We had a great time at the Media Event for Halloween Haunt at CGA last night. There are new mazes and shows for this year. A couple of mazes have been worked on too! The new maze, Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor, is done very well. It is just outside Vortex. The maze starts out with no ceiling and then you’re inside. You get out of the maze by Underworld Alley. Club Blood is Re-Vamped! We didn’t get through it, but I heard it is terrific. CarnEvil is longer, I think, and the 3D is very disorienting as always. CornStalkers and Toy Factory are the same as they have been in years past. I like Toy Factory and have a good time going through CornStalkers. I hope to go through Werewolf Canyon, Black Widow’s Cavern and Slaughterhouse on my next trip. We saw the new shows (probably our reason for not getting through all the mazes) – Culture Pop and Ghostly Glow party. Culture Pop’s dancing/performing was done very well. I’m not big on Culture, I guess, and a lot of the jokes went by me…. Ghostly Glow Party is outside and is interesting…I won’t ruin it. The Shocking Sideshow of Freaks is always entertaining, as well as Blood Drums. Enough is enough…how about the pics?
Talk about a busy opening night. Attendance was easily doubled compared to opening night last year, which can only be a good thing for the park. This time, CGA prepared for the lines by setting up a maze of queue ropes for each maze on opening day, and yes, you have to walk through all of them (Beware of the line Nazis!)
Toy Factory's queue was nearly half full by 9 p.m. and Massacre Manor was nearly full. Although, for some reason, Club Blood was nearly empty all night (possibly because it's gotten even harder to find).
Being the first night, there were a lot of glitches. The songs for Cornstalkers, Toy Factory and Dead Man's Cove were off for a while, and I even saw a mechanic fixing some electrical box about halfway through Club Blood.
Also because it was the first night, scare zones were pretty much non-existent, especially Dead Man's Cove. Underworld Alley is still my favorite.
Here are my rankings of the mazes, from best to worst, based on opening night experience. A few shake-ups in my rankings from last year:
Carnevil (x2): Even though I didn't notice anything different, this is still a top-notch maze. "It's not a porcupine, it's the human pincushion!" The fog was turned up a little too high, I kept tripping over a doll on the floor. The second time I went through it, I accidentally exploited a major layout flaw and skipped more than a quarter of the maze and got right to the end. I made a left during a curtain part instead of going straight. I guess there should have been a blackout at that spot.
Club Blood Re-Vamp'd (x2): My vote for most improved maze of the year. Scares, enthusiastic actors (drunk guy and the Silent Hill nurse were awesome!) and it's no longer backwards. While the inside portion hasn't changed much, you can hardly recognize the outside, and yes, the dancers are still there, now on ground level! The new entrance finally makes use of the long-forgotten exit(?) path behind Star Tower. It also has a new entrance sign, "Club Bloid" is gone. Got a great glimpse of the red Pictorium seats, and the lights were on in the projection booth. Also, my theory was correct, the finish is exactly where I thought it would be.
Madame Marie's Massacre Manor (x2): Easily the most detailed maze of the bunch, and by far, which is really saying a lot. Love the song, it's creepy and catchy, can't wait until it's available for streaming. I will admit, the first time I went through it, I was a tad disappointed. It doesn't really have an "it" part (i.e. Toy Factory's ending, body bags in Slaughterhouse). I also got the impression that they were out of ideas; you will see scenes ripped straight out of Carnevil, Toy Factory and Slaughterhouse. But going through it again changed my perspective, and I found a lot more little things that I didn't notice before, like a TV looping a clip of zombies, and a working piano. The entrance facade is interesting, even though it doesn't completely hide the "Massacre Shed," it's the effort that counts. Also, I have a theory that the doors to the facade are actually the Pictorium's. The inside of them look very similar to what I remember from Club Blood's entrance last year. It also makes sense, seeing that those doors are now gone from the Pictorium this year.
Cornstalkers (x1): This is where the rankings get tough, as the rest of them could tie for the #4 spot. Nothing drastically different here, although it now features more trucks. Hearing the scarecrows rustle in the vines never gets old.
Slaughterhouse Annihilation (x2): My #1 maze of last year has slipped a bit. Maybe it was because of the traffic jam throughout the whole maze during the first walk through. But that wasn't the case during the second time, there just weren't that many actors. Like Carnevil, the fog was a little too much, hiding a lot of the scenery. This is still a grotesquely awesome maze, I just found myself a little disappointed. On the bright side, you can get some amazing scenes of Gold Striker's new structure while waiting in line!
Toy Factory (x1): What happened? Maybe it was because I only went once, but I felt something lacking in the Factory this year. It didn't help that the beginning outside portion has been completely eliminated, rendering the already-short maze even shorter. And again, way, way too much fog. At least the "squishy" ending is back and more forceful than ever, although I doubt it will be for much longer due to the crowds.
Werewolf Canyon (x1): I feel bad about putting Robman's office last on my list once again, because I really did feel that it was improved. But the painfully long portions of nothing still plague this maze. One stand out part was the werewolves materializing out of the thick fog.
I didn't put Black Widow's Cavern on this list, because I don't consider it a "maze." I went once on it, while the actors were a bit sparse, the heavy fog was great.
Like last year, I didn't watch any shows, but the empty and dark Great America Theater was really obvious. I did see a little of the Ghostly Glow Party while riding Ghost Gliders, it looked nice. The Freak Show is hidden this year at the Kidzville stage, and I didn't even know it was back until I looked at the Haunt guide when I got home.
Rode Demon (much better at night), Grizzly (waited a bit too long for it), Drop Tower (hooray, cabin #2 is back!) and Flying Eagles ... I mean, Ghost Gliders. I'm proud to say that I got my first snap, although nothing spectacular, I did feel it, and it did scare me. I also got some crazy height this time, which was pretty nerve-racking.
- Saw a lot of people with Fright Lane passes, especially for Massacre Manor.
- Spongebob was open, which I don't think it ever has been during Haunt.
- For opening night, the lines for some of the rides were pretty long.
A few pictures, once again, my camera hates night.
Overlord gives his spiel, which is essentially the same, but mentions Massacre Manor.
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This scene sure looks different from last year, doesn't it? Might have to do with that beautiful mess of GCI wood in the background.
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Massacre Manor was the first maze of the night, and we were almost the first members of the public to check it out. However, the maze wasn't ready yet, and we waited in this spot for 15 minutes before finally being let in.
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It's Christmas during Halloween time!
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Pictorium doors? You decide. This was the Fright Lane entrance.
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Got this shot of Orbit while in line for Werewolf Canyon.
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Tried to take a "nerd shot" of the empty Rapids channel.
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"Club Bloid" no more!
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Amazing views of Gold Striker's new structure from Slaughterhouse's line!
Good morning TPR! Just got done at my 14 hour day at CGA! Lots of photos taken, have about 600 to flip through! Stay tuned for a day trip report, never seen before night time Gold Striker porn, and of course, Haunt!
In short I really enjoyed MMMMMMMMM! The music was creepy (I recorded it for our listening pleasure) and detail was top notch!
It feels so nice to have lost my Haunt virginity, and having done so with M^4 was great! M^4 was very impressive, music gave the feeling that something terrible happened or had already happened. Being the sleep-conscious person I am, I left the park an hour or two before the rest of big TPR group (max. 10 people) left, so I'll hit up my missing maze credits (CarnEvil, Slaughterhouse, and Club Blood) on my next visit.
Here's a list of notable highlights of the day:
-All rides on Demon were walk-ons. -Good Ghost Gliders rides, though our morning takeover got Snap Nazi'd. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2013 season bears some new rules for the flyers. -Unacceptable amount of wetness on Black Widow Cavern (daytime), yet my nighttime clench-n-squish ride only got my hair wet strangely. -Very bizarre ride on FireFall. It didn't flip even ONCE. WTF?! At least all the fire was working this time though. -Gold Striker paparazzi shoots, both on and off Star Tower. Double up and double down are shaping up, as well as the final turn before the brakes. Unlike what the animation showed, the track looks like it'll pass through a tiny opening in the supports during the last turn, and the opening looks tinier than anything I've seen so far in terms of headchoppers (Angry_Gumball will likely show it in his photo TR). Yikes.
But alas, when there are highlights, there are really sucky moments as well:
-Endeavolution. I managed to make sure the restraint didn't dig into chest or gut too much, but I'm not a huge fan of inverting ships. I felt like my head was about to explode, and overall I didn't find it very pleasant... -Learned the hard way where NOT to sit on Demon. On a morning ride, I picked a row towards the front because its gate was empty. Little did I know that: Orange train + front-ish row = OUCH. Thankfully, I got a smoother ride in the magic Arrow seat in the afternoon. -Ugh. Time for a line jumper/cutter story. While in line for Werewolf Canyon, this group of kids just FLEW through the ropes and entered into the line way ahead of us. We tried to get the nearby security to find out the cutters, but they were camouflaged in the mass of people such that they didn't get found out...well, I would've just fed them to the werewolves instead.
And with that, I conclude this little writeup on yesterday. Looking forward to my next visit already!
I'm back with a Gold Striker update and also a 'spoiler-ific' review of Haunt! As noted, we were at the park for 14 hours today. Our group consisted of Jeff, Blue Fire Guy, myself, my cousin, and 2 other TPR members (forgot their TPR names). Later, 2 more joined forces.
Here's a little taste of our stuffed logs, I totally recommend ERT on this riding in this style next time TPR does an event at CGA
Goldy is now going vertical on the so-called Drumstick pad and is looking really good! Again there were people working on it today. I took advantage of this evening's lines (or lack thereof) on Slaughter House and got some evening Gold Striker porn!
Now that I got that off my chest, let's hop over to Haunt!
As usual, we kicked off the evening with the Boofet (An all-you-can-eat buffet) that normally gets you into the park a bit early. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case tonight and some of the GP were already in the park and Overlord resurrection had already happened. I do however understand things do happen so I'll let it slide.
And this is where the spoilers begin! So skip past this if you don't want to find out!
Starting off the night, we really wanted to hit up the new maze, Massacre Manor (or what we call M4). I can say that this is a winner. The queue is situated right in front of the first aid building, kind of just shoe-horned in there. The maze's entrance consists of the facade (which looks very nice now) where you enter and go through a dark hallway. Inside the maze, it reminds me of an old Victorian mansion (hence being a 'manor'). There is just a ton of detail everywhere and I almost forget the fact that I'm in a big metal shed and actually feel like I'm inside an old house! I'd have to say that my favorite element in here is the 'zombie window' where they get shot (and you get sprayed when they splat on the window). The music is also rather creepy and really adds to the atomsphere/theme of the maze. I also liked going through the wine cellar at the end, and how pretty much the events in that maze unfold...from what starts off somewhat normal. First run, I didn't get any startling scares but it did give off this creepy vibe, good enough to give me nightmares
Besides all this cool stuff, it is still a metal shed and if you choose to look up you can see that.
Next on the list was Toy Factory. Hello catchy tune, nice to hear you again at the park! The line for this was almost nonexistent and before we knew it we were up at the building...but wait! What happened to the outdoor part with Pinocchio and all the toys on shelves? The maze immediately starts at the building. There seemed to have been some missing talent/some holes...there was no Raggedy Anne, and at one point I accidentally almost walked back into an earlier section of the maze as there was no blackout there. And of course to end it, there's that black squishy thing of death! 3 members of our group lost their virginity to this, one of them didn't fare too well and got sick shortly after (claustrophobia). We quickly got her some water and ventured off to our next maze.
There didn't really seem to be too much effort when I went through, talent-wise...maybe should have given it another go! Oh well, next time, have all Haunt season to do so!
Visitations: 1x Wait time: 5 minutes Grade:7.5/10 (Sorry TF, you're normally one of my favorites!)
Corn Stalkers is the park's longest maze and there seemed to be some differences this season. Along one of the back stretches, there's practically no walls, huge floodlights, and a view of CGA's neighbors...so much for atmosphere! At this time nothing was really going on but it picked back up when it headed toward the car track. This maze actually gave me the most startles as talent popped out of nowhere. My highlight of this maze was walking through the dark void of burlap sack strips under Grizz's brake run. Combine that with darkness and fog, and some talent, you got a nice setup for some good scares! The rest of the maze (love the outhouses) was a tad thin on talent but left you wondering if someone was going to get you.
Visitations:1x Wait:15-20 minutes Grade:8/10
At this point we have 10 in our group, heading toward the log flume, Black Widows Cavern! This means, a night time clench 'n squish ride on BWC! Due to the weight of our logs, it seemed like we were flying through the lower flume, making it a tad difficult for the talent to get us. My log didn't soak us that much, the other log with the rest of our party was another story; they came off soaked!
Visitations:1x Wait:10 minutes Grade:8/10 (Clench 'n Squish!)
The next one up on our hit list was Werewolf Canyon. After being disappointed by it last season, I drastically lowered my expectations this year. After a hefty line (I think we waited 20 minutes) and seeing a group of 6 line jumpers dart across the grass and hop the ropes about 30 feet ahead, we got in. Too bad the line jumpers weren't caught but what can you do... Anyway onto the maze! I was overall impressed with the talent this year, as much as there are still week spots (a long stretch of the rapids queue with no talent at all, just bare) but it picked right back up with a nice surprise when it got back to the 'corridor' section. This 1 werewolf was just standing there blocking the path, staying as still as ever. All of us were puzzled, and about 20 seconds after, he lunges towards us and got some good startles. Definitely a maze highlight! The corridor section went on forever and this time it actually had talent! To end WWC, poor Blue Fire Guy was being targeted by one of the talent, followed by the talent running off after another member of our party (not my cousin this time haha). I also spotted Robman, he got a few members of our group
Visitation:1x Wait:20 minutes Grade: 7.5/10 (Yay for a nice pickup after that long dead spot!)
From this point we took a pause and rode "Fright Deck" (which was a rather short wait). After sacraficing our goods to the bins (as to not stir up the ghosts) we took our ride. Blue Fire Guy had to get heading out so he wanted to end the evening on FD. Just FYI, the eagle train's getting some rattles while the shark is still pretty smooth.
Finally, back to more mazes! Naturally, we head to CarnEvil. After forgetting my 3D glasses at home, I decided to fork over the cash and get a fresh pair. This was the shortest wait of the night and this was around 9:30 or so. This maze is classic, love every bit of it. I had a couple startles in there as well and the maze definitely felt like it went on forever! However, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of clowns in there at that time. Unless there's new props in there, everything's pretty much the same. Why fix something that isn't broken?
Visitations: 1x Wait:5 minutes Grade: 8.5/10
Anxious to check out the new Club Blood, we head over that way. Before I talk about the maze, let's talk about some happenings in the area. First off, there was an opening in the fence where we can get a clear view of Gold Striker bents laying in the lot. Naturally I snag some photos Afterwards, several kids decide to hop into the Fright Lane queue (which is adjacent to the normal queue) to bypass everyone and try to sneak back over. After making comment about it, several others in the queue also ranted about it. They attempted getting in when the one at the head of the line informed the blackout that they had cut. They were kicked out!
So the maze. The maze is back to normal for the most part! You start off in what now feels like an extended alleyway with a more windy layout.The dance area seemed a bit expanded and before you know it, you're in the Pictorium! I'm not sure if the inside is the same as previous but it works. I like the dark windy hallway full of fabric strips, very challenging to navigate While it's an original maze, it feels like it got a fresh coat of paint and the whole experience feels fresh.
Visitations: 1x Wait: 10 minutes Grade: 9/10
Last maze, Slaughter House (AKA Gold Striker photoshoot session)! This is the 1 maze where I was somewhat hoping for a slower queue so I can admire the construction. Some great views as mentioned. Now onto the maze as before we knew it we were right up there! Sorry Slaughter House, you were kind of the maze that was just there last night. While there was some talent there, their effort was not quite there. Still lots to look at in there, and while Flagg 'o Dim was tripping over bones in 1 maze, we found some hair that had fallen off of either talent or prop, that was on the floor. I picked it up and moved it aside so nobody else would step on it/trip.
The last half hour of the night consisted of a ride on Grizzly (with the longest dispatch ever, didn't time it sadly but it took a while), and a spin on Tiki Twirl. It was getting pretty cold so the fire was nice to have We ended our last bit of Haunt with M4 (or as we called it MMMMMMMMM.....). Still need to see everything in that maze, there's just so much detail in there, spotted the working piano as the one playing it banged on the keys making me jump...after I was listening to what she was 'playing.' Definitely a favorite maze and the talent in this are really into what they are doing.
Gauntlet was kind of just..there. The clowns weren't really interacting with our group so it didn't do much for me. There weren't that many clowns in there either, was kind of thin.
Underworld Alley was definitely the strongest for certain reasons Actually, the talent in this maze were interacting with just about everyone going through. While the navigation is weird (split path), it is definitely one of the best this year, has the best atmosphere and talent.
Deadman's Cove... Yea, I was disappointed. No music in there (I pulled out my iPhone and began playing the Deadman's Cove song to fill that void. It has drastically shrunk and other than one of the talent that I know chasing my cousin through, I just pretty much walked on by as though there was nothing there. I was quite disappointed in this one.
Random notes: -I'm learning the technique of the flyers! And there is no violent movement of the fins, it's all pure 'being one with the ride.' -Around 5:30 leaving the park, I heard the Toy Factory song blasting inside the building (we just got off Drop Tower) and also heard the Slaughter House sounds inside the white tent. Also saw a random Slaughterhouse talent heading to his maze, seemed very weird to see. -It was the first full moon of Autumn, very fitting for last night's event! -Despite how busy it looked, crowds were being pulsed into the mazes at decent intervals. I don't think I recalled once that we caught up with another party...maybe we moved slower to admire all the work being done as some caught up to us. This opened up opportunities for good scares for the most part.
Oh, and if anyone's interested, I recorded the audio from MMMM for all of us to enjoy! Hopefully, an 'official version' will make it to Soundcloud for our streaming pleasures
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