A couple of weeks back we made our visit to Knott's Scary Farm on the opening Sunday of the event. Our original plan was to visit opening night, and repeatedly using our Knott's Scary Farm passes, unfortunately life happens and we had to actually end up getting a refund for those passes. So I made what will likely be my only visit for 2023.
Slightly off topic, shout out to the awesome Guest Relations Team at Knott's for all the help in getting those passes refunded.
So let's head into the fog for an exceptional year of frights!
Room 13 is meant to be a kind of extension of the awesome Scare Zone, The Gore'ing 20's. In some ways it completely works, in a lot of ways it doesn't. It definitely reminds me of a maze one would have found at Dark Harbor a few years back, not like that's a bad thing at all. I did find it difficult to follow the story if I'm being honest.
I would have liked to have gone through more than once. But it was without a doubt the longest maze line we found all night, due to some, let's just say, interesting line control.
In any other year, Cinema Slasher would be the breakout maze of the year at Knott's Scary Farm. But this year with The Chilling Chambers, Cinema Slasher is regulated to second place for us. Reminds us a bit of the year both Dark Ride and Pumpkin Eater arrived at the event. Both great, but it's hard going up against what will be an all time top tier maze, at least for us.
All that said, Cinema Slasher is a very worthy replacement for one of my all time favorite scary farm mazes, has a lot of classic touches and references to the past (just look at the picture below for one). And I foresee this having a very successful run at the event over the next few years.
The Chilling Chambers
To say that The Chilling Chambers is an amazing love letter to the history of Knott's Scary Farm, and my favorite maze of the year, is putting it mildly. I got chills walking through this maze. If you are a long-time fan of the event, this maze is worth admission all by itself. Just so many amazing call backs to the past.
But even more than that, it's actually a fantastic maze all by itself. Even Clint, who was making his first ever visit to the event loved it (although I think he liked Cinema Slasher a bit more). =)
You can tell the talent in here respects what the maze is all about, the designers had a lot of fun with it and first and foremost concentrated on creating a great maze, using the past as their inspiration.
I just can't say enough about this one, and I REALLY hope it's not a one-and-done maze as I really do want my wife to experience this maze next year when she can return to the event.
Our Overall Maze Rankings are:
You can see our maze walk-throughs from 2022 of the other mazes featured this year below.
Overall we feel this is a very strong line-up of mazes. Unfortunately with only being able to go through most of the mazes once this year we had to judge them by our one and only walkthrough.
This is the final year for both Dark Entities and The Depths, so we're definitely looking forward to what the event has cooked up for 2024.
The Hanging made it's grand return to Knott's Scary Farm this year and if you've seen The Hanging previously, you pretty much know what to expect. But it was fantastic and great to have it back.
Hopefully this isn't a one year thing, this is not the show that's creating controversy this year. =)
During our whirlwind trip to Canada (for our sons wedding) and then to Orlando, we found some time to sneak away for a few hours for Haunt at Canada's Wonderland!
It was our first international Haunt and DEFINITELY the coldest night we've ever had at a Haunt, and we absolutely loved it! Let's head right into the park for some spooky chilly fun!
Happy Friday everybody and welcome to our yearly review of Knott's Scary Farm.
This years event is a bit unique in that, well, it was completely dead (pun intended) the two nights we attended the event last weekend. This is due to the new Chaperone Policy and the extremely low numbers of Knott's Scary Farm Passes. I don't personally think the bag policy has anything to do with it.
However, they have revamped the chaperone policy a bit for this weekend, let's see if it helps bring in more guests, or we'll see some other changes next week I'm sure.
As for this years event, we were once again not a part of the media events at the park (as last year), but to us that doesn't really matter. We like to give you our honest view of events whether we are invited or not.
Thankfully, due to a happy accident, we were able to actually do our yearly maze videos which we'll display below. But first, let's jump right in and talk about the two new mazes, Grimoire and Bloodlines 1842.
Armed with the latest Bellatorian weaponry, you can choose to heed the call to action and embark on a perilous journey with the immortal Daybreakers. Travel through the busy city streets of Valdonia while hunting the bloodthirsty Valhymphri in an all-out war. Bring light into the darkness, survive the vicious onslaught of vampires, and bring honor to your order!
Located in the former location of Paranormal Inc, the newest vampire maze at Scary Farm is visually stunning. Maybe one of the most visually stunning mazes at Scary Farm.
Unfortunately, a maze that would easily be a B+ if it was a typical maze walk-through, is probably a solid D with the gun gimmick, which has no place in a Vampire maze.
You are simply hustled through the maze far too quickly to appreciate the awesome work the set designers did here, it's confusing which Vampires you are actually supposed to shoot, as with Infected the guns don't always work, and at the end of the maze you have no idea what your score even is.
Throw in a long pre-show that kills capacity and half of the maze talent basically telling you to hurry, and there you have it. Sadly, many of us saw this coming when they announced they were moving the guns here.
I have to be honest, I really don't know how long the guns will last here, perhaps through the end of this season, but I would be surprised to see them back for 2023. If they felt they needed to use the Guns, they should have moved them over to Dark Entities and given that maze new life.
Turn the page and enter the world of an ancient relic whose dark stories exist purely to turn your greatest nightmares into a reality. Try to escape the horror of the evil creatures released by the mysterious book, or have your soul eternally trapped within the pages of the next chapter!
The Grimoire is the second new maze of 2022 and is located in Mystery Lodge, where the final couple years of Infected were, and some classic Scary Farm Mazes like Terror of London, Blood Bayou and Forevermore called home.
Unfortunately The Grimoire doesn't live up to the greatness of it's predecessors, but it definitely could at some point.
The maze starts off with a pre-show video, but only in the stand-by line. If you are using front of the line passes, you get none of the backstory that is definitely needed with this one.
A Bruce Campbell'esque character explains the history of the Grimoire, something that comes into play throughout the maze.
Once you are in the Mystery Lodge lobby you head to a live pre-show, which once again explains next to nothing about the maze and is far too small for everybody to take in. This pre-show kills the capacity of yet another maze. Are you sensing the theme here?
Perhaps playing the queue video in the Mystery Lodge lobby would help as well?
Once in the maze, much of it is actually visually stunning. The black and white scenes are played out to perfection, and the timeline jumps (once you realize what's actually happening) are effective. The end of the maze is a bit confusing however.
On Friday night we did stand-by with the pre-show video and enjoyed the maze much more. There was also some voice-over narration in the maze on Friday night that we either did not hear on two trips through on Thursday, or it wasn't on Thursday.
At the end of the day, this maze feels like they took Stranger Things and Evil Dead, put them in a blender, and this is what they spat out.
This maze has a LOT of potential however, and some minor tweaks like showing the pre-show video to all (we heard it wasn't even on last night in the stand-by queue) and eliminating the live pre-show would help.
Alright, let's get to the returning mazes, we'll list them in our order of preference.
Origins: The Legend of Calico
Back this year, and great as it's been the past few years. This maze does not disappoint and is a love story to Ghost Town. This was our favorite of both nights.
This maze has REALLY grown on me the past couple of years. It had the bad luck to debut the same year as Dark Ride (which is a top 10 all time maze for me) but unlike Dark Ride, this maze has continually seen touches added to it year after year. And this year is no different. I'm really going to miss this one and there are at least 3 other mazes I would rather see them replace for the 50th.
Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind
In it's second year, Mesmer does not disappoint. Just continually creepy and disturbing, in all the best ways. This maze doesn't need the boo scare or people yelling in your ear, it's high marks are earned just through the chills you feel walking through it. Something I wish some other mazes at other events would utilize.
Also in it's final year, this beloved maze still delivers. I do wish they would have changed this up a bit to give it a grand send-off, but the concept is just so fun. I hope it comes back in some form in a decade or so, just with a new dark ride. Kingdom of the Dinosaurs themed haunted maze dark ride anybody?
The concept of this maze is so fun and so well done. This, along with one other maze seemed to suffer from not a lot of talent, especially in the first half of the maze. I do really hope they change things up here for the 50th.
I'm a big fan of Wax Works, but it just didn't work for me this year. Seemed to be a lot of effects not working on opening night (we didn't even bother on Friday) including the sign in front. Inexcusable for opening night IMO.
I've gotten some slack for defending this maze the past couple of years, but sadly I just can't any more. I think this is an amazing concept, possibly the best overall concept of any maze at Knott's Scary Farm. But the execution is just severely lacking, and I think there were maybe 4 actors in this entire maze. Bring the guns over here and let's have an alien shoot-out.
The Scare Zones at Knott's are just amazing, couple that with the lack of unsupervised kids running around trying to scare the monsters, or walking through the scare zones with their phone flashlight on, and that makes them even better.
We spent A LOT of time in the Goring 20's and we definitely love the vibe of this area. The Hollows is also a favorite, although we're a bit sad it's going away after this year.
We're not big show people, but we're Puppet Up people. So that's the only show we saw, and we loved it. You can see all of our Puppet Up videos for 2022 below.
Overall, I have to say, it feels like a down year for Scary Farm. I realize it was opening weekend, but it just felt weird TBH. I thought it might have just been me due to my recent experiences with the park, but it's not. A lot of people I talked with opening night and since feel the same way. I'm not sure what it is, but I have every confidence the Knott's team will figure it out and this years event will be amazing as always.
One thing I almost don't want to even mention ... with the current direction of both Knott's and Cedar Fair as a whole, as they're moving away from scary Halloween events and towards more interactive "Ghost Town Alive" type experiences, while also taking into account recent issues at a variety of parks, I really start to wonder what the viability of Knott's Scary Farm is after the 50th.
The rumor is that the Scary Farm pass is not coming back in any form, and you just have to wonder if they may just call it a day after the 50th and do a more family friendly nighttime event moving forward.
I hope not ...