October 8, 2016

Halloween Haunt (WOF)

Welcome back to Worlds of Fun and Halloween Haunt

First I'd like to say how much I appreciated the free FastLane wristband that I received for renewing my season pass for another season - that made the Columbus Day weekend crowds much more bearable.

Ed Alonzo is back for his 3rd and final season at the park.  He has a brand new show with new magic tricks (in both shows) called FUN HOUSE.

Personally I did not think his show was as strong this year as the past three years, but it was still very entertaining.

One thing I noticed this year was there were not any of the normal skeleton displays like in previous versions of HAUNT.  They did add some bigger props around the park, like this Wicked Witch that has been "crushed" under the Cyclone Sam's building.

They did a nice job with decorations at the entrance to Planet Snoopy.

The park is celebrating the anniversary of the Charlie Brown Halloween Special

Most of the special Halloween activities happen in this theatre inside the Boutique.

The Peanuts characters were out meeting guests in their costumes.

There is also a very small hay bale maze in the central location of the area.

Europa seemed to be the most decorated area of the park

However, they have moved all of the kids activities to Planet Snoopy this year so the area empty when compared to seasons past.

They have added some larger props to this area though.

I especially liked this new prop near Le Taxi Tour.

In the Moulin Rouge Theatre, Haunted Homecoming is back with a new show.

The show felt much tighter than what has been presented in years past.

One of the new sections of the park was the Cell Block Tango from Chicago

Very enjoyable show though - highly recommend going to see it.

As is in past seasons, the Overlord's Awakening starts off the evening activities.  The witches of the East and West return again this year for the ceremonies.  

HAUNT continues to grow in popularity which leads to huge crowds at the park.  It makes me wonder if it has become time to look at staging the Awakening somewhere else in the park to accommodate the crowds.  Would Country Junction Theatre be a better option for viewing and crowd dispersal after the show?  The monsters could arrive by train like they do at Fright Fest.

I decided to go the opposite direction of the crowd and headed clockwise around the park.  The first attraction of the night would be the BONEYARD.

This is probably the best scare zone of the park.  The area is much darker and secluded than the other 2 scare zones so it really benefits the screamsters.  

The first maze would be ZOMBIE HIGH.  This has always been one of the weaker mazes with regards to screamsters.  While I enjoy the sets in here, it is obvious that the rookie screamsters get sent here.

CHAMBER of HORRORS was next.  This wax museum themed maze has really stepped up its game this year.  I was impressed with the amount of screamsters actually in the maze.  I actually got a few jumps as I went through which has never happened in this maze before.  The 2nd building's talent was the best it has ever been.

CORN STALKERS was the highlight of the entire evening.  This maze has taken the title of my favorite at HAUNT.  It seemed much longer than it has been in the past.  The amount of screamsters in here was the largest I have ever seen.  I had some many jumps in here that I lost count.

URGENT SCARE takes the place of the former Asylum Island.  Here is the new sign for the maze.  This sign takes place of the former fan blade marquee that was over the doorway.

The former guard station is no longer at the top of the steps

So how is the "new" maze?  Honestly it is a bit disappointing.  It has HUGE shoes to fill as Asylum Island was a crowd favorite.  Almost all of the cells have been removed.  They now have rooms themed to different medical practices (x-ray, dentist, optical, etc).  The walls no longer have the deranged messages painted on them.  Now they're plastered with different medical photos or posters.  I imagine that this maze will continue to get tweaked.

BLOOD SHED was next.  This maze really surprised me this year.  Lots of screamsters and they actually got me a couple of times.  I like the new icebox scene that they added.  That was unexpected but a nice addition.  The chainsaw guy got a lot of screams from my group.

BLOOD on the BAYOU is still amazing piece of showmanship.  I urge you take your time going through this maze and look around.  There is so much detail in this one that you'll miss if you just rush through it (and especially the first 3 rooms).  The Ouija room is still one of my favorite rooms they have produced at WOF.  Finally beward of Big Al at the end of the house.

LONDON'S TERROR SQUARE is the new maze for this season.  

The former outdoor maze has moved into a new house in Americana.  The maze is not scary at all.  The sets are extremely detailed, so if you like story telling and show design you will enjoy the maze. I honestly enjoyed the outdoor version much more than this version, but this is still a quality addition to the lineup and I am enjoying how much more detailed the newer mazes are compared to the older ones.  I hope that they can tweak this version to make it as creepy as the old version used to be.

OUTLAW'S REVENGE was the next scare zone.  They addressed some of the issues of the past (making it darker and adding more fog machines).

CARNEVIL was moved this year to near Patriot (not far from where the original clown maze was located).  This scarezone got a theme change with regards to the talent.  They now have old school clown makeup as opposed to the colorful "IT" clown makeup and costumes.

The area is really too small to make it scary.  I would suggest increasing the size of the scarezone next season to help out the screamsters.

LORE of the VAMPIRE was the final maze of the night.  This is the oldest of the mazes but still one of the most popular.  I would like to see the park redo this maze for next season and change up the layout and scene order.  I liked the addition of the werevolves outside before the stairwell down to the lower level.  Since that area has been sort of a "safe zone" in the past, it was very effective for jumps.

Final thing of Haunt for the evening was this dubstep dance party DJ set up in Scandinavia near the Viking Voyager.  The characters from Hexed and Psycho Freaks could be found here interacting with park guests (this included the Overlord and both witches).  

Finally if you get the chance, I highly recommend a night ride on SteelHawk during Haunt.  It is so cool to look down at the park and see all of the fog.

HAUNT just keeps getting better and better each season.  This is by far the "gold standard" in the region for Halloween events.  It's no wonder the park gets so busy this time of the year.