Kings Island Halloween Haunt (Mason, OH)
“Nightmare at the Wax Museum”
By Noah Wullkotte: Jollypumpkin@aol.com
Kings Island has held its annual haunted event since 2000. It was originally named Fear Fest, but was rebranded as Halloween Haunt When Cedar Fair purchased Pararmount’s Kings Island. It has changed names over the years and has added new haunts and removed several others. 2012 will mark the 12th year for Halloween Haunt (formerly Fear Fest) and many new changes have been made to make it a fresh experience for park goers. New this year is Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror. This haunt takes place in an old cavern where the old Tomb Raider Ride used to be. It’s decorated with creepy mannequins, skeletons and more. It’s a different style of haunt that Kings Island hasn’t had before.
Much of the attraction mimics an old wax museum where the wax figures have come alive and are ready to revolt. You’ll walk through an ancient temple, a room fool of heads, hallways with malfunctioning lights and more. Many of the scenes feature actors who are frozen solid as if they were made of wax and then they magically leap out at you. This is a great addition to Halloween Haunt and one of the better attractions at the park. Kings Island will be offering a sit down dinner (Dead Inn Feast) inside the haunt and the menu features stuffed mushrooms, deserts, Chicken Marsala and much more. Please visit www.visitkingsisland.com/haunt for extended details.
Kings Island was crowded with people looking for a good scare. The park was decorated with pumpkins, skeletons, tombstones, hanging eye balls, a large jack in the box and loads and loads of fog. Actors in elaborate costumes are spread out in the park. Many of these characters can be seen in Nightmare Alley, Grim Boulevard and Freak Street.
The second haunt we toured that night was Carnevil. It’s one of the park’s oldest attractions and the only one that’s clown themed. I’ve personally always felt that this was one of the better clown themed haunts in the state of Ohio. Unfortunately it’s rather short like many of the haunts at Halloween Haunt. Carnevil is a journey though your darkest fears where you’ll face demented clowns and tormented souls. This is a very bright and colorful haunt with 3-D art that pops out at you when you wear special 3-D glasses. You’ll venture through areas like a cotton candy stand, a polk-a-dot room, a colorful vortex tunnel, a live freak show, hall of mirrors and more. This is a fun haunt and a fan favorite.
Next on our agenda was Tombstone Terror-Tory. Tombstone Terror-Tory is the only attraction at Halloween Haunt that combines a bone chilling train ride with a haunted trail. New this year is an entertaining side show that features animatronic cowboys who play tunes on their banjos. While we waited for the next train to pull up, they performed Dueling Banjos from Deliverance. The haunt begins with a train ride through Kings Island where you’ll pass by rides like Diamond Back and will go deep into the woods.
The train conductor tells a spooky story to get people in the mood for what they’ll experience when suddenly the train breaks down. Tombstone Terror-Tory isn’t drastically different this year. Most of the trail involves old crates with actors hiding behind them, old style lighting and various scenes. It’s a very foggy haunt, but doesn’t have much of an impact compared to the rest of the haunts at Kings Island. The train ride is the best part of Tombstone Terror-Tory.
We had 9 haunts left to tour and thank God for our map. Without it we would definitely be lost. Next up was Mysteria. Mysteria debuted last year and returns for the 2012 season. To say this haunt is bizarre would be putting it lightly. While you wait in line, you’ll meet a strange character dressed in spandex from head to toe. He tells you the rules and then you’re off to experience a world so strange that you might think you’re having a bad acid trip. Actors dressed in spandex body suits try to confuse and misdirect you as you navigate from room to room while trying to find the exit. Actors climb walls, cages and are bizarre beyond belief. You might be a little speechless after leaving Mysteria because it’s that strange.
We were having a howling good time, so we decided to check out Wolf Pack. Wolf Pack is Kings Island’s werewolf themed haunt. This attraction reminded me of an indoor haunted trail full of different werewolf characters. You’ll walk through cemeteries, scrap yards, forests and more. Most of the actors wear masks and resort to howling or growling as you walk past their scene. The haunt has good sound design, but it’s very short. I enjoyed my experience, but there wasn’t much that was very memorable or anything that made a big impact. Hopefully some changes are made for next year and this haunt improves. It has a lot of potential.
Next on our schedule was Cornstalkers. Cornstalkers is one of Kings Island’s outdoor haunts. It’s an outdoor maze full of actors disguised as scarecrows, ghillie monsters and other creatures. Not much has changed since last year, but it’s still a fun attraction. If you are unable to visit all of the attractions then you might want to leave out Cornstalkers since it doesn’t really stand out among the other haunts.
We were in the mood for a little blood and hot chicks, so we decided to tour Club Blood. Club Blood is an extreme haunt that’s suitable for a mature audience. A nightclub has been taken over by the undead and blood thirsty vampires. They’ll do anything to get a bite of flesh or a taste of warm blood. Women can be seen dancing on poles, in cages and they’re showing lots of skin. This haunt isn’t for the faint of heart and is very controversial. This is a crazy haunt with loud music and mature themes and is one of the better themed attractions at Halloween Haunt.
We had quite a few haunts left that we hadn’t toured yet and Holiday Horror was one of them. Holiday Horror debuted last year and is a unique attraction. The different scenes center around beloved holidays and it’s quite fun trying to recognize what holiday each scene represents. Calendar Girl plays on the queue line speakers before entering Holiday Horror. Once you’re inside, you’re told to stand against the wall as a large camera takes your picture. You can purchase your photo after you exit. Holiday Horror features every holiday you can think of. You’ll meet Peter Cotton Tail in the Easter room, a pumpkin head ghoul in the Halloween scene and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney even make an appearance in the Presidents Day area. It’s an interesting haunt, but it’s very short like a lot of the haunts at Kings Island.
Urgent Scare, The Slaughterhouse, Massacre Manor, and Cut Throat Cove were still on our list of haunts to tour that night. We decided to take a small break and watch people ride some of the thrill rides at Kings Island. It’s amazing how many rides the park has. My personal favorite is the Viking Ship. It might be a little tame compared to many of the other rides, but it’s one that brings back a lot of great childhood memories visiting Kings Island.
Next up is Cut Throat Cove. Cut Throat Cove debuted in 2007. At the time it was called Red Beard’s Revenge and over the years not much has changed except for its name. You’ll venture through a maze of wine cellars, barrels and various scenes involving undead pirates and ladies of the night who want a little booty. Ok, that didn’t sound right. This attraction will appeal to fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Next up is The Slaughter House. The Slaughter House has been one of my favorite haunts at Kings Island for the last couple of years. This haunt centers around a bloody slaughter house full of animal carcasses, bloody limbs, freezers full of bloody goodies, cockroaches and crazed actors who want to chop you to pieces. This is an intense haunt from beginning to end.
If you’re looking for quick medical treatment then Urgent Scare is the attraction for you. A hospital has been infected and its patients are waiting for you. Will you survive the plague or become one of the undead? This is a fun attraction, but isn’t much different from last year’s version. It’s still one of the better attractions at the park though.
Our final haunt of the night was Massacre Manor. A house is up for sale and for some reason no one wants to make a bid. This house is known as Massacre Manor where you’ll by dying to get in. Massacre Manor is one of the best haunts at Halloween Haunt. You’ll enter rooms that you would experience in an actual home. You’ll enter a gory kitchen, a bed room with a possessed bed, a nasty bathroom and more. You won’t have to let the owner Emily know you’re there because she’ll be watching your every move.
We were done touring every haunt at Kings Island and had plenty of time left for the different shows at the park. This included Hot Blooded, Graveyard Shift and Blood Drums. Blood Drums is an entertaining show with misfit drummers and amazing music. You’ll definitely enjoy the beats these freaks create. Graveyard Shift is an entertaining horror concert featuring classic monsters and their take on rock and roll hits.
Last but not least is Hot Blooded. Hot Blooded is a 30 minute music extravaganza with blood, babes, dancing and plenty of chart topping music you’ll recognize. It’s my favorite attraction at the park and something I look forward to every year. If you’re not into horror concerts, you can get buried alive in Halloween Haunt’s new coffin ride simulator. Five dollars gets you six feet under.
The combined tour time for the haunts is around an hour. Each haunt has an average length of 5 minutes except for tombstone Terror-Torry which is about 13 minutes. If you include the various shows then it’s around 2 and a half hours long. Your total experience depends on how long your wait is in line and if you decide to ride any of the thrill rides or play any of the carnival games. Someone who purchases a regular ticket might have a hard time touring each haunt and watching all of the shows. Their experience may not be nearly as long as someone who purchases a Fright Lane Pass and is able to experience everything in one night. This is why the overral length isn’t a perfect 10. We were there for hours and our feet were very sore from walking for many miles. I suggest you show up early so you can experience as much as possible.
Tickets are $25.99 for Friday nights ($38.99 at the gate) and $31.99 for Saturday nights ($54.99 at the gate). Pay the full price of $54.99 and get a second day free. Friday Fright Feast Admission is $34.99 and includes an all you can eat meal at Picnic Grove and admission to Halloween Haunt on Friday nights. Saturday night Fright Feast Admission is $40.99. The buffet by itself is only $9.99 a person. Visit www.visitkingsisland.com/haunt for information on Madame Fatale’s Dead Inn Feast. It’s $48.99 a person and includes better food, drinks and you get to eat inside the haunt.
2013 Gold Season Pass holders get into Halloween Haunt for free and admission it’s cheaper if you purchase your tickets online. Please consider purchasing a Fright Lane pass where you can skip the lines. It’s very difficult to tour each haunt unless you have one. A Friday night Fright Lane pass is $30.00 and a Saturday night pass is $40.00. Single day parking is $12.00 and preferred parking is $20.00.
Kings Island Halloween Haunt is a great destination for fright and fun. There are 12 haunts, a coffin ride simulator, 3 shows, a few scare zones, 19 thrill rides, carnival games, buffets, and plenty of concessions. I’m getting tired just thinking about all that Kings Island has to offer. When it comes down to it, there’s something for everyone to enjoy whether you’re looking for a scare, a game or a show.
Length-8 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-8 Acting-8 Scare Effect-7
Final Stab: 7.8