Welcome to The Queen Mary, a haunted ship used as a tourist attraction and hotel in Long Beach. What can be scarier than that? Well just wait until you visit Dark Harbor, which is a whole different beast entirely! I have been attending haunted events since I was 7 years old and nothing has scared me more than what Dark Harbor had in store for 2014. If you are looking to visit Southern California this Halloween season, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is absolutely the top Halloween event to attend.
With six horrifying mazes to experience, three on land and three on the ship, and an all new experience on the ship titled “Encounters” (which unfortunately my party and I didn’t get to experience) a great night was definitely meant to be had! These also aren’t your normal Halloween Haunt mazes to go through. These were long and vicious mazes that tricked us into thinking it is almost over when, maybe, we were halfway through. It was tiring, but worth it 110%!
We started off with the three on land mazes (Voodoo Village, Circus, and Dead Rise) and saved the three ship mazes (Submerged, B340, and Soulmate) for last! And this was a decision we didn’t regret in the slightest. When you do attend, we HIGHLY recommend purchasing Front of the Line (Fast Fright) onto your tickets. These lines for the mazes get up to an hour to two hours long and we know how exciting waiting in an extremely long line can be… NOT! It is worth every penny you pay for that front of the line pass!
In our reviews we aren’t going to give much away, because we want all of you to go and experience it for yourselves!
Voodoo Village (New for 2014)
The Voodoo Priestess and her following rabid gypsies have taken over the Village. Encounter voodoo spirits, tombstone monsters, horrifying sacrifices and murky bayous as you make your way through.
This was the first maze we went through to begin our night and this maze was phenomenal! From the sets to all of the scare actors, this maze was the perfect way to start off. How the creators found a way to create this mazes are absolutely amazing and this maze (I’m sorry Knott’s) beats Voodoo in every possible way. From entering the Voodoo workshop to visiting the girls of Mardi Gras and entering deep into the bayou. This maze has you screaming from beginning to end. The catacombs feels like I entered a movie and the deeper we went, the more intense and terrifying it got. As amazing as this maze was, the talent is always needed to help immerse us into the story a little bit more. There were times through out the night that when we did go through, a lot of talent was missing and we were left wandering through empty corridors and catacombs. I recommend visiting this maze first when entering Dark Harbor, it’s a trip you will definitely not want to miss!
Face your nightmares as you fight your way through the horrors under the Ringmaster’s big top.
The second maze of the night and I thought this was more of a fun maze with scary moments than truly terrifying horrors. The maze puts you in different scenarios of not knowing which way to go, until a clown laughs at you and points you into the (im)proper direction. This was a literal maze at certain points that had us circling around until we found the path to get us into the next eerie part of the maze. This made the maze a lot of fun, but don’t expect it to be all fun and games under the big top! The clowns and freaks in this maze made us howl with fear with the littlest of ideas of where we will head towards next. With all of the gags and fun props in this maze, it seemed to have more of a fun house feel than an actual circus. Also be careful if you consume a lot of alcohol before entering, there is an effect at the end that we completely loved that may have you lose your balance!
Board if you dare, and run for your life from Half Hatch Henry and the vengeful souls of his long lost warship, previously buried beneath the waves.
Oh, Deadrise! What looks like a tiny maze from the outside, it actually feels like the longest once you step in. I completely adore the theme and what they used to decorate the maze, as well as what they used for their walls (storage containers). But the theme just felt repetitive after awhile. It was difficult to understand what was going on throughout, and I know that there is only so much you can do with a sunken warship theme. The talent was ridiculously above and beyond with some of the best scares we had all night, but with the limited theme, it was hard to get into the story in a majority of the areas. With that being said, it did feel like we were at the bottom of the ocean with the beautiful blue and green lighting going on, but boy was that fire hot towards the end. Be careful when entering the bunks!
Descend into a sinking ship and encounter the drowned souls that reside there or risk the wrath of Scary Mary.
As the first maze on the ship, my expectations were high as I felt more excited being on and venturing through the forbidden corridors of the ship than anything. Scary Mary decided to change all of that once we entered the swimming pool area of the ship right at the beginning of the maze. Soon after we would be submerged deep into the bowels of this sinking ship and experience monsters and ghosts that would haunt us through out the journey. The talent was amazing in giving us top notch scares and the smells of the moldy water as well as the theming inside was fantastic! The water pouring into the ship created a state of panic that we would be going down with the ship. Our only gripe? The crying guest behind us, haha!
B340 (New for 2014)
Journey through the terrifying of Samuel the Savage, and find out the truth behind stateroom B340. There is no way out but his.
B340, in my opinion, was the only maze that had a constant story that stuck throughout the ship. With entering the maze you are thrusted into the mind of Samuel the Savage and you even take a quick cruise through, what I believe is, his brain. This is the maze that not only had the best talent of the night, but it had the best soundtrack as well. The constant ticking of the clocks and listening to Samuel go a little bit more crazy the deeper we got was surely something that I will soon not be forgetting. This maze also had a lot of tight spots that you have to squeeze through, so if you’re a little bit claustrophobic., be careful! Also the bridge! The bridge gag was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced! Kudos to those involved with that amazing effect! This was easily the top maze of the night and I hope to see it return for many more years to come!
Soulmate (New for 2014)
There is a masquerade ball aboard the Queen Mary, and Graceful Gale is searching for her eternal soulmate. Could it be you?
As we entered the last a final maze for Soulmate, the quiet beginning gave a horribly eerie and uncomfortable feeling. That soon all changed once we entered the lobby of the hotel where a bellhop started pointing at us and gave us one of the best scares of the night. Besides that beginning scene, I felt like this maze wasn’t as memorable in the middle. It also didn’t seem to make much sense until you’ve gotten to an area where it looks like a monster is creating the fluid white dress for Miss Graceful Gal. The Masquerade Ball which Gale was in was the only highlight of the maze besides the beginning and even then, it didn’t feel quite complete. I loved the music used in the ball, but as before, the rest of the audio and maze wasn’t quite as memorable. I hope next year this maze will make a little bit more sense or have the talent act to what is going on in the story. Like all other mazes before, this maze had some awesome scares and the talent did the absolute best with what they had. Being in the different areas of the ship was amazing and I can’t wait to see what this maze will have in store in the future.
Mazes – They are some of the top and longest mazes in Southern California at a haunted event! We loved it!
Monsters – From the atmosphere to the inside of the mazes, the talent absolutely blew our minds with how creepy, terrifying, and morbid they all were! The make up was jaw dropping in every way imaginable.
Activities – From riding a mechanical bull all the way to seeing a freak show for $5 with a girl nailing a nail through her nose to “Encounters” which is an all new paid haunted experience aboard the Queen Mary. There is something for everyone to do! Don’t forget to take a ride on the Sinister Swings which is from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch!
Shows – We only caught the story telling show that detailed all of the main characters for the mazes, but throughout the night there are continuous shows on the stage to keep you all entertained! The show we saw was excellent and started around 8:30.
Atmosphere – The theming and detailing around the event is outstanding with amazing theatrical lighting, fire and props!
Food – From kabobs and hotdogs/burgers to your greasy deep fried food, you are definitely not going to go hungry at Dark Harbor. They also have drink/food stands right near the mazes for your convenience!
Alcohol – We completely understand that alcohol is a huge boost in sales at any event, but please don’t let it be at a Halloween event. It created some horribly awkward situations in both inside and outside the mazes. It gets me worried for not only the talent, but themselves and the guests around them.
External Camera Lighting – The biggest pet peeve that I will ever have going through a haunted attraction (besides the alcohol) is the use of video/camera lighting inside the mazes. This not only ruins the atmosphere and experience for the guest, but can also cause harmful issues with the talent. I hope that this gets taken under control and won’t be an issue in future events.
Lines – If you can get Fast Fright (Front of the line) or VIP… Do it! No questions asked! You will be waiting for more than an hour for each maze if you don’t and “Heads Up” with friends can only be fun for so long. You will not regret buying the Fast Fright and will be able to experience each maze multiple upon multiple times!
Dark Harbor runs and operates an extremely horrifying and professional event! I cannot wait to return and for those of you who WILL attend, you will not be able to wait either. This is the years top Halloween event and it will definitely be hard to surpass it!