We were invited out to Queen Mary's Dark Harbor last Thursday for their annual media night. Even as a huge fan of Haunt events, this was actually my first time attending the event even though I had planned on attending for quite a few years. This was the first year that circumstances beyond my control allowed me to attend.
We enjoyed the event so much that we ended up back at Dark Harbor on Saturday night to just attend as "non-media". And there is a really good chance I'll end up back at Dark Harbor at least one more time this year. The event is THAT GOOD.
I know a lot of people don't really believe in Ghosts, or that the Queen Mary is actually haunted, but going through the mazes on the ship as well as Encounters really takes it to another level that can't be duplicated at other haunts. The addition of the 3 off-ship mazes that were as great as any other events mazes really make this a great well-rounded event that shouldn't be missed.
We are going to have two updates for Dark Harbor, today we'll take a look at everything outside of the mazes, the "Freak Show" and the all-new addition for 2014, Encounters. On Wednesday we'll look at all of the mazes.
As we arrived on Thursday, we headed to the media check-in. Unfortunately Fall has yet to descend on Southern California and last week was probably the hottest week all year.
There was a nice reception set up for media as well as some entertainment and monsters out for us to enjoy prior to the event starting at 7pm.
The monsters were out early for us, you can see how great the make-up is in the light.
Insert "Gregg is too tall to ride this" joke here.
The Rhythm Coffin opened up the festivities, just a really fun band playing awesome songs.
The Ring Master welcomes us to Dark Harbor and introduces us to the stars of the show
And of course The Captain
What's an event without some awesome merchandise.
Just before the event opened we were able to head into the ship and experience the all new for 2014 ... Encounters.
On to Encounters ... The experience is $15 and you do have to sign a waiver, which always means a fun time is about to be had .
Personally I thought the experience was great. As somebody who had never done Dark Harbor or even The Queen Mary it was a great "intro" to some of the great haunted places of the ship.
There are also some "experiences" within those haunted places that play with your head, a LOT. I don't want to spoil anything, but it was very well done.
Kind of hard to see, but the the Propeller room, which is supposed to be pretty haunted. Again, the experience plays up the actual haunted places in the ship very well.
Each "Encounter" is hosted and we got "V" who was absolutely great. They do get away with some things during Encounters that you won't really see at any other event (language, etc) but overall we would recommend the experience.
If you've done any of the Haunted tours on the Queen Harbor then it may not be anything new for you. But it's worth the extra $15 if you are a Dark Harbor virgin.
If you'd like to do Encounters make sure you sign up early.
At 7:00pm the gates opened and Dark Harbor began.
The entry is kind of a Voodoo village which really sets the tone of the event.
You can see the opening of the event and a walk-through of the entry area in the video below.
Slider Alley is AMAZING. Check out our Instagram page for a short slider compilation we put together from Saturday night.
Heading over to the Freak Show we are greeted by a 70ft fireball. It's VERY warm and can be felt throughout the entire event. Hopefully the weather will cool down before the end of October and it would be a welcome addition to the event.
Heading to the Freak Show which is a $5 up-charge if you don't have the VIP entry. But it's SO worth it. Was probably one of the funnest things we did.
Welcome to the show!!
Interactive Skeleton was a LOT of fun. I did take a flash picture (below). We talked to him for a good 5 minutes since there really weren't a lot of people in the freak show.
As it got darker you can see the great lights around the Voodoo village and the rest of the event.
We'll have more from Dark Harbor on Wednesday as we walk through all of the mazes and share more about the event.
In the meantime, make your plans to attend, you won't be disappointed.
Click the link to find out more information about Queen Mary's Dark Harbor as well as ticket prices, dates, times and more.