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After its demonic 2010 debut, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is set to make waves across Southern California’s haunt scene in 2011 with mazes and madness that make the most of the ship’s unique haunted history.
Now in its 17th year, the Queen Mary Halloween event was originally known as Shipwreck, but in 2010, the ship bravely steamed into Dark Harbor to shrieks of delight from haunt aficionados and chillseekers alike.
“The Queen Mary is often cited as one of the most haunted places in the world,” said paranormal expert and ship guide Erika Frost. “This gives the event an atmosphere unlike any theme-park haunt. For instance, one of the mazes crosses the first-class swimming pool where many visitors claim to have encountered a little girl wandering around searching for her doll or mommy. Or, if they haven’t seen her, they’ve reportedly heard her.”
Dark Harbor features seven bloodcurdling mazes and attractions on the ship and on the shore as well as an entertainment complex with live entertainment, cocktails and food.
To enter this port of purgatory, guests must maneuver through a fog-filled 220-foot tunnel of cargo containers concealing monsters. Guests emerge at the foot of ‘Hell’s Bells Tower,’ a 33-foot tall tower of 11 cargo containers shooting 20-foot flames into the night sky. This is the centerpiece of Dark Harbor and is assembled each year with the help of longshoremen from the Port of Long Beach. Three panic-inducing shipboard mazes raise the fear factor with pyrotechnical, atmospheric and watery special effects. They include ‘Submerged’ where guests are sure to get a sinking feeling, ‘Containment’ where the ship’s original infirmary gets sick and twisted, and ‘Hellfire’ where the horrors get terribly hot. Two other hair-raising mazes are on shore: ‘The Village of the Damned’ where the monsters try to make you their permanent houseguests and ‘The Cage’ which simply defies description.
Performances by local bands, food and cocktails in the ‘Night Mariners’ Bar,’ and a demon-filled attraction known as ‘The Barricades’ will ensure leaving is…unthinkable, as will a trio of She-Demons who prey on all who cross their path after sunset. And beware of aforementioned ghosts walking the decks of the Queen Mary, for these travelers from the past may inhabit any ‘body’ left unattended.
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor will be open October 7-9; 14-16; 20-23; and 27-31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Ticket discounts and promotions start as low as $20 online at www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor. ‘Fast Fright’ front-of-the-line passes are also available online and at the door, and well worth the additional $20 upgrade for busy nights.
The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway in Long Beach.