Six Flags Great America Fright Fest
I love Six Flags Fright Fest in my home park of Magic Mountain, so I figured I’d attend Fright Fest at Great America while visiting the Chicago-land area. I was sorely disappointed. It’s nearly impossible not to try and compare the two parks, but they are so drastically different that they can’t really be compared. I came to Great America with the expectation of seeing professional haunted attractions like their sister park and what I found were teenagers running around in plywood mazes decorated with cheap props and hardly any set pieces. The Hell Fest maze was one of the best overall, it had a few visually impressive scenes. All of the mazed lacked scares. The actors didn’t seem to grasp the concept of setups for scares. The cast also seemed to lack motivation to remain actively in character. Almost all of the characters seemed to specifically avoid my camera while trying to catch them in action in the scare zones for social media and my youtube channel. The one stand-out exception is the Ring Master. The Ring Master seemed like a very well trained, talented performer among a cast that overall appeared like they didn’t even want to be there. I also noticed one female chainsaw actor that was working very hard in a scare zone while everyone else trudged along looking like overworked lumberjacks. I honestly can’t remember most of the mazes now as I write this only a few days later because they were that forgettable. I do remember the price tag…$50 for front of the line fright fest pass on top of park admission. I have an annual pass that allows me access to the park, but even so this event isn’t worth the general line cost of $35 unless you are a local that plans to attend multiple nights and just wants something to do in the evenings that’s Halloween related for the month of October. I made it through all of the mazes, but didn’t have the opportunity to see any of the shows. It does appear that there are some fun live performances on the schedule. Thank you to the Ring Master that turned around my night right at the end as I was leaving.
I also want to take a moment to point out that the guests at this Six Flags theme park seemed much less respectful than all other Six Flags parks I’ve visited. I saw kids in the mazes playing on a set piece, kicking walls, grabbing props and all around being jerks whether they were in groups with friends or with their parents. I imagine being part of the cast at this park can be especially difficult at times.
Overall I can’t really recommend Great America Fright Fest 2018, but want to reiterate that every Six Flags Fright Fest is unique so this doesn’t reflect my opinion of Fright Fests across the country.
SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN FRIGHT FEST
I absolutely love Six Flags Fright Fest in southern California. This is one of my favorite haunts to attend each year. I will admit that not many changes have been made to the mazes or scarezones, but if you haven’t attended in a while I highly recommend it. There are a few new additions this year such as the Dead End maze, Club 6 Feet Under, Damned ‘N Disguise scarezone and most notably the Hidden Haunts VIP Tour.
I always enjoy the mazes at Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest. I especially enjoyed the Willoughby Mansion after hearing the tale of the haunt on the Hidden Haunts VIP tour. Learning the story behind the maze added a new level of appreciation for it. I’m also always impressed by the creativity of Vault 666, aesthetic appeal of Red’s Revenge, spaciousness of Aftermath and fun of Toyz. This year I was especially impressed with the creative and hard working actors in the Chupacabra maze, as well as the Nightmare and Demon’s door scarezones. One of the things I find most impressive about the ghouls at this event is their dedication and spirit. I’ve even found myself following a few of them on social media. Voodoo Nights really shined this year, too. I found myself hanging out and enjoying the show a few times.
As much as I love Fright Fest, there were a couple of disappointments this year. My favorite circus show is not performing this season and there was nothing replacing it. The new Dead End maze fell a little flat for me. I’m not a huge fan of the flashlight technology. (It didn’t seem to work properly for me here or at Knott’s this year. Maybe it’s that magnetic personality my mom loves about me so much interfering with the technology.) I love the concept of Damned ‘N Disguise and thought it was really awesome make-up, however the area felt a little more like a photo op than a scarezone.
My favorite experience this year was hands down the Hidden Haunts VIP Tour. This special tour is an add on for the VIP Tour. It is a special walking tour behind the scenes into areas guests are not normally allowed to go. We got to see the Fright Fest make-up Scream Team hard at work, as well as talk to the incredibly talented Scott Ramp. We heard stories of real spirits that haunt the park all season long, not just during Halloween. I recommend it for anyone with a fascination for the paranormal.
Don’t forget that during Fright Fest you can also get your thrills on coasters or take a break to sit and enjoy the hypnotist show. There are also many food options, including a few good options for gluten free folks like myself. Please consume alcohol responsibly at the event. Above all have fun, but remember to respect the hardworking people behind the event and the monsters working tirelessly to make your experience the best they can.
The following videos were recorded with permission during the Press Event. Six Flags does not allow video recording inside the mazes.
DAMNED ‘N DISGUISE
RED’S REVENGE MAZE
VAULT 666 MAZE
TOYZ OF TERROR MAZE
WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED MAZE