Tag: Dark Harbor (page 1 of 3)

HAUNT REVIEW: DARK HARBOR 2018

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor charts a course to scare and delight visitors with 6 mazes,  secret bars, and plenty of sideshows and attractions.

With no new mazes this year, Dark Harbor shifts its focus to revamping previous mazes and highlighting its sideshow offerings such as acrobatic performances, carnival rides, and enhanced bar options. While it may be a little unfair to compare the design and theming to other SoCal attractions like HHN, Dark Harbor continues to be a formidable Halloween Haunt thanks to the extremely dedicated scareactors and the naturally creepy aura of the Queen Mary ship. All the mazes benefit from the location and while some may rely a little too heavily on that, they all have unique elements whether it be climbing up ropes, going down slides, or crawling through some of the ship’s passageways.

We recommend that you consider purchasing the “Fast Fright” ticket, as wait times ranged from 60 – 90 minutes during peak hours. All in all, for its affordable price point, the number of mazes, and unique experiences, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is a fun date/friends night out at a haunt worth cruising through.

 

Mazes

LULLABY

It has been long rumored that Mary, the little girl who drowned in the Queen Mary First Class Swimming Pool in 1952, has haunted the dark corners of the luxury liner since her untimely demise. Many experts theorize the haunting derives from Mary’s spirit attaching itself to the little girl’s stuffed toy bear. Perhaps the bear holds the gloomy secrets behind the wicked ghost of Scary Mary and why she still sings her eternal Lullaby.

Our night began at Lullaby, which I can truly say lived up to its name, as the spirit of Scary Mary put me in an eternal sleep. The first section of the maze gives hope that Lullaby will be creepy, as guests have to crawl through a small corridor, which leads to a room pumped with fog and LED lighting, to mimic a swimming pool. This effect was a great tool for scare actors to crawl and jump up at you while you maneuver around the room. But pretty quickly the maze disappoints as guests end up walking down long narrow hallways with sparse actors and predictable scares. Another reason this maze was a letdown, was because the overall story was hard to grab onto. For example, Mary’s teddy bear was supposed to be a big plot point, but there was never any mention of it, and instead, there is an actor dressed up as a monkey following you during parts of the maze. Eventually, you end up exiting to one of Dark Harbor’s secret bars, which makes you wonder if Scary Mary had a fake ID?

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B340

A series of inhuman crimes tormented the Queen Mary passengers during a routine cross-Atlantic voyage in October of 1948. Follow the lead detective on the scene as he uncovers the evil truth behind one of the most notorious criminals to ever invade the luxury liner: Samuel the Savage.

Samuel the Savage continues to haunt the Queen Mary and invites guests to enter a well designed and scary journey to discover the fates of his victims. B340 utilized the various victims, such as distorted demons, nuns, and crewmates to give each room a distinct theme. Similar to the other mazes, B340 also had long narrow hallways but managed to still have unique scares, such as actors hanging from the ceilings. Keep a close eye at the beginning for a trap door that leads to a secret bar with a two-way mirror where you can scare other guests.

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FEAST

Chop-chop! It’s time to report for duty as the new line cook on board the world famous Queen Mary. However, all is not what it seems as the kitchens have gone dark and the smell of rank, rotting meat fills the air. From dinner service to the kitchens, the angry spirit of an evil Chef washes back from a watery grave to serve the high-class Queen Mary passengers of 1948. Face the souls of poisoned travelers, gruesome ship staff and of course, the horrific Chef now serving the living to the dead. Let The Feast begin.

For a maze with an overall fun theme of a haunted kitchen, and a cool central character in The Chef, we were disappointed that Feast didn’t take advantage of its potential. While Queen Mary tried to design the maze to feel like a gruesome kitchen, with hanging meat bags, cooking machinery, and a walk-in oven, it was hard not to notice that the maze was actually located in the engineering section of the ship – not quite the proper setting for a “dinner service gone wrong.” Strangely, there was no foul smell anywhere in the maze – which could have been used to create an unsettling environment. Finally, the maze had an awkward ending, with guests having to climb down 3 different flights of stairs, before going through the last room with a single unthreatening character. This is where The Chef could have been utilized, by including him in a big final scare. Also, why not a secret bar in the kitchen themed maze?

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CIRCUS

It’s the night before a dust-covered, rickety old circus opens to the public. Sneak beyond the curtains to unveil the horrors lurking within the shadows of the big top. Hosting a menagerie of monsters and sinister creatures, the one and only Ringmaster returns with unadulterated and unbelievable horrors for all who step inside Circus!

Circus has a unique twist on a classic theme, by showcasing a grim “behind the scenes” look at Circus life. Guests pass through rooms filled with scare actors that are dressed like drunken and tired carnival workers. This maze housed one of the most effective scares of the night, by utilizing a trapeze artist (so don’t forget to look up). However, despite this, the maze overall was lacking on the number of scares. It felt more like you were walking around and enjoying the fun elements such as the vertigo tunnel and mirror maze instead of being scared. All in all, the colorful setting and costumes make it a fun contrast with the dreary elements of Dark Harbor. PS: When you get to the ball pit room, look for a side door that takes you to the next secret bar.

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INTREPID

All Aboard! The Ghost Train Waits…A phantom coach forces the Queen Mary’s original shipbuilder to relive his wicked wrongdoings to shipyard mates, Scottish brethren and plagued family that led to the Iron Hell his soul rots away in. Follow the spine-chilling path to an evil sea witch where a deadly pact was made spawning the horrific half-metal, half-creature known as the Iron Master.

Upon entering the maze, Intrepid grabs your attention thanks to a frightful train car scare, and an awesome exterior setting of Edinburgh Station with falling snow. However, you quickly forget that this maze is supposed to be about going on a ghost train with the Iron Master and learning about his cursed construction of the Queen Mary. Makes you wonder if you missed the train and got left behind. The rest of the maze is filled with hallways covered in rope and mechanical parts, a room with fog/lighting effects to create a body of water like the Lullaby, and characters dressed in raven beaks. These elements seemed better suited for a shipwreck-themed maze. Overall, while the maze had some good scares, it was hard to follow the story of the Iron Master and felt half-finished.

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DEADRISE

The Grey Ghost rises once again, set out on its annual ghastly voyage damned to its eternal battle on the living. With the fearless captain at the helm, guests will walk among the rusted carcass of the Grey Ghost as its full steam ahead into the flames of war. Those unfortunate enough to be caught in the ships warpath may either salute the captain or like an anchor, sink to the depths of the watery tombs.

Deadrise is a needed break from the typical walk the same path maze, thanks to its “choose your own adventure” layout. Be prepared to crawl, climb, and go down slides at different parts of this maze. And don’t be discouraged if you end up getting lost, as this maze relies on confusing guests so they are disoriented and easily scared. Deadrise is simple enough with its setup and backstory but is one of the best mazes at Dark Harbor thanks to a great group of actors, and the physical components of getting through the experience.

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Queen Mary”s Dark Harbor continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General Admission ticket prices start at just $20 online with optional limited upgrades to Fast Fright, Evil Express, VIP, Ultimate Scream, Creepy Cabanas, and Private Patios (available while supplies last). For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

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Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Embarks for Its Darkest Season Yet

NEW Interactive Maze Paths, NEW Reimagined Event Footprint, Extreme Aerial & Fire Shows, New Maze Designs, More Ultimate Scream Tours, More Secret Bars, More Private Lairs, More Twisted Spirits

 

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor rises again from the depths this Friday, September 27, drenched in legend and oozing with a sordid past. Regarded as one of the most haunted places on Earth, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is a thrill-seekers’ delight, blurring the lines of history and hysteria, and for the 2018 season, the event will disorient fans with an entirely NEW park footprint along with NEW maze designsINTERACTIVE alternate paths, and THRILLING live entertainment.

“This coming season attendees are invited to descend into Dark Harbor’s newly, omni-immersive and hyper-enhanced mazes for its darkest season yet,” stated Charity Hill, Executive Producer of Dark Harbor. “With a myriad of voluntary experiences, alternate paths, secret bars, and hidden passages we are proud to deliver a choose-your-own-adventure mega haunt.”

Regarded as one of the most haunted places on Earth, the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor is a thrill-seekers' delight, blurring the lines of history and hysteria. (Photo: Business Wire)Put on a detective’s hat and retrace the steps of Samuel the Savage to solve the gruesome murders in B340. Re-live childhood nightmares playing hide-and-seek with Scary Mary and her sinister teddy bear in Lullaby. Escape the Ringmaster’s big top before becoming a specimen in the oddities museum of Circus. Head to boot camp with Half Hatch Henry for a reimagined storyline of the fan-favorite maze, Deadrise, to experience Captain’s rigorous training camp. Feeling Intrepid? Traverse the John Brown Shipyard and try to hide from the lurking creatures in the Scottish Highlands aboard Iron Master’s express train to hell. Clock in to a shift aboard the infamous Grey Ghost and avoid Chef’s chopping block while working up an appetite for flesh in the maze FEAST.

At Midsummer Scream, the producers of Dark Harbor announced a devilishly perfect addition to their creative team, the sinister & twisted mind of Jon Cooke. The NEW Dark Harbor Production Designer brings with him over a decade of experience designing some of SoCal’s most celebrated theme parks and haunted attractions.

As Dark Harbor’s darkest and most sinister season approaches, those daring enough to set foot on property will navigate a bone-chilling 9-degree Ice Bar, dodge hundreds of devious entities, seek out hidden havens, indulge in devilish treats, imbibe intense concoctions, survive Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sinister Swings, brave the Panic 4D Experience, and white-knuckle death-defying aerial and fire stunts for the haunt’s most frighteningly immersive season yet.

Let the countdown begin: 6 blood-curdling mazes, 5 weeks of terror, 3 new secret bars, 2 electrifying stages, 1 way out…

The annual haunt returns to the Queen Mary this weekend on September 27 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General Admission ticket prices start at just $20 online with optional limited upgrades to Fast Fright, Evil Express, VIP, Ultimate Scream, Creepy Cabanas, and Private Patios (available while supplies last). For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

The Queen Mary Unveils the All-New Ghost and Legends Haunted Experience

The Queen Mary Unveils the All-New Ghost and Legends Haunted Experience. The largest Interactive and Immersive Haunted Attraction in the World

This past weekend the nice and long (but never long enough) haunt season of 2017 has sadly officially ended.  Some of the seasonal highlights included Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. As most of our readers know by now, many of the  Dark Harbor’s mazes settings aboard the ship are reported to actually be haunted.  In fact The Queen Mary is dubbed as one of the top 10 most haunted places on Earth by Time Magazine.

Now that the spirited facades of the Dark Harbor mazes have been put away it’s finally time for the real Ghosts and Legends to come out to play. This Friday, November 10th, The Queen Mary is pleased to unveil the newly-intensified and re-inspired Ghost and Legends!

Offered year-round, thrill seekers and scare enthusiasts are invited to board the haunted RMS Queen Mary to test their fears in the world’s largest interactive and fully immersive haunted attraction. Experience the spirit legends of the Queen Mary first-hand with all-new special effects, cutting-edge technology and, of course, the chance to encounter paranormal activity for a one-of-a-kind, spine-chilling, fun time.

“The new Ghosts and Legends offers guests an entirely different level of the traditional haunted experience. We crafted terrifying original stories and characters based the ship’s well-known paranormal tales and hot-spots onboard the Queen Mary to create a truly thrilling, immersive, and unique encounter,” said Brian Luallen, Director of Entertainment Events, The Queen Mary.

The reimagined Ghost and Legends elevates scares with innovative interactive technology and special effects including a tesla coil firing 3.4 million volt bolts of lightning at a frightfully intimate distance, massive water effects, fog projections with state of the art CGI specters, and a hand-held ghost tracking tablet given to select attendees for the tour. To further enhance the frights, tour groups will also be given a flashlight to guide their way through the dimly lit attraction. Thrill-seekers beware – the flashlights will be controlled by the twisted minds of the Ghost and Legends producers!

Ghost and Legends haunted experience aboard the Queen Mary will open on Friday, November 10th at 11 a.m. The year-round attraction will be open daily and runs every 30 minutes starting at 11 a.m., accommodating up to 30 guests per experience. Tickets are a great deal at just $15 for adults and $12 for children and are available at http://www.queenmary.com/tickets/. For more information, including hours or to purchase tickets online, please visit queenmary.com

 

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils the Spirit of CHEF

Are YOU Ready to be Served?

A new voracious resident spirit has risen from the depths of the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Southern California’s most authentically terrifying haunt, opening September 28Chef and his long-forgotten legend have resurfaced and will be brought to life through FEAST, the new horrific maze onboard the ship venturing into previously unrevealed areas of the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Chef and his carnivorous kitchen staff have resumed their deadly duties, collecting new victims for Chef’s latest recipes. All who dare will swelter with fear as they crawl their way out of Chef’s scorching oven to reach their final destination…Are YOU ready to be served?

For the first time in Dark Harbor history, FEAST will be the 4th maze onboard the legendary vessel. FEAST tells the tale of Chef, a legendary spirit of the historic R.M.S. Queen Mary. As the tale goes, During WWII when the Queen Mary was in service as a troop transport ship, an enlisted military man serving in the ship’s kitchen quickly moved up the ranks to become a highly-decorated Chef.

Unbeknownst to the soldiers traveling aboard, Chef had a dark side.  Quietly he would sedate soldiers in the middle of the night to prepare them as ingredients for his latest dishes. Eventually caught, the Chef was thrown into one of his own ovens and cooked alive.

Loyal to their leader Chef’s dutiful kitchen staff sacrificed their lives to become his evil henchmen, burning themselves in the same oven. The spirits of Chef and his evil crew went into hiding aboard the ship for many years. Now, these long-time stowaways have resurfaced to resume their deadly duties of collecting and preparing victims for Chef’s latest concoctions.

FEAST and Chef will make their horrific debut as Dark Harbor returns to the Queen Mary on September 28.  Southern California’s most haunted Halloween event will welcome MORE monsters, MORE nights, and MORE mazes than ever before. Offering the most authentically frightening experience available, Dark Harbor tells the truly haunted, historic tales of the Queen Mary. The infamous spirits of Chef, Iron Master, Captain, Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry, Scary Mary, Voodoo PriestessRingmaster, plus hundreds of their bloodcurdling henchmen await to tempt your fate.

Live your nightmares aboard the Queen Mary with returning mazes Soulmate and B340. Mazes Circus, Intrepid, Deadrise, and Lullaby also return newly intensified, darker than imaginable, and evermore twisted. With 7 mazes and 13 bars, fire shows, aerialists, sliders, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch’s Sinister Swings, monster DJs, Voodoo House Bar & Tasting Room, R.I.P. Lounge, and much more, Dark Harbor is a freakishly fun time.

The annual haunt opens its gates on September 28 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 1. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, VIP Passes, Creepy Cabanas and lodging packages available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

There’s a CHILL in the air….

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Hard to believe that only 3 weeks ago we were going through haunts and trick o treating and now it’s time for the truly horrifying time of year… the holidays. Fortunately there are still a few haunted attractions open and many of the popular haunts have transformed into elaborate holiday playgrounds. We have to admit that with the almost never-ending warm weather here, it’s hard to get into the mood to listen to songs like “Let It Snow” or “White Christmas”. But Queen Mary is going to help us cool things down by adding a little ‘Chill’ to the air.

The terrifying spirits of Dark Harbor just sailed away and now the holiday spirit is taking over with the return of CHILL at the Queen Mary. CHILL offers seasonal fun with ice skating, ice tubing, sleigh rides, and visits with Santa. Southern California’s coolest holiday adventure will also unveil a new interactive and immersive experience, Alice in Winterland.

Light up the night and follow the Queen down the rabbit hole this holiday season with Alice in Winterland. The newest attraction at CHILL brings an inspired re-imagination of the classic Lewis Carroll story to life through the magic of an interactive and digitally immersive 14,000-square foot walk-through experience. Guests can unlock the hidden secrets of the adventure with RIFD technology to make each individual visit truly unforgettable. Alice in Winterland features stunning, larger than life lanterns as you follow Alice and her adventure into the Hall of Doors, the White Rabbit’s Kitchen, Mad Hatter’s Work Shop, the proverbial Tea Party, the Hedge Maze and visits from the Caterpillar and the new Queen of Diamonds.

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The fifth annual CHILL welcomes back Glacier Glide Ice Tubing with six lanes of glistening ice slides standing two stories tall and 100-feet long. Ice skate under the stars on the 6,000 square-foot ice skating rink with the backdrop of the picturesque Queen Mary ship.

Stroll through the North Pole Village and stop by the Queen Mary Village’s post office to send a letter to Santa. Take a spin on the Swinging Sleigh Ride, the Giant Rocking Horse or play Prancer’s Paintball for holiday thrills. A trip to CHILL is not complete without a stop by the Gingerbread House to make a festive edible creation, and a visit to Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Claus Cottage. The holiday fun is endless.

CHILL runs on select dates from November 23, 2016 through January 8, 2017. Pricing starts at $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids (ages 4-11), now available online. Tickets include entrance to Alice in Winterland, Ice Tubing, CHILL Village and access to the Queen Mary ship. Hotel and VIP packages are also available.

Haunt Review: Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2016 Feels Lost at Sea

We recently re-posted our 2010 review of Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. That year, the event had turned itself around from being a complete “Shipwreck” (consisting of neon 3D-painted plywood walls, cheap masks, and mazes with barely any theme) to an impressive major player on the SoCal haunt scene that smartly put to use its location and history as leverage for a uniquely themed event. For the past 5 years, Queen Mary has been near the top of the haunt pack, serving as a legitimate challenger to Knott’s and Universal. However, we’re a bit sad to say that the 2016 version of Dark Harbor fails to live up to its previous standards and has slipped back into second-rate status.

So what’s changed? First of all, the event has undergone a bit of rearranging this year. Some of the attractions have been pushed out to the periphery (the main stage, the Hex Paintball attraction, Deadrise), and the footprint of the various lounges/bars has been extended. Overall, as we walked the Dark Harbor grounds, we got less of a feel of a coherent haunt event than a big carnival. The large Deadrise facade, which had been an impressive centerpiece in years past, now seems to be an afterthought. Instead, the focus seems to be more on the food and liquor stalls.

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Second, the more disturbing fact is that the new maze (Intrepid) was very weak. This is concerning to us because it’s never a good sign when the brand new maze is the worst of the event. This can be an indication of either decreased budget or change in talent/direction of the creative staff. Neither is good in the long-term, obviously.

So with those initial thoughts, let’s get to the review featuring videos from ThemePark HD.

Mazes

Intrepid (*New for 2016*)

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Sharing the dome space with “Circus” this year is the brand-new maze Intrepid, which features the new character of the “Iron Master.” The backstory involves a Scottish shipyard and a locomotive bound for hell. The steam train entrance to the maze looked promising, and upon entering, groups were immediately split into two paths: some people were directed upstairs while others went through a side passage and remained at ground level. We took the upstairs route. The opening scene was cool, but after exiting the train, there wasn’t a whole lot to look at. The entire maze has an industrial feel, with a lot of chain link fencing , dark passages with black or corrugated metal walls, characters in welding masks, simulated iron pouring into molds, and even metal tubes to crawl through. The maze lacked detail, and the story of the Iron Master didn’t really come through.  There was also a complete lack of scares.

Haunt Design: 2 Skulls
Theming: 2 Skulls
Scare Factor: 1 Skull
Overall Rating: 1.5 Skulls

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The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils the Spirit of IRON MASTER

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This past weekend at Midsummer Scream we attended the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor panel. It was a lively presentation from the haunt’s creative team with many of the characters such as the Captain and Dead Deckhands making appearances. The audience was very excited and from everything they shared we know that this will be another frightfully exciting year.

In addition to announcing that there’ll be libations available for sale in every line and the return of the swings from Neverland Ranch (Shamone!), they also revealed their wicked plans for 2016’s new maze. The Queen Mary’s cruise into the Dark Harbor will now include a train ride to hell with the New Maze INTREPID. This maze will feature the disturbing journey of the ship’s builder Ivan aka Iron Master.

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LONG BEACH, Calif., (August 1, 2016) – The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor has a new cantankerous resident spirit, Iron Master. His torrid legend is brought to life through Intrepid. The new maze transports guests aboard a steamin’ locomotive, back to the birthplace of the Golden Era of Travel –Scotland’s storied shipyard of Clydebank. Blazing down the Iron Master’s death-defying tracks, guests will bear witness on his cursed journey to save The R.M.S. Queen Mary from her predecessor’s Titanic peril. All who dare will swelter and drip with fear as they traverse and crawl to their final destination: Iron Hell. The Iron Master has crossed oceans of time to reclaim his beloved Queen Mary. How far will you go?

As the tale is told, Ivan was the ship builder and original iron forger of the majestic R.M.S. Queen Mary. In the early 1930s, Ivan’s shipyard was commissioned by Cunard to build the storied Scottish vessel. Eager to rise to the challenge, he scoured the world in search of a flawless crew and devoted his life to what would be come the most famous shipyard in history. The R.M.S. Queen Mary set sail in 1936 with Captain at the helm and unknowingly, Ivan in the hull.

One fateful night, a mysterious steam engine rolled into his shipyard rail station and beckoned Ivan. Before he realized it, he had boarded the deadly train and was barreling toward darkness. By the end of the dark journey, he realized he had been transformed into a terrifying creature – part metal, part monster. Over the century, his corpse decaying, Ivan was forced to replace pieces of his rotted flesh with cast iron – the same from which he forged his beloved ship. A slave to his craft in life, so too, would he become in death. Cursed for eternity as protector of the Queen Mary, Ivan is now…Iron Master.

Through the best of storms and worst of wars, the R.M.S. Queen Mary remained the fastest ship on the seas until she was laid in her eternal resting place here in Long Beach. Befittingly dubbed “The Grey Ghost”, she eerily hovers in the harbor, marking her 80th year afloat.

It is said that the spirit of Ivan – the Iron Master has grown restless and the Ringmaster’s circus freaks have overstayed their welcome. Now more than ever, he is heard banging his iron clad limbs as he trudges the ship’s hull. Called upon by the Captain, Iron Master has disembarked to restore order to the steely shipyard in the dark harbor.

Twenty-two terrifying nights of Dark Harbor tell the truly haunting tales of Queen Mary, offering the most authentically frightening experience around. The evil eight spirits: Iron Master, Captain, Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry, Scary Mary, Voodoo Priestess, Ringmaster, plus hundreds of their horrific henchmen; await to tempt your fate.

darkharbor2015-41Signature mazes Circus, Lullaby, Deadrise, Soulmate, B340 return to offer glimpses into the ship’s sordid past. Other spirited attractions Hex Paintball Gallery, Panic 4-D, Sideshow, Neverland Ranch’s Sinister Swings, Voodoo House Bar & Tasting Room, R.I.P. Lounge, Big Top Bar, demonic DJ’s and other main stage mayhem make for a freakishly good time.

The annual haunt opens its gates on September 29 and continues to scare those who dare through October 31. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright upgrades, VIP R.I.P. Lounge access, Creepy Cabanarentals, and historic hotel packages available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

Halloween Starts this Weekend at Midsummer Scream

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Get ready Haunt Stalkers! Halloween season begins this weekend at Midsummer Scream: Halloween Festival in Long Beach.

From the creative minds of CreepyLA and Theme Park Adventure, comes an all-new chapter in terror: Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival. This weekend-long celebration of everything Halloween, haunts and horror makes its debut this weekend (July 30-31) at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.

Midsummer Scream features more than 100,000 square feet of event space that will showcase vendors, makeup demonstrations, stage presentations, live entertainment, a screening room, haunted attraction experiences and more.

Already confirmed for Midsummer Scream include Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, Six Flags Fright Fest, Dread Central, Sinister Pointe, Scott Ramp/The Scream Team, SoCal Valley Haunters, Drunken Devil, Decayed Brigade slider team, Motel 6 Feet Under, Season Pass Podcast, Spooky Hollows, Rotten Apple 907, Fear Station, Figment Foundry, magic of Jimmy H./Mudd the Magnificent, Screenshot Productions, The Empty Grave, Cross Roads Escape Games, Higgins Manor, Dark House Entertainment (The Basement), Girls and Corpses, Evil Twin Studios, and Garner Holt Productions. The full list of partners is updated on the Midsummer Scream website.

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A highlight of Midsummer Scream will be its main stage auditorium, which will accommodate more than 1,000 horror fans gathering to witness a world-class lineup of panels and presentations, which will include exciting reveals looking forward to the 2016 Halloween season in Southern California.

hall-of-shadowsGuests looking for additional thrills and chills may venture into the Hall of Shadows, a large “scare zone”, with monsters lurking in the dark, and a 9 haunted attraction previews/experiences that will soothe your Halloween cravings. Bone Yard Effects, Inc. led by Larry Bones will bring terrifying creatures to life throughout the day via makeup demonstrations on the show floor, and release them into the Hall of Shadows to wreak havoc on terrified fans.

“We are beyond thrilled to bring the Halloween and horror community together here in Southern California,” said Rick West, Creative Director of Midsummer Scream. “The entire team is fueled by the same fundamental passion for the holiday and the macabre; we met and became friends while covering various haunt events and have enjoyed strong personal and business relationships for the past several years as a direct result. Midsummer Scream is the festival this community deserves, and we cannot wait to unveil everything we’ve got planned.”

Get your tickets now!

Terror Tip: Check out GOLDSTAR for additional last minute deals from Midsummer Scream!

About Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival

Midsummer Scream is a large-scale summer festival celebrating the spirit of Halloween and horror, drawing thousands of guests to Southern California for a weekend of thrills and chills. Featuring a massive show floor of vendors and exhibitors, haunted attractions and experiences, live entertainment and world-class panel presentations, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween/horror event, offering something for fans of all ages. More information can be found at MidsummerScream.org.

Fans can follow Theme Park Adventure via social media on Facebook, Instagram (search our posts with #ThemeParkAdventure), Twitter, and Periscope for live streams of our travels and special events! Our most popular and unique Periscope broadcasts are archived and may be viewed on our Katch channel.

Haunt Review: Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2015

 

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Standing near the private cabanas, listening to the live show taking place on the main stage and enjoying the eerie red lights glowing from the swings above us and the sudden, atmospheric pulses of fire shooting out from the impressive Deadrise attraction behind us, it struck us how downright enjoyable Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor has become over the years. Each year, we write about the impressive mazes and the well-themed and immersive nature of the entire haunt. But one thing we noticed this year is the fact that Dark Harbor is one of the easiest and most relaxed haunt experiences in the area. The small footprint of the event means there’s not a ton of walking or riding escalators up and down all night. Food, drinks, and cocktails are all within easy reach. There are entertainment and food areas that promote an overall atmosphere of fun, but not in the frenetic, overwhelming way it can sometimes be at say, Halloween Horror Nights. And for this voodoo vals-4-2reason, Queen Mary is always one of our favorite events to kick off the season.

 

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Dark Harbor has a few new offerings this year, as well as several changes to existing attractions. There’s a new maze based on the legend of the little girl who drowned on the ship (“Scary Mary”), the addition of a paintball attraction, and a revamping of the sideshow area. Overall, we felt that the flow of the event was improved this year by the addition of the sideshow area with its own bar, which was the perfect space for lounging and discussing the mazes we had just been through.

Also of note was the addition of some “preshow” elements to the mazes. In Lullaby, the maze begins with a funeral for poor Scary Mary. In Soulmate, a video provides the backstory of Graceful Gale. The queue lines are also peppered with posters that tell the story behind the maze. We definitely love it when haunts really get into storytelling, because it improves the detail and immersive feeling of the mazes. However, the preshow scenes added a lot of wait time to the lines but also helped to give space between groups once inside the maze. Time will tell whether the preshow elements are good or bad for the event.

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Here are our review of the mazes and attractions for this year.

Lullaby (New for 2015)

Scary Mary heads up her own maze in the space formerly occupied by “Submerged.” The water theme returns, however; after all, she did drown in the ship’s pool. The maze begins with a freaky funeral for Mary given by a scary looking preacher;. Various versions of Mary run around this maze, popping up creepily behind walls of water and around corners. In the pool room, Mary called out to us from across the room, her creepy baby voice echoing off the walls. This is a natural progression from the previous theme of Submerged, but overall, we didn’t find Mary to be too scary.

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Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3 skulls
  • Theming: 3.5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2.5 skulls

Overall Rating: 3 skulls

Soul Mate

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Graceful Gale is the main character of “Soul Mate,” which tells the story of Gale’s gruesome search for the perfect dance partner, which seems to involve severing the various body parts of different men to create one perfect mate. The maze begins with a video that tells the story of Gale in a cartoonish sort of way. Although it was a cool idea to provide the backstory, the audio of the video was very bad and we could barely hear that narration. The narrow corridors of the maze were covered with fabrics in an attempt to make them feel more lush and also to cover up all the metal siding that runs throughout this area of the ship, but many of the scenes feel too sparse and lacking in detail. One exception is Gale’s dressing room, which reveals a creepy Gale gazing at herself in the mirror. There’s also a very impressive ballroom scene, where Gale’s men surround the entire perimeter of room…but which man will step forward for the dance? We got a few good scares in this maze this year, and Gale was looking more creepy (and sometimes more manly) than ever.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4 skulls
  • Theming: 4.5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2.5 skulls

Overall Rating: 3.5 skulls

B340

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This maze features the story of Samuel the Savage, who was “locked away in room B340 after a violent outburst,” where he was later found torn apart. The maze takes you into the mind of Samuel, where we visit scenes from his past, involving nuns, and also scenes from his insanity, featuring a lot of clocks set to 3:40. They’ve thought a lot about creating a back story here, and it’s interesting and relatively easy to follow. We found this maze to be lacking in monsters this year. Perhaps they didn’t have a full staff on opening night, so we hope more monsters show up for work as the month goes on.


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Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3 skulls
  • Theming: 3 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2.5 skulls

Overall Rating: 2.5 skulls

Voodoo Village

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“Voodoo Village” is located on the grounds near the midway. Gypsies and Voodoo practitioners come out from the shadows to assault guests as they wind through this very long maze. The Voodoo theme is a smart use of already existing sets here–interior scenes are easily transformed into voodoo sacrifice altars, and outdoor areas that were already swamp/forest-like settings in previous years now fit the story better. As always, the actors in this maze are some of the strongest and most scary. This continues to be one of our favorites.

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Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4 skulls
  • Theming: 4 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4 skulls

Overall Rating: 4 skulls

Circus

This maze is located inside the dome and has been our favorite in past years. Small changes keep this maze fresh. “Circus” is Dark Harbor’s take on an old-fashioned, early 20th century circus, which makes it feel right at home in the overall theme of the event. There’s an aged feel to the sets, and the lighting casts an eerie, dirty glow over everything. The entrance is through a clown’s mouth, and from there you encounter typical but twisted circus scenes, such as an actual mirror maze you can get lost in and a spinning wheel of daggers. A new scene entailing a “ball pit” seemed very problematic to us. When we went through at the beginning of the night, the plastic balls were up to our knees, and it’s easy to lose a flip flop in here. We heard that by the end of the night, the ball pit was reduced to nothing more than a few balls scattered on the floor, so at some point they must have realized the potential for actual danger in here. It was a cool idea, but hard to execute with the level of crowds that come through every night. The scares were good, and they got us good as we were distracted by the awesome sets and detailed props.

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Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 5 skulls
  • Theming: 5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4 skulls

Overall Rating: 4.5 skulls

Deadrise

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Located in the middle of the Dark Harbor grounds, “Deadrise” is a maze that takes you through an old, rotting ship that appears to be sinking right into the ground. The maze winds through the barracks and bowels of the ship, encountering half-dead sailors who loudly bang on metal barrels with pipes. This maze presented a few new twists and turns (including a choice of path at one point), and the monster are extremely enthusiastic. We actually found this maze to be the scariest this year, as a few tweaks to the lighting and fog effects had monsters startling us from left and right (and over our heads). This is a simple but excellent maze and one of our favorites this year.

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Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4.5 skulls
  • Theming: 4 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4.5 skulls

Overall Rating: 4.5 skulls 

The Curse of Anubis: Paintball Adventure (New for 2015)

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This upcharge attraction features a single room decorated in neon Egyptian style, with a few moving props and—hilariously—some live mummies running around the room. You get only 30 paintballs to shoot, so be careful not to spill your load too quickly. Honestly, we found this attraction to be cheesy and not worth paying extra for. The line also moves very slowly since you have to wait for each group to finish their round.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 1 skulls
  • Theming: 1 skulls
  • Scare Factor: Buried skull

Overall Rating: 1 skull

Side Show: Freaks and Oddities

This is another attraction that’s an extra charge. Once again, the layout has been revamped. Once admitted, you find your way into a sort of courtyard that houses a bar area and small show stage, which is very nice and a great place to relax and have a drink in between mazes. The freaks reside in shipping containers that ring the bar area, and each one has its own entrance and exit. The Shadow Spirit was by far our favorite, as he taunted us from the exit and then scared the shadow out of us once we got inside. 5 skulls to that guy!

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Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4 skulls
  • Theming: 4.5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4 skulls

Overall Rating: 4 skulls

SUMMARY

“Deadrise” rose to the top as our favorite Dark Harbor maze this year, winning almost entirely because of the great talent that scared the pants off of us. The new maze, Lullaby, fell a little flat, and the paintball experience is a throwaway in our opinion. The returning mazes remain solid, although we felt there weren’t a lot of monsters this year (which is concerning, since they are advertising “more monsters” in 2015). We definitely recommend checking out the side show area as well.

We found the lines to be very long on opening night, and the addition of the preshows is probably a contributing factor to this. You can always purchase a front of the line pass to help bypass the lines, but we suggest arriving early to beat some of the crowds.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Overall Fright Value: 4 Skulls

Overall Rating of Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2015: 4 Skulls

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils the New Anubis Paintball Adventure

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Fear lives here at The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor as the torrid history of the haunted ship rises from the deep October 1 – November 1, 2015. In addition to Dark Harbor’s horrific new maze, Lullaby, that tells the tale of the ship’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, the annual fright festival is thrilled to unveil the all-new Anubis Paintball Adventure.

Those who dare will venture into the tombs of Anubis, the Greek Egyptian jackal-headed god of mummification and the afterlife. In Anubis’ underworld, guests will test their skills in an LED 3D paintball battle against the most terrifying gaggle of mummies, monsters and myths.

unnamed-7The brand new Lullaby maze will take guests on a frightening voyage with Dark Harbor’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, who has haunted the Queen Mary ever since her horrific drowning in the poolroom in 1952. Dark Harbor will also welcome the new Side Show of Freaks and Oddities and the Side Show Bar that will bring guests up close into the grotesque world of freaks.

The Ringmaster, The Captain and their band of spirits including Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry and Scary Mary will be joined by over 200 grizzly monsters and ghouls that will be plotting terrifying tricks and treats throughout the season of fear. Dark Harbor’s signature haunts Deadrise, Soulmate, B340, Circus and the Voodoo Village will be wrought with more horrific monsters than ever before.

Dark Harbor brings the true torrid tales of The Queen Mary to life, offering one of the most authentically terrifying experiences available. The annual event begins October 1 and continues to inflict fear on select dates through November 1. Ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, VIP Passes, and lodging packages available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

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