^ I'd love to work those three rides simply for the history and significance behind them. Update on Xcelerator, this morning they were testing the purple train with the front car cover off (it looked quite bizarre to watch in action). Hopefully, this means two train operations will resume again shortly in time for peak haunt season.
-DJ at the entrance: I hate you YOLO crowd. Not exactly the best way to set the tone of a scary atmosphere.
-Photo booths in maze queues: terrible, annoying idea.
-No maze in Fiesta Plaza and Bumper Cars: wasted space. They are now down to only 10 mazes (I don't count Trapped, since it is an upcharge), which is still a ton, but with how ridiculously crowded the park gets on the weekend...
-Knott's rid themselves of shaker cans...now I think it is time to rid themselves of snarls. It works for people whose costumes are skulls/zombies/animals....but not EVERYONE needs to snarl. Especially costumes that are human.
-Fiesta Village scare zone: WTF?
-Necropolis: best street zone by far. Talent was great, full of energy, in character, and having tons of fun.
Now onto the reviews:
Winner of the night: Black Magic. This is pretty close to HHN level in quality. Nice sets, a good mix of scares with performance scares, and some innovative stuff that not even HHN does: projection mapping on the facade and a cool scare/scene (I won't spoil it) I haven't seen anywhere else before.
Runner up: Forevermore. The narration helps a lot, since I am sure most of the Haunt guests will have no idea what half the stories are. But again, some nice scenes with fun scares. Not sure what the finale was supposed to accomplish, but I love a nice big room with an actual ending, something HHN NEVER does. And the video in the queue to get the backstory going is a nice touch.
2nd runner up: Mirror Mirror. Aside from the super low capacity, what they did was brilliant to get the most out of a tiny maze. You'll eventually figure out what is going on, and think "that's clever!" I wish this maze was a larger, as a mirror maze that really disorients you is a GREAT way to get scares out of talent that was otherwise not really doing much.
In the next category, are the "solid, but nothing mind blowing (mainly because they returned from last year)
Winner: Trick or Treat. Love the entrance and finale scenes. Talent good throughout the maze too. Just a fun maze.
Runner up: Pinocchio Unstrung. Love the original concept and the talent was doing great.
2nd runner up: tie between Slaughterhouse and Endgames. Neither of these mazes were great, but they were not terrible either. The reconfigurations they've done from their original forms help the set design stand out more, but the talent was about 1/2 good and 1/2 bad.
And in the last category, the disappointments:
-Gunslingers Grave: BEAUTIFUL sets. But it lost me when half the costumes were just guys with bandanas over their face not doing anything. And why do you need a western themed maze when you have Ghost Town? I think with some retooling this maze could be great, but was probably the most disappointing of the new mazes.
-Dominion of the Damned: I have never been impressed with the vampire mazes, mainly because I rarely see the talent scaring. You would think that based on the vampire mazes at Haunt, all vampires are lazy people who like to stare and hiss at you. This one also has great sets, but no talent.
-Delirium: I think this ones time has passed. That's all I can really say. Still the same maze it has always been, but the talent seems less energetic now.
-Hanging was more hit than miss this year joke wise. The same show you'll love and hate. The Disney and Universal jokes this year were good. Don't buy the scratch and sniff card. You'll thank me later for that tip.
-Elvira: Bring Back Ed Alonzo please. You really have to understand Elvira's cheesy humor to be able to enjoy this. The dance crew they have as her dancers are really good, but her jokes are about as cheesy as you can get. Which you will either love or think "WTF is this crap?". You might also be disappointed the aforementioned dancers don't really show skin, something that has always been a staple of shows that go in the Shultz theater.
-Possessed: The show probably drags on a bit too much for the payoff, but the concept is great and the use of the Mystery Lodge effects makes for a neat show. The new ending is a perfect way to end the show.
^ Thanks for the review Joey. From everybody I've talked to, Black Magic seems to be the highlight maze so far. Sad to hear that Gunslingers isn't too great, hopefully it will improve.
Still trying to figure out when we are going to be able to get to Haunt, right now it's not looking until the very last night (Nov 2nd). Also hearing that Trapped isn't great this year so we'll probably skip that.
^From what I understand the lack of mazes in Fiesta Plaza and Bumper Cars not happening had to do with them violating the GM's "nothing from haunt should be noticeable during daily park operations, and since they distrubed two different things (the plaza for eating and the bumper cars) that are visible during their haunt runs, I see why they were discontinued from that perspective.
I think the bumper cars area not being used is a shame though, as they had a huge pre-existing queue they could thread people through and not have to worry as much about crowd control.
I'm very excited for Mirror Mirror because it seems like one of the more interesting concepts, and I've heard very good reviews of it.
^I knew why. It's still a stupid idea. Haunt is their premier event, and I HIGHLY doubt that many daytime and Haunt guests complained about fiesta village seating and not being able to ride the bumper cars. I also highly doubt they reduced the number of tickets they sell for Haunt, so now the end result is just going to be an even more crowded park...
Well, I went to Haunt yesterday, and my overall synopsis of the event was outstanding. Despite Trapped being a letdown for me, I was amazed at how detailed the mazes were and how many times I got scared there. This event was so well-done, it made Universal's HHN stand out as a very tired and stale event that doesn't want to try new things. I had a blast at Haunt and I will be looking to go again next month. Black Magic and Gunslinger's Grave were amazing.
Ghostbusters Ride at Universal Studios....let's Make it Happen!
Has anyone who has been there yet done the skeleton key thing they are trying this year and if you have were the extra rooms worth the money? Going in a few weeks myself and am hoping the skeleton key is worth it.
Thursday was the opening night for Knott’s Scary Farm 2013, and TPR was there! Knott’s Scary Farm is the original haunted amusement park attraction, now in its 41st year. This year there were 12 mazes, 6 returning (Trick or Treat, Pinocchio Unstrung, Delirium, Endgames, The Slaughterhouse, and The Witch’s Keep) and 6 new (Dominion of the Damned, Forevermore, Black Magic, The Gunslinger’s Grave, Mirror Mirror, and Trapped: The New Experiment). Add to that 6 awesome shows, including the new “Elvira's Sinema Séance,” 4 scare zones, and most of Knott’s rides, and you can see why this event is so much fun. As usual, we tried to focus more on the new things, since covering the entire event in one night is virtually impossible. But hopefully this report gives a taste of all the fun to be had! On with the report...
We’re at Knott’s for the opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm 2013!
This year kicked off with a hearse processional. A parade of hearses, some modified and really unique, drove up and parked in front of Knott’s.
This over the top one was my personal favorite.
The entrance was decked out and ready for Halloween.
To celebrate the opening of Scary Farm, a team of bloodthirsty monsters ran to the gates.
The Green Witch’s Tricksters broke through the gates and grabbed an unsuspecting victim from the crowd.
They carried the victim inside and devoured her alive, leaving a pile of blood and guts behind.
As if you needed more reasons to come to Knott’s Scary Farm.
We then headed over to the Knott’s hotel for the media reception party.
Monsters greeted us at the doors.
So THAT’S why our bags never got to the room. The bellhops are dead!
There were monsters and fancy clowns entertaining the crowd.
We headed upstairs to the media party.
And of course, in typical Knott’s fashion, it was totally over the top. Lets take a look inside!
The room had Halloween decorations all around.
And delicious appetizers.
There was meat being carved from a coffin.
Awesome custom displays were set up with gourmet food plates.
Knott’s employees were replaced with creepy ghouls.
The desserts were especially impressive.
I’ll have one of those!
Never mind, I’ll have one of those instead.
On second thought, I’ll just have one of each. Mmmmm!
And of course there was beer on tap and wine flowing for the whole party.
There were lots of little details all around the room that made for a haunted atmosphere.
And if the decorations weren’t enough, there were plenty of monsters entertaining and scaring the crowd.
But enough of the party, lets check out Haunt! This year we had tour guides to take us around to the mazes. Spears will be leading the blue tour group.
We headed out into the fog to check out some of the new mazes...
First up, The Gunslinger’s Grave. This maze is brand new this year, and is a perfect fit for Knott’s.
It wouldn’t be The Gunslinger’s Grave without a grave...
And a gunslinger.
The wild west theme of this maze feels right at home by the Knott’s Ghost Town.
There’s a giant moving horse!
One of the more unique aspects of this maze is that you go indoors and outdoors throughout the maze, as if you’re actually entering and exiting the various stores and buildings.
There’s poker and shenanigans.
You can pull up to the bar for a drink.
Talk with the locals.
And if all the wild west antics leave you with a hangover or a headache, head to the general store for some pain reliever.
After The Gunslinger’s Grave we headed back out into the fog to check out another new maze.
Next up, Dominion of the Damned.
As you enter you’re greeted with an elaborate staircase and a monster beckons you in.
This maze is in the same location as last year’s Dominion of the Dead, but it has been completely revamped this year.
There are plenty of bloody-mouthed creatures lurking through this maze.
And blood spattered walls.
I take it his dinner wasn’t vegetarian.
After Dominion of the Damned we headed back towards Ghost Town on our way to Forevermore.
The Ghost Town is always my favorite scare zone. The historic buildings eerily loom around you as you walk through the fog filled streets.
And silhouetted creatures lurk in the shadows, ready to jump out and scare you.
Here’s Forevermore, the new maze inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe.
There are lots of cool characters and rooms in this maze. TPR toured this maze at West Coast Bash this year, but it’s even cooler with the show lighting and monsters roaming through.
Here’s the raven room.
Forget the ravens, I’ll hang out in this room.
Watch out, you don’t want to get tarred and feathered.
Monsters lurk in a pool under a swinging pendulum.
The final scene is set in a nightclub.
It’s dancey dance time!
After Forevermore we caught our breath at a haunt designer Q&A session. Jason Soyster hosted the panel with haunt designers Daniel Miller, Gus Krueger, Brooke Walters, and Lara Hanneman.
Spears says, “I have nightmares because of you.”
After the Q&A session we headed to the back of the park. We walked by the midway games, now stocked with scary prizes.
Back by Xcelerator is another new maze, Black Magic. Since I’m a huge fan of all things magic, this stuck out as my favorite of the new mazes.
The queue gives you a unique view of Xcelerator.
The “theater” that this maze is housed in has a neat projection mapping effect. Every 30 seconds it burns to the ground.
Just inside the theater, the walls are decorated with Houdini posters.
There are so many cool magic illusions and references to famous tricks throughout the maze. Here’s a straight jacket escape.
There are lots of props throughout the maze.
Don’t get crushed by the moving walls!
Of course there are creepy performers throughout.
There’s a performer trapped in a water tank.
And the room leaks real water from the ceiling.
A close-up magic stage is set up in the maze.
If you’re lucky, you may even get to participate in a real magic trick!
You can’t have magic without a rabbit in a hat. Of course, these rabbits are infinitely more creepy than your standard rabbit.
The knife thrower missed his mark.
A bloody monster welcomes us into the grand finale room.
The final illusion is an impressive ending to the maze.
Don’t forget to look up!
As you leave, you walk right under Xcelerator. All of the major rides at Knott’s are open during this event!
Next we checked out The Hanging. This year you can buy a scratch-and-sniff card for $1 and smell along with the show.
As always, the hanging is packed with action...
Pop culture references...
And of course, someone gets hung! But if you want to find out who, you’ll have to go to Knott’s and watch the show! (Overly obvious hint: She likes to twerk and stick her tongue out!)
After The Hanging we headed to the Mine Ride to check out The Witch’s Keep haunt overlay.
The ride doesn’t have scare actors, but is pretty elaborately themed for the Halloween season. It’s definitely worth taking a ride!
Here’s just a small taste of what you’ll see inside.
We were then chased all the way to the Charles M. Schulz Theatre where we watched the new show, Elvira's Sinema Séance.
Here’s the awesome looking set for the show.
The show features The Academy of Villains hiphop/freestyle dance team who appeared on America’s Got Talent!
The dancing is great!
But this is who everyone is there to see, the legendary Elvira!
She entertains and interacts with the crowd.
And she looks amazing!
We had to leave a little early to head to our final stop of the night, but the show looked great, and I heard some good reviews from others. We can’t wait to get back to haunt to see the whole show!
Our final stop of the night was Trapped: The New Experiment! As is customary for this up-charge maze, photography isn’t allowed and we were sworn to secrecy, so we can’t describe the experience. But I will say this: everything is brand new for this year. None of the rooms are re-used. So if you went last year, an all new set of terrors await you inside. The talent in this maze is top notch, and it’s so fun getting to spend time interacting with the characters!
That’s Knott’s Scary Farm! In truth, we barely scratched the surface of the event. There are tons more mazes and shows - so many that it’s pretty much impossible to fit everything into one night. But suffice to say, there is something for everyone, and more than enough to keep you entertained and scared for the entire night. Thanks to Knott’s for inviting us, and thanks to you for checking out our report! Now go check out Knott’s Scary Farm, it’s a blast!
Last edited by ILoveRides on Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:19 pm.
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