Dark Harbor Opening Night
For Halloween fanatics, Queen Mary Dark Harbor is a dream come true. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, the event offers visitors a carnival-like atmosphere of devious monsters, entertaining side show performers, talented sliders, terrifying mazes, trips through a haunted ship, and devilish eats.
With the celebrated (and notoriously haunted) Queen Mary as the backdrop, the event is centered around a glowing green swing ride straight out of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Six mazes flank the perimeter, with three located on the ship itself. The three ship-based mazes return this year in theme, but offer many new surprises in execution. Each maze features a centralized character, with tales based off of the history of the legendary vessel. While Lullaby, B340, and Feast are returning this year, each feels like a new experience. Attendees will traverse staircases, walkways, and venture into the deepest bowels of the Queen Mary. The newly imagined B340 is easily the creepiest maze of 2019 in So Cal. Hidden bars are to be found within these mazes, some easier to find than others. While searching, be on the lookout for Scary Mary, Samuel the Savage, and Chef. The Ringmaster's Circus is back for another round... watch out as you crawl through the ball pit. A revamped Intrepid launched last year and is just as fun this go around. The Conductor will help you board the train on a trip to visit the Iron Master.
New this year, and the one that impressed us the most, was Rogue. This maze tells the story of the fateful trip that claimed the life of the event's mascot, "The Captain." Set within the festival grounds, adventurous explorers will weave in and out of a dome which allows the event producers to set the mood of a treacherous storm that rocked the crew's ship. Rogue offered some of the most creative special effects we have seen this season... on par (and exceeding the "Stranger Things" maze at Halloween Horror Nights." Look closely... and find the door to "Overboard," the maze's hidden bar, which offer two signature shots and a variety of other drinks.
Within Dark Harbor, 13 bars tempt guests to indulge in an adult beverage. Many of those bars are located within the mazes themselves, and take some creative investigation to find. To access them, you must present a wooden coin, which you can collect by interacting with the walk-around characters on the streets. Despite the overabundance of places to indulge, the bars never take away from the experience of the mazes themselves, and actually offer a cool way to watch others go by when you stop for a few minutes inside of one. When you have conquered the mazes, watch the dozens of live performances on the multiple stages. If you see a performer you'd like a photo with, they all roam the grounds before and after they take the stage and interact with participants. The Queen Mary Sliders perform two shows nightly and demonstrate their athletic skills and artistry. Don't miss it. For an additional cost, you can take a ride on the swings that were previously mentioned, and/or see a spooky 4-D movie. Both experiences are highly recommended.
Overall, no other local event offers as much entertainment. No one offers a cohesive story throughout their event. No other event allows guests to interact with the talent the way Dark Harbor does. There is nothing like it. Purchasing a Fast Fright or Evil Express pass is highly recommended, as is arriving early to find a parking spot and get through their incredibly thorough security check point. For a few extra bucks, you can add the VIP experience with a taco bar, private lounge, and bird's eye view of the event. Dark Harbor is consistently one of the most entertaining events of the year and gets better with each run.
Above: Guests are treated to entertainment prior to the gates opening, which follow a welcome message from The Captain and The Ringmaster. Below: Characters roam the streets, eager and will to mingle with the crowd. Watch the opening ceremony, click here.
NEW MAZE FOR 2019
Rogue A monstrous freak wave has hit the legendary Queen Mary, causing the ship to nearly capsize. The ocean liner is near a full breach and quickly taking on water as she tilts on her side. Chaos has descended as the passengers and crew are left disoriented and confused in the fight for survival, many plummeting into darkness or the tumultuous ocean. The Captain and the crew are hard at work trying to salvage the ship after the Rogue wave…Or are they? View a walkthrough of the attraction, click here.
Our Take: This is a really unique and creative maze with a ton of jump scares. Kudos to the team for the creative use of the dome in creating the "storm." We walked through three times!
FEAST: Face the terrifying wrath of Chef as his vengeful staff are joined by the lost souls of poisoned passengers, all hell-bent on serving the living to the dead.
INTREPID: Wander through the path of the Iron Master’s wicked wrongdoings to an evil sea witch’s lair, to reveal the deadly pact that drove the shipbuilder to spend eternity as a horrific half-metal creature trapped in an iron Hell.
CIRCUS: Escape the Ringmaster and sneak behind the curtains to unveil the horrors lurking within the shadows and dark corners of the Big Top.
B340: Retrace the steps of the detective working towards answering the savage 1946 murders onboard The Queen Mary, discover what truly drove Samuel to kill while seeing the true carnage left behind in stateroom B-340.
LULLABY: Join the paranormal experts and ship guides who claim there are far more horrendous secrets behind Mary’s demise and her attachment to her loving teddy. Our Take: Every maze this year was a winner, with B340 giving us a case of the goosebumps and chills.
13 Bars - Some Hidden Interact with the walking characters and get a coin for entry to the hidden maze bars. There are 13 bars in total. Only the hidden bars require the token for entry. With a variety of drink options, you can try everything from craft beers to a flight of whiskey.
Queen Mary Sliders / Slider Alley
Make sure to schedule time to see or both of the Queen Mary Sliders shows.
ENTERTAINMENT The PYRE: The Voodoo Priestess and her Tribe have taken over The Pyre - Fire Stage for nightly captivating and death-defying fire performances.
AERIAL RING: Nightly Aerialists will emerge and rise above all with nightly death-defying aerial shows throughout the evening.
SLIDER ALLEY: Sparks will fly and hell will be raised as dozens of Dark Harbor’s sinister sliders roam and take to the streets emitting sparks throughout the fog filled harbor as they slide and startle in every direction. MONSTER PARTY: Cap off the night with a party like no other. Dance and let loose with the spirits whose energy never seems to die. 4-D PANIC EXPERIENCE: Sit back, grip your seat and don't PANIC for the last ride of your life in our 4-D Theater! BARS AND EXPERIENCES
CREEPY CABANAS: Host a private soiree, order up a freak, and enjoy the views of various shows throughout the night.
R.I.P. LOUNGE: Take in the sights with a view of Dark Harbor from above with Graceful Gale in the newly designed RIP Lounge hosting cocktails and a buffet that’s truly to-die-for.
SINISTER SWINGS: Take a spin on the infamous Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch Swings that light the sky.
Tickets: General admission tickets start at $20 online General Admission + Fast Fright starts at $74 General Admission + Evil Express starts at $94 General Admission + Evil Express + Ultimate Scream starts at $209 RIP Lounge Passports start at $39 (Admission not Included) Email VIP@EpicEntertainmentGroup.com for details on Creepy Cabana & Private Patios To purchase tickets, visit queenmary.com Parking: $27 Off-site $40 On-site For more information: https://www.queenmary.com/calendar-of-events/dark-harbor/parking/ See theFUNnelCakeBlog's coverage of Dark Harbor 2018, CLICK HERE.