Amid all the speculation over what’s happening with Kings Dominion’s Hurler, which was shut down this season after years of being more of an endurance test than a roller coaster, let’s not forget that it's Haunt season. After missing the first two weekends--once due to prior commitments and again due to an unwanted guest named Hurricane Matthew--I went over to the park last night, purchased Fright Lane (never go to Haunt on a Saturday night without it), and set off to see what frights the ghoulish cast of KD has this year.
The scream zones are pretty much the same: Feary Tales in Camp Snoopy, Primevil in Safari Village, Necropolis in Old Virginia, Cleaver Brothers Carnival in Candy Apple Grove, IronWorX on Center Street (with a Skeleton Key Room for Fright Lane people), and the Lair in the Arbor (again, with a Skeleton Key Room). The Skeleton Key Rooms can be hit or miss (IronWorX’s was cute, the Lair’s just so-so). They also drew very long lines, some of which were packed with non-Fright Lane people, who, I guess, just like to stand in line.
KD boasts two new mazes this year. The crazed cannibals of Slaughter House have been evicted from their old digs in the laser tag building next to Drop Tower. Trick or Treat, a “halfway house for wayward souls,” has taken its place. Evil witches and enslaved, insane trick-or-treaters await you within. The sets in this house are excellent, and there are plenty of surprises. My one minor gripe is that despite the nice facade in front, guests enter through a rather nondescript side door--seems a bit off. But this is now the best maze at Haunt.
Club Blood has also gone out of business at KD. In its place is Blackout, which, to my mind, has to be the cheapest way to do a Haunt maze yet: black walls, black drapes, occasional strobe lights, and scare actors dressed in black who whisper, yell, scream, and fling the black drapes at guests as they carefully shamble along like so many Frankenstein monsters. It’s OK for what it is, but I’d be pretty annoyed if I waited for an hour or more just stumble around in darkness. I give the scare actors credit, though--they were working the space as hard as they could. This maze is in Hurler’s turnaround (at least until they remove Hurler).
You can still experience Corn Stalkers on International Street, attend Zombie High’s homecoming near Windseeker, check in to Darkside Manor even though there’s No Vacancy in the Action Theater, get involved in a prison riot in Lockdown at Flight of Fear’s queue, hope that the possessed toys of the Doll Factory don’t play too rough with you over in Planet Snoopy, and have your pulse checked at Urgent Scare (formerly Maze of Madness) in the Dodgem building. All these mazes are pretty good except for Urgent Scare, which was pretty weak (unless you like strobe lights and chain link).
Let’s have a closer look. You’ll notice that KD really, really, really loves fog.
Can your heart stand the terror of the Eiffel Tower’s boogie-boogie eyes?
If you have to go to Haunt on a Saturday night, this is a must. The park was a madhouse.
“Who needs a web, when I can sucker people into my gift shop?”
“Not all of us spiders can afford a gift shop, you know.”
I have found the lost burial place of Hypersonic. The legend is true!
“Ugh, I’m gonna be a while. Could somebody hand me a magazine?”
Prophecies say that Kings Dominion’s Parachutes will rise from the grave and walk the Earth, seeking the souls of the executives who ordered their removal.
May it hurl in Hell for eternity!
“Hey, I’m a demon, and there’s no way you’d catch me riding Hurler in Hell.”
That Bamm Bamm was a randy little devil.
Monsters on the move.
The Maze Formerly Known as “Maze of Madness.” Not an "asylum" maze anymore. That gothic architecture really suggests an "urgent care" facility in Virginia.
Remember, you’re not “mental patients”--just “patients.”
Great maze, nice facade, but it’s a shame that the entrance is an un-themed green door on the side of the building.
What? You’re dead! I saw your grave! OK, did someone draw a pentagram somewhere and invoke Hurler?
There appears to be a lot of smoking in the boys room at Zombie High.
Lockdown is still pretty good (much better than previous mazes in this building).
Carnies must smoke a lot.
Seriously, is this a “designated smoking area”?
You can barely make out the boogie-boogie eyes.
This is the Feary Tales Skeleton Key Room. Did it last year, but skipped it this time.
“Arr! Thar be no pirate scare zone here, sez I.”
At Haunt, the Overlord runs the show . . .
. . . and the explosions mean he’s open for business.
Haunt is “officially” up and running at 7:00, but some mazes open at 6:00. I assume these monsters have already punched in.
Corn Stalkers is always mobbed early because it’s the first maze people see when they enter, and it's near the Overlord's Resurrection show.
No Clown Band, but there’s always the Bone Collectors. More to come.
“Are you being helped? We'll be the last ones to let you down in the Necropolis."
You can still be stalked by Steampunks at KD.
Cutest, friendliest monster of the night--even when she lunges and growls.
Here’s IronWorX’s Skeleton Key Room.
“I . . . see . . . you! Or I could, it it weren't for all this freakin' fog!"
Welcome to the Lair’s Skeleton Key Room.
Blackout's facade describes the maze perfectly.
Here’s the somewhat less smoky side of Cleaver Brothers Carnival.
It wouldn’t be Haunt without Jack.
Primevil, the scare zone where political correctness withers . . .
. . . and dies. (I'm surprised that they've gotten away with this scare zone for so long, considering that it's full of scare actors in "ooga-booga" tribesmen drag. It's as bad as an old Tarzan movie.)
The Doll Factory is still pretty creepy.
Getting late. Time to go.
The boogie-boogie eyes wish you pleasant dreams. Thanks for reading.
Great report, Chuck! Looks like a fun evening. Thanks for taking the extra time to get shots of the outsides of the haunts and skeleton key rooms - I always like to check out the in-park atmosphere. It's interesting to see KD's blending of haunt concepts borrowed from Scary Farm, Cedar Point, and Cedar Fair's past. I'd love to see more original haunts at each Cedar Fair park that does a Halloween event, but at least the skeleton key rooms and newer concepts like Trick or Treat are making appearances.
bill_s wrote:Actually, the fog hasn't seemed intense this year until Friday. A very light wind from the south made it almost unsafe to drive in the parking lot, and Dominator was pleasantly volumetric.
I've seen it spill out of the park and into the parking lot, too. That wasn't happening last Saturday night, but they seem to use a lot more of the old "fog juice" than other parks I've visited during Halloween.
BGW uses plenty where they use it but KD has 3 scarezones and more near each other ... still, a lot of it was traveling a long way and was still dense. Conditions. The south and east sides of KD were normal; love the fog but was happy for a break after awhile.
You pretty much summed up my experience when I went during Columbus Day weekend/Hurricane Matthew. Although, it was Sunday, the fog wasn't TOO bad for me, and we knocked out almost every house in the first hour of Haunt without Fright Lane. Blackout was annoying though: our group got stuck, and it took us a while to get through, and it didn't help they only thing I experienced through the entire maze was the glowing skeleton thing-y right at the end. Enjoyed Trick or Treat, wish it was longer.
My favorite is still No Vacancy.
Glad to see somebody else enjoyed Haunt though! I got so busy I forgot to post my own photos, but you always do good reports!
1. Maverick What a wonderful day to go ride a giga... Kings Dominion Ride Attendant(2018) - Intimidator 305
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