Hey there, Park Journey readers!
2017 marks the 10th year of Haunt at California's Great America, and ParkJourney was on had to check out the opening night festivities!
This was my second year attending Haunt at Great America, and I really enjoyed it. It's amazing how much this park has changed in the last couple of years, and the 2017 Haunt additions seem to indicate a continuation of that upward trend.
Written by Andrew Cunningham
Photos by Stephen Harrington and Andrew Cunningham
We start the evening by checking out Backwoods, this year's big new maze, which took over the Imax building previously occupied by Dia de los Meurtos. While Backwoods was noticeably shorter than its predecessor, the production value was far above any other maze that Great America has done.
Backwoods takes us to an old southern Bayou that is, unfortunately, overrun by Werewolves. The maze was unique in that it is built over a shallow water tank, and you walk from scare to scare over a set of wooden bridges that cross the water. The sets themselves were large, impressive, and void of any cheap plywood walls.
The park was kind enough to treat us to a lights-on tour of Backwoods. You can see from the pictures that the level of detail and production value was definitely heightened for this maze. It looked amazing with the lights off and actors in place!
Aes night began to creep in, the Haunt opening show took place over the Celebration Plaza fountains. The cloaked figure in the middle of the water is none other that The Demon!
It was cool to see a live Demon character in the park, as the other marquee addition for 2017 was Demon: Re-Ignited
The Demon is a true classic at California's Great America, the this year's Haunt brought fire, tunnel projections, and the return of the water features to the beloved coaster. I have to say that a night ride on Demon Ignited was incredibly enjoyable.
The park has also been hyping a re-recording of the classic Demon theme song by Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart. The new theme song was not ready to roll on opening night, but we will back next week to check it out again.
Great America has done a tremendous job with increasing their entertainment offerings over the last few years. This year for Haunt, Ed Alonzo's Psycho Circus of Magic & Mayhem returns to the park to take center stage.
We got to see the first trial run of the show, which was a lot of fun. I'm not a huge theme park show person, but I did find Ed's show to be an overall good time. He packed in several impressive magic tricks along with some PG-13 humor. I'd recommend seeing it if you have a full night to spend at Haunt.
While I didn't have time to take in every other maze or Skeleton Key room tonight (damn you, Caltrain schedule!), it did seem like the houses that I did were mostly the same from last year. However, the couple Skeleton Key rooms I experienced were different from 2016, which was fun.
Thanks for joining us for a look at the 2017 new hotness for California's Great America's 10th anniversary Haunt.
Halloween Haunt runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from now until October 29th. We definitely recommend coming to check it our if you're in the Bay Area!
We'll actually be back at California's Great America for Haunt the next two weekends, so look for lots more from this amazing event soon.