Aiden Sinclair’s Ghosts of Christmas Passed aboard the Queen Mary – CA

Aiden Sinclair’s Ghosts of Christmas Passed aboard the Queen Mary – CA

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PASSED (ILLUSIONS OF THE PASSED)

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Conjuring Spirits may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when those familiar holiday carols begin playing on every radio station, but chances are you’ve crossed paths with at least one version of A Christmas Carol. Actually as Aiden Sinclair explains at the top of Ghosts of Christmas Passed, sharing stories of the dead was a large part of holiday tradition once upon a time. Attending this event at the haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach California is a great way to begin bringing back that tradition.

Sinclair has a masterful way of combining historical facts with compelling storytelling. He both entertains and educates his audiences, while also leading them to ponder important questions about life, death and beyond. This theatrical séance is so personal and beautifully executed that even though I didn’t participate onstage, I felt included and affected by each special moment. The participants were so relatable that I could easily imagine how they felt upon interacting with our conjured spirit through haunted items on stage.

Everything about the performance surpassed my expectations from the haunted items in the lobby, to the performance, to the special drink menu based on actual spirits reported to be aboard the ship. Sinclair’s ability to make everyone feel at ease in a situation that requires several participants was one of the moments that stands out the most to me. I was quite impressed that he explicitly tells the audience that they are not obligated to be onstage and he was very respectful to those that were. As someone that is often around magicians and other stage performers, it was refreshing to see this attitude.

Ghosts of Christmas Passed is not to be missed! It is an incredible intimate theatrical séance that not only will entertain, but could even change the way you think about a few things.

Get your tickets HERE

 

 

HAUNTS – Into the Black 2017 – California

 

INTO THE BLACK


https://youtu.be/tOUlyPR6Wwk

Have you ever wondered how you would react if you were the character walking through the spooky house alone in a horror flick? Now you have the chance feel what that is like. Into the Black at the Los Angeles Fairgrounds in Pomona California is a new Halloween event for 2017. It is a three part adventure in that there is a short movie, VR experience and walk through haunted house that all work together to tell the story. You can watch the movie on YouTube before attending the event. The VR experience is a fun short adventure into the past to meet the characters of the home and find out a little more of the history of the house and it’s former residents. The haunted house is an individual experience inside the house which we have now gotten quite familiar with. Overall, it’s a creative, fun and unique event.


The haunted house is beautifully designed and truly feels like it’s own character. One of my favorite things about the design is the use of space. I enjoyed the large room scenes in combination with the claustrophobic hallways. I also love that there are choices to make within the path. The make-up is amazing, of course. Afterall, Larry Bones (Boneyard Effects) is an incredible make-up creator. The hardworking actors are perfectly placed to build tension and then pounce. The sound design is also wonderfully done. I loved the moment when I was following the sound, but could barely see anything. Everything works together so well to create a fresh style of psychologically thrilling experience.


You can more of my thoughts in the YouTube video below along with my husband and short interview with Larry Bones.

 

 

ESCAPE ROOMS – Mission Escape Games: Escape the Hydeout – California

MISSION ESCAPE GAMES

 

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH JOE FROM MISSION ESCAPE GAMES HERE

We must find out what happened to Dr. Jekyll before Mr. Hyde returns to have our hides!

Escape the Hydeout in Anaheim California is a beautifully done escape game. It tells a clear story using familiar characters from literature. The puzzles are fun and they do a wonderful job of adding their own unique spin on some of the standard puzzles I’ve seen before. They use the space well. They have the perfect combination of standard puzzles and locks combined with technology.

I was most impressed with the gorgeous Victorian style set. The room is very well designed and the decor is outstanding. I had actually played an earlier version of The Hydeout in New York in 2015 and one of the surprises in that room was painfully obvious to a seasoned player, but in the new room I feel they’ve addressed that. They’ve also improved the game overall. There are a few really fun “Wow” moments through the puzzle solving and technology in the game.

They are located about a 10 minute walk from Disneyland, so this is the perfect location if you are on vacation because you can walk over from the park. There is a parking lot, so if you are driving they validate parking. That area can be a little busy depending on when you visit, so be sure to give yourself a little extra time just in case.

I would recommend this game for both new players and experienced players.

 

ESCAPE ROOMS – Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher – California

*YouTube Video

ESCAPE HOTEL: JACK REACHER

I want to start off by letting you know that Escape Hotel offered free tickets to the general public on their website to play the Jack Reacher game for beta testing purposes and I that is how I booked tickets for this experience.

I didn’t know anything about Jack Reacher going into this escape room experience (aside from Tom Cruise being in the movie) and I didn’t learn anything about the story from playing the game either. I would recommend at least watching the movie trailer before playing the Escape Hotel’s Jack Reacher room if you want some idea of what the story is meant to be about. There isn’t really any story given to you for gameplay, however I think it’s assumed that the story is there from players’ prior knowledge of it. My team did mention that they didn’t think the room had anything to do with the movies aside from familiar faces in pictures used in some of the props. There is a video at the beginning of gameplay outside of the rooms we were locked in with the mascot of Escape Hotel talking, but I wasn’t really able to hear it because it wasn’t loud enough. That video might have given some of the information I was looking for, but alas I don’t know. There was an attempt at immersion through the use of blindfolds and environment, but it would have been much stronger if the story was made clear.

The room layout was interesting. We started out blindfolded and were placed in three different cells where we worked to escape our small cells into a larger room to work together to solve the final objective. It was unclear to us that the objective was not to escape the room. Since we entered blindfolded, later in the game I accidentally opened the exit door while exploring because I didn’t realize it was the exit door.

Puzzles. There were a few puzzles in the room. I hate to be too critical of puzzles since this was a beta test situation. I always try to be forgiving of small glitches and tech issues when testing a game prior to ticket sales opening up to the public and in this case we only had one, so I won’t elaborate on that. I will say that the room has some tech and I assume it will work wonderfully once the room is officially open for ticket sales. There weren’t very many puzzles for the length of the game. They all seemed fairly simple aside from one major puzzle that stumped our group until we asked for a hint. Once we were looking in the right place, we easily understood the rest of them. Sometimes I am not sure if it is fair to say that puzzles are easy when I am playing with experienced teammates because we’ve been exposed to so many different puzzles.  However this time, along with my husband and a friend, I had two random teammates that had never played an escape game before and they didn’t have any trouble with the puzzles either. Again I want to stress that since we played during beta testing, it is very possible that the puzzles will change or more puzzles may be added to the game.

The rooms decor was not as elaborate as I expected. One of my favorite things about Escape Hotel is the amazing lobby. Unfortunately the beautifully themed lobby is not a reflection of the decor in the games that I have seen at this location including Jack Reacher. It was rather plain and parts of the set dressing was already falling apart. The props looked a little more like handmade craft projects than professionally designed props. It’s disappointing that the game itself isn’t more elaborately decorated since it seems the purpose is to promote the movie and give customers a “Hollywood” experience.

This game is a ticketed game, meaning you buy a ticket and may be playing with random customers that also bought a ticket. Normally I dislike playing with strangers, but our team ended up being a lot of fun. There were five of us, which was more than enough to play the game. There were times where there wasn’t really enough for all of us to do. I will say we had fun playing the game together though.

We escaped in time and then waited for the game master to come congratulate us. She did not, so after an uncomfortable amount of time we exited the room ourselves and made our way back downstairs to retrieve our phones from the lockers behind the check in desk. The receptionist called the game master on her walkie talkie and she came out and apologized for not coming up to get us and explained that there is a blind spot in the room, so she didn’t know we had escaped.

If you haven’t played an Escape Hotel room before, be prepared to arrive 30 minutes early and fill out a waiver and create your passport. Also leave plenty of time for unexpected traffic and parking. There are paid lots nearby and some street parking. This location is also easily accessible by metro.

I can’t stress enough that this experience was a FREE BETA TEST and may or may not reflect the experiences of those that pay to play the Jack Reacher game once they officially start selling tickets to the public. I am curious to hear from others that play the game in the future to see if it has changed. If you play Escape Hotel’s Jack Reacher please leave a comment here on this blog post or on my YOUTUBE video for it.