On Thursday night TPR was invited to attend the grand opening of the first ever Dark Horizon event, the East Coast companion to the long-established Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary in Southern California. The organizers behind that West Coast event had tested the market previously with last year's "Terror at the Inn"
at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites - Waterpark not far from the Walt Disney World Resort. This year Dark Horizon is a full event featuring three unique haunted houses, two entertainment stages with various performers, five bars (including a hidden bar inside of one of the houses) and a 4-D theater experience--all bolstered by a horde of scare actors roaming the grounds.
The first of three houses (and arguably the most unique) is Ghostship. Captain Killigrew (when said out loud sounds like Kill-e-crew) and her scruvy-ridden crew will scare you from all angles as you huddle through the wooden corridors of the ghost ship's haunted underbelly. The ghastly fiends take pleasure in delivering a good scare and keeping new souls hostage in the brig. And you never know where a secret token may lead when inside...
And the finale of this house is unlike any I've experienced at a haunt event before.
Next up is Murder Island, a house in the Glades section of Dark Horizon. This Everglades-area swampland is host to the Southern fiend, Bloody Ed Watson whose sugar plantation exploits are ripped from history and presented live before your eyes. The longest and most drawn out of the three houses, Murder Island sends you through the fog of the swamp to the sugar plantations of yore, for a grizzly, gory romp through Southern history in its darkest state.
The last of this year's haunted houses is arguably the most inventive, Vodou (not a typo). The Village is home to Mambo Cecile, the Vodouan guide to the spirit underworld of Vilokan. What starts as a traditional journey into the realm of voodoo (as you've seen other local haunts offer over the years), this experience descends into a maddening, ethereal world where creatures lurk in the shadows and creep from dark corners. The cavernous terrain of this unique house makes for convenient scare opportunities and one room in particular uses lasers to pull you away from expectations, leaving you susceptible to some fantastic scares.
Entertainment is just as much a part of Dark Horizon, as Monster DJ spins techno tracks that give the event a bumping energy. The Siren Stage is host to aerial silk performers while the Sacred Circle Stage summons fire dancers to bring the heat. And Panic: A 4-D Experience leverages the Holiday Inn's existing 4-D motion theater for a trippy, startling fever dream roam through a unique haunted experience.
Sliders push the limit of scares across the grounds as themed performers walk in and out of the many bars at the event. Each of these bars has unique signature beverages and themes that match their neighboring haunted house or attraction. Of the four drinks we sampled that night, all were well mixed and quite boozy... And drink buckets could be purchased for those that wanted more "bang for their buck."
Dark Horizon is completely different from Halloween Horror Nights or Howl-O-Scream. The feel may be a bit more low-tech but the themes are inventive, each of the houses tackles scares in a unique way and this event has managed to provide experiences that I've never had in haunted houses before... Though I don't want to spoil them, because that's half of the fun of going through these for yourself. Admission starts at $20 per person for the Happy Haunting Hour access (you must enter before 8:00 PM to get this deal) and increases beyond that, with pricing also varying by the day of the week. But for between $20 - $40 per person, this event provides an evening filled with great scares, a fun set of bars, neat entertainment and plenty to do during your time onsite.
If you're looking for something different than the existing horror offerings in Orlando, or if you're simply looking for a fun night out Dark Horizon is well worth your time. I can't wait to see how this event evolves in the coming years! Come out to experience it for yourself on select dates between now and November 2nd, 2019! Visit https://www.darkhorizonorlando.com
for more details!