The Empty Grave in Anaheim Thrills with New Chills

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, In the Parks

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Published on October 25, 2012 at 5:00 am with 23 Comments

The Empty Grave in Anaheim’s Garden Walk has always been one of MiceChat’s favorite haunts.  Built new, from the ground up, every year, this independent haunted attraction has returned bigger and better tan ever for the 2012 season of screams. This year marks an evolution for the little haunt in Anaheim, as it has begun to shed its humble beginnings and is transcending to another level.  It is becoming a far more polished, well executed (pun intended) haunted attraction. Here we have some notes and photos to share and even a chance to win a pair of tickets to experience The Empty Grave yourself.

Designer, Mike Talorico, is just like any other guy.  He has a day job, is building a family with his lovely wife Adrian, and by most accounts is fairly normal.  But ever since he was a kid, his passion has been Halloween and haunts.

Mike in front of The Empty Grave

Growing up, he would build simple haunted houses in his front yard every year with his neighborhood friends.  Amazing things could be done with PVC pipe and black Hefty bags.  But as he grew so did his desire to really build a legitimate haunted house attraction.  What began just a few years ago as The Haunted Cellar at The Block at Orange, soon evolved into The Empty Grave at GardenWalk as we know it today.

The Empty Grave has always had a certain home-spun charm.  Mike has an uncanny ability to infect those around him with a childish glee for the scare.  His creations are never dull, but were sometimes a little rough on the execution.  While we have always found the loose feel that Mike lent to his mazes entertaining, it did leave you with the feeling that he could continue to grow.  This year he has.

Why is this year so much better? The maze has a far more calculated sense of pacing. The scares begin slowly, allowing for tension to be built  Entering a long nearly pitch black hallway, a voice can be heard beckoning you further.  Eventually guests end up in one of the Grave’s trademark set pieces, the strobe maze.  Once the disorientation subsides the experience becomes more linear.

The set design, the art direction, even the lighting, have all been polished.  The flow of the scenes from one to the other is more fluid. The story that carries guests through is still pretty indiscernible, but scenes feel right and the actors sell it.

If you are a fan of independent Haunts, this is the year that you must go visit the Empty Grave. While far from perfect, this will be considered the year that the Empty Grave grew up.  Mike and his merry crew of monsters have shed the black garbage bags and pvc pipes from the front yard and have entered the big leagues.


The graveyard scene is theatrical and dramatically lit.

Mention also has to be made of the actors. They are simply some of the most passionate talent around.  Their energy and desire to engage the visitors is palpable and inviting.  They clearly WANT to get in there and scare and that’s great for the visitors. That is the mark of truly remarkable performers.

You still have time to visit the Empty Grave too!  They will be open Oct 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31 & Nov 1, 2, and 3.  That’s nine nights to choose from.

We also have a chance for you to win tickets to this fun little gem.  Just answer the question below.  If you post the correct answer in you comment you will be entered into a random drawing for a pair of tickets.

Q.   What time does The Empty Grave open each night of operation?

A.  7PM

CONGRATULATIONS to
 shariki utundu 

Please email us at [email protected]  to claim your prize.

If the winner does not claim their prize by Friday Night at 11:59pm, another winner will be announced Saturday morning. You’ve been warned. Please check your Private Messages on MiceChat or you might miss your chance to win a visit a really fun and unique haunted experience.

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • andvintru

    it opens at 7pm

  • GoneAway562

    Great review of The Empty Grave. It opens at 7pm every night, and is well worth it. I went two years ago and had a great time going through it as it was nice being the only group in at the time instead of the long “conga” lines that most other haunts have. Plus whats even better is you can go there, have dinner and go through the maze and right after head across the street to Disneyland! All in all when I went it was great and I suggest anyone who reads this to go.

  • ColaCakez

    7:00PM!

  • rainbowlite

    It opens at 7:00 PM!

  • dfan07

    The Empty Grave opens at 7:00 p.m. each night of operation.

  • CatchAPairO

    7:00 pm :)

  • aussiedisney

    This annual event has a special place in our memory:
    In 2009, our family of 6 were wandering through Gardenwalk. It was around dusk and our then 6 year old son was skipping his way along, completely oblivious to the ghouls and mummys that had begun to permeate the crowd. One creepy looking monster decided it would be fun to “skip” along behind our boy, much to the delight of the crowd. About 30 feet on and our son noticed a shadow behind him. He stopped and stood still, then turned to see what was following him…….
    Have you ever seen a cat jump up and back at the same time? I think the poor kid defied gravity, because he squealed in sheer terror, then left the ground backwards – up and over, finally landing on his feet, now facing the confused ghoul, who – although upstaged by a kid shorter than a coffee table, continued in true artistic style, moaning and growling with aplomb.
    We laughed so hard we had to crouch down for a minute. I have never seen a child SO surprised, yet so composed 5 minutes later. Well done to the artists and actors who made this Halloween one to remember.

  • Kardiac Kid

    7 PM! All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…