Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
While Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party cater to certain demographics, Six Flag Great America tries to do cater to everybody by splitting the festivities as different as Day and Night (literally!). During the daylight hours, the park is pretty much normal. Kids can come dressed up in their Halloween Finest and trick or treat with Bugs Bunny and the gang. They can also enjoy a handful of family friendly shows which I will describe below. After 5pm, the park turns into a nighttime horror movie with the “monsters” coming out to play. Since it was a pretty soggy day in the morning, the crowds generally stayed away. Because of this, this is the first time I was able to experience EVERY haunted house/trail. I will give you my thoughts about each component of Fright Fest. Feel free to skip ahead or come back to areas you are most interested in. They are (as follows): Haunted Houses and Shows.
One new aspect this year was that the haunted houses were not sold on an individual basis. For $20, you get unlimited haunts for that night. $60 if you wanted a Flashpass version that would let you skip the line. My friend and I went for the $20 version. A couple of the houses opened as early as 2:30 pm, which we took full advantage of since there was no lines. This allowed us to experience some houses multiple times throughout the night. Here are the houses……
Manslaughter Manor: This is a classic haunted house where we are invited by local ghost hunters to help them “flesh out” some ghosts from a house that has had its share of murders and deaths. One nice change from its former incarnations in Southwest Territory was Great America’s attention to storyline. We were given a general tour of the living room of the house including a demonstration of the ghost meters and a lovely conversation with the current obese owner on his home. I know it’s a haunted house, but I would have loved to have more time to interact with the current owner as he sat on his couch enjoying a beer. He was one of the highlights of this entire house. The house pretty much puts you in contact with insane heiress and her maid, husband, and child who she, of course, murdered. We also met the man who bought the house after the crime who used it as its torture chamber where he murdered young women. Yep, we met them too! One main complaint that I had from last year was this house was extremely dark. Great America finally put in a couple more lights and it did wonders. Walking around blindly in the dark does nothing for me, but this was a great pace! This was supposed to be the scariest house, but I didn’t really didn’t find it that scary (and I get frightened easily).
Medical Massacre: This is a holdover from last year which is a medical center where the mental patients have gotten out and run amok. This really hasn’t changed from last year, but I think it was one of the more effective houses. One nice touch is the use of a plant in your group that gets abducted by an insane doctor and then tortured and killed in a live dissection you get to see later. My friend and I remembered this from last year so the shock value was missing, but the kids that were in our group were scared beyond belief. This is one of my favorite houses because it is pretty much completely lit, has multiple ways to go through the house (all end up in the same areas) and has some impressive scenes including a therapeutic bathroom with a real person swimming around in body parts and an ambulance.
Mausoleum of Terror: The longest running house at Fright Fest, but it doesn’t really have much of a storyline, just a mishmash of scary scenes including an electric chair, spinning vortex, and a bunch of boo doors. There used to be a chainsaw guy that chased you out of the exit, but he was not there. This was defiantly the weakest of the scary attractions. However, they did have an “in house” photo which I thought was an interesting touch.
The Dead Line: Finally! They have a haunted train ride! The story goes that the world has been taken over by a zombie virus, but some pockets of civilization are still around. The train is supposed to take us to Fun Haven, an amusement park free from zombie hoards run by the Z-Free Enterprises. I found the name also clever because the haunted walkthrough takes place in the former spot that Z-Force Roller Coaster stood. Obviously, something goes wrong at the park and we are forced out of the train and walk through the park while being chased by zombies. It was a pretty standard zombie attraction, but the nice thing was the recycling of older ride vehicles from attractions taken out of the park (with corpses of former riders of course). Was it really all that scary? No, but it was clever ideas, and hey! I got to ride the train!
Wicked Woods: Now this was something really special and surprisingly scary! They drained the Roaring Rapids ride and put a haunted forest inside. This was another haunted house/attraction with a storyline. We are escorted into the woods where scientist will show us some of the creatures of the forest such as Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, Mothman, and the Jerzy Devil. However, when we make it to the first science center, all the cages are open and a bloody scientist comes up and states that the creatures have escaped and we should get out! Then, a chuparcabra comes out and yanks the scientist behind a tent and kills him. Our tour guide is about to take us to an exit where the chupacabra starts pulling her away. She tells us to RUN!!! From there, we journey deeper into the forest and meet insane scientists doing strange animalistic rituals, others being attacked by Bigfoot. There were tons of places for the monsters to hide and many areas with darkness and disoriented lights. I was defiantly scared the most in this attraction.
Love at First Fright: The most popular show at Great America, it is a musical about two teens in a graveyard for a dare and then being kidnapped by classic monsters such as Wolfman, Dracula, Hag, Devil (in a blue dress), Mummy, and the head Witch. This musical uses some classic Halloween Songs (such as the Time Warp and Thriller) and some other music not associated with Halloween (like Big Bad Green Mother from Little Shop of Horrors and You’re the One that I want from Grease). While the general storyline has not changed since the early 90’s, they do update it with current pop culture references such as the Hunger Games, 50 Shades of Grey, and getting a massage from John Travolta. The singing is always excellent and the show could go toe to toe with any Disney park show. It is always one of my personal favorites
Susan Rosen: Mistress of Mesmerism: This is a Mesmerism show in the Pictorium . It was quite funny and a good way to spend 45 minutes (especially that it was raining). It was a little risqué (as most are), but nothing higher than PG-13. My friend and I tried to get mesmerized in the audience and it almost worked! She was defiantly good and the show is a must see!
AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE….
Fright Club: We are not supposed to talk about Fright Club, but I will……… Basically, Great America decided to make their own Techno Bar in part of Hurricane Harbor. There is a live DJ, suggestive dancers, and BOOZE! Lots of it! It’s the only place in the park that you can get a MaiTai and some domestic beers not found in Yukon Territory. You also have to be at least 17 to enter. They card you! This is an adult only area, but it’s not as risqué as they might have made it seem. It’s defiantly something you would not see at Disney World and we can keep it at that!
Anyway, I really felt that this year Six Flags Great America really put on a great Fright Fest. I felt that I got better quality than I have in the past years and got it for a reasonable value. Part of Great America’s issue is that they always seem to be gouging me for money. This time felt different. $20 for unlimited access to the houses is a really good deal considering that each house was $10 last year.
Thanks for reading!
Combo: unlimited Haunts, but you have to queue up..$18
Scare Pass..same as above, but with F.O.L. access..$55
The prices listed for Season Pass holders are actually higher ($25 Combo, $75 Scare Pass) I thought that was a real slap in the face to SP holders, but I've since been informed those prices are for the ENTIRETY of Fright Fest, not just one-day, which is the lower prices. The signage in the park...which I read very carefully and multiple times...gave no indication of that.
Devil With A Blue Dress...I love it.Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels would be right at home!
Thanks for the report. Were all rides open, or do they shut some down for Haunted spaces?
First of all, I think Great Adventure and Great America are the best two parks in the Six Flags line. When I hear complaints about Six Flags, it rarely are people that went two these two parks. I also think we pay the most for tickets.
Maybe it was bad information, but my group was told to get the unlimited wristband or nothing. We did not get a discount on the regular pass, but we could get the skip line pass for $40 instead of $60. In the big picture, the regular wristband was a huge savings for us. I also think one of the other reasons they did this is so that they didn't have to have employees simply for purchasing house tickets (we had to buy them in a giftshop). If I remember correctly, it was $5 each house before 5pm and then $10 afterwards. The walks used to be free for Season pass holders. I liked the wristband.
As for rides being shut down, for the exception of the water rides, everything was still running. That was one aspect I omitted from the report was that some rides had be "Halloween-fied" which usually included renaming the ride and putting on some props. The Classic American Eagle is renamed the Black Widow and it has giant spiders on its outside. Most just had props, but some, like Chubusco (which are the teacups) was renamed Terror Twister and had fog, music, and light effects. The bumper cars had something like this too!
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