Six Flags Magic Mountain
Alright, I know what you're all thinking. In what type of post-apocalyptic universe have we fallen where Westcoaster is actually posting a Six Flags Magic Mountain update?? And not just that, but from their Halloween event??? Has society fallen, and everything descended into madnes????
Fear not, we are still in one piece. For now. And yes, I admit, Westcoaster has not always had the most beaming words to say about the park. But there was once a time when Six Flags Magic Mountain was operating under noticeably poor conditions, and if you know anything about Westcoaster, it's that we're never afraid to call things out for what they are. We won't overreact and go hyperbolic on things, but we also don't sugarcoat if we issues that deserve attention.
Fortunately, the park has actually come a long way from the five or ten years ago when conditions were becoming apparently subpar, and along those lines, Six Flags Magic Mountain has also been making leaps and bounds with improving their traditionally lackluster Fright Fest haunted event. Over the past few years, the park has invested heavily in upping the quality of the scare zones and replacing old mazes with new, more visually impressive and cohesively exciting iterations designed to compete with its more popular neighbors down south. Besides that, Magic Mountain's Fright Fest has always had a reputation of featuring the best make-up of any of the big haunts around town, and Scott Ramp and his fantastic team have certainly continued to hold onto that title.
So based on the positive word of mouth over the past couple of years, I took a visit on the first of this month to check out Fright Fest for the first time ever. What I found indeed fit the encouraging news. Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest is no longer the disappointing haunt that people can skip, especially since the park is located farther away than most attractions. Although there are still improvements to make, Magic Mountain's Halloween event has become a very respectable, fun, and yes--sometimes scary event that is definitely worth checking out for any haunt enthusiast.
Today, we're going to cover the two new Fright Fest attractions for 2016. Although everything was new for me, returning guests were able to experience a new Suicide Squad scare zone over in the DC Universe themed land as well as a brand new and massively sprawling and visually spectacular Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising maze. As usual, the write-ups will be spoiler-free, but the photos themselves and their captions *may* reveal certain details of the event that can only be discerned via experience.
Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising
Fright Fest's new maze for 2016 is, quite simply, the most massive and spectacular maze I have ever seen. From a scale and visual standpoint, Aftermath 2 is absolutely incredible. If this is the type of haunted attraction Six Flags aims to create (albeit on what I will assume must be on a smaller footprint for future mazes--if only to be realistic), then Fright Fest is definitely headed in a direction that will challenge Knott's and Universal soon.
Aftermath 2, as guests may surmise, is the sequel to the park's popular Aftermath maze. "A renegade faction is threatening to destroy the only livable space with the release of a dangerous toxin," boasts the maze description. This post-apocalyptic hellscape is aptly located right next to the Apocalypse wooden roller coaster and on the graveyard of the former Deja Vu roller coaster footprint. Within this massive area, the Six Flags designers, in collaboration with Dark Harbor Talent Director David Wally's company, Mycotoo, have crafted an epic dystopian world full of wreckage and ruin and feral survivors and intimidating authority officers and grotesque creatures. The maze is Magic Mountain's longest to date, stretching over half a mile of walking space, and it does take a little while to go through it. The layout makes use of wide open urban environments and tighter, more enclosed building scene settings, giving it some of the personalities of a scare zone in addition to a maze.
The lack of intimacy does impact the scares sometimes (or perhaps to people who aren't really rattled unless they're in a most claustrophobic environment), but the talent does do a generally pretty good job of maintaining character and energy. In fact, as I'll delve into with the other mazes, the talent's energy and commitment is one of the highlights of the event, often times making up for situations where the ambiance is less stellar than what is featured at Aftermath 2. But in any case, the new hotness (literally) at Magic Mountain's Fright Fest is a feast for the eyes and an incredible experience that really immerses guests in a world barely hanging together after civilization has fallen.
Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience
The big news announcement during Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest presentation at Midsummer Scream was the collaboration with DC's Suicide Squad franchise and the promise to bring the popular characters to life in the form of a scare zone at Magic Mountain. The result has been a pretty popular hit. Located in the DC Universe section of the park, Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience features a lighting overlay, sliders and monsters, and Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, and Katana (guess no Deadshot, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, or Slipknot) available to meet and greet with the guests. And at each Fright Fest commencement, long lines can be seen for guests waiting to take pictures with their favorite Suicide Squad characters (which... basically means Joker and Harley have long lines, while Croc and Katana are more easily accessible).
The area is pretty fantastic and already tailor made for an easy transition into Christmas time lighting. A section of the DC Universe facade next to Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth even features some 3D projection mapping effects and some pyro effects to add to the spectacle. The result is a pretty fun and impressive area that's not necessarily scary (though the street talent does harrass guests), but still very enjoyable.
We'll look at the other mazes and the rest of the park's scare zones later this week, but that's a sweeping look at some of the improvements Fright Fest has made. I definitely came away impressed with the event as a whole and will recommend it to anyone curious about checking out a major haunt that's not Universal or Knott's Scary Farm or Queen Mary. The timing of my visit was actually convenient as well, since I've actually had a few friends recently ask me about my thoughts about this event. I couldn't answer at the time, since I had never gone, but now having made a visit, I definitely give it a solid thumbs up.
I should also mention that, out of all the major haunts, Fright Fest absolutely offers the best value for the price. The event is not a separately ticket production; instead, guests can purchase wristbands as an upcharge to experience the mazes, with the regular type being only $15 or $20 depending on the date and Express Line (front of line) maze passes being about $30 more. Furthermore, scare zones are open to the public and can be experienced by any regular day admission guest.
Fright Fest runs Fridays through Sundays for the rest of the month. Tickets and maze wristbands can be purchased online or at the park.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.