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Trip Report 9-23-2011

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Don't read this if you want to be surprised during your

Halloween Haunt visit.








I've had a bad cold since September 1st that I just can't shake, but that didn't stop me from going to opening night of Halloween Haunt. It did, however, make it really hard to get out of bed and get moving, so I didn't get there until 7:15, missing the monsters running out of the gates… if they even still do that this year. I never made it early enough to catch it last year either.


Most of the props and tombs from Cemetery Drive are now on International Street, at least on the right side facing the tower. I never made it to the left side but I would assume they are over there as well. They even had the grey statue people (actors) sitting on top of them, making International Street into more of a Scream Zone. I've always thought Cemetery Drive was one of the more weak Haunt attractions, but as a Scream Zone on International Street it works perfectly.


We headed over to check out the new Haunt attractions in Planet Snoopy. I was disappointed to see CarnEVIL in the same spot after the website had it listed as being in Rivertown this year. I was hoping it would have mood just because it might have had some differences by being set up in a new location. The line for this was crazy long, and since it is probably the same as it's always been, we decided to skip it and invest our line waiting time into something new.


Heading back to the Peanuts Playhouse we walked through a mass of circus freaks and performers. This was very cool but I did not realize at the time that this was Nightmare Alley, one of the new Haunt attractions. I thought it was just more roaming monsters grouped here as an extension of CarnEVIL. I think my favorite was the woman with the conjoined twin. She was still hot, even with the twin. The giant Jack In The Box is now located over in this area too. Although it was still making all the sound effects, I never actually saw it go up or down. I'm thinking it was broke.


We waited about 30-ish minutes to get inside Holliday Horrors (located inside the Peanuts Playhouse). I thought the actors in this maze were some of the best. They were actually playing characters rather than just jumping out and yelling "BLAGHHHHH!" The woman asking you if you want your picture taken with the Easter Bunny stands out in my memory the most, along with some of the actors in the Christmas room. Despite the good acting, the maze was kind of disappointing. I think because the decorations and props inside were so thin that many of the rooms just seemed like empty boxes with a few items scattered around. There was one room with framed pictures hanging all over the walls and I'm not sure what holiday it was supposed to be. I'll be giving this maze another chance, however, because I was low energy from being sick and that might have sucked some of the fun out of it for me. Oh' yea, the President's Day room was hilarious!


We next went walking through Rivertown looking for Nightmare Alley (because we still had not realized that we had just walked through it a second time). We thought maybe since CarnEVIL was still in the old Enchanted Voyage building that maybe the new Haunt was actually the one located in Rivertown. We passed Tombstone Terror-Tory and the line was ridiculous long. We wondered how many of those people knew that the train stopped and they would have to get off and wait in line a second time. Although I try to do all the Haunts every season, Tombstone Terror-Tory is another one that I always find to be disappointing so we decide not to wait in line for this one tonight. The problem being that it's pretty much a strait path and if you come up to a wood crate then there is probably someone inside it or behind it. Not much to it, really.


Eventually, we made are way around into Coney Maul, and decided to check out Urgent Scare since we were back that way anyway. Because of the big crowds gathered around Windseeker, I'm guessing, Urgent Scare is now hidden and had no line what so ever. It was literally walk in. I guess because the Dinosaurs Alive movie is still playing during the day, all the decorations of discarded wheelchairs and crashed cars are now gone. Not only that, but other than a "Urgent Scare" sign, there is no outside decorations what so ever and the area is brightly lit. The inside is still pretty good and one of the best mazes at the Haunt. The hospital security guards creep me out more than the victims or infected hospital staff.



From here we checked out some of the new decorations over in the grassy area between Juke Box Diner and Coney Refreshments. Last year it was circus freak skeletons in this spot, this year it is a park with zombies grilling out and playing on playground equipment. This is a fun scene and so refreshing from the skeletons, which weren't bad, just old.


Next we made our way up to Massacre Manor. The line was a bit long but it's one of my friend's favorites so we got in line. Personally, I like the concept of Massacre Manor, but I'm kind of bored with it and I think it could use some re-imagining. Anyway, we waited in line for 30 minutes and got all the way to the entrance when the maze closed down. Apparently a fog machine went into overdrive and "50 people were lost inside," unable to find their way out through the fog, so they temporarily closed down to let some of the fog evaporate. By the time I got to the entrance I had to pee, but figured I could hold it for 15 or so minutes until Massacre Manor re-opened again. 35 minutes later, it was finally about to reopen and I was seriously about to wet my pants and then some Fright Lane Pass people walked up and were waved right in. So after standing in line over an hour, 30 + of those minutes spent waiting at the entrance trying not to pee my pants, then to have people walk up and be allowed to cut in front of me… am I wrong to think that Fast Pass sucks? I realize they paid a premium to be able to line jump, but after being made to wait that long because the attraction was shut down, they should have at least merged the Fast Pass people with the people who had been standing there in one spot waiting patiently. On a final note, the last room was still super foggy and extremely dark. I could hear stuff going on around me but saw nothing. I wonder if the actors knew we were in the room too or if they just kept going in case someone might be in there at any given moment.


After a quick stop at the bathroom we caught a showing of Half Pint Brawlers. This particular match was pretty lifeless and it was difficult to set through the whole thing. The music was turned down and no one was cheering or seemed to be particularly excited. I understand these shows get pretty rowdy sometimes but not tonight.


Next we made our way to Action Zone. Although Club Blood is one of my absolute favorites, the line was way long so we just decided to do Wolf Pack instead, which hardly had a line at all. It was pretty much the same as last year, except there were more rubber wolf masks and less shirtless boys.


I got a park guide off an employee and finally realized that the circus freaks in Planet Snoopy was actually Nightmare Alley. We also realized there was a new Haunt that we had missed back in Coney Maul, so we headed back there to check it out. On the way we stopped and checked out the decorations in front of the Racer's train station. Zombie babies are pretty cool.


Mysteria is in the old Death Row spot. Although I appreciate the attempt to try something new, Mysteria just does not work. They basically took out the strobe lights and replaced them with black lights and lasers… and… and… you're just going to have to see this one for yourself. I have no ideas on how they can make this concept work except to ditch the idea and try something different next year.


From here we ventured up behind the Eiffel Tower, through what is normally Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular. This area is decorated very cool. A plethora of scarecrows with Jack-O-Lantern heads are scattered throughout and lit up for great impact. My only complaint is that quite a few of the scarecrows have spun around or something and weren't facing the walk area, so some of them you only see their backs or side profiles.


Next we caught a showing of Hot Blooded. The new cast does a great job and I was happy to see two of my favorite dancers return again this year.


From there we checked out Corn Stalkers in its brand new location (the old Cemetery Drive spot). Corn Stalkers also has always been one of the weakest mazes at the Haunt (since it stopped being a Scare Zone), but it is greatly improved by this new location. It's much more twisty and foggy than in past years, giving monsters better hiding opportunities. Still, it's basically just people jumping out and screaming "Blaghhhhh" rather than performing a character, but how would you play a living scarecrow anyway? The ones that would stand perfectly still until you got up next to them and did not speak were the scariest.


We finished off our night with a trip through Slaughter House. This maze is pretty hit or miss, depending much on how many people are working it and who. Tonight there were more actors inside than I have ever seen before. It really helped make up for a lot of the empty space found in the last third of this maze. Some of the rooms in Slaughter House were much too dark, however. There were all those great dead body props on the tables and I could barely make them out, much less appreciate them. There was a new 'starved nearly to death woman' prop in the last room before the giant air bladders, but there was no actor in it when we passed through. They had a prop like this in the past, but this one is new and a different design from what was used before


It was now nearly 1:00 A.M. and we started to make our way up to the front gate, checking out the new decorations behind Festhaus, across from International Street theater, along the way. Why they aren't showing Graveyard Shift inside the theater instead of having to share space with a wrestling ring is beyond me.


Over all, Kings Island has done a great job in creating atmosphere this year with the "Scare Zones" and with all the new decorations, however, so many of the haunted houses feel 'thrown together' and could use some of the same love. The older haunted houses desperately need some reimagining/ redecorating to breathe new life into them especially. Maybe that will happen next year, but this season, I much more enjoyed walking around the park checking out all the new roaming monsters, decorations and "Scare Zones" than I did the mazes. I do look forward to going back however, to explore the rest of the haunted houses, watch Hot Blooded and just to walk around and absorb all the great new atmosphere.




Edited by SSR1966

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Excellent report, Mr. Roberts. Truly enjoy reading this. Now I know what to look out for and what to avoid. What with the cold weather and my own respiratory bug, I'm staying away for now. I definitely agree about them using the theater - such a waste of nice space and it's yuck with the wrestling in the FestHaus. Glad you took time to be thorough; so much good info here. Thanks so much. Hope to make it down in a week or two. On a medical note - a cold doesn't usually last more than three weeks. Maybe you should see a doctor other than the one at Urgent Scare....

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