Tag: Cedar Fair

HAUNT REVIEW: Knott’s Scary Farm 2017

With some chaos Knott’s Scary Farm‘s 45th Halloween Haunt brings back many popular mazes, revamps others, introduces a couple new ones, and gives a final send off to the first Mistress of Haunt.

Well, we decided to forego the early season visit (and our own advice) and went to Knott’s Scary Farm on a mid-October Saturday night. You know, a night when everyone else in Southern California typically visits. Actually we just couldn’t find another time to go this season as we’ve been prioritizing haunts that are offering newer experiences. We also wanted to mix it up a little and report on what it’s like for real-everyday guests (with Fright Lane) and not a press media outlet that has the red carpet rolled out for them,  to which there’s a significant difference in the experiences.

So after 45 years one would think that Knott’s would have it’s haunt operations running smoothly but sadly chaos ensued from the moment we arrived at the front gates. We lucked out a little on parking but even that was a mess (so was our car after paying $20 to park in a dusty lot). The process to get through the turnstile, using their mobile tickets, and getting a Fright Lane wristband was frustratingly slow. It makes no sense as to why they don’t just hand out the fright lane wrist bands to guest who’ve purchased them as they enter the park as the system for the getting the passes at designated stations within the park is aggravatingly slow and disorganized. It completely diminishes  the value of the Fright Lane’s triple admission price and causes a big crowd of confused and angry people form right inside the park’s front gates.

In addition, many employees we encountered seemed clueless as to what they were doing, where things were, and what was going on in general. Line control and crowd flow was confusing and chaotic all over the park. These things matter just as much as having good mazes. The fun spirit of the evening can be quickly killed for guests if they have to endure what seems to be unnecessary frustrations. It nearly killed it for us. Being “sold out” is not an excuse for guests to have a shitty experience.

Perhaps they need to reduce the cap on the number of nightly admissions. Or maybe they need to hire more operations employees and if they’re hiring a lot of seasonal help during haunt they should take the time to properly train ALL of them. This would really make a difference on how efficient everything is ran inside the park. Compared to Universal, Magic Mountain, and Queen Mary,  Knott’s lands in last place for its operations this year… a solid buried skull. Just go onto social media to see the never ending guest rants about this year’s operations.

Now on to the good stuff. While most of it is the same things we’ve all seen and loved before at Knott’s Scary Farm, part of the charm is the Halloween tradition that carries on year-after-year at the park. The new maze themes and the traditional Halloween ambiance that’s showcased across the foggy landscape is actually even more captivating this year with top notch park decorations along with high caliber and some truly scary maze designs. What distinguishes Knott’s in the Southern California theme park market is the originality of their mazes that are not confined to structured movie themes like Universal’s.

In particular, the new Dark Ride maze is probably one of the best themed and designed mazes we’ve ever experienced at  Scary Farm in our past 25 years of visiting! Paranormal Inc. also continues its reign as the most terrifying maze at KSF with Shadowlands, Pumpkin Eater, and Trick or Treat: Lights Out rounding out the slate of our top mazes this year. We’re very happy that they brought back an overlay to the Timber Mountain Log Ride, even if it’s just “family friendly”. Now we hope they can get the Calico Mine Train back on board. Finally, rounding out the festivities, the anything but family friendly Elvira goes out with a (double) bang for her final season at Knott’s… sad so sad.

Now here’s our full Knott’s Scary Farm maze reviews featuring some incredible full maze videos from our friends at Theme Park HD.

 New Mazes and Attractions

DARK RIDE

Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel characters still linger in the shadows in the NEW maze, Dark Ride. The carnival attraction has become a refuge for sideshow freaks and now those shunned performers have created an ominous world where they plan to unleash terror on those who enter.

This is the Scary Farm maze everyone has been screaming for! Dark Ride looked spectacular and is probably one of the most imaginative and well designed mazes we’ve ever seen at Knott’s. Paying tribute to the old school carnival haunted – fun houses, Dark Ride takes guests on a twisted pathway through and behind the scenes of one of the most elaborate mazes in the history of Scary Farm. There are some fun scares but this maze is more about the story and design. It’s almost ironic how a maze based on a simplistic carnival haunted house ride features the most incredible special effects we’ve seen featured in a KSF maze. The scale of the sets, use of animatronics, music, and craftsmanship is definitely Knott’s warning shot back at HHN and others who have tried to run off with the  haunt  maze blueprint that they originated.  A few more scares might have made this maze beyond perfect but we’re almost glad it wasn’t any scarier as we may have then missed seeing the full glory of this awesome maze by trying to cover our eyes (lol). All in all this maze definitely earns the trophy for haunt theme of the year and for the first time in our Knott’s Scary Farm history, it earns our top 666 skull rating for Haunt Design.

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PUMPKIN EATER

Daring guests will attempt to survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in this year’s NEW MAZE, Pumpkin Eater. The notorious creature is on the prowl, hidden within the dark confines of the haunted town he once terrorized. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath all who enter must go on a quest through the silent town of victims, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the only way out.

The nursery rhyme of Peter Peter Pumpkin eater is brought to life (and death) in this very imaginative maze concept.  It reminded us of a mix of 1992’s Mother Noose and the more recent Cornstalkers mazes. Just like Dark Ride, Pumpkin Eater demonstrates that Knott’s has really graduated up into a new level of immersive maze theming, storytelling, and design. This maze also had quite a few good scares throughout with a high energy cast that really knows how to work within the maze’s long layout. The makeup and costuming were also well done with monstrous  pumpkins and people with carved faces lurking about. There’s also some grotesque scenes but nothing that’s over the top like in the the Red Barn maze. The spiraling journey through the rotted pumpkins that requires guests to push through dripping wet passageways was a highlight of the maze. Due to many of the outdoor sections this maze is much scarier at night but all in all it really is a fun and fright inducing Halloween maze adventure.

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TRICK OR TREAT: LIGHTS OUT

Are you afraid of the dark? You will be. Armed with only a faulty flashlight, explore the creepy house at the end of the street, in the upgraded Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out maze. Face the terrors  of the house in complete darkness as your interactive flashlight reveals the horrors hiding in the shadows.  Featuring new state-of-the-art effects, unexpected scares and other eerie surprises, Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out will terrorize you like never before.

When we first heard about this maze we thought that it was going to just be the same old Trick or Treat maze where all they’ve done now is shut off the lights so that they could promote it as something new. While this is somewhat true, it works really well with the result being more than just a gimmick. ‘Trick or Treat’ actually has never really been a scary maze to us but the “lights out” element adds a new layer of suspense and scariness to the maze this year. Each guest has their own flashlight so the rooms and settings are somewhat illuminated as the groups walk through but now the ghouls and monsters have the full advantage of seeing  you before you get to see them. They also added some fantastic looking new characters and set redresses. Trick or Treat has established itself as one of the most popular Scary Farm mazes that doesn’t seem to get old. With the new lights out Trick we expect it continue to be treating guests for more years to come.

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TIMBER MOUNTAIN LOG RIDE HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY

This season the Timber Mountain Log Ride becomes the Halloween Hootenanny. This is a family friendly Halloween overlay to our classic Timber Mountain Log Ride. This attraction will be open every day during the Halloween season and features a brand new original song sung by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.

After a hiatus that lasted for a few years, it’s so good to finally have the haunted log ride back at Scary Farm. For us this was always one of the quintessential and unique haunt experiences. This new version isn’t designed to be an overly scary experience but the upgraded props, effects and soundtrack make it one of the funnest things to do at Scary Farm and a nice break from walking around. We also appreciate that in spite of the stricter OSHA regulations they still managed to get a handful of live monsters to lurk about in the dark corners around the flume.

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Returning Mazes

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The Fog Has Rolled in at Knott’s Scary Farm 2015

 

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This weekend at ScareLA the folks at Knott’s Scary Farm revealed the first details for this year’s Halloween Haunt, which begins in only 45 days on September 24th. This year’s event will feature 2 shows, 3 Scare Zones, 5 Skeleton Key Rooms, 11 mazes, and 1,000 monsters! There’s also a ‘Scary Farm Pass‘; a haunt season pass available for “only” $80. A great deal for local fans. Tickets are on sale now starting at $39.99.

Here’s The full Scary Farm lineup for 2015…

New Mazes

DEAD OF WINTER:

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Escape the icy grasp of the chilling Snow Queen in the The Dead of Winter. Backed by a ravenous beastly army of resurrected Viking warriors, she is hellbent on avenging her beloved family’s murder, and preys upon any unsuspecting visitors who foolishly enter the borders of her icy domain.

PARANORMAL INC.:

Paranormal-Page-HeaderIn this groundbreaking new maze featuring high flying aerial stunts and scares, guests investigate a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff hunt for new patients to torture.

MY BLODDY CLEMENTINE:

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There is no tale more vicious and vengeful than that of My Bloody Clementine. Take a grim ride through the transformed Calico Mine where Clementine and her father were brutally murdered centuries ago. Their wretched spirits roam the tunnels in search of those who killed them. This year, the ride through maze will feature live monsters out for revenge at the train track’s every turn.

Returning Mazes

TOOTH FAIRY:

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This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out their bedroom window and into a world of deranged dentistry. Unbelievable special effects include a blackout room through which guests must feel their way out, a disorienting x-ray strobe light room, and a final encounter with the massive tooth fairy, himself. Say aahhh.

THE GUNSLINGER’S GRAVE: A BLOOD MOON RISES: 

Gunslinger-Page-Header 2“A Blood Moon Rises” continues the story of The Gunslinger. The Red hand gang has disturbed a burial ground that contained a SkinWalker relic, that has transformed them into Werewolves under the Blood Moon Curse. Return to the Old West and walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path to retribution. This journey back in time takes guests on a trail of terror through abandoned gold mines, a treacherous corral, a seedy saloon and a final showdown at town hall.

SPECIAL OPS: INFECTED – PATIENT ZERO:

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Survive the Zombie Apocalypse in an All-Out War! Back by overwhelming demand, guests can enlist to fight the zombie apocalypse in an all-out war against the undead in the interactive experience, Special Ops: Infected – Patient Zero. In this ambitious attraction groups must work together to fend off zombies and complete terrifying missions before time runs out. Special Ops: Infected seamlessly integrates interactive gaming technology with an immersive mountainous landscape, delivering a breakthrough interactive haunted experience that is as terrifying as it is challenging. Missions will take guests through a variety of wilderness terrains, including the unpredictable barrel bridges across the rushing river, through the dark caverns, and through mysterious backwoods. Six acres of the beloved theme park is now home to mutinous, scream-inducing zombies, and the time has come for a harrowing Special Ops survival mission.*There is no additional charge for Special Ops: Infected.

PINOCCHIO UNSTRUNG:

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Years have passed since the blue fairy denied him his final wish, but Pinocchio has returned with an army of murderous marionettes intent on killing his former masters. The purpose of his killing spree – human flesh to cover his twisted wooden body. Revenge comes with no strings attached.

FOREVERMORE:

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The twisted mind of Edgar Allen Poe comes alive as the “Forevermore Killer” works his way through one haunting tale after another. All the victims unwittingly find themselves a part of “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” The Masque of Red Death” among other horrific stories. Guests will want to catch up on their reading to stay a chapter ahead of their demise.

BLACK MAGIC:

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The veil between the living and the dead is severed when Houdini’s ghost materializes during a séance and ushers a host of demonic illusions to play tricks on anyone who intrudes on his theatre. From the prop room to the main stage this dilapidated theatre will make visitors skin crawl. Will you be part of the disappearing act?

VOODOO – ORDER OF THE SERPENT:

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Beware the cursed swamps of New Orleans, where mindless zombies trudge through the murky bogs in search of bloody sacrifices and demons use Voodoo curses to possess innocent souls. Choose your path carefully children, for one wrong turn and you will be hexed forever. This year’s maze is even longer featuring a new finale. 

TRICK OR TREAT:

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Trick or treat, which will it be? Step forward and ring the witch’s doorbell. Oh, she is home, but where? You are not quite sure. Don’t be afraid, her minions will guide you. You can come away with a treat, but is it worth it? This year’s maze features a new attic scene and a witch’s potion room to conjure up more scares.

 

Scare Zones

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GHOST TOWN STREETS: Ghost Town Streets is the original – and still most terrifying scare zone – that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog. Beware the notoriously startling Sliders who lunge from every fog-filled corner of the land. New for this year, Ghost Town Streets has been expanded to the backstage maze area to create the largest scare zone in Scary Farm history, full of new surprises.

FIESTA de los MUERTOS: Fiesta de los Muertos fuses dance music, colorful costumes, and larger than life stilt walkers in a dance party scare zone with even more characters than last year to create the ultimate late night celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

CARNIVAL: Knott’s Boardwalk is taken over by “CarnEVIL,” where the freak show is the main event and countless clowns crave your undying attention.

DEADLY 7: Prowling the darkest corners of Scary Farm’s midways and scare zones, the Green Witch and her Deadly 7 are a sadistic crew guilty of more terror than meets the eye. Each of the monsters represent one of the seven deadly sins and make terrifying surprise appearances throughout the park each night.

Shows

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ELVIRA’S ASYLUMElvira, the legendary Mistress of the Dark, returns to Knott’s Scary Farm in a spectacular all-new nightly show, Elvira’s Asylum, which transports guests to an asylum of music, dance and comedy.

THE HANGING: – Haunt’s traditional show (that we only watch while waiting in line for Calico Mine Train or The Log Ride) in Calico Square will continue its’ irreverent look at the year’s pop culture with special effects, pyrotechnics and stunts.

Experiences

ELVIRA MEET & GREETIn honor of Elvira’s return to Knott’s Scary Farm, the Nautilus merchandise shop will become Elvira’s Boo-tique, where fans can purchase stylish apparel and sinfully fun products featuring and inspired by the Legendary Mistress of the Dark. Each night, a limited number of guests who spend at least $50 at Elvira’s Boo-tique during Knott’s Scary Farm will get a chance to meet Elvira between performances of “Elvira’s Asylum” and collect her signature on one of the purchased items.

BOO-FET WITH EARLY ENTRYKnott’s Boo-fet dinner invites guests to feed the beast before Knott’s Scary Farm opens each night. Dine on a frightfully delicious buffet meal while monsters scare and delight you throughout your meal. Meals include a collectible 2015 souvenir cup, which provides unlimited complimentary refills during the night of first use, and 99¢ refills for the rest of 2015. After dinner, enjoy early entry into select parts of Knott’s Scary Farm before it opens to other mortals. Boo-fet dinner is $26.99 online / $32.99 at the door (plus applicable taxes and fees).

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Knott’s Scary Farm 42nd Haunt – Sneak Peek

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In just a few more nights the fog will come rolling in at Knott’s Scary Farm. Last year solidified Scary Farm’s reinvention with the most highly themed and exceptionally crafted mazes in it’s 41 year history. In comparison to other big SoCal Theme Park Haunts, Knott’s still wins big in creating the perfect feeling of celebrating Halloween. Knott’s also benefits from having unique mazes themes that are not constrained by the pre-scripted story lines of movies and TV shows, thus allowing for more surprises throughout.

The total number of mazes has slightly decreased in recent years but it wasn’t noticeable given the increased quality of the mazes overall. We still miss was the haunt layover of the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Even though the ride’s scare factor had declined over the years it still was one of the most unique haunt attractions anywhere (and a nice way to get scared without having to walk).The caliber of the shows was also increased with production upgrades made to The Hanging and the voluptuous return of Elvira.

Now, to get you fully prepared for this year’s 42nd annual haunt, we’ve compiled some sneak peek images of what you can expect to find lurking in the fog for the 42nd year. We also have a peek under Elvira’s Big Top (as if you don’t already know)!

Maze Sneak Peeks

A glimpse into the ghoulish gallery known as Dominion of the Damned

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A sneak peek inside a fan favorite, Trick-Or-Treat

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Did somebody mention they wanted to see VOODOO? Here’s your first glimpse….

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How about a taste of The Tooth Fairy?  You’ll soon know the drill….

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Pinocchio Unstrung where revenge comes with no strings attached…

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With a little Black Magic, this Rabbit will reach out and grab ya’ out of a hat…

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Forvermore offers head splitting terror…

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With Special Ops: Infected you’ll be the only thing standing in the way of oblivion…

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Under her the Big Top, Elvira becomes the “Ring Mistress of the Park” dazzling audiences with music, madness and mayhem in her Sinister Circus of the Macabre.

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Knott’s Terror Tips

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before the posted opening time (we recommend doing one of the Knott’s pre-scare dinners or walking to one of the restaurants across the street)
  • If you can, attend on a Thursday of Sunday night for lighter crowds (but avoid the Sunday before Columbus Day holiday)
  • Visit the mazes counter clockwise, this year it’s best to do Special Ops first due to the time involvement of attraction – lines will predictably get longer through the night.

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  • Following a counter-clockwise flow should bring you to Elvira’s Big Top in time to see the first show at 9Pm. If you miss it, there’s another at 11:30
  • If you choose do Trapped, schedule an appointment for later in the evening after 10, so you’ll have a chance to get through all the other mazes first.

Check HERE for our coverage of all of Knott’s 2014 mazes and attractions along with the complete announcement video.

Knott’s Scary Farm takes place on select (24) nights from September 25 – November 1. More info available at Knotts.com

**All Photos Sourced by Knott’s Scary Farm ‘s Facebook  page

HalloWeekends 2014

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Knott’s Scary Farm’s sister park Cedar Point has announced two new haunted attractions and a new show featuring Midnight Syndicate for HalloWeekends 2014! This year will mark the haunt’s 18th anniversary as it continues to uphold the terrorizing tradition of Halloween mazes and shows.

While we’ve already provided some in depth coverage on Knott’s Scary Farm (KSF), it wouldn’t be “fair” if we didn’t also provide info on its scary relatives across the country. Since joining the Cedar Fair family, the curse of Knott’s Halloween Haunt has spread across to the other parks in the Cedar Fair theme park chain, which includes Cedar Point, California’s Great America, Valleyfair, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Dorney Park, and Carowinds.

New Attractions

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Hexed – Hexed will be located inside a newly constructed building near GateKeeper’s gift shop. This maze will be “overrun by decrepit witches whose minions and spells have gone horribly awry.”

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Tombstone Terror-tory – A new outdoor zone themed to a ghost-town (a la Knott’s) that will haunt the walkways of Frontier Town.

Returning Attractions

Eden Musee -This haunted house is a creepy throwback to the traditional wax museum that was once located along Cedar Point’s main midway in the 1960s and ’70s. Step inside this museum filled with wax figures from classic to creepy…and some have been known to come to life!
G.A. Boeckling’s Eerie Estate – This stately limestone mansion harbors deep, dark secrets, guarded by ancient inhabitants seeking revenge and looking for more permanent residents!
Eternity Infirmary – Patient’s can check in, but can’t check out! Stay away, or you may become their next patient – for ETERNITY!

Cut Throat Cove– Meet the motley crews of sunken ships, left deserted on this island. But mind yer steps – they’ve been waitin’ for rescue for over 100 years.
Maniacal, Mechanical Screamworks – Journey into science fiction past and future to explore a sinister, steamy subculture of a world that never was, but might have been.
CornStalkers – Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
CarnEvil – The crazy clowns and lurking sideshow freaks are waiting to share their special brand of entertainment with you.
Blood on the Bayou – Lurking along the dark fetid waters of the bayou are mysteries too dangerous to explore, too twisted to explain.

 

Shows

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Midnight Syndicate Live -When you’re looking for music for your haunt, whether you’re a home haunter, an independent professional, or a giant theme park, Midnight Syndicate is the go-to source. Midnight Syndicate is Halloween music. They have music for every theme, genre, and mood. If you’ve ever been in a haunt, there is a 99% chance you’ve heard a Midnight Syndicate song playing in the background. So it’s perfect that, after 17 years of composing recorded Halloween music, their first live performances will take place this Fall during HalloWeekends at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. Midnight Syndicate Live! Legacy of Shadows is described as a “multimedia horror-themed concert blending live music, theatre, and film,” and performances will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night from September 12 through November 1.

Some of the haunts (among hundreds) that have featured music by Midnight Syndicate include Reign of Terror (CA), Terror Behind the Walls (PA), 13th Gate (LA), Parker House (TX), and all Six Flags Fright Fest locations. Last year, Midnight Syndicate unleashed “Monsters of Legend,” its 16th nationwide release

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Interview sessions are being held each Sunday through August from 2-7 p.m. at Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay for those interested in working at the HalloWeekends event.

General Info

HalloWeekends will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 12 through Nov. 2. Hours and ride availability vary.

Knott’s Scary Farm 2014

Tonight (8/6/14) Knott’s Scary Farm’s evil team of creators and tormentors announced the 2014 Scary Farm line up.

10298359_553297338110324_2325016403689301507_o   The scare-tivites were hosted by Jeff Tucker featuring an introductory appearance by “breast actress” Elvira, whose return to Knott’s Scary Farm was announced earlier this summer. Usually by this time we would already know what to expect to be lurking in the fog but this year they kept us in suspense.  Unlike their “Nowhere to Hide” tagline from last year, the folks at Scary Farm had really been hiding out but alas we now can confirm just about everything we expected to see returning (and buried) for the 42nd Halloween Haunt. In addition, 3 new mazes (they claim 4 with the new theme for Trapped), promising even more unique interactive elements and expensively themed settings were revealed as replacements for the deceased mazes.


 

 2014 New Mazes

SPECIAL OPS: INFECTED Infected_Thumbnail Billed as a “haunted  experience” Special OPS: Infected will require participants to hunt zombies (with laser tag) in an All-Out War. Brave groups of Knott’s Scary Farm guests will embark on missions, led by their Squad Leader – a loud mouthed, take-no-prisoners commander charged with turning guests into soldiers. Groups must work together to fend off zombies and complete various missions before time runs out. If zombies drag their bodies too close, the un-infected’s guns temporarily deactivate, compromising the safety of the entire team. Soldiers with the deadliest aim will be celebrated with a tally of the number of zombies killed on a display board for other survivors to see each night in base camp. Special Ops: Infected seamlessly integrates interactive gaming technology with an immersive mountainous landscape (Camp Snoopy), delivering a breakthrough interactive haunted experience that is as terrifying as it is challenging. Missions will take guests through a variety of wilderness terrains, including the unpredictable barrel bridges across the rushing river, through the dark caverns, and through mysterious backwoods. Six acres of the beloved theme park is now home to mutinous, scream-inducing zombies, and the time has come for a harrowing Special Ops survival mission.

VOODOO Voodoo_Thumbnail This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Voodoo swap maze at Knott’s (even though they said they always wanted to do a Voodoo maze). Back in the early 2000’s we ventured the deadly swaps of the Voodoo Witch Project and then Blood Bayou. Now in 2014 you’ll have to trudge cautiously through the cursed swamps of the Deep South, where creatures search the murky bogs for their next bloody sacrifice and demons curse the innocent with Voodoo hexes. Guests must choose their path from a number of foreboding choices, resulting in a different terrifying outcome with each journey into the swamp. 

THE TOOTH FAIRY TheToothFairy_Thumbnail The joy of hiding a lost tooth under the pillow becomes a nightmare of pain and blood in this new maze that will leave teeth chattering. This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out their bedroom window and into a world of deranged dentistry. Unbelievable special effects include a blackout room through which guests must feel their way out, a disorienting x-ray strobe light room, and a final encounter with the massive tooth fairy, himself. Say aahhh.

TRAPPED: LOCK AND KEY Trapped_Thumbnail After disappointing us last year, Trapped returns with promises of having more rooms, more intricate puzzles and a shocking finale more extreme than any experience ever presented at Knott’s Scary Farm (last year we were pretty shocked in the finale by how much we paid for it). They acknowledged that maze was more zany than scary and it’s promised that this year’s version of Trapped will feature challenges that are darker and more terrifying than any that have come before. You’ll become part of the terror and are forced to face your darkest fears, confront your inner terrors and descend into the madness of a maze with no way out. (Additional fee and reservation required.)


 

2014 Returning Mazes

Black Magic 10091539434_b1f8e53342_o This maze was one of our favorites last year. We were amazed by the detailed themeing and settings they created around this story. Using magic as backdrop for a maze provided continuous surprises throughout. There was definitely more than rabbits popping out of hats inside of here. The talent in this maze were some of the most impressive of all the mazes with scary magician’s assistants, victims of tricks gone bad, and an actual magician who did a quick card or handkerchief trick as you passed by. This maze also had a nice blend of light and dark scenes allowing for some good scares as your eyes adjusted with the lighting transitions We look forward to capturing more of the Black Magic inside of this maze.

Forevermore 10091614105_f692778c74_o The Edgar Allen Poe theme has become more popular at haunts across the country in recent years with both Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens taking a stab at the infamous writer. Knott’s version diverted from strictly recreating eerie scenes of Poe’s stories and creates the story line of a serial killer who is on a murder spree utilizing murder tactics from Poe’s fables akin to The Following. What we liked about it were some of the clever modernization of Poe’s stories into death scenes. The Pit and the Pendulum scene is incredible. While there was some good eye candy in this maze, it wasn’t always clear what was going on. In one scene it looked like we stumbled into Club Blood. The scares were also far in between. In comparison to the other new additions this maze had room for improvement. With it’s freshman year behind it, this maze should hopefully pull off some more poetic terror this year.

The Gunslinger’s Grave Yeehaw! This maze is the epitome of the Knott’s legacy. In Gunslinger’s we’re taken through the haunted labyrinths of mine shafts, corrals, and salons. The layout of this maze is mostly outdoors with trails winding in and out of the Ghost Town buildings making it really feel as if we are out in the old wild west amid the Silver Bullet and Jaguar coasters rolling by overhead. The soundtrack was solid with frenetic Bon Jovi stylized guitar riffs. It was obvious that the “residents” of this town are less than happy to see us and it wasn’t fully clear but we assume we’re looking for refuge from alive or dead outlaws and towns folks. This maze had a few good startle scares but it wasn’t overly frightening. The talent was convincing in their roles as they were fully costumed in western attire, but for scares they just did a lot of yelling “get outta here” and kept cattle prodding us through the scenes. With a few more characters in more horrific makeup and a slower pace, this maze should able to hit it the bullseye this year.

Dominion of the Damned While this maze was revamped from it’s 2012 to 2013 version we didn’t find it to be changed significantly. We anticipate that the immortal blood suckers will be back in one fashion or the other. This is another maze with a cool soundtrack and superb set design but among the beautiful set pieces we encountered vampires who looked in desperate need of a blood transfusion. Dominion is a nice showcase the different reiterations of vampires from the Nosferatu to the Anne Rice versions but it was hard to track the story line, which seemed to be like we were on a tour of The Natural Museum of Vampire History (hmmm that could this year’s revision). Since it seems that we’re Dammed to always have a vampire maze at haunt we expect this one to return in some reincarnation we just hope to see it get more energy and scares.

Pinocchio Unstrung Pinocchio This maze established the new bar of themeing and design for all the preceding new mazes at Knott’s Scary Farm. The entire setting feels like walking through a bloody, after hours, version of Disneyland’s Pinocchio ride. Pinocchio successfully twists the popular children’s story in a way that makes its feel as if we were trapped inside a dark storybook nightmare. What’s unsettling about the maze is how the once innocent characters are now placed into scenes of distress, gore, and horror. It’s rather tragic to see Gepetto, Stromboli, and the Blue Fairy meet their fates at the hands of a torturous wooden puppet who instead of becoming a real boy now wants to be a real killer. The monsters in this maze were consistently scary and high energy. In some scenes they even team up on victims. This is a now a haunt classic and we don’t see Pinocchio getting strung up anytime soon.

Trick or Treat This maze recreates a night of Trick O Treating gone bad. Once you enter the front door of the Green Witch’s house the journey cascades through a haunted mansion packed with sinister Halloween decorations and ghostly effects. The infamous Tricksters are also creating mayhem in the various rooms along the way. This maze is shorter than the others, but it’s also has some of the strongest atmospheric environments and an interestingly theatrical finale. The scares were turned up slightly last year but the focus of this maze is more on the fun of Halloween versus the scares. Knott’s has also been posting teaser pictures of the Tricksters on their Facebook so we’re certain they’re going to be up to some new tricks this year.

The Witch’s Keep  As reported on Mice Chat last month, the Witch’s Keep will be returning to the Calico Mine Train in 2014. There was some speculation that it might be scrapped due to the complete refurbishment of the attraction this year with brand new animatronics, but it looks like the Green Witch will be back to curse us all for another year.


 

Mazes Gone to the Graveyard

Delirium-facade-21-1024x682  Endgames 10091645463_40f88be0c7_o 10091552234_c6a93cd884_o

Delirium  –The Delirium was the maze credited for setting a standard for the modern Scary Farm mazes featuring some very disturbing scenes such as, people spewing cockroaches, monstrously large flesh-eating maggots, and hideously bloody monsters hiding under beds. We loved the nightmare/dementia theme but agree that they’ve already pushed the boundaries of Delirium as fas as they could.

Endgames – What does it look like when you combine The Running Man, Mad Max, UFC and the Hunger Games? You get a standard post-apocalyptic, industrial maze with some cool animatronics and an infusion of technical glitz. We never found this maze to be scary, and we’re glad that the game has finally ended.

Uncle Willy’s Slaughterhouse – While this maze packed some great scares last year, the meat along with theme had passed the expiration date and rotted away on the shelf. We’ll  miss the zany yet scary slaughterhouse cannibals but welcome a new story and settings.

Mirror, Mirror -This was a new find your way carnival style mirror maze. We applaud Knott’s for trying to do something new but last year this maze seemed like it was thrown together at the last minute and was too small inside with a finale that was disappointingly anti-climatic. This maze had the potential to be better but it never was.

R.I.P 


SCARE ZONES

10091589916_29d64bb99d_o

Ghost Town Streets

Fiesta De Los Muertos

CarnEVIL

Gypsy Camp


SHOWS

Elvira’s Big Top: Ring-Mistress of the Park Back by overwhelming demand for 2014 is Elvira – the legendary Mistress of the Dark. Elvira will headline her all new show Elvira’s Big Top, in the 1,800 seat Charles M. Schultz Theatre twice nightly for the entire run of Knott’s Scary Farm. In her new show, Elvira becomes the Ring-Mistress of the Park as she hosts a circus carnival of macabre freaks and sinister side show acts. The show also features explosive dance performances by The Academy of Villains, who return to the stage in 2014 fresh off their appearance on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance? Each night, a limited number of guests who spend at least $50 at Elvira’s Boo-tique during Knott’s Scary Farm will get a chance to meet Elvira between performances of Elvira’s Big Top and collect her signature on one of the purchased items. Knott’s Scary Farm is the only place Elvira can be seen this Halloween season.

The Hanging® – Everything is Gruesome! Haunt’s traditional show (that we usually only watch while waiting in line for Calico Mine Train or The Log Ride) in Calico Square will continue its’ irreverent looks at the year’s pop culture with special effects, pyrotechnics and high-flying stunts.


GENERAL KNOTT’S HALLOWEEN HAUNT INFO

Knott’s Scary Farm takes place on select (24) nights from September 25 – November 1

Tickets purchased online will range from $39 – $49 depending on the night. Tickets purchased at least 24 hours in advance at the theme park ticket booths are $49 for all nights, and day-of-event tickets purchased at the ticket booths are $65 scaryfarmpass_thumbnail

Additional prices for Fright Lane with Skeleton Key will begin at $65 (does not include admission). Fright lane offers unlimited priority to mazes and haunted attractions all night long. The Skeleton Key, provides access to secret rooms inside of five mazes.

Knott’s also announced a $65 season pass to Halloween Haunt (available only to Knott’s season pass holders, with quantities limited) with NO BLOCKOUT DATES.

Parking will cost a killer $20!

More info available at Knotts.com


Now here’s the complete announcement presentation. In addition, Knott’s Scary Farm will be revealing more surprises at this year’s ScareLA taking place this weekend! Don’t miss it!

Midnight Syndicate LIVE: This Fall at Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends

Midnight Syndicate

When you’re looking for music for your haunt, whether you’re a home haunter, an independent professional, or a giant theme park, Midnight Syndicate is the go-to source. Midnight Syndicate is Halloween music.  They have music for every theme, genre, and mood. If you’ve ever been in a haunt, there is a 99% chance you’ve heard a Midnight Syndicate song playing in the background.

So it’s perfect that, after 17 years of composing recorded Halloween music, their first live performances will take place this Fall during HalloWeekends at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. Midnight Syndicate Live! Legacy of Shadows is described as a “multimedia horror-themed concert blending live music, theatre, and film,” and performances will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night from September 12 through November 1. 

Some of the haunts (among hundreds) that have featured music by Midnight Syndicate include Reign of Terror (CA), Terror Behind the Walls (PA), 13th Gate (LA), Parker House (TX), and all Six Flags Fright Fest locations.

Here’s a sample of Midnight Syndicate’s haunt music:

Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America: Full 2012 Details Released

California’s Great America (Santa Clara, CA) has released full details for their 2012 Halloween Haunt. This year, the event is adding another maze, Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor, bringing the total number of mazes to seven. Club Blood is also getting a new layout and some new scenes, to go along with its new name: Club Blood Re-Vamp’d.

Scare Zone visited the park last year and found the event to be a good value with some excellent actors and many solid mazes. You can read our 2011 review here.

Here is the full lineup:

Mazes

Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor (*New for 2012!)

Money does not always buy happiness. For Madame Marie, this could not be more true. As Louisiana’s wealthiest heiress, Madame Marie has perfected the art of Voodooism. Enter her Manor with caution as there is nothing richer in her eyes than blood. Your visit in her lavish home will leave you breathless.

Club Blood Re-Vamp’d

Follow the creatures of the night to the hottest nightclub around, Club Blood. This club has it all, the latest beats, the hottest dancers, but there’s just one problem…it’s overrun by hungry vampires waiting to feast on their next victim. Watch your neck or you’ll be next!

Carnevil

Hurry! Hurry! Step right up and don’t be shy! The most gruesome carnival is back in town. Get ready to face your worst childhood fears as demonic clowns and other freaks of nature terrify guests at every corner where they have turned the tables to make you the attraction!

Cornstalkers

A cult of evil scarecrows lies in wait in this overgrown path of debris, hay bales and cornstalks. Guests must weave their way through this twisting maze of bedlam, dodging a series of dead ends and avoiding the stalkers who are “dead-set” on forbidding anyone to escape.

Slaughterhouse: Annhilation

There’s too many people in the world and not enough food. This Slaughterhouse takes care of both problems. A constant feed of humans are being subjected to the grinders which keep the river of blood flowing through this dark complex. It’s a virtual cornucopia of bloody remains as parts are ground into a tasty meat treat, using a very special recipe which includes one very special ingredient … You. Do not let the fear paralyze you as you attempt to escape from the edge of Annihilation.

Toy Factory

Once a place where dreams were made, this toy factory is now a place where nightmares come true! The maniacal factory workers are manufacturing a variety of disturbing new toys and novelty items for their demented amusement, using any part available, including human parts. Buyers beware as your favorite toys have now been turned against you, or you’ve been turned into one of them.

Werewolf Canyon

Be careful as you venture deep into the murky woods through a hunter’s trail where the hunters have become the hunted. A pack of blood-thirsty werewolves have taken revenge on those who dare invade their domain. With only the full moon’s light to help you navigate through…can you make it out alive?

Scare Zones

  • Dead Man’s Cove
  • The Gauntlet
  • Underwood Alley

Shows

  • Blood Drums
  • Ghostly Glow Party
  • Overload’s Resurrection
  • Culture Pop

Great America’s Halloween Haunt opens September 28.

2010 Haunt Profile: Kings Dominion Halloween Haunt

Our tour through Cedar Scares continues tonight with a look at Kings Dominion Halloween Haunt. Kings Dominion is located in Doswell, Virginia, in Hanover County, 23 miles north of Richmond and 83 miles south of Washington, DC, on Interstate 95. The 400-acre park was named after its sister park, Kings Island in Kings Mills, Ohio. Both parks were originally built and owned by Kings Entertainment Company and are now a part of the Cedar Fair family.  While Kings Island was named as a combination of Kings Mills (its location) and Coney Island (the theme park that it was built to replace), Kings Dominion’s name was more than likely a reference to Virginia’s nickname  “Old Dominion.”

Beginning this Saturday, September 25, the atmos-fear of Kings Dominion will fill with shrieks, screams, and scares as Haunt returns to life.  This year’s line up includes three new mazes, a part of a total of nine mazes, and five scare zones. They also boast having more monsters and creepers than ever before, making Kings Dominion the Mid-Atlantic’s PREMIER Halloween-themed event.

The three new mazes actually are anything but new, with The Doll Factory, The Asylum, and Camp Killaue. All of these mazes can be found at other Cedar Scares parks, and the themes are anything but truly original. Nonetheless, they’re new to this park, so local guests should find these to be real thrillers.

Of the remaining six haunts, once again there’s Club Blood and the Slaughterhouse.  The other four in the line up include the following:

Alien Outpost
We have all heard about Roswell and its alien sightings – but are you aware of Doswell’s? Creatures from outer space have landed – and it does not appear they have come in peace. After venturing through this area, you’ll really want to phone home.

Blue Ridge Bloodbath
Mountain life is slower, less complicated… boring. One family has found a way to add some excitement to their life, and you are the main course. This is not the scenic Blue Ridge you have heard about. Welcome to one family’s twisted Blue Ridge home, welcome to the bloodbath.

Medieval Macabre
As plague ravages the land, sending millions to a hideous demise…survivors seek vengeance for the deaths of their loved ones. Consumed with hatred, they mutilate the innocent as they search for someone to blame. The graveyards are full, but there is always room for more.

Toxic Plague
Grab your bug repellent and face your worst nightmare. All of the slimy, grimy creatures of the night are dying to slither into your hair, ripple across your hand, and ooze over your skin. Brave the twisted tunnels of the putrid sewers as malignant millipedes and rotten rodents crawl out of their dank holes to feast on your flesh.

Here are Scare Zones for 2010:

Carnevil
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages – step right up and fear for your lives. Join us for the best show in town…where our freaks do more than entertain and our clowns are looking for their next meal. Once you enter our midway – you may not get a chance to leave…

Central Stalkway
It’s always midnight in this garden — the question is — is it good or evil? Hidden behind the great mausoleums, stalking behind the trees and rising from the ground, the ghosts and spirits of this cemetery are always looking for a few folks to move in….permanently.

Feary Tales
Jack & Jill…. Hansel & Gretel… Little Dead Riding Hood… Take a walk through our twisted nursery and see the other side of your childhood friends. Go beyond the dead time stories and see what happened when they lived unhappily ever after…

The Harvest
In the twisted hills of old Virginia, the farmers have finished up for the year. Watch your step as our farmers prepare for their next big harvest. The fields and animals get a break as our farmhands turn all of their attention to you.

The Ruins
Journey back in time to an undiscovered land. The rules are simple – eat or be eaten… kill or be killed. Danger is around every corner in a land where ancient rituals and evil collide. Welcome to the ruins.

All in all, Kings Dominion has a very solid line up of mazes in store for this season, and we’re most excited to hear about their new versions of the Doll Factory and The Asylum, along with the new Ruins Scare Zone.

For the most up-to-date information regarding Kings Dominion or Haunt, please visit www.kingsdominion.com.

Cedar Scares: Scarowinds

Tonight we continue our special Scare Zone report “Cedar Scares,” with a look at Scarowinds haunt located at the Carowinds park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Joining the other Cedar Fair parks, Scarowinds transforms into a haunted playground during the month of October. This was the opening weekend, and the park is marketing 2010 as “Scarowinds X,” claiming that this is their “10th year of fear,” which is not quite accurate as last year was marketed as the “10th season of screams.” Given the fact they started haunt in 2000, this really is the 11th season. Nonetheless, this should be another good year for Scarowinds.

This year’s haunt features 8 mazes and 3 scare zones. Once again, Cornstalkers and the Asylum find their way into the line-up of mazes. In addition, there is Laff 3D, which is yet another deranged clown–themed maze. There also is Camp Killauee, which is similar to Dorney Park’s Backwoods maze,which loosely references Friday the 13th. They also have the Slaughterhouse, which is a long-running maze at Knott’s Scary Farm, taking its victims though a human meat factory.

There are three original mazes to Scarowinds that haunt stalkers can find this year.

Defex: This is a new maze for 2010 and is simply described as a “disassembly line” for defective toys. This sounds slightly familiar to Knott’s Doll Factory.

Silver Scream Sinema: A “sinematic” tour of some of the creepiest horror films ever made. Perhaps you’ll become an extra in a nightmare where our director makes the final CUT.

Dead Inn: Bed bugs are the least of your worries as you desperately try to check out from our quaint little inn, in one piece. Our over-attentive staff would kill to ensure you get a good night’s sleep!

The scare zone line up  for 2010 includes 3 terrifying areas that will make the journey through out the park more forebording.

Feeding Frenzy: Our blood-thirsty horde of hardcore vampires goes straight for the throat in this gritty, high-impact scare zone.

The Cemetery: Death is nothing compared to what the unsettled spirits of our not-so-dearly departed have in store as they await you in the mist on the grounds of the Cemetery.

The Playground:Swing by to let our twisted tikes show you that “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”

This haunt sounds like it’s another winner from the Cedar Scare haunt collection, and we look forward to hearing the reports and reviews from haunt stalkers who visit Scarowinds this year. Here is a special report from WCNC of what we can expect to see at this year’s Scarowind “X”. In addition, here is a clip courtesy of our friends at Screamscape.

Open on weekend nights from September 17, 2010 through October 31, 2010.

7pm-Midnight (1am on Oct 23 & 30)

Admission:

General (all ages) $42.99

VIP add-on: $16.99 Includes Pre Scare dinner buffet and early haunt entry.

Cedar Scares: Halloweekends

While we’ve already provided some in depth coverage on Knott’s Scary Farm (KSF), it wouldn’t be “fair” if we didn’t also provide info on its scary relatives across the country. Since 1997, Knott’s has been a part of the Cedar Fair theme park chain, which includes California’s Great America, Valleyfair, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Dorney Park, Carowinds, and Cedar Point. Since joining the Cedar Fair family, the curse of Knott’s Halloween Haunt has spread across to the other parks. In this special Scare Zone report “Cedar Scares,” we’ll review the Cedar Fair family of horrifying haunts across the country.

Tonight we’ll start our report with a look at Cedar Point’s Halloweekends.  This year’s event will start the weekend of Sept. 17th and run through Halloween. The first Halloweekends took place at the end of the 1997 season (after Knott’s joined the family) with just a few haunted houses and minimal Halloween decorations. Over the years, the seasonal celebration has grown to much greater proportions with terrors found throughout the park with different fear factors. The event has become so popular, in fact, that attendance during Halloweekends often rivals the busiest summer days, and the number of weekends has been expanded to accommodate the demand. However, unlike Knott’s massive line up of mazes, Halloweekends features a modest four mazes. Nonethless, they have a few interesting mazes and scare zones in their line up (along with a few familar names).

First up, there’s Club Blood, which is a duplication of the “vampire-saturated nightclub” maze at KSF. Next, there’s Dr. D. Mented’s Asylum For the Criminally Insane, which sounds similar to the Asylum: Lockdown maze at KSF. This one is fairly self-explanatory. Then there’s Happy Jack’s Toy Factory, which is described as, “When is a doll not a doll? When it’s a fiendish, evil creature seeking revenge on humankind. You’ll never turn your back on a stuffed bunny again!” This maze seems like an interesting hybrid of Knott’s The Doll Factory and Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre. Finally, there’s Eerie Estate, which is a completely unique concept for Halloweekends. In this maze, victims enter a “stately limestone mansion that harbors deep, dark secrets, guarded by ancient inhabitants seeking revenge and looking for more permanent residents”.

Halloweekend ups the scares with an impressive five Scare Zones, compared to Knott’s three. The line up includes: Terror Island (undead pirates pillage and plunder), The Fright Zone (a fog-filled street full of sneaky sliders), Fear Faire (mid’evil monsters), Carnevil (crazy clowns and sideshow freaks—also a zone at KSF), and Cornstalkers (this is a full maze as KSF and features corn trail filled with scarecrows who are bored with just frightening the birds).

Cedar Point is actually a significantly bigger park than Knott’s, which raises the question as to why their haunt line up is rather small. Perhaps as the years go by and Knott’s has more “retired” haunts to share with the rest of the Cedar Fair family, we’ll see the Halloweekends maze line-up increase. With the addition of at least three more mazes, we’d be enticed to make the trip out to Ohio to check out Halloweekends. Until then, we’ll keep our fears near with Knott’s.

Halloweekends Info:
Hours

Sunday: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Friday: 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Saturday: 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Special Hours: 10/10: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Admission

Junior: 19.99
Ages 3-61, under 48″ tall in shoes
Senior: 19.99
Age 62 and over
Funday (Regular One-Day): 45.99
For guests ages 3-61 who are 48″ tall or taller
Starlight: 29.99
Valid after 6 p.m. Fri., 5 p.m. Sat. & 4 p.m. Sun.

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