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 ...
Happy Saturday everybody and welcome to our first update from Knott's Berry Farm since February. That's right, we even skipped the Boysenberry Festival this year. Just been busy with life and haven't had a chance to get down to the park.
Made a quick stop on my way home from San Diego as we noticed we were having some issues with our Season Passes, and I had to get it addressed before our trip to Cedar Point, Kings Island and Canada's Wonderland next month. Happy to say we're all good!!
But before that epic trip, let's see what's going on at Knott's. There is a lot!
Written by Gregg Condon
This past week was the long awaited return of Knott's Scary Farm. With our Scary Farm Passes in hand, we headed down to Buena Park to take in the first two nights of one of our all time favorite Halloween events.
Despite only 1 new maze, there was lots new to see. A few mazes had some entirely new scenes, new shows were to be found at every turn, and even a new scare zone. It felt amazing to be back.
Let's head into the fog.
Written by Gregg Condon
Below are our maze rankings and thoughts on each. Keep in mind, these are our first weekend rankings and are totally subject to change.
Origins: The Curse of Calico
Our favorite maze from 2019 definitely did not disappoint. It's basically the same maze you'll remember from 2019, but we're always happy to get more walk-through's of our favorites. The talent in here was amazing from the get-go and we fully anticipate this maze remaining solid throughout the season.
This is one of my top 10 ALL TIME Scary Farm mazes, and this year is amazing as always.
That said, we would LOVE to see some updates to a few scenes for 2022 as some other mazes had this year (more on that below).
Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind
I have to be honest, we debated on even posting this video, because this maze has to be seen to believed. It's just SO good, and not AT ALL what you expect.
This is definitely a maze that needs to be experienced multiple times. Not really something that's going to give you "jump scares", but absolutely twisted and awesome.
I love this maze. LOVE IT! Have always loved it. But this year, the entire last 1/3 of the maze has been completely reimagined and it tells the story SO MUCH better. I love when they do things like this because it gives it entirely new life. Well done!
In it's second season, Wax Works is another maze that is pretty much identical to 2019, but that's not a bad thing at all. The cast in here is amazing, they play their roles perfectly and we can't wait to see this maze get even better in the weeks to come.
Another one of our favorite mazes, the elevator is not being used this year (although they definitely cram you into the pre-shows in Paranormal and Mesmer, so don't think it's a covid thing). There seems to be a lack of fog in the areas of the maze that need it (you know which ones) but this is still an incredibly fun maze.
Would love to see some new scenes in 2022 though.
Now in it's final season, Paranormal Inc is still incredibly fun (although the host failed to tell my wife to step away from the door in the pre-show on Friday and it dinged her right in the back, hard). So beware of that. No new changes in here, still incredibly fun but it's definitely time for something new.
I'm going to start with this. This maze has the potential to be amazing. I love the theme of this SO MUCH! But for some reason the execution just wasn't there opening weekend. This is a maze that could definitely use some reimagining next year. But it's still incredibly fun, it just needs some more talent in here.
Not included in our maze rankings is the return of Halloween Hootenanny. We all know what this is, it's super fun and is a great overlay of the amazing Timber Mountain Log Ride.
We had a great 2 nights at Scary Farm, it's so amazing to be back in the fog. We will be back soon!
We also have about 45 minutes of Puppet Up videos to post, we'll get those up over the next few days.
Did you attend Scary Farm opening weekend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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