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Everything posted by cfc

  1. Thanks for the report. I grew up in Central California, so I visited this park once a year (I was there during its opening year of 1976). I haven't been there since the Paramount days.
  2. Haunt Has Risen from the Grave As you can tell from the Evil Boogie Boogie Eyes atop the Eiffel Tower, Haunt has begun at Kings Dominion. Yes, the annual Doswell scare fest is back with a new outdoor maze (and four returning indoor mazes), scare zones old and new, and a lot of techno-dancing and heavy-metal head-banging music--along with the usual assortment of evil clowns, zombies, witches, and other children of the night. It’s great to see Haunt back after its COVID hiatus. The event doesn’t seem quite as big as in past years, with fewer mazes and scare zones, but KD did a very good job with what it had. I think they were wise to stick with the stronger mazes from previous years. Theme Park Review was invited to be a victim, er, guest at an RIP Party on Friday, October 1, with plenty of good food and drink and a complimentary Fright Lane pass for all the mazes. The latter came in pretty handy, as the lines got a bit long as the shadows of darkness lengthened (the park was open from 7:00 pm-midnight). So, how do the mazes stack up? Grimm Woods (next to Grizzly)--This new maze gives us a decidedly non-Disney version of the old standards in which evil comes out triumphant. The twisted takes on fairly tales include Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel and Gretel. This one starts out slow as a long walk through the woods but finishes pretty strong. The old Dinosaurs Alive path is ideal for a Haunt maze, and I’m glad they’re using it--lots of spooky lighting and sound effects here. Blood on the Bayou (behind Windseeker)--This voodoo cannibal maze has excellent sets and a dark, confusing layout (which the scare actors use well). Trick or Treat (next to Drop Tower)--Another oldie but goodie, evil witches have made unsuspecting trick-or-treating kids into their minions. I think this maze, and Bayou, were originally featured at Knott’s Scary Farm a few years ago. They worked in California, so why not in Virginia? Condemned (Action Theater)--A haunted hotel provides the scares in this one. Not sure you’d want to book your next vacation here, though, as the staff seems a bit, well, “off.” It’s a decent maze with pretty elaborate sets. Corn Stalkers (International Street)--This is the oldest maze of the bunch, and even though it’s a bit long in the tooth, it’s still fun. Watch out for the bungee guy! I dare you to look at these photos from KD’s Haunt! “Hey, Ma! Load up the kids in the Death Wagon! We’re goin’ to Doswell, Virginny for Haunt.” This Jack O'Lantern told me that KD has been doing Haunt for 20 years. I see no reason to doubt him, but . . . why was he talking to me? Get out of my head! First things first--dinner and drinks. This is also the site of the Masquerade scare zone. The park out a great spread of all sorts of food. I went for the beef, of course. The Redrum IPA comes directly from the Center of the Universe, which is conveniently located in Ashland, Virginia. Those aliens make good beer. Great cookies for dessert, too. I had a shortbread ghost and a gingerbread witch’s house, but these masks looked good. Haunt kicks off with Blood Reign, a show where Queen Majesty (easy name to remember, I guess) welcomes guests to her “Bloody Ball.” This is where all the classy monsters hang out. “Oh, very well, peasant. You may take our picture--but it will cost you your liver.” As I cross the bridge into Old Virginia, I am filled with foreboding. I don’t understand why. I reserved a room via the hotel website, but they never sent me a confirmation. Perhaps that’s just as well. If you’re looking for sliders and stilt-walking scarecrows, Pumpkin Eater is the scare zone for you. There’s old Peter Pumpkin Eater himself. His biggest fear is being made into a lousy pumpkin-spice ale by a mass-market brewery. “No need to be so hasty,/'Cause you’re lookin’ might tasty,/So I’m gonna eat your brain.” These post-apocalyptic dancers raised quite a ruckus, so that’s what they named the show The Ruckus. I guess. This is the front of the Trick or Treat house. But it’s used as the exit, as the main entrance is on the left side of the building. Don’t ask me why. You can’t have any sort of haunted event without an evil circus. I think this is in the Constitution. This circus has a fortune teller and a Subway. Classy, eh? “I’ll have a turkey sub on whole wheat . . .” “I’m not the Subway clerk, sir. besides, all Subway sandwiches taste the same no matter what they’re made of.” “Yeah, you and I got the opposite problem. All the guys are too short for me.” Burnette the Barker and his Band of Homeless Guys. Buy him a $15 cocktail, and he might end up in the backseat of your car. Welcome to Uprising . . . . . . where the zombies are revolting! “You can say that again.” Join the Zombie Uprising! They promise all the brains you can eat! Snoopy and the Great Pumpkin team up to quell the Zombie Uprising. “Yes-s-s-s, kiddies, join us during the day for family-friendly fun! We have music and candy and brains and spleens . . .” “Country roads . . . take me home.” It’s always good to see the ol’ homestead again. Why, I can smell Grandma’s soup a-simmerin’ on the stove. Yessir, Grandpa should be mighty tasty tonight. Grimm Woods is the anti-attraction in which you enter through the gift shop, which is closed, as is Grizzly. I'm sorry Grizzly fans (I imagine there are a couple). Blood on the Bayou’s façade looks a wee bit like a redressing of the old Zombie High School entrance. Welcome to the Post-Apocalyptic Cemetery of Haunts Past. The steampunks have joined the Borg, and the Zombie High students graduated by eating everybody else. Time to head out. At least that's what this guy told me . . . or did he? It's all a blur. All in all, a fun evening. Thanks for inviting TPR, Kings Dominion! Happy Haunting!
  3. Perhaps the park is a study in joyous decay: The Park at the Edge of the Apocalypse. It also looks like the best setting for amusement-park horror movie this side of Wonder Rakutenchi in Japan. Carnival of Souls 2: Lakeside Boogaloo.
  4. But can any Donkey Kong ride possibly top Cosmoworld's Family Banana Coaster?
  5. Looks like a great dining experience, which I'm sure will be mobbed for sometime to come. That lobster salad looked great--as did the lemon mousse. But where are the Space Food Sticks?
  6. Yes, the Skyride is open. I don' t know if it opens with the park, but it was running during Howl-o-Scream tonight. Mach Tower has been open from noon until 8:00 pm.
  7. Good report, Bert--thanks. It's always interesting to see how different parks in the chain do Howl-o-Scream. I'm looking forward to HOS in Orlando next month. Williamsburg should try the "ride with monsters" thing, too.
  8. My only ride on Bilge Rat Barges was years ago in October. They had turned off or toned down some of the water effects because it was cooler out. It didn't make any difference--still drenched from head to toe.
  9. I went for a second look at the new mazes on Sunday night. KILLarney DInEr seemed better, as they really put some thought into the sets. Witch of the Woods had a villager working the queue looking for a "wtich hunter." Now there's an idea. Instead of the usual lurking minions and frightened villagers, throw in a team of witch hunters to "protect" guests and build to a climactic confrontation with the witch. I think that would be a stronger story and less "random." But hindsight is always better than foresight.
  10. Howl-o-Scream Has Risen from the Grave 2021 Halloween arrives earlier each year. Remember when pumpkin-spice, well, everything wasn’t even available (or discussed) before September? Now you can drink pumpkin beer in August. The same is true of Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens, which officially started on Friday, September 10. Of course, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights beat them by a week (or was it more?), but this is pretty dang early for a Halloween event. But I’m not complaining. I checked out the first Howl-o-Scream since 2019 last Friday. It’s great that this event, which has always been a big one for the park, is back, with three new mazes; two new TERRORtories (that is, scare zones)--Meat Market and Hexed Hollow; and two party zones with DJs (France and Festa Italia). The park is also using “roaming hordes” of scareactors to make the scare zones more lively. There was lots of chainsaw action that night. I only saw bits and pieces of the new shows: Skeletones (Italy) and Phantoms of the Festhaus (Germany). The former reminded me a bit of the old Starfright Orchestra show--only scaled down (four musicians and two singers). It was a decent way to enjoy a lunch or dinner while listening to some old holiday standards (such as the “Addams Family” theme or “Time Warp”). Phantoms featured a larger cast. The show had something to do with a sing-off to choose the “top ghoul” of the night. I caught a tiny bit of it after having a beer in the Brauhaus. Monster Stomp on Ripper Row has returned, and Jack Is Back in Ireland. But I go there for the mazes. Nevermore (Oktoberfest in the old DarKastle building)--This gothic maze was the best one of the night, with lots Edgar Allan Poe going on (particularly “The Raven” and “Masque of the Red Death”). It reminded me of Masquerage, a maze they ran one season in Festa Italia. Nothing groundbreaking, but a good, solid park haunt. KILLarney Diner (Ireland in the Battle for Eire building)--This was a fun cannibal maze with some good 1950s atmosphere, well-done sets, and a fair amount of gory stuff, but it was a bit short. It has the same problem that other mazes in the building have shared--that long, narrow exit corridor where nothing happens. Witch of the Woods (Germany, behind Verbolten)--This was their “flagship” maze, but I think it was the weakest of the new mazes on Friday night. Yes, it’s in the woods, there are creepy minions, and the Witch herself looks pretty cool, but there was no real “payoff.” Another good name for this one might be the “Island of Misfit Props.” What’s some Greek statuary and a dude in a Spartan helmet doing in here? Circo Sinistro (Festa Italia, by the Roman Rapids)--The creepy clowns and such are back, but their haunt has been changed a bit. They eliminated the “preshow” with the ringmaster and creepy girl on a swing, along with the railroad car. The result is an OK evil-circus maze. It’s really showing its age, though. Dystopia (Italy in the Pompeii building)--This returning maze is about people being turned into automatons by some mutant overlords in the not-too-distant future. This one has been hit-or-miss in the past (I think it depends on how may scare actors they have). All in all, an enjoyable, if somewhat cautious, return for Howl-o-Scream following its hiatus because of the pandemic. Most of the scare actors in the mazes who weren’t wearing full monster masks were sporting face masks--some with appropriately creepy faces painted on them. I wish I could say the same for many of the guests. As for me, I went through the mazes while masked. Here’s a look at Howl-o-Scream’s opening night. Why, hello, you sexy thing. “You better be talking about Pantheon and not my girlfriend, punk.” “Blair Witch Project 3, Subsection A: Sticks of Doom” “How many times have I told you to never play with your head! Do you wish to go blind?” Awww, aren’t you the most adorable wittle . . . . . . PLAGUE RAT? So, according to the poster in Big Ben, there’s been some “Ghastly Murder,” too? Well, isn’t that just great. Where shall we go first? May as well grab some dinner and watch the Skeletones. Hey, Edgar? Where’s your house? So turn left at the melancholy House of Usher? Thanks, pal. The message the purple lights above us bore, It shall be DarKastle . . . nevermore! Hmm--looks like the witches and demons kicked the vampires out of Vampire Point. “Excuse me, are you being helped?” Hey, are you really dating that Reaper guy out front? Well, this is another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into. Looks like they changed the menu at the Smokehouse. “Beware! Don’t order tonight’s special. It keeps coming back on me.” “Hey, don’t knock our BBQ until you try it! Right, Chauncy?” “Right, Edgar. You can beat our prices, but you can’t beat our meat!” “Hey, where ya goin’? Sheesh, make one silly pun . . .” “‘Can’t beat our meat’! How droll! Did you hear that, my dear . . . oh, that’s right. You can’t hear anything.” “I say, you now have permission to shake thy moneymakers.” “Typical guy--waits until I invite him to my place before telling me he’s a werewolf.” I wonder what the specials are here? A hot roast beef sammich sounds good. Ugh! Is this one of those truck stop/faux diner things? Yep--definitely. You can probably buy trucker hats with dirty slogans on them, too. Be sure to look at the wall menus in this scene. Jack is back, and he’s brought disco and ABBA with him! Dance! Dance or die! Pompeii may be a Dystopia, but it has cool lighting. You can party with evil clowns in Festa Italia. “Giant skull swallows park guest. Film at 11.” So, what’s shakin’ at the Festhaus? Uh oh! The guy with the scythe is sort of rapping. Time to head out . . . while I still have a head. I had to survive giant spiders . . . . . . and Ripper Row. “G’night, dearie! Pleasant dreams.” Thanks for reading.
  11. Frankenstein's Castle is a great walkthrough--lots of fun stuff inside.
  12. As they say in Colonial Williamsburg . . . I'm looking forward to riding this coaster, as opposed to just looking at it.
  13. ^My favorite Fuji Q moment was being told to put my wristwatch in a locker, only to attach the locker key to the same wrist with an elastic band.
  14. I just cleaned up some of this thread. Good people of TPR, let's restrict ourselves to discussing Cedar Point--cut out the personal attacks. If you have a personal beef with someone, take it to private messages. Theme parks are supposed to be about fun, remember? Thank you.
  15. ^I think we'll see a "special event" schedule before the regular the "regular" season, much like what they did this year. I don't think daily operation would work too well, as tourism drops off steeply in Williamsburg from January until mid-March.
  16. The dark rides have always piqued my curiosity about this water park. As Elissa said, I wish more water parks had them.
  17. That was the most frightening moment of airtime ever.
  18. The dumbest feuds are Twitter feuds. I'm simply tired of the attitude, but I guess many people find it entertaining.
  19. Although I'm looking forward to VelociCoaster, Universal has no right to be snarky about anything after opening so many lame screen-based rides over the last few years. I'm glad the the SeaWorld parks are finally in a position to start opening their new stuff. Now if we could just get Pantheon open in Virginia . . .
  20. Same--about the only thing that might bring me back to that place is Hades getting the RMC treatment.
  21. Yes--it seems to have become worse since last week, too.
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