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Photo TR: Kings Dominion Haunt & VIP Dinner


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I've spent two straight Saturdays at Kings Dominion's Haunt this year with two different friends (Eric Johnson and Guy Koepp). I took away one valuable lesson from these two excursions: If you try to do Haunt on a Saturday night without Fright Lane, you're insane and need psychiatric care immediately!

 

Yes, Haunt on a Saturday night can be frightening, indeed. The park was open until midnight, but people were lining up for mazes an hour before they opened, and lines were spilling into the midways (and the queues of closed rides) until after 10:30. Fortunately, while we may be a bit "touched" for being there on a Saturday, we weren't insane and sprung for Fight Lane Plus.

 

And what, exactly, is the "plus"?--Skeleton Key rooms. KD has five such rooms. Two are at the beginning of the Maze of Madness and Slaughter House; the other three are in scare zones (Cleaver Brothers Carnival, Feary Tales, and Necropolis). To escape these rooms, you had to undergo some sort of challenge--for example, of the stick-your-hand-in-a-bucket-of-goo variety. The little rooms in the scare zones (a gypsy wagon, witch's cottage, and tomb) were very well themed, and the scare actors within, for the most part, were good. The challenges themselves were, well, not that challenging (if a little disgusting), and some of the rooms could've used an extra gag or two to make them more interesting. The best one is in the Necropolis.

 

The whole Skeleton Key room concept confused a lot of people. In the scare zones, each room was marked with an "enter here" sign, and people would dutifully queue up whether they had a Skeleton Key or not. An extra sign reading "Fright Lane Plus Only" might've helped a bit, but some people will see a queue and just get in it, anyway, hoping to be rewarded.

 

Here's my take on the mazes.

 

No Vacancy (Old Virginia): Elaborate sets and some nice effects make this maze, a tour of the old Darkside Manor Hotel, complete with creepy bellhops and maids, stand out. The park put a lot of care and thought into this one. The haunted pictures in one hall are particularly cool, and it has a beautiful entrance room.

 

Corn Stalkers (International Street): Yeah, this is your standard "corn maze of the damned," but it's very well done. The path is very claustrophobic, but still gives monsters plenty of places to hide, and there are some very nice facades, too (including a working windmill). Best done after dark.

 

Zombie High (Candy Apple Grove, near Windseeker): A lab experiment at Lake Charles High has gone horribly wrong and turned the student body into bloodthirsty zombies (yeah, that's as much of a "story" as you get at Haunt). This is a solid zombie maze, where you must survive the school prom, as well as dangling brassieres and jock straps. The principal's PA announcements are a highlight ("Do not eat today's meatloaf! I repeat, do not eat the meatloaf!").

 

Doll Factory (Camp Snoopy): A creepy toy company makes dolls from human body parts. This maze has been here for a few years, but it's a good one, with a particularly strong last room. There's just something about old china dolls that never fails to creep me out.

 

Lockdown (Flight of Fear queue): This is the one new maze this year. Again, they did a nice job on the sets (particularly a two-level cell block and execution chamber), but this is really just another zombie maze (only with convicts and guards). But, for once, the FoF queue isn't the home of Haunt's worst maze, and we enjoyed this one for the sets alone.

 

Slaughter House (Candy Apple Grove, laser tag building): Hillbilly cannibals run a meat packing plant. Not much more to say here. Decent "B level" maze.

 

Maze of Madness (Candy Apple Grove, Dodgem pavilion): Yes, you guessed it --it's an insane asylum of the damned. MoM has appeared in different forms at Haunt over the years, and this version is OK. But I prefer the old tent version from past Haunts (bare bones, but lots of fog with lunatics scrambling over chain-link fences).

 

Club Blood (Candy Apple Grove, Hurler turnaround): This night club for bloodsuckers is getting a bit long in the tooth (pun intended), and I think it's time it was retired. The whole vampire rave thing just seems so, well, early 21st century.

 

The scare zones offer the usual assortment of cannibals, evil clowns, steampunk freaks, vampires, and ghouls. KD does scare zones really well, and the scare actors tend to be pretty aggressive. The Haunted House 3D flick is back in the Action Theater (rather fond of this one), and the antique car ride has been transformed into Tollway Terror.

 

Guy and I also tried out the pre-Haunt VIP meal, which is held in the Caprice Room over the Starbucks on International Street. The theme was "Alien Autopsy," and the three-course dinner was very good. It was prepared by the park's executive chef and was much better than standard Kings Dominion fare. They're also offering the Cleaver Brothers Sideshow Buffet and the Annex at Club Blood (a bar) in Candy Apple Grove. It's good to see the park upgrading its special-event food this year. The VIP Meal was about $35/person and was worth it.

 

Here's a look at KD's Haunt. I didn't lug my camera around, so these were all taken with my phone and come from two different Saturday nights.

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Hmm--not too scary yet.

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I pay my respects to the dearly departed.

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When one visits Kings Dominion, one must ride Intimidator 305. To not do so would be uncivilized.

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Welcome to the Caprice Room.

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I thought the theme was "Alien Autopsy," not "Alien Sexual Practices."

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I really should remember to take the picture first, then a bite. This is "Fried Brain Matter with Mucus," but it tasted a lot like a fried green tomato (and a good one, too).

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The "Charred Human Flesh" tasted like a nice steak, so maybe the cannibals are on to something.

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Time for dessert!

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Very appetizing, indeed.

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So, human guts taste like cinnamon bread pudding, vanilla ice cream, and strawberries. Who knew?

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"Ugh! Should've turned down that 'wafer-thin mint.'" Again, well done, Chef Paul--well done!

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When the boogie-boogie eyes are engaged, Haunt begins.

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"So, you have dared to visit Haunt on a Saturday night? I hope you fools thought to purchase Fright Lane Plus!"

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"Behold these who failed to buy Fright Lane! They have impaled themselves in despair!"

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NO BOO FOR YOU! (You can buy one of these in any gift shop to keep monsters away. Why do these people even come to Haunt?)

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Feary Tales is the best of the scare zones. Beware the ill-tempered Red Riding Hood--she has an ax!

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Please, for the love of God, if you don't have Fight Lane Plus, don't queue up here!

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I liked these guard towers they built for Lockdown. Suggestion: Put guards in them and have working searchlights.

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This might be the most un-PC scare zone ever.

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Nice atmosphere, though. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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One more set of horrifying photos. Look--if you dare!

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The Maze of Madness has a medieval facade, but is a bit more modern inside.

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"Diarrhea is a storm that rages inside you!" (My thanks to MST3K for this line.)

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The Fright Lane line is on the left, the regular queue on the right. Fright Lane was pretty backed up for Maze of Madness, perhaps due to the nature of the "challenge." By the way, to find the Fright Lane entrance, look for a light-up red spider.

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OK, where's that carnival zone? I know it's around here somewhere, if I could only see through all this blasted fog!

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This Skeleton Key room was a bit weak the first time I did it, as the actor inside wasn't very good (he seemed like a last-minute replacement). It was better the second time, thanks to a different actor, who was much more into the role.

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Does every Cedar Fair park have one of these?

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Slaughter House has been at Haunt in one form or another for years . . .

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. . . yet this guy still isn't done. Talk about slow cooking!

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The facades for Club Blood and Zombie High. The latter had a very long line that used Windseeker's queue. Club Blood's line wasn't so long (at least when we did the maze).

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Welcome to the Necropolis! Plots and crypts available now! Beat the rush!

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Where there's a Skeleton Key room, you're probably going to find a skeleton.

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This sign lied last Saturday. There were two live actors in the tollway. However, the first time I rode this, a KD employee took great pains to point out that there were "NO LIVE ACTORS" in this attraction. I have no idea why this was such a big deal that night.

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Nice night for a drive, eh?

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This is the "Unstrung" show in Old Virginia. It has to do with some puppet master losing control of his puppets or something. I don't know. They did dance to a lot of random songs while random creepy images were projected behind them.

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Let's see . . . half-naked guys with grinders and drums, and a half-naked chick with fire. Yes, "Blood Drums" has something for everyone.

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Park the car, would you? I'll see about checking in to Darkside Manor. As for checking out, well . . .

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Corn Stalkers is surprisingly good.

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The park built some really nice facades for this maze.

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That's it for Haunt. Thanks for reading!

Edited by cfc
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my partner and were at the park this sunday. We did the all day pass for ride and scream , and I must say, going at opening on sunday morning is abb sooo luutltly fantasmick ! No lines whatsoever for Volcano and 305 . The park was dead and no lines at all . the bad part was that it was only 50 degrees for the high that day. But wow, was 305 intense !! We did not encounter any lines whatsoever until about 6 pm. even then the lines at most were 10 minutes. It was super cold for us floridas boys, but man did we have fun. We did all the haunts from 6 pm untli 8:30 or so. man ,what fun, even tho the temps got down to an udgawdly 35 degrees.

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Also made it to the park on Saturday. Got to say, I was happy my girlfriend and I had our free fast lane plusses from our platinum pass renewals as well as splurging for the Fright Lane. The big 3 coasters had some crazy lines (for KD at least). My favorite ride of the night might have been Grizzly though. While it isn't exactly the Beast, it still feels out of control in the darkness and was hauling.

 

My highlights of the Haunt had to be Zombie High School (fun and I loved the PA announcements too) and Cornstalkers (need more outdoor mazes!). I thought No Vacancy was a little weak this year with seemingly fewer actors and the very high crowd throughput they were going for gave fewer opportunities for "personalized" scares. Lockdown was a pleasant surprise at least and significant improvement over haunts there from years past. I also thought the Annex was really cool with fun music and a lively DJ but the barstaff were a little slow and my draft beer was served lukewarm which I rationalized as being less unpleasant on a chilly night.

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^I liked No Vacancy the best mainly because of the sets, but I agree that Corn Stalkers and Zombie High had more "scares." Club Blood needs a "transfusion" to give it a bit more . . . life?

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Also made it to the park on Saturday. Got to say, I was happy my girlfriend and I had our free fast lane plusses from our platinum pass renewals as well as splurging for the Fright Lane. The big 3 coasters had some crazy lines (for KD at least). My favorite ride of the night might have been Grizzly though. While it isn't exactly the Beast, it still feels out of control in the darkness and was hauling.

 

How were you able to use the free Fast Lane Plus for Saturday? When I got mine through Cedar Point it wasn't good on Saturdays.

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Also made it to the park on Saturday. Got to say, I was happy my girlfriend and I had our free fast lane plusses from our platinum pass renewals as well as splurging for the Fright Lane. The big 3 coasters had some crazy lines (for KD at least). My favorite ride of the night might have been Grizzly though. While it isn't exactly the Beast, it still feels out of control in the darkness and was hauling.

 

How were you able to use the free Fast Lane Plus for Saturday? When I got mine through Cedar Point it wasn't good on Saturdays.

Probably because Kings Dominion's FLP only goes for $75 on Saturday while I heard Cedar Point was charging well into the triple digits for there's on Saturdays so far this fall.

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Fright Lane Plus, which doesn't include rides, cost me $50 online, and the VIP Dinner was $34.95. (I'm a passholder, so admission wasn't a factor that night.)

Edited by cfc
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You're all lucky, Wonderland had no scarezones this year, 200 less monsters than last year and no clowns. However, Spirit Manor is now my favourite maze. The scenery was just incredible. You guys also pay wayyyyy more for your Haunt than at Wonderland. Our meal was only $13.55 this year with Friday Haunts only $32.99 with SP. Our mazes have very simple facades. Our Haunt was cut back a bit this year, I don't really know why.

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^Haunt at Kings Dominion is just part of your admission (or season pass). But a "part of your admission" event becomes an upcharge when you have to spring for Fright Lane (plus the VIP Dinner). They also offered a lower-cost buffet by the pizza restaurant in the Cleaver Brothers Carnival scare zone.

Edited by cfc
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Was one of the Saturday's you were there the 10th? I was on Volcano early that morning and as the train left I thought I saw you waiting for the front car. I hung around the gift shop a bit but never saw you, so I thought I was seeing things. Park was getting so busy that afternoon we decide to skip the haunt and head over to Busch Gardens.

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You're all lucky, Wonderland had no scarezones this year, 200 less monsters than last year and no clowns. However, Spirit Manor is now my favourite maze. The scenery was just incredible. You guys also pay wayyyyy more for your Haunt than at Wonderland. Our meal was only $13.55 this year with Friday Haunts only $32.99 with SP. Our mazes have very simple facades. Our Haunt was cut back a bit this year, I don't really know why.

 

I thought the Haunt at Wonderland was a completely separate event. Don't they close the park at 5 and then reopen for the Haunt? I was considering checking it out but I read that a Platinum Pass would only get you a discount admission to the Haunt and decided it wasn't worth it. If this is true, I paid less for my two days at Cedar Point ($0 with Platinum Pass) than I would have paid at Wonderland for a Friday night.

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Was one of the Saturday's you were there the 10th? I was on Volcano early that morning and as the train left I thought I saw you waiting for the front car. I hung around the gift shop a bit but never saw you, so I thought I was seeing things. Park was getting so busy that afternoon we decide to skip the haunt and head over to Busch Gardens.

 

Yep--I was there with a friend visiting from Florida. We were at the park all day and did Haunt that night.

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Had a great time hanging out with you on the 17th. Yes, Fright Lane w/ Skeleton Key is a must. And I loved the served VIP meal. It was a delicious meal and very different from many other haunt type early Boo-fets. As soon as I have a chance to get back home for more than a couple of days, I will, if you don't mind, supplement some of my pictures to this thread.

 

Take care man. See ya soon.

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As soon as I have a chance to get back home for more than a couple of days, I will, if you don't mind, supplement some of my pictures to this thread.

 

Take care man. See ya soon.

 

Go right ahead.

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I would have been wearing one of those "no boo" things.

 

Love horror movies, and like looking at the props, but do NOT like being touched or snuck up on. Which is why I don't do the mazes or haunted houses when I go with friends to these type of things.

 

I think it's a great idea that they offer those for that option. . bright orange, no boo.

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Okay wait, are you telling me that Haunt at Kings Dominion is FREE if you have a season pass?

Yes, Peabody, Haunt at Canada's Wonderland starts at 7PM for the public or you can buy the VIP Mortal Meal Deal for $13.55, get in at 5:30 and get into 2 early mazes at 6:30, before the public. Our Saturday Haunt costs $38.99 online and more for walk-ups. Is it only Kings Dominion that has a FREE Haunt or does any other Cedar Fair park include Haunt with a season pass? Cedar Point is over one hundred dollars?

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Okay wait, are you telling me that Haunt at Kings Dominion is FREE if you have a season pass?

Yes, Peabody, Haunt at Canada's Wonderland starts at 7PM for the public or you can buy the VIP Mortal Meal Deal for $13.55, get in at 5:30 and get into 2 early mazes at 6:30, before the public. Our Saturday Haunt costs $38.99 online and more for walk-ups. Is it only Kings Dominion that has a FREE Haunt or does any other Cedar Fair park include Haunt with a season pass? Cedar Point is over one hundred dollars?

 

Cedar Point's Halloweekends is included in the daily admission. My wife doesn't have a Platinum Pass so we bought her a two-day ticket when we checked into the Breakers on Friday afternoon. The Haunt at Kings Island is also included, the only inconveniences being that you can't leave the park and re-enter after the Haunt starts and that the outdoor scare zones have queue lines, unlike Cedar Point, where you can walk through any except Cornstalkers.

 

I believe Scarowinds is also a separate event with a separate charge, but I'm not sure if the Platinum Pass is accepted for it. I don't know about Kings Dominion or any of the other Cedar Fair parks.

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Okay wait, are you telling me that Haunt at Kings Dominion is FREE if you have a season pass?

 

That is correct. It's part of admission. Same thing for Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Edited by cfc
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Wait! Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Haunts are all INCLUDED with day passes and regular season passes? How long has this been? Always? If so, then why have Canada's Wonderland season pass holders, as well as the general public, been paying for our Haunt? I know Wonderland considers it a 'special event', but I, and my brother have been paying for Haunt since Cedar Fair bought Wonderland back in 2006 and even before that as well when it was Fearfest. Hmmmmm, I wonder how many Canadian Cedar Fair season pass holders know about this. This doesn't seem 'fair'. (get it?) Your 'free' Haunts even have more monsters and mazes than we do. Something doesn't seem right. We even had our Haunt cut back this year, less monsters, no scarezones, no Haunt merchandise, and yet, season pass holders still paid around $32.99. Yep, something is not right.

 

Oh, by the way,

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

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