DBru wrote:^I agree. I went to Fright Fest for the first time on Sunday and was really impressed. The mazes were way higher quality than I was expecting and the crowds were much smaller than Knott's.
Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest operates on a tick tock capex cycle, pretty much mirroring their ride capital expansion plans. One year is a big investment year and the next year isn't.
You happened upon Fright Fest on a good year. This is the first year the park has had real capital money for Fright Fest since 2014. Granted 2016 was supposed to be a big year with Aftermath 2, but the maze went wildly overbudget, wasn't completed, and flopped. Thankfully the Suicide Squad promotion via Warner Brothers was greenlit at the last minute.
This year saw a significant improvement in mazes which really elevates the event. Two new high budget mazes replaced Toyz of Terror (Condamned) and Dead End (Sewer of Souls). Vault 666 got a reskin for a movie tie in (Hell Fest) and they also added new scare zone in Metropolis for the second year in a row. It also saw the removal of Chupacabra (finally).
The issue remains however that next year will (most likely) have a limited budget so there will be nothing notably improved for the event until 2020. When you're operating on a biannual investment cycle and that big investment misfires (Aftermath) it leads to stagnation for a few years. Unfortunately in a market that has two of the biggest and most well known Halloween events in the U.S. and plenty of other well done scares, it's hard to stay relevant. I really hope the park finally considers making Fright Fest a separate ticketed event in the future to drive more revenue and actually justify a bigger budget, there's just so much potential...