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CGA Haunt vs. SFDK Fright Fest

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Well as some of you know(and the rest are about to) I work at SFDK, I have for the past 6 years. So I'm sure I will get some of you CGA fan boys mad if I claim anything is better at SFDK's Fright Fest over CGA's Haunt, but be warned, there is quite a bit.


I'll break up my comparisons in parts and then give an over all opinion of both.



SFDK - Upon arrival to the park you are greeted by massive spider webs over the entry plaza and a huge spider making his home over the turnstiles. Once in the park you see spider webs covering all the buildings and trees. Directly behind the Kingdom Stage, we find path ways blocked off to create this year's Graveyard complete with smoldering ground, skeletons, sleeping vampires in the trees, and an open grave that plays home to the Jimmy in the Hole attraction.


The dolphin fountain has been removed for FF and replaced with a large torch(lit at 5pm just before parade) with skeletons impaled on metal spike sticking out from it.


Elsewhere in the park there are spider webs EVERYWHERE, Looney Tunes Seaport is decked out with black light lit houses with spooky images in the windows(kid friendly). In the old Zombie Zone you can find nearly 1,000 pumpkins lining the path way. In Lakeside Pavilion the Justice League stage's backdrop is replaced with a larg graves stone that says "Fright Fest 2008."


Even little things help too like at night Medusa's station is very dark and you hear hissing and screaming coming from beneath the floors.


CGA - Entering the park there is few visuals to look at other than a few webs here and there. The park sound does play spooky noises and a recording plays over and over telling us that it's the biggest halloween event in norther california. Once in the park, the Columbia Carousel looks awesome with huge webs and spiders on it, all around the pond there is the Skeleton Beach themeing which turned out very nice. The water in the pond was up lit as red(too bad they didn't follow SFGAm's example and dye it). The whole park had a ton of fog which was cool and it all seemed to linger. Elsewhere in the park, other than scare zones and houses, I couldn't find much themeing to say it was a halloween event.



SFDK - 2 houses, Kamp Khaos and Tinseltown Terror. For anyone who visited FF last year, you will be completely surprised and happy to know that Kamp Khaos has improved 400%... with a larger layout, better sound, and more scares it's become a great house. Tinseltown Terror has a more suspenseful feel with longer and disorienting halls between scenes and features a clown room that gives one of the best frights I've ever seen in a Haunted House.


CGA - 5 House, This is where haunt shined. The houses we VERY well made, with great themeing and long lengths. Club Blood and Slaughterhouse(especially Slaughterhouse) stood out as the good scares. In my opinion, the talent in these 2 houses were the most into it. CornStalkers and Werewolf Canyon, though both themed very well, were disappointing. Both of them felt under staffed(maybe a bad night?). In CornStalkers, we saw maybe 10 actors in what felt like the largest house. It was even worse in Werewolf, there were only 4 actors in the whole thing and NONE even tried to scare us. As for CarnEvil, well I'm not a good judge for this one, 3D mazes just don't do it for me.


I'll throw Camp Gonnagetcha in this one. This was to me the scariest attraction, I jumped more at the talent on this ride than all the houses combined. Great enthusiasm and great themeing.



SFDK - They knocked it out of the park this year with a great dose of entertainment for everyone:

Dracula for Kids - A funny show for the little ones

Morty the Mortician - A insult puppet show that is just hilarious.

Time Warp/Thriller - Zombie Dance in the main plaza

Twilight Funeral Procession - Small Parade that marks the start of Fright Fest at 5pm

Zombie Zone - Large Scare zone now in Oasis Plaza

The Chili Shack - Small Scare zone featuring inbred rednecks with chain-saws

Cornstalk Man - Small Scare zone featuring a corn wall with a surprise.

Jimmy in the Whole - Interactive talking grave

Twick or Tweat Trail - chance for the kids to get candy

Hay Maze - Small Maze for kids

Harley Newman's Scandalous Sideshow - You just have to see it.

and themed animal shows including Shouka Show, Dolphin Show, and a Sea Lion Show.



Hypnotist(only one I saw of the 3 shows sadly) - VERY Entertaining

Comedy show in GA Theater

Ed Alanzo Magic Show

4 Scare Zones - Gauntlet was the best, the 2 bridge ones were a little lame and the one near CarnEvil had 3 zombies.

Jack in the Box - A cool animatronic that is fun to watch.

Electric Chair Man - Animatronic that would be cool if we hadn't seen it in Brutal Planet for 8 years at SFDK.



I hate to say it, I think Six Flags wins. I've always felt that the mazes are the icing on the cake but the event shouldn't be just about them and that's what I felt Haunt did. CGA's houses did blow away SFDK's but i felt the talent inside wasn't as good as SFDK's. I hope this is just a First Year problem and look forward to CGA putting on a great even to come and SFDK continuing to bring Fright Fest back to it's original glory days of the 99 and 2000 seasons.



On a side not, CGA's operators are HORRIBLE! Unfriendly and I just don't feel safe with them. PERFECT example, while riding Demon, the attendant on the Exit side would check restraints real quick, barely making contact with the restraint as he passed by. He would then go to the exit and proceed to make out with a guest and put his hand down her shirt. This is not an exaggeration. We watched this for 2 or 3 cycles.

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Just kidding, good post Kev. Honestly you have a lot of options when it comes down to it in Cali. Growing up in So. Cal ( X Perilous Plunge Crew Member) I saw Fright Fest at SFMM, Haunt at Knotts, Horror Nights at Universal and several other small offerings in the Area. This year I was able to attend SFMM Fright Fest, Haunt at CGA and our very own Fright Fest at SFDK. Last year I got back from my deployment overseas mid October and I saw Fright Fest at SFDK upon returning to work as an Op and I was like WTF? Who did this? A crackhead from the Vallejo ghetto? But this year, this year was quite an improvement. I'd rather have 2 good quality mazes where the talent hits their marks 99.9% percent of the time than have a claimed 5 or more (not saying any names) "mazes" where talent missed their marks 99.9% of the time. While Haunt at CGA was nice, and I understand its still in its first year, there room for improvement. To prove a point:


Kevin and I both attended Haunt the same night. He had a bad experience at CornStalkers and Werewolf where as I had an AWESOME experience. He loved Club Blood, I thought it was short and Knotts did so much more.


I also had a good first run at Carnivore while the second time it seemed everyone but the caged up dude had gone home.


Though Camp Gonnaghetcha was awesome, I liked seeing crazies run after the log! And TopGun was awesome (the movie that made me join the Navy lol) and Drop Zone were great as per usual.


Either way Nor-Callians have a great selection this year, two different parks offering similar but mostly different FRIGHTAKULAR packages. See em both and decide yourself.


Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever. Its an Honor to share the battlefield.



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Hey guys,


Good posts. I haven't been to Fright Fest yet. We were hoping to go on Sunday, but got side-tracked.


We liked CGA's Haunt. I wish we could have done the Camp Gonna Getcha. That looked like it would be a blast! I also wanted to go through Cornstalker, but the line was insane.


From looking at SFDK, during the daytime, I like what you guys have done. This really shouldn't be a competition thing, but I can understand how that can come out.


We like both places and both SFDK and CGA have outdone themselves this year. As I stated, I can only talk about the daytime at SFDK, but their decorations and theming have expanded greatly.


We can't wait to come up there for Holiday in the Park too!

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^^I'm am going to definitely disagree with you on a lot of things because like you work at SFDK, I work at CGA. First off, this is CGA's first year at doing Haunt so you have to give them a break. SFDK only has TWO mazes. The main reason people go to these events is for the mazes, not the decorations around the park. Sure it adds to the atmosphere, but people aren't paying money to just look at decorations. Just like you stated, you are very biased towards SFDK as I am towards CGA.


Ok, here's what offended me. Calling the ride operators, like myself, horrible is going a little to far. I HIGHLY doubt the ride operator at Demon was doing what you stated. When I went to SFDK last Summer, I saw the control operator at Medusa with her lunch and just munching away taking forever to dispatch. Not to mention the amount of operators I saw with cell phones out.


I don't want this to turn in to some big argument, but hey, we're both biased.

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Ok, here's what offended me. Calling the ride operators, like myself, horrible is going a little to far. I HIGHLY doubt the ride operator at Demon was doing what you stated. When I went to SFDK last Summer, I saw the control operator at Medusa with her lunch and just munching away taking forever to dispatch. Not to mention the amount of operators I saw with cell phones out.


You're kinda contradicting yourself there saying it's unacceptable for us to make bad remarks about CGA employees, and then turn around and talk about us.


SFDK only has TWO mazes.


Quality, not quantity.



I would also like to say that while I have not yet had the chance to experience haunt for myself, everyone I have spoken to in person (not just other SFDK employees) who has gone tells me the actors are nothing to write home about, yet all I hear on the internet is praise for them. Seems a bit suspicious to me.

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I don't think the ride operators are not HORRIBLE. I also work at CGA, and I have been sent to Demon on numerous occasions. If anything, Demon has the most strict rule enforcements. The operators actually say "Check" when checking the restraints, and they ask the guests to pull on their seat belts. Maybe you just encountered one of those less than ideal employees. Those associates are at SFDK too, along with good operators. I'm not saying that the ride operators are all perfect, just that some don't take their jobs seriously. But the ones that do care about their jobs should be praised.


Okay, let's go back to talking about the two Haunts, not a flame war about Norcal vs. Norcal.

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Wasn't lying bout the operator making out with the girl, it happened. Made a formal complaint and everything. Your right, it's not fair to make the statement about all operators... in fact the other 2 guys at the ride looked mortified that this guy was doing what he was doing. One guy was even telling him to stop(he didn't). I had a few other things with other ops, but no need to go into it.


Baaaaack to Halloween events. I didn't mean for this to become a bash one or the other park post. I guess looking back on it, it does look like put down CGA. My history with that park goes way back, that was really the park that kinda got me going since we didn't have SFDK when I was a kid... well not with the coasters at least. Demon was my first roller coaster even. I love that park. I just felt that this event was hyped more than it delivered. But it IS CGA's first year and that is why I am not too worried about the event and I'm sure it'll get better and better. Hell, look at SFDK's Holiday in the Park last year. Sure it was a fun event, but there were definitely things that were under-done and things that could have been left out. But it was our first year, and you best believe it's going to be better this year, and I'm sure even better next!

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