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California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

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^ I would recommend going on a Sunday. If you don't ride anything you should be able to get everything done in a couple hours, that's including the shows. Although if you have to go on a Friday or Saturday I would recommend the Madame Marie Chophouse meal which includes dinner and a front of the line pass for one maze of your choice. It's $20 with a season pass, after the meal I would go and do the the mazes in the back of the park and work your way back up front, then you can use the front of the line pass for one of the mazes towards the front if the line is long.


Info for the Chophouse meal can be found at, Halloween Haunt site.

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Who all is going this weekend? My gf and I will be there on both Friday and Saturday nights. It'll be her first major haunt event, I don't think Fright Fest counts. But anyways, looking forward to running into some familiar faces and maybe some new ones as well. When it's closer to the day, i'll post what for you to look for to find me.

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Did anybody go last night? How was it? We're leaving for CGA in two hours this is our only night and I want to see all the mazes, wondering if it will be crowded enough to need Fright Pass. We'll cover all of the rides this afternoon so we can focus on haunt tonight, except for maybe a nighttime spin on Gold Striker

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Had a great time at Haunt opening night! For an opening night it was pretty crowded, with some mazes reaching 45+ minute wait times.


The Good:

-Hanging out with Angry_Gumball and Flagg O'Dim at Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse, and meeting Madame Marie herself!

-Consuming more food than Angry_Gumball and Flagg at said Chophouse

-The lake in front of the carousel is now lined with propane-powered flamethrowers that shoot fireballs into the air at various intervals.

-Watching Robman terrorize his victims in the Gauntlet.

-Dia de los Muertos. I wasn't looking forward to this maze after hearing people talk of it being a non-scary hand-me-down from Knotts. I was pleasantly surprised with the maze though, the scenery is very detailed and beautiful, and there's lots of it since the maze is fairly lengthy. This was probably my favorite of the night.

-The Gauntlet, while it didn't seem as populated as in the old days, the talent that works there are all awesome. In my opinion this is hands down the best scare zone.

-Fun House Express was actually a lot of fun! I found it to be a much more enjoyable experience than Happy Feet.

-Huge shocker: Werewolf Canyon was actually pretty good! There's a bunch more talent than last year, and they were all getting into character. The "long periods of nothingness" were almost completely eliminated.


The Not-So-Good:

-Massacre Manor, Cornstalkers, and Dead Man's Cove were all missing their theme music. Instead we got heavy metal music, which kind of worked for Dead Man's Cove.

-Zombie High was a big disappointment. After experiencing the wow factor of Massacre Manor last year I had high hopes for Zombie High. While this maze isn't bad, it's just OK. In my opinion it's way too bright inside most of the rooms, and some of the theming fell flat (piling up school desks to make a walkway barrier). The talent in the maze was pretty good though, they're doing great for what they have to work with (a super-bright maze with not too many places to hide).

-The awesome ending to Toy Factory is no more

-Underworld Alley was only a shadow of its former glory, it seemed extremely understaffed, and most of the talent didn't seem too enthusiastic about being there. Hopefully once they get into a rhythm they'll work up the scares.

-The new layout of Cornstalkers wasn't all that great in my opinion. The maze operators now assign you to one of three entrances, which are small walkways devoid of any monsters. These walkways eventually converge together, causing a big traffic jam and some general confusion about which way to go. The rest of the maze is very narrow, it's basically a compressed version of the Cornstalkers we all know and love.

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Many thanks to CGA for inviting me to the Media/VIP event for Halloween Haunt's opening night. The food was great, and Madame Marie's interaction with us was hilarious!


In addition to the dinner, being VIPs we were given a one-time use front of the line pass (which we later used for Dia de los Muertos), two pairs of 3D glasses and Gold Striker ERT.


After my brother (rjvader) and I checked in and entered the park, we ran into CGA's Roger and Ryan, who told us that Gold Striker was open. It was truly a walk on, no line whatsoever, and I was told to sit wherever I wanted. I chose row 12, which gives great airtime going down the first drop. With the exception of a few people riding in the front, the entire train was empty, a pretty surreal experience.


Using our VIP passes, the security guard let us into the area that was blocked off to the public. We headed over to Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse, where we met up with Angry_Gumball and his neighbor.


Once we watched the opening ceremony, we dashed to the back of the park, which is always a great idea. Toy Factory, Zombie High and Cornstalkers all had less than two minute waits.


I say this every year, but it's true: This was the busiest opening night I've been to.


As with every opening night, some missteps are to be expected. I was disappointed in the music this year, which is always a high point. With the exception of Toy Factory, Carnevil and Werewolf Canyon, none of the mazes have their songs playing in the queue. This was most noticable with Madame Marie's Massacre Manor. That great, creepy song only played inside the maze, and the line only had the generic heavy metal music that played throughout the park. Underworld Alley's song was too quiet, and Dead Man's Cove's song is gone completely.


Some thoughts on the mazes, ranked from best to worst:


Dia de los Muertos (x2): This maze stood out above the rest, and after waiting 45 minutes the first time (which was worth it), it was a no-brainer to use my front of the line pass the second time. The level of detail is outstanding. Also, I think this is the first maze to have an elevated section, where you walk up a ramp and look down to the next part. The Club Blood bar scene makes a comeback, complete with a dancer and a new coat of paint. For me, the highlight of the maze was the jungle room. While I enjoyed Club Blood's remake last year, Dia de los Muertos is an excellent replacement. The 3D was a little blurry, but it didn't detract from the great experience I had with this maze. Also, I'm looking forward to streaming the song if Thomas Tissot uploads it.


Carnevil (x1): The oldest maze, but still one of the best. Great song, detailed rooms and lots of enthusiasm from the actors, even though it seemed a little understaffed.


Madame Marie's Massacre Manor (x1): A year later and I still can't get over how much detail this maze has. Solid maze all around.


Cornstalkers (x2): I enjoyed Cornstalkers' new look. The three different paths at the beginning add a new twist that isn't seen on any other maze, even if they aren't staffed. The maze is a little shorter, but I think it's for the better.


Werewolf Canyon (x1): Well, look who has moved up in the ranks! While this maze has nothing new, the actors really made the maze with their enthusiasm. Who would've thought Werewolf Canyon would be the most staffed maze in the park?


Zombie High (x2): The second of the new mazes this year, and unfortunately it was just OK. Visiting the park last Sunday, I saw many props stacked outside the newly-built shed, and I thought there was no way they would finish the maze in time for opening night. Turns out I was right. The facade they put on the shed looks painfully unfinished, and I noticed one wall of the maze was essentially bare plywood with a few drops of "blood" on it. At times, this maze felt like Slaughterhouse with the lights turned on. Overall, though, Zombie High had a good amount of detail, and I enjoyed the dance floor and the monster on springs. Chairs from the Pictorium were used for the theater portion of the maze.


Slaughterhouse (x1): Haunt's newly revamped maze in 2011 now looks outdated and simple, due to the immensely detailed Madame Marie's and Dia de los Muertos. It wasn't bad (the "song" fits perfect and adds so much more atmosphere to the maze). At least it kept its "squishy" part, unlike the next and last maze...


Toy Factory (x1): First maze of the night, and everything was going great. The actors were in character, the new rooms gave the maze a fresh feel, the song was catchy and annoying as always ... and then we got to the end. One of the best parts of any maze, the inflatable walls, has been removed, instead replaced with stacks of boxes. My guess is that it was removed to help capacity. Besides this, the maze was good, but the feeling of disappointment I felt leaving Toy Factory makes it end up at the bottom of this list.


New in 2013, Fun House Express in the Action Theater is a great addition to Haunt. It's being shown in the left side of the theater, which means Happy Feet is done for the season.


For the scare zones, Gauntlet was by far the best.


I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story:



We're here at CGA, this time as Haunt VIPs!


Got our front of the line and Chophouse dinner passes, and we're ready to go.


Which is your favorite?


For me, it was Dia de los Muertos.


But first, we couldn't resist Gold Striker ERT, bringing my lap total to 38.


The fried chicken restaurant is transformed into Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse.


Madame Marie welcomed us to the reception, and promised to take our souls later.


Angry_Gumball taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.


Food! More upscale than Fright Feast (formerly Boofet) which was taking place at the same time.


Madame Marie's "pets" stayed with us.


She's got her eyes on you, Angry_Gumball.


Flamethrowers! This looked amazing at night.


The monsters have been unleashed.


It's going to be a busy night.


Overlord's Resurrection was top notch.




The surprise of the night: Werewolf Canyon. This werewolf was keeping the line entertained.


Gauntlet time!


"Get my good side!"


Hey, this guy looks familiar. It's TPR member robman!


It's time to check out Dia de los Muertos, which means some new angles to photograph Gold Striker.


This 45-minute line was cut to 20 seconds thanks to Fright Lane.


Hello, Pictorium!


Carnevil is consistently one of the best mazes every year.


It looks excessive now, but this will be full in the near future.


Angry_Gumball taking a picture of me taking a picture of him ... again!


Blue Fire Guy snaps a shot of Jack.


So long Happy Feet, welcome Fun House Express.


Action Theater at night, a first for me. Will the right side ever be used again?


A short clip was playing on the TV screens.


Time for our second round of Zombie High.


The facade is unfinished at best.


Zombie High's exit leads you through most of Cornstalkers' original layout, but without the cornstalks and scarecrows. The exit meets up with Cornstalkers'. Great views of Grizzly to be had here.


Not much to see here.


OK, this is cool.


Underworld Alley: Now with more fog and less monsters!


Earlier I said the flamethrowers looked great at night. I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.


Occasionally, all the flamethrowers go off at once. My camera freaked out, and no, Columbia didn't blow up.


Thanks to the VIP pass, we were able to get preferred parking, letting me get this shot of Gold Striker that I've always wanted. Good night CGA!

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Out at haunt now! Breeze keeps dispersing all the fog some music and lightingthat I feel may be missing. But other than that another great night! (BTW, here by myself if any TPR wanna meet up?!

Got my Goldstriker swagger on, black and Greg fleece.


I'm out here as well...Flight Deck just broke down. I'm also in what sounds like the same fleece jacket

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We had a great time at the VIP/Media day event for Haunt’s opening night at CGA! There have already been some reviews and my review is below.


The new mazes and changes to Haunt are great! I agree with the reviews of Massacre Manor and other mazes that didn’t have the music. I hope that it was just opening night issues and I will find out next Saturday when we go again.


If you have gone to CGA for Haunt over the past 5 years, their main mazes are still good. In order of Favorites mazes – Carn-Evil is still terrific! Massacre Manor has some changes and I hope it works out some kinks before next Saturday. I don’t know what happened to the ending of Toy Factory, but I wish it would come back. The new changes to the Corn Stalkers maze was good. Slaughter House is still gross! WereWolf Canyon has gotten better too!


One of the new mazes, Dia de Los Muertos, was done very well. The 3-D affects and monsters were terrific. I couldn’t stand the line jumping that was happening right in front of security though. There were also people smoking at the entrance and nothing was stopped too. Just a minor rant…the maze is great though.


The other new maze, Zombie High, is different. It is very bright in there and you can see everything. Not too many scares, but it is a neat maze. The entrance needs to be labeled better.


Scare Zones have always been terrific. The Gauntlet is usually my favorite, but it seemed like they didn’t have as many scare-actors on Friday night. Underworld Alley was good too. I’m also a big fan of Dead Man’s Cove.


The shows – What can I say? Overlord’s Resurrection is a great way to start off the night. Blood Drums does a good job throughout the night too.


I have to say, hands down, the BEST Haunt show that I have seen is Blades of Horror! If you don’t go to this show, you are missing out. Make time to see it!


Let’s get onto the pics!


The Haunt Vehicle out front!


They have new flame affects all the way around the water!


It's a VIP Night!


First Stop....


Gold Striker, all by ourselves!



The new food option was very terrific!


Shrimp, Bruschetta, Stuffed Mushrooms and Crab Cakes for appetizers!


Roast Beef carving station


The indoor seating.


Dessert area





The outdoor area




The Overlord's Resurrection...


This is an actual spider and web outside the exit to Madame Marie's Massacre Manor


That's it for now....

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Had a blast at haunt last night: favorite maze was definitely Massacre Manor! Dia de Los Muertos was very cool to look at, but did not strike me as scary, or even really startling at all. I was curious about the building it was in, the Pictorium. What is/was this and when and why did it close? I've seen it from Goldstriker and always wondered, I'm fairly new to the park, but I've visited a lot this year.

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Finally, Haunt Review time! This was also my first time out with my new 50mm lens so I was learning this lens on the fly!

So, here goes!


California's Great America's 6th annual Halloween Haunt event just started. I was invited to the Haunt VIP event which included complimentary entry into park, the new dining option "Madame Marie's VooDoo Chophouse" and exclusive ride time on Gold Striker.


The evening started off with Madame Marie's VooDoo Chophouse, the park's 'upscale' dining option.


This all you can eat buffet takes place in Maggie Brown's and includes different food from the park's basic Fright Feast option (formerly known as Pre Scare Boofet) such as prime rib, fried catfish, Maggie Brown's fried chicken, red beans and rice, cesar salad, and more! If the tasty menu was not enough, thrown in was bonus ERT on Gold Striker (from 5-7) and a single use Fright Lane pass good for a single maze.


The Gold Striker ERT was a nice surprise as there was literally no wait. Riders could marathon the ride until 7PM, when Haunt opened.


Now let's take a look at this season's Haunt's offerings!




Dia De Los Muertos (NEW)


This maze was formerly ran at Great America's sister park, Knott's Berry Farm. This colorful maze is themed to Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Dia De Los Muertos replaced Club Blood, one of CGA's original mazes when Haunt first opened. Club Blood felt like it was only struggling over the seasons so it was due for a replacement.


Design: This maze, as mentioned is very colorful! Like CarnEvil, this maze also utilizes the upcharge $1 3D glasses. Using the glasses definitely enhances the vibrance of the maze, and can also be headache inducing for some. I managed to go through the maze in its entirety fine however. In the end, this maze is very vibrant regardless of the 3D glasses. The whole Day of the Dead theme was pulled off rather well. There's a moment where you're walking through a bar, to the next moment where you're going through a church. Toward the end you venture through a rather well-done jungle as you are actually winding your way around inside the defunct Pictorium.


Scares: While there were a few good scares (Startle moments), this maze appears to live off of its visuals. It's not really meant to be a gore-fest unlike its neighboring Slaughterhouse maze.


Overall: This was a pretty solid maze, even if it isn't the scariest. It is what I like to describe as "eye candy." This is also a "headliner maze," meaning that it's located at the front of the park and is one of the first mazes people will run into. The lines remained consistently full Saturday night, making the front of the line pass a must use.


Zombie High (NEW)


Zombie High is CGA's other new for 2013 maze, located behind Grizzly taking up half of the area where Cornstalkers sat. The maze is located inside of a newly constructed metal building. So let's take a trip inside Bayside High School!


Design: This maze was done up to look like a high school, featuring several elements we'd expect to see in a high school setting. This included the band room, chemistry class, library, nurse's office, and even a high school dance! For those who are no longer in high school or even collage will feel a sense of nostalgia whether it's the classic desks we sat at or the old overhead projectors. Also, you have to love Bayside High's turtle mascot!


On opening night, it seemed as though it were too bright inside and as it had just opened, not all of the talent were quite in their groove. While there may be no lines initially as it's at the back of the park, the trade off is a possible lackluster first impression, which the left maze for us initially. Doing it the second evening proved to be a better experience as there appeared to be more talent and talent had more of a grasp at their technique. Also considering this was opening weekend, the outside maze facade appeared to be incomplete as it wasn't quite painted yet (for an unspecified reason). It could be different come following weekend!


Scares: There could be some great scares to be had in here, especially if you fear zombies. Some of my favorite spots were walking through the closet hallway (where marching band uniforms hang), the zombie on bungee cords in the lecture hall/theater (he actually lunged inches toward me before quickly flinging back to his platform), and the gym/school dance (where I had to figure out which were live actors and which were just mannequins).


Overall: While ZH originally left a lackluster impression, it has potential to be a solid maze. Where this maze loses some points however is where you can see the upcoming rooms from even toward the beginning of the maze...potentially taking away from any surprise elements.


Toy Factory:


The 2009 maze gets a major overhaul for the 2013 season, giving off a fresh new experience. While the layout is essentially the same, much of the rooms have changed. Toy Factory was famous for it's unique ending, where guests navigated down a dark, claustrophobic hallway (hallway made of inflatable walls that would squish guests).




Design: Toy Factory is a huge nostalgia fest for Haunt's target audience. Their childhood toys become their worst nightmares. There are many different rooms including the classic strobe light bedroom (which is quite odd to walk through), game room (which was revamped), and another room with games that had a mini card maze where you can quickly ditch your friends. From here, something was dramatically changed. Gone is the claustrophobic hallway and instead, you are lead to the cargo room. In a sense, this was probably a smart move as the hallway always provided traffic jams and greatly lowered maze capacity. For Toy Factory fans, this was actually a huge disappointment. The maze ends with the toy store.


Scares: Raggedy Ann may give you the creeps. I actually had a quick spook in the strobe room where the dolls appeared from nowhere. While it didn't make me jump, it was more of a "Woah, how did she just suddenly appear?" experience. The talent was really into what they were doing. Even Sonic the Hedgehog makes an appearance! Of course, this may not quite be the Sonic you'd really want to encounter!


Overall: Toy Factory remains to be a solid experience even though one of its highlights was removed. It will in the end help increase capacity. Lastly, you can't go wrong with its annoyingly catchy theme song!




Cornstalkers was revamped to make way for Zombie High and now takes place on the opposite side of Barney Oldfield’s track, closer toward Demon. This is no longer the park’s longest maze but that is not a bad thing at all.


Design: As mentioned, Cornstalkers was dramatically altered due to the new for 2013 Zombie High. The original maze was the park’s longest maze but was perhaps too long for its own good. The long length left talent too far spread out and the maze didn’t pick up its pace until the second half. With the revision, Cornstalkers now starts off in what actually now feels like a cornstalk maze. You are assigned to 1 of 3 entries which eventually merge to a main path. The tight corners can provide some good hiding places. Once out of the cornstalk maze, you pass by the familiar trucks and vehicles as well as the humorous outhouses (complete with farting noises). The maze wraps up inside of Grizzly’s first and final turnaround.


Scares: As noted above, the first part of the maze with high walls and tight corners actually give a sense of uncertainty. I was fortunate enough to visit this maze when there was no line and the group could pick any path. I decided to take a path solo and it was a completely different experience going down an empty path. Lots of fake costumed characters are blended in with some real characters, building up suspense.


Overall: Cornstalkers is hugely improved. There are no dead spots and the maze does not drag on forever as its predecessor did. This feels like a fresh new experience. The maze starts and ends in the same vicinity, no longer disrupting any flow if you’re visiting the mazes in order.


Now that we’ve looked at some of the new/revised mazes, let’s take a look at some of the classics.


Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor:


MMMM was new for 2012 and remains to be the same experience as last year. MMMM is one of those mazes in which there’s a lot of attention to detail. In fact, we are still finding things in there that we missed on previous visits. This maze is located near the former Invertigo site. In fact, the metal building structure sits on the spot where Invertigo’s lifts were.



Design: MMMM is themed to a mansion and the practice of Voodoo. The maze uses a lot of antique props and dim lighting to really make this feel like you’re walking through an old mansion. It is actually easy to forget that you’re really in a metal building. The amount of detail in this maze is top notch and the lighting is just right. As guests navigate their way through the maze the end in a cellar with a nice surprise scare! The music is also amazing and really adds to the mood of the maze.


Scares: This maze is loaded with potential scares. Not that we want to spoil anything but there’s been quite a few startles to be had in the portrait hallway. You never know what is going to happen. The lighting in the maze also helps hide some of the characters and can appear to come out of nowhere. Much of the talent are also really into their act and add to the feel that something bad is about to happen.




Overall: This is actually one of our favorite mazes for the above mentioned reasons. The lines can get long for this so it’s best to visit this maze early before the crowds make their way toward the middle of the park. On opening weekend, the lines actually remained pretty short even after doing the back of the park mazes. Things can and will change as we go further into Haunt season.


Slaughterhouse Annihilation:


Slaughterhouse was one of the original mazes from 2008, located near the new Gold Striker and Xtreme Sky Flyer ride, and was given a facelift in 2011. Not much has changed about this maze since its debut and remains to be the gore fest it’s always been!


Design: Slaughterhouse Annihilation portrays a slaughterhouse, using people instead of animals for meat production. The maze is probably one of the goriest, grossest mazes in all of Haunt. It is also very dark and oftentimes hard to navigate due to the immense amount of fog used inside. Lack of visibility actually makes this interesting as you absolutely don’t know what’s going to come out at you. The audio used in Slaughterhouse is very fitting as well. Unlike Toy Factory (in which its ending element left fans disappointed), Slaughter House has it’s squishy hallway running.




Scares: If you’re squeamish, this maze may not be for you. As said, this maze is a gore fest. Dark corridors offer ample places for monsters to hide and get you. However, this maze doesn’t have a lot of sudden ‘pop out’ scares, and heavily relies on characters staying in character. Depending on staff, this can make or break the maze.


Overall: Yet another solid maze and one of the “headliner” mazes in which everyone entering the park all flock to first. It is best to do this maze later in the evening when crowds have dispersed throughout the park. On opening night, the wait was 45 minutes and that was without using all of the switchbacks.




CarnEvil is another original Haunt maze that actually debuted in 2007 before Great America had a full on Haunt. CarnEvil ran afternoon through closing in 2007 and was free to experience. This maze was the first maze for the park to have in the park’s history and served as a “demo” for what was about to be in store for the 2008 season.


Design: CarnEvil is a brightly colored maze with heavy use of black lights and fluorescent paint. Due to the nature of this maze, guests can purchase $1 3D glasses to enhance their experience. Inside the maze there’s classic carnival and amusement park-themed elements including a small hall of mirrors, broken carnival games, a cotton candy hallway, and freaks in a ‘freak enclosure.’ Lastly, one can’t go wrong with the theme song played in CarnEvil.


Scares: This maze utilizes a lot of ‘startle scares’ via sudden movements and loud bangs. There are also elements where clowns are camouflaged with the background (polkadot hallway), or the cotton candy lady hiding among the cotton candy coated walls. Many people suffer from coulrophobia (fear of clowns) further adding to the experience.


Overall: While this is Haunt’s oldest maze, it remains one of our favorites. It’s a classic and it’s a keeper! It’s advisable to visit this later though the lines can remain lengthy throughout the night. We waited 15-20 minutes at midnight on opening weekend.


Last but not least on the list of mazes…


Werewolf Canyon:


Werewolf Canyon is the second oldest and completely unchanged maze inside the park, which debuted in 2008. Werewolf Canyon uses the River Rapids turntable and exit path. This is one of those mazes that once started off great but somehow fell into a slump. Werewolves used to use chainsaws which really added to the atmosphere but ever since they were removed, much of the scare factor has diminished. Let’s take a look at how it’s doing this year.


Design: As said, the layout and elements have remained the same since 2008 and is probably due for a revamp. The maze starts off on the rapids turntable as you walk through a cabin. You exit out the back door and take a long walk through the woods where werewolves run amok. It is very dark once you reach this spot. After a long stretch of dark woods, you navigate through a burlap sack maze outfitted with bright strobe lights. As you push the burlap strips out of the way, you may come face-to-face with a werewolf which can be quite startling!


Scares: This maze was in a slump over the past few seasons but seems to be improving. Our favorite moments are along the back area where a larger-sized werewolf blocks the path and stands as still as possible. When you least expect it, he lunges toward you. The burlap sack maze section is another great opportunity for some good startles.


Overall: This maze isn’t perfect and still lives as the weakest maze but has improved quite a bit over the seasons. More of the characters are getting into their character and adding to the atmosphere. It would be nice if the park brought back the chainsaws.


Scare Zones:


Great America has 3 scare zones, areas where monsters free roam the midways and scare guests as they walk around the park. The park originally had 4 of them but one was retired in 2011.


The Gauntlet:


This scare zone is located just out in front of CarnEvil and is loaded with clowns and freaks! The mix of lighting and fog provides moments for clowns to come out of nowhere, or for a slider to come sliding out in front of you. The character is really strong in The Gauntlet and has always been one of the strongest scare zones over the seasons.


Underworld Alley:


Underworld Alley is located right in front of Demon (how appropriate!) and has sometimes rivaled The Gauntlet but has also fallen into the underworld with lackluster performance. This scare zone utilizes 2 paths, one just outside of the arbor tunnel and the other going through. With the amount of staff and double paths, Underworld Alley can be a hit or a miss. We’ve walked through and found not a single minion on our venture through. Other times, we’ve been tormented my several minions!

Deadman’s Cove:



Deadman’s Cove is the weakest of the 3 scare zones. What exactly would make this the weakest anyway? First off, Deadman’s cove spans across a large area. With a limited crew, the area feels sparse. In 2011, Dead Man’s Cove was expanded into the KidZville area and was given a custom soundtrack. The soundtrack has been missing since, giving this area a nonexistent feel. Lastly and most importantly, Deadman’s cove has probably the least enthusiastic talent.


Bonus attraction – Funhouse Express:


Funhouse Express is a ridefilm that was recently added to Great America’s AFX theater and runs during day and Haunt. Funhouse Express is a quirky, family-friendly film that is actually pretty entertaining and proves to be a fun ride! The ride appears to use a claymation style and despite it being from the mid 1990’s, it still looks great and the 3D effects are pretty decent. If doing both full day at park and Haunt, it’s advisable to do this during the day to allow for more time to check out mazes and shows during Haunt.


Bonus video: Rare nighttime Star Tower POV during Haunt:



Ready to roll!


As is my neighbor, her first special park event.


Kicking off the evening we had a fantastic meal at Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse!


They are using the Maggie Brown's restaurant and have themed it nicely!


Ice sculpture, awesome!


Yummy food too!


Flagg and rjvader join the table


Invite to CGA's VIP Haunt event


Flagg o' Dim taking a pic of me taking a pic of him (now we see this from the other side :) )


Madame Marie herself appears at our table :) She got after me for 'playing with my phone' instead of eating (I was updating my blogs)


Madame Marie's 2 pet hands Heidi and Handley


Crowds await the Overlord's resurrection.


He has risen (and gained a few pounds over the off season)


Blue Fire Guy captures the moment of the risen Overlord.


Venturing into Underworld Alley



Blue Fire Guy films as he makes his way through the arbor tunnel...Take the tunnel!


WHYYYYY!!!! (Because I said so!)


Toy Factory, ending has been altered quite a bit.


Now down the 3000 mile path to Zombie High


Unfortunately Zombie High appears to still have some work to be done on the facade. I can't wait to see how it looks in its finished state!


A welcome addition to CGA...Flame throwers!


Dia De Los Muertos ending, visible from the queue.


Again, why do we always take photos of each other taking photos of each other?






CarnEvil, still a very popular maze despite its age!


More Gauntlet


"He cut my mouth into a smile and caged me with the freaks!"


Dead Man's Cove (Literally dead that night)



Who says we can't have a little fun putting on our scary faces?


Underworld Alley revisited.


Fire, can never go old!




Toy Factory


Star Tower watching over the park, as much as it offered rare Haunt rides Friday evening (See POV)


CGA is now offering upcharge photos to be taken with the monsters.


The Gauntlet


And more fire! (I absolutely love this!)


Latecomers will be greeted to what looks like the park being on fire!


Blades of Horror Cirque du Soliel-like presentation...awesome show!


This does not look the slightest bit comfortable or possible.


Again, fire always makes things better!



Goodnight CGA, had an awesome time at Haunt!

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CGA has done an awesome job with Haunt this year, from the new upscale buffet, new awesome show Blades Of Horror, and the overall atmosphere (The flames in the reflection pool are freakin' awesome!) Kudos to CGA! Looking forward to the rest of Haunt!

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My guesses is that next season we will see more sprucing up of the property, and a new show to replace Happiness is Snoopy. I imagine the next 'big one' will be in 2016 for the park's 40th. Though they did celebrate their 35th with the removal of Invertigo and near JMA-ization of the park (beyond CGA's control).


Come end of season I will do my 2013 season recap and see how close my 2012 expectations were to becoming a reality...and post my detailed 2013 guesses/speculation/hopes.

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