Today we have the first of a few updates from this years Knott's Scary Farm.
We attended all 3 nights of opening weekend and we are pretty confident when we say that this is one of the best years of Halloween Haunt ever (yes, we know it's not called that any more).
Let's head into the fog and check out this years event.
Written by Gregg Condon
After our almost 3 1/2 hour drive down on Thursday afternoon (yeah) it was nice to check into the Knott's Hotel and enjoy some relaxing time at Amber Waves prior to media check in.
We ran into some friends
Amber Waves looks great all decked out (and the service was amazing all weekend)
Technically taken Friday morning, but we have to share the entrance. =)
We're all checked in and ready to get our scare on
The fountain display is amazing this year
Let's start our walk-through of the mazes, because they were amazing this year.
Origins: The Curse of Calico
I honestly don't have enough adjectives to describe how amazing this maze is. It's got everything. Amazing talent. Incredible sets. A stellar story. Easter Eggs galore.
This maze tells the story of Sarah Marshall (not that Sarah Marshall) and the curse she set on Calico with her transition from human to, well, the green witch of course.
Even the queue line looks amazing
Picture slide-show of Origins
In ANY other year, Wax Works would have been the maze of the year, probably even moreso than my beloved Dark Ride during it's first year.
I've always been a fan of Daniel Miller's work, and I think it's safe to say this may be the best maze he's ever done. It's creepy, exciting, tells a great story and has so many hidden things in it that you have to go through multiple times.
We will be posting a tour we had of this maze in a couple of days.
Now in it's 3rd year, Dark Ride shows no signs of slowing down on the amazingness. Quite a few new things this year, including our favorite on-ride photo ever. We really do wish this was something we could buy.
Also waiting to see if there are any complaints on this yet.
Now in it's second year, Gus Krueger's Dark Entities is setting itself up as one of the strongest mazes of 2019. In fact, our last trip through this maze on Saturday night was easily our best time through this maze ever. And may be the most fun we've had in any maze so far this season.
Don't sleep on this maze, the talent is finding it's stride and there are a lot of great new lighting effects this year.
In it's second year, the stand-out new maze from 2018 is also not showing any signs of letting up on the fun and scares. Some new additions this year including a pre-show that may make waits a bit longer than they normally would be. So get to this maze early.
In fact, later in the night on Saturday they were skipping the new show scene altogether. So it will be interesting to see if it makes it through the season.
There are some mazes that are instant classics and yet others that kind of take a bit to hit their stride. Pumpkin Eater is one of those that really took about half way through it's opening season to hit all cylinders. But when it did, wow. This is a maze that has gotten better each and every year.
We didn't go through Paranormal on media night so no video this year (we'll post last years below). There weren't any additions this year but the amazing ending from last year is more than enough to keep this maze one of our favorites.
Still, we wouldn't be surprised if next year was the last go-round for this one.
Now in it's final season, Shadowlands is still one of the most visually stunning mazes at the farm. This one suffers from being the first of the "new wave" of mazes that have taken over the past few years. Still, it's a lot of fun and we look forward to getting our last tours of this maze on upcoming visits.
We didn't go through Infected on media night so no video on this one either. Infected is also in it's final season and again represents the first of the new wave of technological advances Knott's Scary Farm has implemented the past 5 or so years.
When we went through on Saturday it just didn't seem like there were enough zombies in the maze. We walked out with 8 and 9 kills respectively.
Our favorite video of Infected remains our "Gun POV" that we did a few years back.
We'll start off with the Hanging, the proverbial "love it or hate it" show every year.
I'll be honest, we're kind of in the middle this year. Unlike the last 2 years they didn't hang a "YouTube" or "Influencer" that 75% of the audience had to ask "who is that". So that was good.
But this years show in particular has produced some interesting discussions as to what the ending could mean for the future of this show. We'll just have to see.
Lastly, we want to take a second to talk about Puppet Up.
I'll be honest, we had no idea what to expect from this show and even on media night we basically just wanted to sit down and take a rest so we decided to do it in the theater. We really aren't "theme park show people".
So when we found ourselves back at the show the next 2 nights that should pretty much tell you how much we loved this show.
Basically it's "Who's Line is it Anyway" but with Puppets, complete with dirty language.
We love that Knott's has allowed the show to go all out. Hopefully there haven't been any complaints about the content because word is spreading about how good the show is. The crowds were bigger on each subsequent night.
On media night here is a great improv on an audience suggestion of a "Tiki Bar Fire at Disneyland". You can tell the cast truly understands Disney culture as this has reference to Annual Passholders, Pin Trading and much more.
The show also features some classic Jim Henson puppet acts. They seem to switch it up at each show, the early show is typically "I've grown accustomed to your face".
A highlight of each show is a performance of "Windy".
So that's what we've got from our first Scary Farm update. We'll be putting together more pics and video from outside of the mazes and shows for our next update in a couple of weeks. The scare zones are amazing as always and deserve their own time in the spotlight.
Last weekend was the opening of Knott's Scary Farm 2018 and we were privledged to be able to attend 2 of the first 3 nights of the event. And we can tell you, we're already looking forward to our next trip. It's simply amazing.
We got some great pictures both of the event and a couple of maze tours from the HorrorBuzz event thanks to Scott who attended. Enjoy!!
Written by Gregg Condon
Pics and Videos by Scott Linder and Gregg Condon
Welcome to Knott's Scary Farm
We'll start off with a tour of our favorite maze of 2017, Dark Ride.
It's pretty amazing in 2018 as well.
Be sure to check out all of our videos in this update, all in glorious 4k!
Slideshow of the tour
Next up was a tour of Pumpkin Eater, another of our favorite mazes of 2017. Which is also pretty amazing in 2018.
Thanks to Norm and HorrorBuzz for the awesome tour!!! And to Scott for sending us the pics!!
Not your typical red carpet
The fog is coming
Our first maze of 2018 was the all new "The Depths" which is seriously so fun. And very fun to shoot pics and video in. (Just remember, don't disrupt the monsters, maze security or other patrons).
As the sun goes down, the fog rolls in
Carnevil has always been one of our favorite scare zones, but this year it's just on another level. The addition of HangTime has really completed this area.
Halloween Hootenanny is back, no monsters when we rode on Thursday, not sure if they will be back this year.
But a fun, fun time for all!!
Paranomal Inc is back with an all new ending, which is fantastic!! This maze has NEVER been better.
Who else wishes this ride was open for Scary Farm?
The Hollows is fantastic
And Pumpkin Eater is the perfect fit for the scare zone
Gabe is ready for Trick or Treat Lights Out
Always one of our favorites, and was easily the longest wait all weekend.
The hanging was also back this year. Always a fun look back on the past year.
I'll admit, I'm getting to the age where I don't get some of the references. Eek.
The last new maze for 2018 is Dark Entities.
You could tell from the first weekend they are still finding their way a bit.
Like Pumpkin Eater last year, I get the feeling that as the weeks go on, the crew here is going to find their groove and this maze is going to be fantastic!!
The effects and Lighting in Dark Entities are great!!
Some pics from around the park
Thanks Knott's for another great year of Scary Farm. We can't wait to get back soon!!
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!
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!
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.