Happy Friday the 13th everybody!! Hope you all have some scary things planned for the weekend whether it's just watching scary movies or attending a Halloween event. Hopefully it's not something super scary like having to work.
Today we have another update from California's Great America where my wife and I made our first visit to their Haunt last weekend.
Written by Gregg Condon
Prior to Haunt we made our way over to the park in the afternoon to do some riding and check out the Great Pumpkin Fest.
Lots of graves to mark mazes and scare zones no longer with us
The Pumpkin Patch!! Super cute.
After heading back to the hotel for a nap it was time to head back to the park for Haunt
Believe it or not, in all our visits to this park, we had never been here at night. Weird right?
Our first maze of the night was Massacre Manor
We had actually gotten a tour of this earlier in the day and it did NOT disappoint
Cornstalkers was up next
Nothing creepier than walking through cornstalks ... we had a great time in this maze.
This looks like something
Our first "surprise" maze of the night. Seriously, I love this maze, may have been my favorite of the night. The song is catchy (it's in my head now) but the maze itself is just a whole lot of fun!!
Wonder if Ed Alonzo went back to Bayside?
This looks different at night ...
I know this is supposed to be Humpty Dumpty, and maybe it's because it's Friday the 13th ... but ...
Doesn't this look like Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th Part IV? Google it. Seriously. Do it now!!
Another really fun and inventive maze
Time for Ed Alonzo!! We've missed him at Knott's Scary Farm!!
Believe it or not, this was the only good shot I got of the show. You don't believe me do you? =)
The lighting and effects around the park were awesome
Definitely the "Grossest" of the mazes at Haunt
We also took a ride on Demon Re-Ignited!! Not only are the effects for the ride amazing, but I probably had the best ride I've ever had on it, at least in the past 15 years or so. It was running amazing.
Kudos to the park for not only adding some amazing effects, but for maintaining this classic coaster to such high standards.
If you missed our Demon Re-Ignited Behind The Scenes Tour earlier this week, be sure to check it out.
Last but not least was the all new Backwoods.
And if this is any indication of the future of Haunt, it's going to be one of those can't miss events for years to come. I thought the maze was a bit on the short side, but it was phenomenal nonetheless.
CGA's Haunt has an amazing entry area
Fire makes everything better
Probably my favorite picture I've taken this entire Halloween season
Overall we were very pleasantly surprised with Haunt. The event is a LOT of fun, the talent is into it and the mazes are unique.
One thing I will say is there needs to be more scare zones, they had a couple but they were kind of small. But other than that, we definitely recommend this event and can't wait to go back next year!
Today we've got a bit of an exclusive behind the scenes look at RailBlazer construction at California's Great America. We aren't going to try and guess what's going where but we figured you'd all like to see the progress that's been made so far.
And more progress has already been made in the past few days.
Written by Gregg Condon
Lots and lots of walls up around RailBlazer
Normally this is all we'd be able to show you in a construction update
But exclusively for you Park Journey readers ... we have dirt!!!
And piles of dirt!!
Thanks to the amazing PR staff at California's Great America for allowing us the chance to get a look at construction, we can't wait to see more very very soon!!
Be sure to come back tomorrow as we'll have our Haunt update from last weekend!!
Well, it's official- California's Great America has elevated their special offerings yet again with the introduction of Demon: Ignited, a special reinvention of their classic looping coaster for Halloween Haunt. Much like Disney, who has made a successful model off of holiday overlays, Great America has taken the opportunity to elevate The Demon for a limited engagement. While most of the ride takes place out of site from the midway, the park was kind enough to walk us back for a special look into the reinvention of this classic attraction.
By Andrew Cunningham
So- first thing to know- there is fire.
I'm not talking about a little torch in the queue or something, I mean a full on fireball. You'll feel the heat as a fireball erupts just to the left of the train just before you dive into the Demon's cave.
Second thing to know- there's blood, and lots of it.
Just like the park didn't hold back on the fire, they certainly didn't hold back on the blood. The Demon's waterfall has returned, but this time with some sinister red coloring.
The combination of the fire, lighting effects, and blood red water makes for a colorful, spooky ride through the Demon's wooded area.
The fog and lighting really elevate the atmosphere. Aside from maybe The Matterhorn, is there a better looking Arrow coaster out there?
I can't think of any.
The tunnel that immediately follows the double loops also got decked out with some eerie interior lighting.
A train whizzes through the Demon's cave, with a bloody waterfall just above the rider's heads. So spooky and awesome.
Another train flying through the corkscrews in the dark.
The Demon cave also features projection mapping, but it was hard to capture a picture that did it justice in the dark.
But fire... did we mention fire? Yeah, it's pretty rad.
It's dark, it's spooky, it's bloody, it's fiery, it's The Demon: Re-Ignited. Check it out during Haunt at California's Great America.
Huge thank you to the wonderful team at Great America who made this update possible. You guys are doing so many exciting things, and it's always a pleasure to come down and check them out!
Hey there, Park Journey readers!
We're coming at you with another Bay Area Halloween update, but this time from an unexpected park. Gilroy Gardens, a family theme park owned by the City of Gilroy and operated by Cedar Fair, is testing the waters with a series nighttime holiday events this year. Gilroy's "@ Night" series allows you to enjoy special offerings while wandering the park after dark. Unlike the park's previous venture into nighttime entertainment, Lumination, the @ Night series is included on a Great America gold pass, which is a nice perk for locals.
Written by Andrew Cunningham
Walking up to the park, you are greeted by this gateway just outside of the entrance plaza.
People are literally dying to get into Gilroy Gardens ;-)
The Halloween @ Night map gives us a sense of what to expect from the evening.
The first thing we came upon was the fire pit. They had entertainment going around this area throughout the evening, and the setup was really nice.
Tip: this is towards the front of the park and was very busy with children early on. the fire pit was empty and relaxing later in the evening.
The only ride open for the Halloween @ Night event was a special spooky edition of the South County Backroads, the park's extensively landscaped car ride. The ride features two tracks: one in 1920's antique cars, and one in hot rods.
The antique cars seat four, while the hotrods only seat two. If you find yourself here on a busy night, note that the antique car line moves noticeably faster.
The car ride had a long queue early in the evening, but was a walk-on later on. I would recommend saving it for the end of your night.
The ride featured several Dia de los Meurtos characters and spooky lighting packages throughout the course. It was really cute.
After taking our laps on both car tracks, we ventured into the greenhouse to take on some of the spooky theming. Can't go wrong with black lights and fog!
We were starting to get a little hungry, so we ventured around to see what halloween snacks were available.
Pictured above are some of the various menu boards I saw around the park. I grabbed a Milk Tea and a Graveyard Pudding. Both were yummy :-)
All the snacks were really cute and kid-friendly. I had a tough time deciding between my Graveyard Pudding and some PB&J spiders :-)
It's worth noting that beer and wine were also available in the park. Thumbs up!
After wrapping up snack time, we went by to check out the beautifully lit Bonfante Falls.
Certified: LEDs and fog make everything better.
There are pathways and a tunnel that run underneath the falls. Make sure to check out the best "Backside of Water" in Northern California! ;-)
After checking out Bonfante Falls, we took the trail down to the waterfront. The park's central lake looked a bit "World of Color" tonight, which is a good thing!
I was really disappointed to find that the park removed their classic Rock Maze in favor of a water play area expansion. They did have this cute hay maze as a consolation though.
Heading back towards the front of the park, the nice fall touches were noticeable. We had one final section to check out before wrapping up our evening.
This way to the starfield!
Our final stop of the night was Claudia's Garden, which was transformed by lasers, fog, and funky lighting. It was pretty trippy!
The park is already promoting its upcoming @ Night events. Particularly intriguing is Harvest @ Night, which appears to be the park's attempt at a Food & Wine style event, and is advertised as having gourmet food, craft beers and fine wines, and live entertainment. Interesting to note that the Harvest @ Night website says that it's intended for 21 an over, while the Halloween @ Night was clearly geared a lot more towards children.
Anyone want to be our drinking buddies at Gilroy Gardens in November? I think we may hit that one up!
Overall, Halloween @ Night made for a nice evening at Gilroy Gardens. I would love to see this event grow in the future to include some more themed rides. We loved that a Great America Gold Pass got us in for free, and we'd recommend checking it out if you're a passholder located in South Bay.
Thanks for a nice evening, Gilroy Gardens! We hope to be back in November!