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Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:48 pm

Kings Dominion’s Eiffel Tower is sporting Evil Boogie Boogie Eyes, and you know what that means.

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Yep--it’s time for this year’s Haunt!

Larry and I went to the park on Saturday, October 6. We hit the park before opening, so we got in plenty of rides on Twisted Timbers and I305 before the hordes arrived. We also bought Fright Lane, which was a smart move as Haunt was crazy busy that night.

Kings Dominion goes a bit more “over the top” with mazes and scare zones than Busch Gardens (which has better shows). Some of their sets are surprisingly elaborate for a theme-park Haunt. Knott’s Scary Farm is a fairly strong influence.

So, what about KD’s mazes this year? Here they are, from best to worst.

Blood on the Bayou (near Windseeker)--Although this maze lacks an actual swamp, it makes up for it with excellent sets and plenty of voodoo priests, priestesses, zombies, and even a cannibal BBQ. This was an import from Knott’s Scary Farm, and the craftsmanship really shows; plus, the scare actors actually talk to the guests, rather than resort to nothing but loud noises and jump scares.

Trick or Treat (near Drop Tower)--This “halfway house” for witches and lost souls is another excellent import from Knott’s. Creepy dolls and evil magic abound as you wander through this seemingly innocent farm house.

Cornstalkers (International Street)--This is a better-than-average “corn maze.” What’s really cool is that the scare crows and other monsters blend in really well with the claustrophobic pathway. This maze has been here for a number of years, and I’ve always liked it.

Zombie High School (near Windseeker)--For some teenagers, the end of high school seems like the end of the world, and this maze takes that literally. This is an old one, too, and it’s OK--watch out for dangling jock straps in the gym, along with brain-dead (and brain-eating) young punks.

Lockdown (Flight of Fear queue; ride is open during the day)--Dozens of men died in a riot at the old Doswell State Pen, which has been abandoned for 50 years. Or are the inmates and guards still there? This is a standard "haunted house" type maze, but the spooky prison atmosphere is well done.

No Vacancy: Condemned (new for 2018--Action Theater in Old Virginia)--This is a redress of the old No Vacancy maze. An entire wedding party disappeared at the old Darkside Manor hotel, and you’re a “paranormal investigator” working on the case. The power’s off, so you have to use a flashlight. It’s not a bad concept, but I liked the previous version of the maze (a creepy haunted hotel) better. The flashlight gimmick is effective in a few spots, but you can still see who and what is coming from quite a ways off.

Blackout (Planet Snoopy, near Snoopy’s Space Buggies)--You stumble around in the total darkness while people dressed in black try to scare you. While not the most elaborate maze at Haunt, it is kind of fun, but you need to have a high tolerance for people bumping into you.

We skipped Tollway Terror (car ride) because it wasn’t on Fright Lane and the line was very, very long.

The best of the park’s scare zones was the Necropolis in Old Virginia, followed by the Yard (evil prison guards) by Flight of Fear. There were plenty of evil circus folk at Cleaver Brothers Carnival (Candy Apple Grove), and some bloodsuckers in the Lair (near Grizzly). For those of you into steampunk, there’s Ironworx on the path behind the Eiffel Tower.

Let’s go in, shall we? Be sure to stand close together. Not that it’ll help, but you might feel a little safer.
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Hmm--it’s not too evil yet.
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OK--it just got a bit more evil.
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“Hi there, folks! Enjoy my skeletal buck-nakedness.”
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Here is the obligatory coaster photo in accordance with enthusiast law. You’re welcome.
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Cornstalkers from the top of the tower. That path does twist around a lot.
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Family-friendly spooking in Planet Snoopy.
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All sorts of adorable activities.
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“Yeah, I love kids--for breakfast!”
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Grandparents love Great Pumpkin Fest, too.
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Wash them kids good. The pumpkin heads are hungry, and they want clean food.
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Larry? Larry, could you stop texting for a . . . oh, never mind.
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Evil prison guards haunt the Yard.
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You’re gonna do some hard time--in Hell!
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Remember, kids: Smoking will kill you!
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Bail yourself out with Fright Lane.
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Who's ready for some . . .
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. . . wholesome famiy entertainment?
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Enjoy our adorable clowns--and their hilarious homicidal antics!
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Cute, soul-sucking surprises around every corner! Don't you love the circus?
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OK, random people. Do your impression of two teenage Japanese girls in front of Trick or Treat. More to come.

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:11 pm

Prepare yourself for more EVIL at Kings Dominion!
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EVIL really draws a crowd.
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I think the Zombie High bus driver needs some supplemental training.
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The exit of Blood on the Bayou doesn’t do the rest of the maze justice. It needs a gator or some fire.
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Delirium looks creepy in all the chemical fog.
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Larry says steampunk isn’t scary--but it is kind of stern.
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I think the steampunk thing has run its course, too--but they do have some cool props.
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The No Vacancy: Condemned facade still looks a lot like previous years’ No Vacancy mazes.
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Hmm--I seem to have lost Larry in the Necropolis.
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Excuse me, but can you see Larry from way up there?
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“You lookin’ for a Larry? Let me check. Hey, dude in my mouth! Is your name Larry?”
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Ulp! I don't think that's Larry!
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Blood Drums has a lot of drums, but not so much blood.
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But it does have both digital . . .
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. . . and real fire.
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OK, I officially no longer care about the drums.
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“Quit looking at the Fire Woman and watch me!”
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We finished off the night at Cornstalkers.
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Thanks to Fright Lane . . .
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. . . we avoided waiting in this.
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The giant spider told us to get out.
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The Evil Boogie Boogie Eyes are trying to hypnotize me! Better run! Thanks for reading.

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:21 pm

If only there was a Fast Lane Pass to get refills of sweet tea.

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:19 pm

^Or a freakin' beer at that bar in Candy Apple Grove.

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:27 pm

Speaking of apple....

I want that giant frickin' CANDY APPLE!

Great TR of all that's Boo-y in KD, Chuck. :smile:
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Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:24 am

Excited to check this out, we'll be down soon. Excellent report, Chuck.

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:42 am

Looks like a really solid event! I wouldn't mind checking this out the next time I get to Kings Dominion... Thanks for sharing Chuck!

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:44 am

Great report!

I'm not surprised to hear that the two blackout houses are some of the weakest. On paper it sounds awesome but it seems like in execution the parks just use it as an excuse to create a house with the smallest possible budget.

We'll be there in a few weeks so we're taking notes. I'm glad to hear that their version of "Trick or Treat" is good because it's awful at Dorney (so bad that it got the blackout house conversion treatment this year like No Vacancy: Condemned did at KD). Blood on the Bayou and Cornstalkers houses are always great.

Re: Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt 2018

Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:42 am

coasterbill wrote:Great report!

I'm not surprised to hear that the two blackout houses are some of the weakest. On paper it sounds awesome but it seems like in execution the parks just use it as an excuse to create a house with the smallest possible budget.


Yep--they didn't change No Vacancy's sets all that much, and Blackout didn't have any sets at all (the cast inside was working hard, though).
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