Dark Harbor 2015 Recap: Streets, Sideshows, and Paintball

Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA

We're back with the second half of Dark Harbor 2015 review with this #ShriekySunday.  Today, we check out "everything else" at Dark Harbor, which mainly comprises the street monsters and ambiance but also includes a little "sideshow of the bizarre" and a look at their Curse of Anubis paintballing adventure.  So without further ado...

The Curse of Anubis

Lets get this out of the way first... last year's upcharge was disappointing.  There's no way around it.  Billed as a unique and fun paintball experience, it was basically just a paintball shooting range with monsters lacklusterly creeping into the scene and hiding behind other obstacles.  I can't exactly blame them--it seems like a bad deal to dress up as a monster and then get shot at all night, but there was nothing really compelling about this attraction.  It seems like some iteration of this will be returning this year, though, so lets hope they improve upon the feature.

Sideshow of Freaks and Oddities

The Sideshow of Freaks and Oddities was a collection of curious displays and macabre features (and also a bunch of old theming and animatronic elements) thrown together as a mini-attraction arranged around a bar.  And it's somewhat clear that the real attraction here is the alcohol, and the sideshow is the thematic excuse for the bar to exist.  Still, this was pretty fun, with an animatronic skeleton insult comic, grotesque displays, some mini-haunt set-ups, and a general environment of spooky fun.


Finally, the streets.  Here, the Dark Harbor icons roam.  Creatures like The Captain, Graceful Gale, Scary Mary, Half Hatchet Henry, and Samuel the Savage prey upon unsuspecting guests.  A host of other monsters prowl as well, including sliders who put on a sliding exhibition several times an evening (something that is no longer apparently allowed at Knott's).  There's a sinister swing ride that is apparently straight from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch (making it truly terrifying?), and a side stage with entertainment including live music, magic, and acrobatic arts.  Take a look at last year's general event ambiance, including the opening moments from media/opening night.

And that is it for Dark Harbor!  It's a fun event and a great value for Halloween fans.  I do recommend getting a front-of-line pass for those who attend, though.  It's extra cost, but given that Dark Harbor strives for actual line control with separated groups sometimes a minute or more apart, waiting can get awfully long in the standby line.  The event will be announcing new and exciting additions next week at Midsummer Scream too, so check that out if you're into these sorts of things!

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.