Great America will have it’s first ever Halloween Haunt this year, and since Cedar Fair now owns both Great America and Knott’s Berry Farm the same crew that runs the world’s first haunted amusement park attraction, Knott’s Scary Farm, will be designing and decorating Santa Clara County’s premiere theme park for the spooky season as well!
Z and I will be attending opening night of Halloween Haunt next Friday, October 3. But as you may have noticed I’m a bit anxious for the Halloween season to start, so we actually stopped by last Saturday to see what preparations had already been made. Okay, so we actually stopped by because Z lost her season pass and we didn’t want to have to deal with getting a replacement during Halloween Haunt hours, but we did take a look around Celebration Plaza and snap a few pictures for y’all. First the (apparently) obligatory rant…
We had other plans on Saturday and were just stopping by the park to get a replacement pass issued. Shouldn’t have been more than 15 minutes or so. But Cedar Fair still managed to screw with us. We approached the Guest Services window to pay for the replacement and caught grief from them because Z’s picture wasn’t on file with her pass info. As if this was somehow our fault. The only thing we did wrong was assume that Cedar Fair would have their act together on opening day. Big mistake! As you may recall, they were all screwed up that day. Once we clarified that it was their error, not ours they issued the replacement receipt (another $15frmo me to them) and told us to head into the park to get it processed. What they didn’t tell us was that the Season Pass processing center was closed and we actually needed to get it processed at one of the windows outside the park. ::sigh:: Clearly, as the picture above shows Z did her get her “new” pass, but then their hearse ran her down!
Enough complaining. I’m just glad that our Platinum passes mean we don’t have to pay an extra ticket fee for Halloween Haunt. For those of you that don’t have Cedar Fair Gold or Platinum passes, tickets (to die for) will be $39.99 (or $34.99 if purchased in advance via the website).
There will be four Scare Zones at Halloween Haunt (areas of the park fully decorated and populated by various monsterly denizens): The Gauntlet, Dead Man’s Cove, Underworld Alley and Witch Doctor’s Trail; five mazes (haunted houses): CarnEvil, Werewolf Canyon, Corn Stalkers, Slaughterhouse and Club Blood (Paint The Town Red); three new shows: Dave Hill’s Haunted Hypnotics, ComedySportz Ghostly Improv, and Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus of Magic and Mayhem (which is a must-see on our list); and, best of all, one themed ride: Camp GonnaGetcha-
Welcome campers! Get ready to experience the great outdoors at this summer camp chock full of memorable activities. But once the sun goes down, this place takes on a dark, twisted side. The souls of campers from year’s past lurk deep within the shadows waiting to mutilate anything that comes within their path. With the nearby river as the only escape route, you must flee in a hollow log to escape their wrath!
As much as I love the graphical stylings of the print and advertising presentations for Halloween Haunt (which were clearly done by the KSF team), I can’t say I’m overly impressed with the park theming we saw. While the skeletal beach scenes in Celebration plaza are cute, that’s not really what I want from Halloween Haunt. In fact, I get the feeling the folx back in Ohio said something like: “Well, it’s California’s Great America, right? So how ’bout beach themes?” Not exactly original thinking there, guys.
Similarly, the hay bales and black/orange bunting strewn around the park seems much too “family” oriented for an event that is rated PG-13 and advises against attendance by “wimps and children under the age of 13”. I do, however, like the spiders wrapping up the double-decker Columbia carousel (I mean the Scary-Go-Round) for a late night snack, and the way they carried that theming over the entire area with the cobwebs on the trees and light posts.
Another idea that’s migrated north from Knott’s Scary Farm is a pre-Haunt Buffet … er … Boofet, with early admission to the event. itself. No word on what will be served, but Great America’s Boofet will be held in the Picnic Pavilion by Redwood Amphitheater. Unfortunately, guest costumes and masks are not permitted (strange, they didn’t say anything when we showed up as Scooby Doo and Velma to ride Vortex a couple years back) , but a great time should still be had by all and this is Cedar Fair’s last chance to redeem itself in my eyes. Any bad experiences at Halloween Haunt and Great America won’t be seeing a single dime from me next year. So, walk, run, or hitch a ride like this guy did and get yourself to Halloween Haunt at California’s Greta America. If you’re there on opening night and happen to see Z and I feel free to stop us and say hello! We’ll be at the buffet by 6ish and heading to Camp GonnaGetcha so we can add the (hopefully Halloweenish) ride photo to our ever growing collection of amusement park and ride photos. After that, assuming we survive, it’s anybody’s guess!
UPDATE 10-10-08 – Read my review of California’s Great America Halloween Haunt Media Night or check out Z’s Halloween Haunt Is Hypnotizing