Kings Dominion: 2014 Haunt Review
Who am I and why should you care about my opinion of the Haunt event? Well you shouldn’t. I am just here to give you guys my opinion and my insight. I have been to 8 haunt events this October and I will be putting out reviews through out the next few weeks of each of my experiences.
My visit to Kings Dominion this last October was not only my first time to experience Haunt, but was my first Trip to Kings Dominion, ever. Not only did I get to enjoy the park during the day but was also enjoying the nighttime at the park with all the Haunt experiences the park has to offer.
First, lets point out one tremendously great thing about Kings Dominion. Admission Prices. If you would like to attend Kings Dominion and also enjoy the Haunt evenings the whole thing will only set you back $35 on Fridays and $39 on weekends. That’s right. From 9am-midnight, including access to all the mazes is $39. Wow!
The Haunt event put on by Kings Dominion is close to any of the leaders of the Amusement Park Haunt business. The mazes are no slouches and that comes with the help of the oldest park in the business, Knott’s Berry Farm. A lot of the older maze concepts, names, props, costumes and makes ups can be seen at most any of your local Cedar Fair Parks. Kings Dominion does a good job of spreading out the Halloween mazes and scare zones but does not completely immerse the park. at 7pm the Festivities begin with the Annual Overlord Resurrection. crowds gather just in front of the park entrance and watch the show as it takes place in front of the parks iconic Fountain. The show features some of the Scharacters from the mazes and a few special to just the show
Once entering the park you will see gravestones lining the edge of the fountain through out the landscape. The gravestones mostly have names of previous rides and attractions with the actual dates they started and ended which please most Kings Dominion long time fans. The Eiffel tower is lit red and at the tops adorns 2 evil eyes peering over the park. (I believe something to do with the overlord?)
The park has several Scare zones which in some places are utilized very well using existing pathways and arches. Some of the Scare Zones I had seen there were The Cleaver Brothers Carnival, Feary Tales, Ironworx, Necropolis, Primevil: The Kuru, and the Lair. The problem with judging any scare zone is timing. You may get lucky and get plenty of talent around you to feel more immersed into the area, or you will walk through a complete dead zone. The effort really showed in most areas and lacked in others. From every scare zone we had walked into the talent were not doing much then just staring and walking. Maybe a few jump scares here and there but no real performances being put on. Most of the easily scared guests were effectively scared but no real terrorizing gags or performances here.
I had been able to visit all the mazes in one evening with my Fright Lane pass. The lines did look quite long for most of the mazes. We were there on a Saturday during the very first weekend of October I do not recommend going during a Saturday if you are not prepared for any type of line standing.
Cornstalkers: Located towards the front the park was Cornstalkers. In front of the maze was a nice barn like Fascia and a nicely themed preque area. Something you dont usually see with most mazes at parks. Cornstalkers is like most of the Cornstalker mazes you have seen at other Cedar Fair parks. Lots of scarecrow like Scharacters, rednecks, and costumes made of Corn Stalks. The maze was tightly winded and effectively immersed in the corn stalks. Several little rooms and props along the way broke up the repetitive corn stalk walk ways which was nice. No real dead zones in this maze and the talent seemed thoroughly placed.
My over all rating for the maze is a 6. The set design was nice, the entrance was nice and the tight hallways were well done. When I had went through I did experience or see any talent that was really into the roll. Lots of staring or just snarling. I have seen these corn mazes over and over again and I am ready for them to burn down the corn field and come up with some fresh in the near future.
SKELETON KEY SPOILER: They brought me to short line to a Scharacter who asked me “Would you rather kill your daughter, or your wife” Based on your decision she would direct you to the left or right entrance. She also commented on your choice and shamed you or rewarded you for your answer. You then walked through a series of black cloaked 4×4 foot rooms with just solid black cloth. You had to find your way through them which was about 30 feet long maybe?
Doll Factory: A Maze of a story of people being turned into dolls (I believe?) Another recycled idea that is used through out Cedar Fair parks. The general feel of the maze is creepy girls in doll outfits with some gory Doll Toys through out the maze. This is a conept I have seen a few times and nothing new here to report any different than any of the other doll mazes. They had given a few guest a few good startling scares but nothing really creative to speak of. The set took us through several rooms but I remember an outdoor scene with a swing set and a girl on a porch. The girl on the swing tried to distract the guests by jumping off her swing suddenly and setting up the girl on the porch for her scare. The rest of the maze was not too memorable.
My overall rating for the maze is a 5. Not a complete waste of time but a fun average walk through maze. They had used one of the Haunt cliches of the dead bodies hanging from the ceilings that I cant wait to go away and make room for some more creativity. No real scares or any effort on the Scharacters side other than the usual Stare downs and wall bangs.
No Vacancy: No Vacancy was a great new addition to Kings Dominion Haunt. It was an early 19th century Hotel that was just over all creepy. Lots of great little hotel rooms and some well placed talent in the maze for great scares. Everything from Maids, Bellhops and creepy old guests. They had also built a great large entrance to this maze to give it a great feel before even entering. There was even a short hallway with the Closterphobia inflatable walls you have to push your way through which is always fun.
My overall rating for this maze is a 7. A fun maze that will for sure get anyone who is jumpy and maybe a few good creep out moments. Happy to see a fresh new idea here and moving on from the past maze concepts. One of the best in the park without a doubt.
Outbreak: The Evolution: This maze was some type of alien/infection maze. With disease infections and aleins placed through out the maze. Just an over all sci fi theme. Not much more to really say. The talent was poorly placed through out the maze and the soundtrack to seem to really be lacking or poorly produced.
My Overall Rating: 4 This maze was just awful. Not one moment made me say “oh hey thats cool”. The talent was pretty much worthless and I was not impressed. The lighting was way to bright and did not do a good job of immersing you into the maze what so ever. Hope to see this maze be put to rest next year for the park guests sake.
Slaughter House: A hillbilly slaughterhouse of animals humans anything they can get their hands on is all on display as you wonder through this maze. Lots of gore through out the maze of severed humans and animals can be seen swinging and laid out on tables. No real big performances or scares from any of the talent in this maze. Just a lot of staring and wall banging. Nothing too memorable from this one as this concept has been seen from time and time again. The front entrance was pretty well done and made the steel building look a little more interesting than just a rectangular building. Again you can see the hanging bodies in this maze. A Haunt park Cliche.
My overall Rating: 7 Gorey maze will please those here looking for R rated fun but lacks a good scare from the talent. It will scare those who are jumpy and creeped out/weezy from blood and gore. Could be a good maze with some better talent
SKELETON KEY SPOILER: They bring you into a room and tell you that you cannot leave unless you stick your hand into these tall cylinders and fish out a key. There is no way out! Or you can dance to the music being played…..I dug into mine and it was “Gak” like. It is creepy sticking your hand down into a dark creepy hole and having no idea whats down in there. I had heard from my friends who were with me that they had round slimy balls in one and the other was worm like substance ( I think that’s what it was ) One of them danced to get out because they just could not find the key.
Maze Of Madness: This maze was a twist on a Mental Hospital. People in medical robes, creepy nurses, and deranged patience through out. This had a great creep factory and they scared plenty of guests through this maze. A particular guest was scared by a woman bent into a strange position hunched in a walker and a flickering fuzzy TV in the background. I would say this was one of the best mazes in the park. Well done and they kept walk ways tight and your view always obstructed. There was one section where they had a bunch of hospital beds laid out and white sheets draped over the beds and talent was hiding behind one of the sheets prepared to jump out and successfully scare the witts out of someone.
My Overall Rating 8. A nice new addition to the park that will terrify guests and entertain those looking for a fun creepy interesting maze.
SKELETON KEY SPOILER: Big Man Dressed like Baby….Bathtub full of Dirty Diapers…..Find the Key in the tub…..All you need to know.
Zombie High: A High school has had a zombie break out. The whole place is now in disarray. You start by entering the principals office where the creepy principal is on her microphone giving live announcements to the whole school. You can hear the principal through out the school and entertains those entering the maze but also is great to hear while walking through the maze. A lot of stacked up high school chairs are all over inside this maze. You go through a few familiar rooms such as classrooms, locker rooms adorned with jockstraps whacking you in the face as they dangle from a string, A larger room where Prom is or was taking place and finish off through a bloody shower scene. Its a fun little maze with a few well placed Scharcters that will get those who jump easy to a snarl, a hand in the face, or a wall bang.
My Overall Rating: 8 A cool maze and one of the best in the park. I really do enjoy the principal announcement idea. It just adds another element to the maze that I really love.
SKELETON KEY SPOILER: One of the longest, best inflatable claustrophobia pathways ever! It had two turns in it and really does give you a bit of a panic when you cant figure out which way to go. I loved this so much I went back twice just to do this again. I love it. It really freaks those with semi claustrophobia out as well so be warned.
Club blood: This is a familiar maze as it has been placed in most of the Cedar Fair parks. A Vampire Nightclub with a twist. Large tall walk ways with gargoyle like statues, gothic vampires bouncing out of corners and hissing/growling at you. The middle of the maze had a dance party going on. There was a walk way of mirrors as well to add some variety to the maze. A final walk through the coffins of the Vampires and a guy on a bungee for your final scare before leaving. The front entrance was well done and fantastic. Just wish that type of creativity and skill found its way inside.
My Overall Rating: 6 Not so great. Way to bright, the hallways were boring and there was no talent in there. I did not feel immersed at all in this maze. It seemed like it was missing a lot of theming. Just black painted walls dont fly.
SKELETON KEY SPOILER: Your waved over to a special VIP Room to do a shot of blood with a vampire at a bar. He pours you a shot in a souvenir shot glass…You take a swing and immediately know something is up. This is not just red died water or fruit punch. It takes just like blood. Then you start to question. Oh god, what was this? Was it really blood? Was it flavored with something to give you the sense it was blood but in fact it was not? This taste did not come out of my mouth or off my lips all night. No matter what we drank or ate, it lingered in our mouths. We got the inside scoop later from one of the park employees that is in fact Water, iron tablets, salt and corn starch.
Blue Ridge Bayou: This is a haunted car ride that I did not get a chance to ride. It usually holds a long line and does not offer fast lane or fright lane. You drive a car through a creepy haunted area and Scharacters hide ready to jump out to scare you. I hear this is great and bummed I missed out.
The park offers a few shows but I did not get a chance to check them out. They have:
Blood Drums: A musical group who play drums with a themed stage set
Eternal Jamnation: Did not see what this was while there
Haunted House 3d: I believe this was a 3d simulation ride
Skeleton Crew: A group of guys in skeleton outfits bouncing on trampolines and bungees who put on a show.
Over all the park was fun. The great thing about Kings Dominion is the rides at night. My favorite Coasters at night were Intimidator, Grizzly and Volcano. Fantastic in the dark! I think over all this park Deserves a solid 7. Its not the best, its not terrible, its extremely fun just to go ride coasters and I cannot ignore the extreme value. This is by far the best $39 Halloween Full day Saturday money can buy.