Sunday, October 11, 2015

California's Great America Halloween Haunt 2015 Review


Hi everyone! So it's October and everyone's getting in on the Halloween excitement and of course I had to join in. Since this is my first year not in school, I figured it was time I try going to a haunted attraction/some sort of Halloween festivity. I've never really done anything for Halloween because I've always been too busy studying (or too lazy I guess) but no excuse now! I went with my parents because (1) I have no friends #foreveralone and (2) even if I did have friends, they're all still in school right now. SO with that being said, I ended up convincing my parents to come with me to Great America's Halloween Haunt! Since this is my first ever Halloween excursion, I wasn't sure what to expect so here's little things I would mention for any other newbies to the whole Halloween thing or just people trying to decide which of the many Halloween attractions to go to!
First off, let's start with everything before I actually got into the amusement park.
1. Logistics
The Halloween Haunt starts at 7 PM (and 7:30 PM on a few rare days) and is only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for all of October. This weekend (October 9th - 11th) was the cheapest because the park closed at 12 AM, all other weekends it will close at 1 AM. Parking inside the amusement park parking lot costs $15 and if you're looking to save money, I would recommend parking across the street where all the office buildings are. Make sure you don't park in those office building parking lots as those are restricted but on the streets/curbs because those are free and available all day for anyone. You'll avoid having to wait in line to get to the park, save $15, and might even get to the park quicker. The walk from across the street is probably a 5-10 minute walk depending on how excited you are ;)  Make sure you don't forget anything in your car because once you get into the park, there are no re-entries!

Also a quick note, Great America is located right next to Levi Stadium (I believe they share a parking lot) so I would not advise going to Great America the same day there is any sort of event (ie. football games since it is football season right now). I suspect there would be a LOT of  traffic and congestion.

I don't know why anyone would show up withOUT a ticket but there were like 8 long lines of people just waiting to buy tickets. Plus even before those lines, you have to wait in an even longer line to get checked through security (which I'm not really sure why they have it cause they don't do much tbh). They do check your bags so I'm not sure if you're allowed to bring any food in (water is allowed since my mom had a water bottle in her bag and the man didn't say anything). The security line does move relatively quickly, we waited (I think) less than 10 minutes so that wasn't terrible. I would think the ticket line might take another 10-15 minutes though so to save yourself time, I would highly recommend buying your tickets online, like we did. Plus it's cheaper as I found a coupon code (travel2hh) from Retailmenot (click here if you actually want to double check or something) which made the tickets $29.00 per person on ANY day. Now that's a good deal if you want to go on Saturday because Saturday is more expensive than Friday or Sunday. Since we went on Saturday, 10/10/15, it was supposed to be $31.99 so my parents and I saved $9 in total which was nice. Plus we didn't have to wait in line. If you already have your ticket it's actually really fast to get in. I should say that we arrived at the amusement park around 7:10 and probably got in 15 minutes later. Just as a heads up (so you're not stuck waiting in a line you don't need to be in), the first line BEFORE the park entrance will be security, the second line will be to buy tickets (so if you already have yours, just skip these lines, there will be archways that are empty that you can walk through), and the last line is the one to get INTO the amusement park. I'd advise getting there a little before 7 (to give yourself time to park) if you want to really get ALL the time you're paying for!Also, you WILL have to wait in lines, it is inevitable. So getting there early helps you avoid SOME of the lines. I think it would be smart to walk to the farthest part of the park and work your way down to avoid the most lines as possible but who knows if that would actually work (we weren't smart enough to do that haha). If there's something you REALLY want to go to, go there first because the lines steadily grew as the night went on (naturally).

P.S. There's something called a Fright Lane which is the same thing as a Fast Lane Pass but you can't use it on all attractions, it only works on 9 attractions which are the Halloween special ones and not any of the roller coasters/normal rides. I don't think it says online which attractions the Fright Lane pass lets you get into but the map that you can get from the front ticket area does have a list of the attractions you can get to. So I'll be nice and let you know which attractions you can use the Fright Lane on and you can decide for yourself if it's worth it (note you can buy it separately from your ticket or as a bundle with the ticket, you can't just buy the Fright Lane Ticket and get in, you gotta have entrance ticket + fright lane ticket). The 9 attractions are: Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors, Mirror Mirror, inSanitarium, Madame Marie's Massacre Manor Dia De Los Muertos, CornStalkers, Roadkill Road House, Zombie High, and Toy Factory.

3. Miscellaneous Tips
a. It's night. You're going to be there for a long time. Be smart and bring a jacket or sweater. Wear something under it so you can take it off if it gets hot but layer up because it does get chilly.
b. Eat before you get to the park. Park food is notoriously overpriced so save yourself money and get something way healthier or better tasting by eating elsewhere.
c. Point b being stated, if you plan on playing any of the extra games that they have, bring spare cash. They have ATM machines but I think they'll charge you a fee so just bring extra cash in case you do get hungry or want to play one of those horribly rigged games that you'll never win :P (okay exaggeration, I did see some people lugging around those GIANT stuffed animals and if you have a little kid with you, they might just beg you to play some games).
d. If you are someone who is easily scared, or have a child who you are slightly worried for, there are things known as "No Boo Passes" which can be worn as a necklace and the workers will know not to scare you/whoever is wearing the pass. They do warn you that the worker may not actually see the sign and might accidentally scare you but it is a nice precaution if you would like. I'm not sure where you can get them so I would ask when you have your ticket scanned to get into the park.
e. Like I mentioned earlier, make sure you pick up a map of the park before you go in. The person who scans your tickets will have a pile of them at the counter so just take one (or two or however many you want). This map will help you get around. I'd also suggest a small flashlight so see the map better if you don't want to drain your phone battery by using it as a flashlight.

Phew so that was a lot of information that wasn't even about the actual attractions inside the park but I just want everyone to be aware of those points so as to best enjoy your time! Now onto the actual attractions!

Before I start, you can view a list of the attractions which include mazes, scare zones, rides, and live shows online on their website. Honestly the descriptions weren't very helpful to me so I'll give you the basic rundown.
1. Mazes are..well easily mazes. There are 8 mazes with one new one (but hey they were all new to me) and they're all less than 5 minutes long (like to get out). All of them you literally just walk through so you can't get "lost in the maze". There are workers who will follow you around or pop out of a corner but they will not touch you and you aren't supposed to touch them either. We went to Insantarium and Mirror Mirror.
2. Rides are all of the normal roller coasters or other rides that you can go on during normal park hours. These weren't on my high priority list to visit since I knew I could go on them another time. We ended up going on two of them - Psychomouse (a roller coaster that doesn't go upside down so it was good for my parents, it's also my favorite) and Berserker (a roller coaster that just goes in circles about 6 times with some up and down parts, not too exciting and a pretty mellow one, good for children and my  parents haha).
3. Scare Zones: I was expecting these to be like super awesome but they're just areas of the park (only 3 of these mind you) filled with workers who are painted up all scary looking who will run out at you or follow you. They won't touch you (none of the scare workers will!) but they will like scream at you so if you have sensitive ears, beware. If you walk through the whole park you'll most likely get to all of these. Was a little disappointed with these but they were nonetheless still nice to have.
4. The Live Shows are pretty cool. There are four of them but we only went to two but my parents really enjoyed these. Funnily enough they weren't scared at all when we went through the Scare Zones or Mazes and I was screaming my head off aha. But definitely I would HIGHLY recommend you watch the shows. They only play at certain times and they don't even put those times up on the website which sucks AND the map doesn't even have the show times! Some lady I talked to at the theme park did have a paper that had all the listed show times (I believe there are 3 show times per show throughout the night so you can make them all if you want - my friend was able to see them all) but I have no idea where the lady got that list of the times. The descriptions of the shows really doesn't give too much information but the two I saw were ice skating performances (Blades of Horror) and choreographed dancing/break dancing (Academy Villains). I liked both of them (although I'd say Blades of Horror was my favorite of the two) but one thing I need to say is that the music is REALLY loud. And this is coming from a 20 year old okay... maybe I just have really sensitive ears or something cause no one else seemed to be plugging their ears like me to dim the volume but really that's one complaint I had - WAY TOO LOUD MUSIC! Plus during Academy Villains, there were times where the spot lights will shine out into the audience and it's like AH BLINDING. LOL. I know this seems ridiculous but they were just things that I made my experience less pleasurable. I believe the other two shows are circus acts (like trapeze and stuff) and another dancing one but I guess you'll have to go check them out for yourself.

Okay so I hope this review isn't getting too long or boring for any of you.. there are just a few more things I want to cover!

Mirror Mirror is a new haunted attraction where you're stuck in a mirror maze. They say there is limited space but I think you just need to get a ticket and wait in line. Our wait was about half an hour (maybe even more..) and we were literally in the maze for like 2 minutes..not even.. It was cool though so I would recommend it you've got time to kill. Download Heads Up or Charades on your phone and play it with your friends, it'll make the time pass.

Two things I want to complain about:
1. We were in inSanitrium and a worker (dressed up all scary and everything) walked up to us and tried to scare us. My mom decided to turn on her flashlight and sort of shine him (it wasn't a super bright light) like "haha" and he like immediately got SUPER annoyed and was like "I have sensitive eyes you need to turn that off" and my mom being Asian and not fully comprehending what he was saying (loud music + not the best English = hard to understand what he said) paused and then he was like "turn that off right now!" and okay I understand having a light in your face isn't pleasant but I felt like he was extremely rude the way he spoke to my mom and I certainly didn't appreciate it. He could have approached the situation from a different angle to get the same effect (yes my mom did turn it off) so yea that was just like ... mhmm workers need some mannerism lessons. Maybe that's just me being biased and loving my mom, but really I didn't feel like he appropriately approached the situation.

2. This is me just being a little picky/overly sensitive but I was in line for Firefall and right when I was about to go through the gate to go on, the worker told me I wasn't allowed to have my backpack. Now this same worker I had spoken to right before walking up the path to wait in line as I had asked her how long the wait would be. We talked for a good minute and I had my backpack with me at the time and she said NOTHING about it. So when she told me that (after I had waited in line, which okay wasn't terribly long, maybe 6 minutes), I was like -_- wut... Maybe it's my fault for not going to the park enough to know that Firefall doesn't let you bring bags on but you actually have to leave your bags on this bench that's not inside the ride area which means someone could easily take your bag. So already that's like a 'your bad' on Great America's part. They really need to install cubbies into the ride area for riders to put down their items. ANYWAYS, luckily my mom wasn't going on the ride so I ran back down to give her my bag and came back up and well what do you know, all the seats for the ride were taken. So I was like .... great gotta wait in line maybe another 10 minutes... So yeah that upset me just a bit and the worker did apologize but still, just a heads up that you should check if you have any bags that you can bring them on with you to the ride or if there is a place to set them down. 

PHEW! So that's my review of California's Great America Halloween Haunt! Overall it was a fun experience. It wasn't SUPER scary but I did get a good scream and it was fun to spend time with my parents so I would recommend people check it out. If you REALLY want to get to literally everything, I don't think you will and you might consider getting a Season Pass -shrug- Hope you enjoy if you do go and feel free to leave a comment or question down below and I'll try my best to answer it. Happy October! :)

1 comment :

  1. hello , i just stumbled across your blog while searching for swatches for the MUA heaven and earth palette
    i really like all the effort you put in writing your blog post and the pictures you take :)
    these tips for halloween haunt are good , pity its not celebrated on the part of the world where i live :(