We went Thursday October 10, 2013
I haven't been to Haunt since 2010 and really had no intention on really coming back because I felt like I've done everything and already got the feel. Especially since houses were always reused. However, after hearing how much the event has grown and shifted to providing a more quality experience for guests I decided to give it a shot.
We arrived at the parking lot around 6:20, parking was $20 which I thought was a little steep considering other parks don't even charge this much even for a Halloween event. I'm probably just complaining because I only had one friend coming with me. Anyways, the entrance is really friendly. Large jack-o-lanterns provide a family-fun look as these are also out for day-time guests, but at night they flicker which is a little more creepy. I suggest using a Burger King coupon if you go, don't buy it online. Processing fees are rather annoying.
After rope drop we headed straight for Trick or Treat, a new one for me. I really enjoyed the fact that you rang the door bell and had to yell "Trick or Treat" in order to get it. Upon entering I was absolutely impressed with the amount of detail that went into this house. In my opinion it ranked up to Universal quality. It was simply beautiful. The talent in this maze had really high energy and I was startled once or twice. It was a great start.
Next was Endgames Warriors of the Apocalypse, also new for me. The farcade looked like a shack, but was cool none the less. Something that I found really cool was that you took your picture before entering the maze. Little did I know that they count down and you think they take your picture but then you're blasted with air. In that case, your picture has been taken with a funny face. For the maze itself, it was confusing. I had no idea what was going on. I know that it's about fighting or something, but I didn't really think it worked. That talent really tried but I think I was so lost in understanding what was going on that it didn't work. The quality was pretty good however.
ThenDominion of the Damned, also new because I didn't go through Dominion of the Dead. Once again, you take your picture before entering this maze as well, but it's just a regular photo op. The maze was very beautiful and I liked the whole gothic-esque of the maze. The sets were elaborate and the talent was very creepy. I was startled a few times simply by them gesturing and swiftly moving. Overall, it was beautiful more than scary, but creepy none the less.
Immediately after that was Delirium, the one I was most excited about going into (also new for me). This maze was truly creepy, scary even. The sets were very disturbing, especially the cockroach room. My favorite room however immediately followed walking over a dead body eaten apart from roaches where an actor literally stopped me from the line, and would mimic my every move. The idea isn't scary, but his face piece scared me so bad I couldn't make eye contact. Right after another actor came up to me and I was corned. Talent like that is what I love about Haunt, however the rest of the house lacked any talent.
We then made our way to Pinocchio Unstrung. New for me again. This maze was very creepy, very twisted, and I enjoyed that so much. The sets were absolutely stunning, especially a scene where you're meant to feel outside and there are stars twinkling above. Other than beautiful sets, that was it. Probably only three or four actors through the whole thing. I was a little disappointed because I was really looking forward to that one.
Next Forevermore. This maze won for most beautifully themed, it really reminded me of Terror of London. The pieces were extravagant, there was a room where you enter a pipe and an actor literally wades through water while a huge axe swings above his head. Very cool, very gothic, very creepy. Another beautiful scene was that of the Tell Tale Heart as the heart beat was loud and red beats appeared even under the floor. Very cool! Beautifully done, but still didn't have that much talent at all.
We took a break from mazes here and rode some rides. Xcelerator was first, always good, but the line grew tremendously long because they were only running one car. One car, especially on a major attraction like this is really annoying. I know maintenance costs and everything, but the capacity on that is terrifying in itself. We followed up with Coast Rider and Boomerang.
Next was Black Magic, this was the maze I was waiting to go into all night. Here's where something really gets annoying, the picture photo op. It was here too, and this was the reason the line stretched all the way to where Coast Rider's entrance is. It was fun the first time, but it's annoying now. The maze itself was very elaborate, the sets were beautiful, the voice over was pretty creepy, and I jumped once. The room I looked forward to the most was the "water chamber?" or something like that, but no actor was there. That's the thing, there was barely any talent in this maze. Probably three or four actors as well. I was really sad, but the pieces were nice.
Then we made our way to The Gunslingers Grave. This maze was cool, and very well done. I especially love how when you go outside in the maze, theming wise, you actually walk outside on a dirt road. It was a very unique feel that mazes never really have. The sets were very nice and I enjoyed how there was a lot of talent actually in this maze, however they really didn't do much. Most of them just stood there looking at us, and that's pretty much it.
Next was The Slaughterhouse, the only maze I was familiar with. It seems like this maze has outlived any other maze at Haunt. But to my surprise, it was completely different. You enter into a diner and then into the backstage area where they prepare the meat. The maze was fun, I jumped a few times and the theming was cool yet rather scarce.
By this time it was already 9:25PM and literally we knocked out all of the mazes except Mirror Mirror because even on a not so crowded night, the line was 2 hours long. If you really want to do this, take everyone's advice and do that first. This really looked like a Universal queue.
We rode Silver Bullet once and walked through the streets of Ghost Town. It was here we decided to go through a few mazes again because we felt like, or we hoped, more actors would be in them.
Pinocchio Unstrung (Round 2) Essentially it was the same. There were more actors than last time, but I was still disappointed because I wanted to see the Marionette girl, but she never showed up. However, there was this one girl who bent backwards and scared a couple of people, including me, which reminded me of the Doll Factory. It was effective.
Overall, this time around: 3/5
Dominion of the Damned (Round 2) The talent was more on their game this time around. They were still being creepy and flowy, but they jumped out at you and they got me a few times.
Overall, this time around: 3.5/5
Delirium (Round 2) This was the maze that made my night, especially this run through. There was more talent and each character tried scaring every single person. This was very appreciated, and effective. The scene that scared me the most was through the archway of eyeballs a monster scared me from the side, I moved to the other side and a monster from that side scared me and I jumped and ran straight, then a monster with stilts swung down toward me. Very effective ping pong effect! I loved it! Well done!
Overall, this time around: 5/5
However, what really made my night was the street talent. They were amazing! The ghouls in ghost town were terrifying, the Tricksters especially were outstanding! They were devilish, very crazy, and fun. I remember seeing them play a game of duck duck goose with the clowns from Carnevil, eventually running off to scare everyone. The clowns are always funny, always very playful. It's funny seeing them make fun of them, and then scaring them right after. Pretty cool. All of the street actors were full of energy and tried their hardest so frighten everyone!
What I enjoy the most about Haunt is the use of fog. They use it so effectively, especially in Ghost Town. I remember there's a way from Ghost Town to where Pinocchio Unstrung and Forevermore are, it's completely covered with fog making it almost impossible to see anything. The talent here used it to their advantage and literally scared everyone. It was very effective, and the rest of the ghost town monsters did this as well. I loved it! Same goes for Necropolis, the amount of fog is so effective, especially when the actor has glowing eyes, very creepy. "See you in the fog," more like, we'll see you but you can't see us and we'll scare you.
Ghost Town Streets: 5/5
Dia De Los Muertos: 1/5 .. I didn't even know it was a scare zone.
Halloween Haunt has definitely evolved since the last time I was there. The mazes have indeed received more quality and better attention to detail than ever before, however with that I feel like they've cut down on the amount of talent in the houses. Literally walking through most of the houses finding very little actors in them. Could this be because we went on a weekday rather than a weekend? Who knows, but it kinda sucked not being scared by actors but then because of that we got to look around and admire the detail of the houses.