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Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

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  • Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

    I've been planning a trip to LA since the beginning of this year and the entire time there was someone who was supposed to go with me, but about a month ago they backed out and decided not to go. Ordinarily I would've just scrubbed the trip and shot for another date down the road, but the hotel room has already been paid for and I don't want to waste that money (can't get a refund), so I've decided that I'm just going to go by myself.

    I've never done a solo trip before so I'm unsure of what to expect. I'm kinda nervous actually. I assume Universal will be a breeze to do alone during the day, but what about at night during Halloween Horror Nights? I mean, it'll be easier to manuever through the busy crowd being alone but I can't imagine going through all the haunted houses by myself as being much fun. Maybe if I could tag along with a group as they went through, that would be cool. But if I have to go through by myself, I'm going to be a tad.... spooked. But otherwise, during HHN hours, are some of the regular rides still open (like JP/Transformers/Mummy/Etc)? Otherwise, besides the haunted mazes and tram ride, what else is there to do during HHN?

    As for Magic Mountain, I wonder if I'll still need to buy a Flash Pass? I assume if I'm there all day with a Flash Pass, I'll be able to ride everything 15 times over and get to comb the park thoroughly. But I plan on being at the front gates at least 15 minutes before opening and staying all the way until the park is closed. With a Flash Pass AND being solo, I wonder how my day will play out? Do they have single rider lines like DL? How does being a single rider work out when you ALSO have a Flash Pass?

    Any other advice or imput for going solo to Universal/Horror Nights/Magin Mountain?


  • #2
    Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

    I'm no magic mountain expert but I don't think you'll need a flash pass for a midweek day in September.

    Universal Studios however is my expertise.

    Universal during the day in September is a breeze. Hitting everything should be easy but this is how I think you should do it:

    1. Get there early and hop on the first studio tour of the day.
    2. Run straight to the simpsons, it somehow always has a long line
    3. At this point it should be about 1.5 hours after opening around 11:30
    4. Go downstairs and ride transformers. Since it isn't peak season the line should be no more than 20-30 minutes at this point during the day.
    5. Grab a bite if you're hungry.
    6. Go on Jurassic Park. Should be about 10-20 mins wait since it'll be cooler and a lot less busy.
    7. The Mummy.
    8. Head back up and watch the show you want in the order that makes sense. I highly recommend waterworld so do not miss that one! I also really like the animal show, but I'm in a very small minority that does.

    Skippable attractions at USH have to be Shrek 4D and the midway games. If you want go for them but you won't be missing much.

    For HHN the simpsons, Transformers, JP, and the Mummy will be open so if you missed something during the day you'll be able to ride it.

    Well considering you're going to the park the same day you won't have a problem with this but if you aren't get to the HHN gates VERY VERY EARLY. It's always crowded and you want to be towards the front. Now do the mazes in this order:

    1. The Walking Dead in the Wild West Venue
    2. Go downstairs and hit Silent Hill & Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    3. Go back up stairs and do the terror tram. make sure you check what time the tram closes because this may end up in a different slot depending on that. you do not want to miss out on the terror tram it is an amazing experience to walk on the universal backlot.
    4. Go to La Llorona
    5. Alice Cooper
    6. House of Horrors
    7. End the day will Bill & Ted

    Last year at HHN I went on a peak night and did about this same order plus rode Jurrasic Park & the Mummy x2 each and still got everything done before close.

    I hope you have a great time and safe travels. I hope I was a help to you!


    • #3
      Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

      make sure Six Flags is open. i know off peak its only open on select days.


      • #4
        Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

        Thanks for the replys! I've already made sure both parks will be open when I go, and I'll be going in mid-October.

        How crowded is HHN during the first two weeks of October? How long are the lines generally and how long would it take to get all the mazes & tram ride done?

        See, I figure during the day is when I can knock out everything I really want to do, then during HHN, I can just focus on the mazes and maybe do the rides I really liked a couple more times.

        Just to be sure.... since I'll be in the park when HHN starts, I wont have to worry about being at any gate or anything will I? Like, just after 7pm is when HHN officially starts so thats when the line to the mazes open? So then I should just start getting in line?

        How is the Terror Tram different from the regular tram ride during the day?

        Is City Walk worth checking out? I figure i could exit the park for an hour during the day and check it out then. I'll be getting there when the park opens and want to get right into the thick of things, so I'll skip City Walk in the morning. And I want to be in the park before HHN starts, so I can't leave around then either to see it. And the park closes at 2:00am, so City Walk will be closed by then. And I don't want to pay $15 for parking just to visit City Walk on a different day, so it'll have to be on the day I'm there, and I'll most likely have to leave the park at some point to go check it out if it's worth it.


        • #5
          Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

          I can't stress this enough about HHN: get. your. ticket. early. Like, online even.

          It sells out extremely fast, and it'll be busy as hell in October. And yes, you have to re-enter the park. It's a separate ticketed event. (even employees don't get in for free, after preview night of course) They will kick you out as they clear the entire thing before HHN starts. So jet early and start waiting.

          Ride Transformers during the day, as it seems we're pulling a shocking amount of weight. The line almost rivaled many of the mazes tonight, although of course it was the first night. During the day, provided you come on a Friday, you should be able to walk on and ride many, many times.

          The Terror Tram is pretty simple. The tram is basically little more than a transportation device in which you view a lengthy preview of The Walking Dead. They drop you off in front of the Whoville set and you walk through various outdoor sets with scare actors until you reach a point where the tram picks you up and takes you back to the station.

          As for CityWalk, that's a tough one, but there's a solution to be found. Make sure you get to Universal at 10, and like I said, if it's a Friday you should be able to get every ride done by noon. Take another four hours to see shows, eat and maybe do a few rides again. At around 4 to 5, quickly visit CityWalk which you'll most likely already see while walking to the park in the morning. To me, the only things worth it there are the restaurants and bars. The shopping is half akin to what you'd find at your local shopping mall, and half goofy tourist fodder. (like the shop full of magnets) Not to say it doesn't have its quirks: It's Sugar, the eccentric candy shop is fun to visit, as well as the small but packed comic book store Things From Another World, and always elicit a smile from the oxygen bar at the Zen Zone. Of course, this all depends on your shopping habits. At most, it's neat to see at night which you'll already will if you park anywhere but the Frankenstein garage. You can do it really quickly enough not to miss grabbing a good spot for HHN, possibly grabbing a snack or souvenir.

          Hope this helps!


          • #6
            Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

            I know what you mean about being alone in a horror maze. I was in a similar situation as you. I like mazes, but I didn't exactly want to go alone. The worst part is waiting in line, so have your phone charged and play lots of games, or bring a book.

            But really, the crowds are so large at HHN, they 90% of the time, it's more of a continuous "conga line" through the mazes. Yeah, they try to let people in groups of about 10-15 at a time... but typically, within a few feet of going inside, you're running into the group in front of you. This is not quite as true very early in the night... but as the lines get longer, it's almost a certainty.

            As for Transformers, if you are alone, definitely take advantage of the Single Rider Line. Although it can be fun to see the entire queue once, so if you can get there early and go through it, then do so. But if the line is long, Single Rider is your best friend.

            City Walk is a good place to relax and take a break in the middle of the day. There are some unique food options too, as we have a Tommy's and Pink's, both of which are local SoCal institutions. Not as famous as In and Out, but in the same league for sure. To be honest, I actually prefer Tommy's. Just be ready for a lot of grease. But you're on vacation, right?

            There's also a very good all you can eat Brazilian steakhouse called Samba. It's all the way in the back, behind Hard Rock Cafe. The food is good, and if you go for lunch, it's quite reasonable. Dinner is much pricier, so I recommend lunch there.

            I agree with others that you should arrive at HHN early. If it opens at 7, try to be there by 6 or 6:15.

            As for Magic Mountain, when are you going again? Their Haunt stuff is not every night in October, so double check that. Tatsu and X2 get the longest lines, so head for those first.
            Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?


            • #7
              Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

              Thanks again for the feedback!

              When you say I should arrive at HHN early, where is the line for that? I figure I could leave the park around 5pm, go to City Walk, then come back and get in line for HHN, but I don't know where that would be, unless it's just at the front of the park. But I'll be at Universal on a Friday.

              As for MM, I'll be going there on a Sunday and I'll be there from opening 'til close. I'll be buying a Flash Pass too, so hopefully once it gets dark out, that'll help me cut through the lines. I figure I'll get through everything during day, and night time will just be extra. But if I have the Flash Pass, I wont worry too much about the crowds.

              As for Fright Night, I'm not gunna worry about that. After all, I'll have done HHN already, so I'm sure Fright Nights will feel silly by comparison. So while everyone else is enjoying that, I'll still be hitting the coasters.

              Are the lines for the regular rides very long during HHN, or are most of the people at the mazes?

              And within the park (and in City Walk) I don't want to spend a whole lot on food. I know theme parks usually mark up their foods to insane prices, but I figure I can pack some snacks that'll hopefully keep me held over so I only need to stop and pay for food once, or twice at most. Any recommendations for cheaper food all around the property?

              And I'll be buying everything (tickets, etc) online, so I wont worry about that.


              • #8
                Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                At around 4-ish, the situation largely changes at Universal. Parking is suddenly rerouted and the entrance becomes blocked off (as the box office for regular hours closes), and they set up large metal detectors outside the the security berm. This is the waiting area, you can't possibly miss it, and I'd recommend to get there about 90 minutes prior to opening (so about 5:30).

                Last night was our first night so I only have that to go on, but every ride except for Transformers held a steady, simple wait. (I believe Mummy and JP had 25 minute waits, while Simpsons was a 35) TF, though, is attracting the crowds big time. The mazes of course have their hour-to-2-hour long waits. The only live show is Bill & Ted (which is actually quite good this year), runs five to six times a night. Try to catch the very last show.

                As for food... well as you may be aware, the upper lot of Universal (where the parking is) is entirely set on a giant hill. Food that is not on property requires you to take a trolley down the hill to Lankershim Blvd, where you can walk to get something on Ventura nearby, unless you want to climb the rather steep hill walk. The trolley has long, long waits both to and fro and the walk is a good twenty minutes round. (worth it if you really want In-N-Out I guess!)

                Otherwise, it's CityWalk, which has some well-priced eats, and the food in the park is not as pricey as Disney. (although a lot more generic) If you're super strapped, I'd recommend heading to the CityFood court upstairs across from the cinemas. I'm sure there's something cheap up there.


                • #9
                  Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                  Ok, yeah, that sounds good. I mean, I can shell out the money if I need to, to eat. I'd just prefer to go cheap so I can save as much money as possible. In my Disney experience (both at DL and WDW) I've discovered that above all else, food is the most expensive thing. I'm hoping that since I'm alone, I'll be able to save big here.

                  Would you agree with the first guy to post below me, about his order of doing the mazes at HHN? Or would I be ok just doing everything in the top lot first (any order) followed by the bottom lot?

                  Otherwise, thanks to everyone for all the great info. It'll help a lot. But all in all, you think US/HHN/MM is safe for a single person? I've been to DL/WDW many times and I feel as safe there as I do in my own backyard. But these other parks, I'm not too sure of. Haven't been to either since about 2001.
                  Last edited by DoomsdayFAN; 09-22-2012, 09:31 PM.


                  • #10
                    Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                    Yeah his HHN plan is good, however I would do the Terror Tram prior to heading downstairs. And no matter what, save Bill & Ted to the end.

                    As for safety: don't worry, both parks are fine. Universal especially, as they craft an experience that's close to Disney. Magic Mountain will be a tad sketchier I won't lie, but you'll never feel in danger.


                    • #11
                      Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                      I went to HHN alone in 2007. It's actually quite fun doing everything at your own pace. However, it was very odd trying to talk to people since they were ALL COUPLES! haha the only part that feels a little like "oh crap" is going through a scare zone alone because you just KNOW they see you out there by yourself and you're an open target. The mazes were easy to do though, because its a conga line all the way through anyway. I've been going to HHN since 07 and have followed a similar game plan as the ones that have been suggested to you. I get through every single thing every year with the "do the lower lot first" game plan. I mix it up by hitting a maze or the Terror Tram on the way down but by the time it's 8 PM, you'll realize you've done half of the entire event in just an hour. After that, the lines start to get long but you'll be very thankful you got a lot out of the way already.


                      • #12
                        Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                        The CityWalk food court is probably your best bet for quick, cheap food. As mentioned before, getting off property can be either quite a hike or time consuming. And as I mentioned before, if you gotta pay for food, is may as well be good, local favorites. Pinks, Tommy's, and The Flamebroiler are all excellent options you can't find anywhere else outside SoCal... so take advantage of them.

                        The entrance to HHN is the same as Universal. As mentioned, they do set up extra metal detectors. Personally, I think getting there at 5:30 is a bit early, but definitely 6:15 or 6:30. If you want to be up front for the park opening, then maybe 5:30 or 6:00.

                        In general, after about the first hour or two, most mazes averaged about 30-70 minutes. Most rides were about 30 minutes. The notable exception was Transformers... it stayed at 2-3 hours.

                        Also keep in mind that the ride boards and app often overestimate the actual wait times. At one point last night, it said the wait for the Terror Tram was 40. In fact, we got on in 15. A 45 minute wait for Alice was more like 25-30.

                        And yes, you should feel very safe at Universal, even for HHN.
                        Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?


                        • #13
                          Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                          I'll add this about Transformers: it's been running at half capacity these past two nights, and should be operating normally by this week or the next. Expect wait times to go down.


                          • #14
                            Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                            Originally posted by JesterMn View Post
                            The entrance to HHN is the same as Universal. As mentioned, they do set up extra metal detectors. Personally, I think getting there at 5:30 is a bit early, but definitely 6:15 or 6:30. If you want to be up front for the park opening, then maybe 5:30 or 6:00.
                            The whole corssover into HHN at night is kinda strange to me because the website says the regular park closes at 7pm, but that HHN begins at 7pm. So I'm kinda confused there. If that is the case then it doesn't make much sense for them to kick everyone out of the park. Because based on that schedule, the non-HHN people should be able to stay until 7, and the HHN people should come in at 7. So.... I dont really understand that part.

                            Now I've seen some days where the regular park closed at 6pm and HHN started at 7pm, so I can understand about leaving and having to come back in, in that case. But with the regular park closing at 7pm and HHN starting at 7pm.... it makes you think you'd just be able to wait in the park and not have to leave.

                            So what is this Bill & Ted thing you guys keep talking about?
                            Last edited by DoomsdayFAN; 09-23-2012, 06:17 PM.


                            • #15
                              Re: Advice for solo trip to Universal Studios/HHN/Magic Mountain?

                              ​Bill and Ted is a stage show.
                              I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.