This isn’t survival advice so much as it’s advice to help you retain your sanity. If you go early in the year (as I have the last two years) the lines at Scary Farm are (typically) fairly manageable. I have seen the other side of the coin. Hour long waits for mazes you’ve never heard of, jam-packed with screaming teenagers and other monsters, and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds throughout the park.
With a little bit of planning (and luck) you can avoid the effects of the crowds, even if you can’t send the teeming masses packing on any given night.
Keep moving in which direction? Truthfully, it doesn’t much matter. If you got there when the park opens you have a chance to beat the crowds by heading to the left. Note: LEAVE EARLY -- traffic on Scary Farm nights on the 91 can somehow make the 91 an even WORSE place to be. You should be outside the gates about 20 minutes before the event begins so you can get the best possible jump on the crowds.
That being said, if you arrive at the park late (shame on you), you’re better off heading towards the back of the park to pick off those mazes before the crowds make their way there. Once the back has been cleaned out, you can head up front to wait in the likely expansive lines. I’m sorry.
The benefit from hitting the left side of the park first (based on the maze cluster from last year) is that there are so many mazes on that side of the park. If you get there early enough, you can hit four or five mazes within your first hour, giving you a lot of breathing room to make sure you can finish the rest of the event before closing time.
If you find yourself needing to prioritize your time (in other words, “wow, is ____ worth waiting 40 minutes?”) here is a list of what I found to be must-dos last year and what I project to be must-dos this year.
- Voodoo: New for this year, Voodoo sounds conceptually interesting and quite possibly impressively thematic. Billed as having a choose-your-path element to it, Voodoo is one of the mazes I’m most looking forward to in 2014.
- Special Ops: Infected: Also new for this year, the laser-tag inspired zombie apocalypse experience is something I am cautiously optimistic about. This could be a very bad maze with very long lines - or it could be great! Maybe!
- Forevermore: A returner from last year, Forevermore follows the path of the Nevermore Killer, a serial killer who plays out the writings of Edgar Allen Poe in his work. This was one of my favorite mazes from last year, based more on thematics than scares. It’s a fun concept and has, apparently, been expanded for the 2014 event.
- The Witch’s Keep: As much show as it is maze, The Witch’s Keep is one of the best mazes Scary Farm put on last year. When everything’s clicking, this maze puts on one hell of a show - it’s also the first maze you’ll find while heading around the left side of the park. It’s a great place to start off your night.
- Dominion of the Damned: This was the scariest maze of 2013 and I hope that it remains as such in 2014. The scares were clever and inventive, the theming was very impressive and the maze was loaded with actors who all seemed to be on the same page. This maze can be found in the maze-cluster on the left side of the park and is, in my opinion, a must-do.
In addition to the mazes, Knott’s has made shows a big part of their event. The Elvira show last year was kitschy and funny, but I have never been much a fan of any of the other annual shows Scary Farm puts on. The Hanging is a must-see for many, as actors skewer (and otherwise kill) celebrities who did things We Don’t Like in the past 12 months. So if you think Justin Bieber is fresh comedic ground, I would make time for this show.
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In other Halloween event news: Halloween Horror Nights Orlando has now unveiled their full lineup, with the addition of a haunted house based on John Carpenter's 1978 classic horror film Halloween.
We’re mere weeks away from the start of the events -- where will your Halloween season begin?Tweet
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