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California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review!

AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile

Posted:
10/3/13 at
8:22:24 PM

First off, apologies for linking off to another site, which is actually my "CGA Insider" blog I run. I had recently done CGA's Halloween Haunt which began in 2008 and has grown quite a bit since, and only getting better. I know there's not a whole lot of west coast people here, but would like to share what we have to offer on the west coast!

You can see the full review here:
http://au13watch.blogspot.com/2013/10/halloween-haunt-2013-maze-and-scarezone.html

User Submitted Picture

Haunt 2013 Review!

* This post was modified at 10/3/13 8:46:43 PM *

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/4/13 8:39:44 PM
Well done - awesome review! The park looks great. I should really go to a few of the haunts at SFGAdv one day - I just can't see spending that money to wait sometimes hours on line (or pay $60 for a haunt FP). I'd rather do the local haunted attractions instead. What do they charge there for each one?

Oh, and you have a typo in the Zombie High review - it's spelled "college" when you go to school. A "collage" is a when you put a bunch of different photos together, LOL! :-)

Jen

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by antikythera antikythera Profile at 10/4/13 9:10:40 PM
Jen, the Cedar Fair ones usually include all the haunted attractions as part of park admission, unless they changed that. Or at least that's how it's been at KD for a while, but, yes, I agree that sometimes it's a waste to wait in line if you don't have a good group to live up the hokiness of haunts (although some are pretty creepy sometimes). I did the one at Dorney last year because there was no lines. I just jumped in with a group of people. Six Flags America normally charges upward to $5 - $10 for each attraction but they decided to lump it all together into a $10 - $15 charge for all the haunted attractions this year.

Also, the local area mom-and-pop haunted attractions are getting even more expensive. It can be upward to $40 a person on a weekend -- at least with the amusement park, you get the bonus of rollercoasters and other rides.

I enjoyed reading your review as CGA is on my list of places to go one day and it's nice to see how their Haunt compares to Dorney and KD. It's cool that they offered the glasses for CarnEvil. Dorney wasn't offering them when I went to their version last year, or at least I didn't see anywhere to purchase them.

How was the Overlord compared to the other Cedar Fair parks (assuming you've done the others)?

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by JeffyJosephNCali JeffyJosephNCali Profile at 10/7/13 2:09:32 AM
Had a great time at ACE Day @ Haunt at CGA this past weekend! Kudos to CGA for all the extra backstage tours including seeing the makeup being put on first hand! If you all are in the area I highly recommend visiting, they have done an extraordinary job and it's just getting better!
Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile at 10/7/13 11:58:29 PM
The joy of Haunt and Cedar Fair, you pay 1 price (which is separate form daytime admission) but it gives you unlimited access to all mazes plus rides. CGA runs their Haunt from 7-midnight but if you plan on doing any rides, plan on getting in line before 11 as they tend to cap the lines just after 11 (noise curfews...lovely...).

And I fixed the typos...thanks MS Office for changing out "college" to "collage." :-)

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/8/13 12:15:31 AM
AngryGumball said:

The joy of Haunt and Cedar Fair, you pay 1 price (which is separate form daytime admission) but it gives you unlimited access to all mazes plus rides. CGA runs their Haunt from 7-midnight but if you plan on doing any rides, plan on getting in line before 11 as they tend to cap the lines just after 11 (noise curfews...lovely...).


And I fixed the typos...thanks MS Office for changing out "college" to "collage." :-)

But you can pay one price at SF parks too - $12 for season pass holders and $15 for the GP for access to all haunted attractions at Gadv so you don't have to pay separate admission at night. I like that system better since I don't generally do the haunts. That's not cool to chase people out of the park and make them pay to re-enter at night IMO.

Jen

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by JeffyJosephNCali JeffyJosephNCali Profile at 10/8/13 4:07:30 AM
I'm glad my Gold Pass includes Haunt already so I don't need to pay extra. We normally do the Haunt buffets so we don't have to leave the park and wait for it to reopen as it occurs between day & night operation. Plus this years upgraded buffet at CGA: "Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse" includes ERT on Gold Striker from 5:30pm until 7pm when Haunt starts & a one time use Front of the line pass for one maze, great deal!
Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile at 10/8/13 4:23:17 AM
And I yet again crave the food they offered at the said Chophouse buffet. I thoroughly enjoyed riding Gold Striker for 1 hour...what turned out to be a private ride as it was just me and a few buddies riding it!

Ready for my 5th Haunt visit this weekend!

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 10/8/13 1:01:25 PM
GoYanks34 said:

That's not cool to chase people out of the park and make them pay to re-enter at night IMO.

Jen

I was thinking the same thing about the Disney Halloween Party. They close at 7pm (vs usual 9 or 10pm) so they can basically cram in a second half price day of admission until midnight. Rubbish. I'd equate if to a park kicking out all it's guests before the twilight admission kicks in. I realize there are additional attractions being paid for by the extra admission, but if we are already there and have paid to get in, just shut up and keep taking our money at the food stands and such.

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/8/13 1:24:16 PM
HamptonRoadsRider said:

GoYanks34 said:

That's not cool to chase people out of the park and make them pay to re-enter at night IMO.

Jen

I was thinking the same thing about the Disney Halloween Party. They close at 7pm (vs usual 9 or 10pm) so they can basically cram in a second half price day of admission until midnight. Rubbish. I'd equate if to a park kicking out all it's guests before the twilight admission kicks in. I realize there are additional attractions being paid for by the extra admission, but if we are already there and have paid to get in, just shut up and keep taking our money at the food stands and such.

Agreed. At the very least they should at least allow people who are intending to stay pay a small additional fee to stay until close. Just give them wristbands or a hand stamp. I thought charging additional fees for the haunts at Gadv was bad (I remember the days when the hayride and attractions were free) but think charging 2 separate admissions is practically criminal.

Jen

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by antikythera antikythera Profile at 10/8/13 4:31:56 PM
I'm a bit confused by this whole conversation and I feel like I shouldn't.

I thought most of the Cedar Fair parks include the haunted attractions as part of park admission. If you leave the park after the designated cutoff time then, yes, you can't get back into the park without paying for a new ticket but the haunted attractions are still included for free.

The difference for Six Flags is that you'd need to pay for an admission ticket and then pay for the haunted attractions and, if you left, you'd have to pay for park admission again.

In either of these scenarios, I'm allowed to stay and ride the rides, regardless if I do the haunted attractions or not. Or is that not the same across the board for all the chains?

All the previous comments about two separate admissions has me lost or are we saying the same thing?

* This post was modified at 10/8/13 4:42:22 PM *

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/8/13 5:57:33 PM
antikythera said:

I'm a bit confused by this whole conversation and I feel like I shouldn't.


I thought most of the Cedar Fair parks include the haunted attractions as part of park admission. If you leave the park after the designated cutoff time then, yes, you can't get back into the park without paying for a new ticket but the haunted attractions are still included for free.

The difference for Six Flags is that you'd need to pay for an admission ticket and then pay for the haunted attractions and, if you left, you'd have to pay for park admission again.

In either of these scenarios, I'm allowed to stay and ride the rides, regardless if I do the haunted attractions or not. Or is that not the same across the board for all the chains?

All the previous comments about two separate admissions has me lost or are we saying the same thing?

No - it's not the same thing. They're saying they make all patrons leave at a certain time and then reopen the park at twilight for the haunts which requires a separate park admission. So if you paid to get in at opening you will be forced out of the park and required to pay another park admission to re-enter at night. Apparently Disney does the same thing.

Go to their website - they have separate tickets for the day 10:30 am - 5:30 pm and the haunt at night from 7 pm - 12 am. ($44.99 at the gate for re-admission at night which is INSANE).

Not all Cedar Fair parks are run the same. The Fast Lane at Knotts is not run even remotely the same as it is at CP. At Knotts you go up the exit and board immediately (a horrible system IMO).

Looking up other CF parks: Knotts, Carowinds & Canada's Wonderland all have separate admission to its haunted attractions as well.

Ones included in admission are CP, KD, KI, That "D" word, WOF, & VF.

Michigan's Adventure is closed for the season.


Jen

* This post was modified at 10/8/13 6:06:13 PM *

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile at 10/8/13 7:41:23 PM
I'm not sure how the other parks do it, but CGA Gold and Platinum passholders get Haunt admission free. It is a bit of a thorn in the side for non pass holders but since the park does quite a bit for its Haunt (compared to its neighbor up north), I think its own admission justifies it. Plus, who wants a bunch of leftover little kids from the day inside the park during Haunt (and then dealing with upset parents as their kids who were too young for the event get terrified by monsters doing their job).

Sad thing is, I still see strollers and toddlers in the park anyway (and parents complain anyway though they were brilliant enough to not have someone babysit the young'uns...)

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by antikythera antikythera Profile at 10/8/13 7:42:05 PM
That's terrible Jen. For once, I am actually happy I live in the mid-Atlantic. I would never, ever pay a separate price for any haunted attraction. Consider me spoiled with SFA, KD and BGW, but I feel bad for everyone else.

Edit: I know you have to pay for SFA's mazes, but it's such a small fee, at least this year that I included it as part of park admission. Still, I would never pay an additional fee just to get back into the park, especially not SFA.

* This post was modified at 10/8/13 7:44:36 PM *

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/8/13 8:38:41 PM
antikythera said:

That's terrible Jen. For once, I am actually happy I live in the mid-Atlantic. I would never, ever pay a separate price for any haunted attraction. Consider me spoiled with SFA, KD and BGW, but I feel bad for everyone else.


Edit: I know you have to pay for SFA's mazes, but it's such a small fee, at least this year that I included it as part of park admission. Still, I would never pay an additional fee just to get back into the park, especially not SFA.

I wouldn't pay to get back in any park. Period. They are charging the same price for the day and night. No way. I will never complain about Six Flags' Fright Fest prices again as long as I live. $15 (if you want to do all of the haunts w/o a season pass but you can choose to only do one or two as well) vs $36-$45 - no thank you. Plus you have to go out and wait 1 1/2 hours to get back in and THEN pay for it all over again. Even if you have a season pass (and CF season passes are not cheap) you still have to leave and come back.

I'm with you Corey - I am so thankful that where I live all the parks within driving distance do not have this policy. I hope it doesn't catch on or I will NOT be happy!

Jen

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile at 10/8/13 10:17:14 PM
On a different note, I put a little video together from this year's Haunt (Scare Zones and some miscellaneous action).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl4HRaSd1JU

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by antikythera antikythera Profile at 10/8/13 10:22:40 PM
GoYanks34 said:

antikythera said:

That's terrible Jen. For once, I am actually happy I live in the mid-Atlantic. I would never, ever pay a separate price for any haunted attraction. Consider me spoiled with SFA, KD and BGW, but I feel bad for everyone else.


Edit: I know you have to pay for SFA's mazes, but it's such a small fee, at least this year that I included it as part of park admission. Still, I would never pay an additional fee just to get back into the park, especially not SFA.

I wouldn't pay to get back in any park. Period. They are charging the same price for the day and night. No way. I will never complain about Six Flags' Fright Fest prices again as long as I live. $15 (if you want to do all of the haunts w/o a season pass but you can choose to only do one or two as well) vs $36-$45 - no thank you. Plus you have to go out and wait 1 1/2 hours to get back in and THEN pay for it all over again. Even if you have a season pass (and CF season passes are not cheap) you still have to leave and come back.

I'm with you Corey - I am so thankful that where I live all the parks within driving distance do not have this policy. I hope it doesn't catch on or I will NOT be happy!

Jen

I was thinking at first it must be the non-Paramount parks that were grandfathered in, but CW and Carowinds are both on there so it's a bit perplexing.

Canada's Wonderland pulls in a massive amount of people a year so I can only assume they want to milk it for all it's worth.

On the flipside, does Carowinds really attract more than Kings Dominion? I wonder if they charge extra because they don't get as much as their other properties?

Does Cedar Fair even have that much oversight on how each property should run their Haunt?

It just seems so arbitrary from the consumer standpoint.

It's one of those times I loathe Cedar Fair. I kind of miss Paramount, even if they had their own set of issues.

* This post was modified at 10/8/13 10:24:45 PM *

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by Eric_Gieszl Eric_Gieszl Profile at 10/9/13 1:43:04 AM
Let me give you all a little background on this subject.

In California, home to the original theme park Halloween event (Knott's Scary Farm), it is customary for it to be a separate ticketed event. Knott's Halloween Haunt has always been a separate admission and passholders are not included regardless of pass type (Gold, Platinum- sorry).

In Knott's case the park is open from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm for regular operations. The park then closes, clears out, and reopens at 7:00 pm for the Haunt and remains open until 1:00 or 2:00 am.

Universal copied this format for their parks in Orlando and Hollywood.

California's Great America has for at least the past couple of years made it a separate ticketed event and largely because of the management of the park down south (Knott's).

* This post was modified at 10/9/13 1:46:36 AM *

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by Coaster316 at 10/9/13 7:34:09 AM
I don't like Halloween, but if I'm not mistaken Kings Dominion charged a second admission the first couple of years they had Halloween events when they were Paramount. I think I recall it being that way they year that they had the special effects involving the tower that Kings Island had the first year. I remember wanting to see that but not being able to be in the park at that point.

I don't have a problem with it at all. A business is charging what its guests are willing to pay. I can understand if someone doesn't want to do it, we all make decisions for our own reasons, but I wouldn't see it as something to get angry about or even remotely criminal.

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile at 10/9/13 12:13:25 PM
The park has been doing Haunt since 2008, and have done the separate admission since the said year. The year before we only had 1 maze, being CarnEvil, which opened late afternoon to closing. There was no admission as this was almost like a "demo" for what was to come in 2008. Prior to 2007, Great America had no halloween events inside the park other than Nick or Treat (for the kids). I'm not counting what may have been set up out in the parking lot either.

Since there's the 2 admissions, this helps filter out a lot of the younger set who really should not be at Haunt. And seeing how many people attend Haunt, they don't seem to mind either. I'm just glad Gold Pass holders get Haunt included. I've gone 4 times already :)

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by JeffyJosephNCali JeffyJosephNCali Profile at 10/9/13 4:04:12 PM
I for one love that Haunt is separate. As AngryGumball said, it weeds out all the little kiddies that should not be at haunt, (with the exception of the parents that still go to Haunt, with their strollers, *rolls eyes*, that's a whole different topic)

Not sure why everyone is complaining. All of the CF Parks include Haunt if you have Gold or Platinum Pass, with the exception of KBF & Canada's Wonderland where you get discounted tickets with your pass, and MA which is closed. At CGA, you can upgrade to Haunt for $26 with your paid ticket.

In the end this is a business. I remember Matt Ouitmet did a podcast with the site http://www.seasonpasspodcast.com/ mentioning CGA was the highest attended Haunt outside of Knott's in the CF Chain and it's only in it's 6th season! And it's continuing to get bigger and better.

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/9/13 4:54:54 PM
JeffyJosephNCali said:

I for one love that Haunt is separate. As AngryGumball said, it weeds out all the little kiddies that should not be at haunt, (with the exception of the parents that still go to Haunt, with their strollers, *rolls eyes*, that's a whole different topic)


Not sure why everyone is complaining. All of the CF Parks include Haunt if you have Gold or Platinum Pass, with the exception of KBF & Canada's Wonderland where you get discounted tickets with your pass, and MA which is closed. At CGA, you can upgrade to Haunt for $26 with your paid ticket.

My problem is for those without a season pass. I don't ever get a Cedar Fair SP since it's not worth it for me. Right now the parks within driving distance include it but if they didn't I would not go or plan a trip this time of year since I'm not paying two admissions to a park when I really just want to ride the coasters/rides and enjoy the atmosphere. Not everyone wants to do the haunts. Some of us just want to ride in the nice cool October weather. :-)

And what do you do for 1 1/2 hours while they empty the park and then make you re-enter? What a waste of valuable time that could be spent riding! If you leave and come back they don't charge you parking again do they?

I think those of us who live in the north east are just shocked at this system since they don't do this at any of the parks we frequent.

Jen

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/9/13 5:21:53 PM
GoYanks34 said:

JeffyJosephNCali said:

I for one love that Haunt is separate. As AngryGumball said, it weeds out all the little kiddies that should not be at haunt, (with the exception of the parents that still go to Haunt, with their strollers, *rolls eyes*, that's a whole different topic)


Not sure why everyone is complaining. All of the CF Parks include Haunt if you have Gold or Platinum Pass, with the exception of KBF & Canada's Wonderland where you get discounted tickets with your pass, and MA which is closed. At CGA, you can upgrade to Haunt for $26 with your paid ticket.

My problem is for those without a season pass. I don't ever get a Cedar Fair SP since it's not worth it for me. Right now the parks within driving distance include it but if they didn't I would not go or plan a trip this time of year since I'm not paying two admissions to a park when I really just want to ride the coasters/rides and enjoy the atmosphere. Not everyone wants to do the haunts. Some of us just want to ride in the nice cool October weather. :-)

And what do you do for 1 1/2 hours while they empty the park and then make you re-enter? What a waste of valuable time that could be spent riding! If you leave and come back they don't charge you parking again do they?

I think those of us who live in the north east are just shocked at this system since they don't do this at any of the parks we frequent.

Jen

I was shocked by this system. I was unaware that some Cedar Fair parks operated like this. Knotts and California's Great America does not pertain to me, but Canada's Wonderland does. I'll be sure to never visit CW during it's Haunt. I actually do have a problem with platinum pass holders having to pay a separate admission. After tax a platinum pass is $191. Being that I buy 3 every year for my kids and I, that's a pretty good chunk of change. I'm glad this thread was posted, and I now know how these 3 parks operate. I hope Cedar Fair doesn't do this to any of their other parks.

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by AngryGumball AngryGumball Profile at 10/9/13 5:57:22 PM

And what do you do for 1 1/2 hours while they empty the park and then make you re-enter? What a waste of valuable time that could be spent riding! If you leave and come back they don't charge you parking again do they?
Jen

We can remain in lot during the 'transition'. During this time, the park offers 2 buffet meals (inside the park) but require Haunt admission. The one we've been doing grants us ERT on Gold Striker (Rode this coaster for an hour without leaving my seat, with just my friends...talk about private rides!), and a front of the line pass...not to mention some really great food!

Gold/Platinum passholders get free parking, one of the other reasons why I upgrade to Gold.

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by JeffyJosephNCali JeffyJosephNCali Profile at 10/9/13 5:57:38 PM
I guess you guys in the East Coast are spoiled lol :-P

Kidding aside, you can't please everyone. If you don't want to buy it, you don't have to. For us at our home park CGA, as I mentioned above, we do the upgraded buffet option which starts at 5pm so we never have to leave the park at all, and includes ERT on Gold Striker from 5:30pm-7pm and also includes a one time use front of the line pass for one maze. Not sure if the other CF parks include other perks but I imagine that they do.

Re: California's Great America - Halloween Haunt 2013 Review! by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/9/13 6:28:34 PM
My home park is Kennywood and for the first time we bought season passes this year. Our season passes do not include Phantom Fright Night's, which is their Halloween event. We bought our passes at the end of last year, which were we able to visit the park 5 times last year and 13 times this year on those season passes. In other words, we got our money's worth. We did not visit during Phantom Fright Nights last year and we will not visit this year. I'm not paying the extra cash to visit a park that we have been to 18 times in the past 13 months. We are still on the fence weather to renew our passes.