-on” was worth it. Depending on the night you go, you’re talking about a $120-$180 add-on for all the RIP TOUR extras. Your mileage will vary depending on your expectations of those extras but for me, I found this to be a prime way to experience the Halloween Horror Nights.
I present to you now, the TOP 6 reasons why RIP TOUR is to die for…
Front of Line Perks
WHAT: UNLIMITED front-of-line access to ALL mazes and available attractions.
Yes, unlimited! Even with regular Universal Express, you only get one-time-only front-of-line access so this is a pretty nice perk if you plan on doing repeats!
WHAT: Private transportation to Lower Lot and Backlot mazes
One of my least favorite experiences during a regular night at Halloween Horror Nights is the WALK once you embark on the Lower Lot. You swing a right at Transformers and walk for what feels like miles and miles before you get to the location on the Backlot where a big chunk of the evening’s experiences are located. It’s not insurmountable but it’s annoying. That makes having transportation during the guided RIP TOUR a really nice perk that is ALMOST worth the entire add-on cost for me. Plus, the exclusive trolley was stocked with a cooler full of ice cold waters.
Honestly, this was a pretty primo part of the experience — perhaps the most premium — and the route takes you through short-cuts and areas that the regular Studio Tour does not. We’re in a smaller vehicle so it’s a little more nimble. Not once during the guided experience are you finding yourself on the StarWay escalators!
Buffet + Spirited Drinks
WHAT: Buffet Dinner and 2 (Alcoholic) Drink Vouchers
Ok look, we’re here to be screamed at, jumped at, spooked and otherwise terrified but that’s an exhausting experience so staying fueled up is a super important part of the experience. Normally for us that means whatever we can squeeze down our throats at Panda Express on the lower lot or one of the food trucks on the Backlot. But not for the RIP TOUR…
The Buffet experience is an exclusive one for RIP TOUR guests and is purposely timed between the various other tour groups so that your time in the restaurant is basically just your group or one or two others. The food here is really great; a bounty including carved turkey, chicken and waffle sandwiches, shrimp, ahi tuna salad, and an amazing selection of beautiful desserts (and yes, more waffles thanks in part to the Stranger Things maze this year.) Oh, and made-to-order Demogorgon Totchos are awesome!
Pair all of that food with the bar in the back that offers wine, beer, and liquor and you’ve got yourself a winning experience. You get two drink vouchers for the evening, they can be redeemed at the Buffet experience and/or at the end of the tour in the private VIP Lounge on the Lower Lot.
Stranger Things Photo-Ops
WHAT: Exclusive photo-ops themed to Netflix Stranger Things.
I’m a big fan of the show so this was a really really cool opportunity to have exclusive access to these awesome setups. You could sit on the couch, place yourself in the Demogorgon’s grasp, and sit on the bikes. I categorized this as a nice EXTRA. It’s probably not worth any additional cost but it’s a super nice extra; especially considering that it’s exclusive! Your Instafans will be SO jealous!
This is located in the same space as the buffet but you can access it at any time during the evening with your credential and wristband.
A Second VIP Lounge
WHAT: Access to the Am Ex VIP Lounge on the Lower Lot
Located just to the left of the main entrance for The Mummy attraction, you’ll have access all night long to this little lounge that remains stocked with desserts from the buffet, a selection of candy, and of course another bar! There’s also make-up demos going on in here which is pretty cool! Of course, if you use up your two drink vouchers you can pay for more alcohol but sodas and water remain free!
WHAT: Valet Parking for the event
I’m not typically one to spring for valet parking but man is it nice to roll up to Universal, get out of the car and not have to worry about it until the end of the evening. PRO TIP: Go to the FRANKENSTEIN valet station which will put you right at the main entrance for the park. The JURASSIC valet station is located near the theatre in CityWalk so you’ll do a little more walking. If you want express access from car to event, head to the valet stand at FRANKENSTEIN!
RIP TOUR was a fantastic opportunity but it pushed the limits of how much I was willing to spend for Halloween Horror Nights. With that said, I have no regrets and thoroughly enjoyed the VIP nature of the setup. Plus, from the perspective of a (trick or) TREAT YOSELF experience, I found the whole thing to be perfectly worth the cost and the effort.
Want to learn more about this year’s event offerings? Check out our general pictorial below!
See it for Yourself
Universal Studios Hollywood proudly hosts Halloween Horror Nights select nights now through November 3, 2018.
Mazes awaiting fresh victims include STRANGER THINGS, TRICK ‘R TREAT, HALLOWEEN 4, THE FIRST PURGE, POLTERGEIST, THE HORRORS OF BLUMHOUSE: CHAPTER 2, and UNIVERSAL MONSTERS featuring an all-new score by Slash. A new twist on the TERROR TRAM, plus zombies in THE WALKING DEAD ATTRACTION, and new scare zones will all be waiting to scare you to death.
DON’T MISS: Get your tickets now before they sell out!