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.
Wow, where do we begin with Knott's Scary Farm 2017.
To say that Knott's Scary Farm is hitting on all cylinders this year would be an extreme understatement. From top to bottom this is probably the strongest Scary Farm in a decade. The mazes are amazing, the scare zones are amazing, scares around every corner and more fun and screams are lurking in the fog than ever before
Pictures by Matthew Nelson and Gregg Condon
Written by Gregg Condon
Welcome to Knott's Scary Farm
This year unlike the past few years, the entire park is full of decorations
Look at that beautiful glorious fog
New for this year, Trick or Treat Light's Out
They've taken what was already one of our favorite Scary Farm mazes and improved it by turning the lights off and giving everybody flashlights.
Back for it's third year is Paranormal Inc
The maze is still amazing. Only thing we'd say here is maybe for next year a different pre-show storyline. They've done an amazing job of freshening up mazes with tweaks and this one could use a couple of tweaks to make it even better than it is.
Still one of the most technologically advanced mazes at the farm
A behind the scenes look at how we film and shoot Scary Farm
Welcome to Knott's Berry Farm by day
Dark Ride by Night!!!
Honestly, we aren't sure what we can say about Dark Ride that wouldn't make it sound like we were just blowing Haunt Fog up Jon Cooke's ass
This maze is simply perfect. Take everything we love about amusement parks and scary events and mash them together.
We really felt like we were in an episode of Scooby Doo (not the crappy movie, the awesome original cartoon). It was just fun and scary and perfect.
We know a lot of you don't like scary things, but we implore you, go to Scary Farm ... walk through Dark Ride. You'll fall in love with it.
So a couple final thoughts on Dark Ride:
First, we can't believe this wasn't a concept that wasn't thought of before. It seems kind of like a no brainer. Why it hasn't been done before is beyond us, but we're glad it hasn't been because this feels fresh and fun.
Second, the cool thing about Dark Ride is, and I'm sure it's something the maze designers have already thought of, they can keep the general "theme" of the maze but they can change out the actual "Dark Ride" part of it. I mean, could you imagine them re-creating Knott's Beary Tales as the "Dark Ride" part? People would freak, in a good way.
All in all this is probably in my top 5 Scary Farm mazes of all time. And that's saying A LOT. Because there have been some amazing mazes throughout the years.
Ghost Town in the fog is always amazing
New this year
It's simply brilliant and fun both during the day and at night
Surprise, she's still here!!
Sometimes it's the little touches that make this an all around amazing event
Red Barn ... we really enjoyed it last year, some small tweaks and it's even better this year
Let the bodies hit the floor
Amazing decorations in The Hollow
You'd think after the heaps of praise we just did on Dark Ride that would mean the other new maze for 2017 Pumpkin Eater would have been a tremendous let down. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The amazing 1, 2 punch of these new mazes using classic scares scattered with new technology are amazing. You can really feel the difference between the two given their two designers but yet they both totally work in the grand scheme of Knott's Scary Farm as a whole.
So some final thoughts on Scary Farm 2017 ...
We know it's still early in the season, and we have a LOT of events to go to still, but it's going to be REALLY hard for any event to top Knott's Scary Farm. From the time you walk through those gates you are immersed in everything scary.
The team this year has really outdone themselves and the original quite frankly is still the best.
We were hard-pressed to come up with a maze ranking this year because everything was so solid. Even a couple of mazes we were kind of 'meh on last year had comeback years. It honestly seems almost unfair to rank these mazes.
Yes, Dark Ride was obviously our favorite, but everything else is really a solid #2. There is not one "bad" maze. We didn't have one bad experience in any of these mazes. All were filled with fun and scares. Each time we went through the mazes over our two nights of Scary Farm they were all solidly on-point.
So do yourself a favor, get to Knott's Scary Farm. You won't be disappointed.