At the end of this month - Thursday, September 29, to be exact - the Queen Mary will once again sail into the Dark Harbor, offering an opportunity to explore a Port o' Call with Halloween horrors dredged up from the depths of the sea. New features include Intrepid (a maze featuring the debut of character called The Iron Master); Panic (a 4-D virtual experience); Hex (a paintball gallery replacing the Anubis Paintball Adventure); and the Voodoo House Bar and Tasting room. Returning attractions include the Freaks & Oddities Sideshow and the mazes Circus Big Top Terror, Deadrise, Lullaby, Soulmate, and B340.
For 2016, the historic ocean liner-turned-hotel voyages further on the course established when the annual Halloween event was rebranded as Queen Mary Dark Harbor: that is, transforming into a destination where tourist will drop anchor for the entire evening of entertainment, featuring not only ghosts and ghouls but also spirits of the alcoholic-type. In fact, Dark Harbor's strategy for success seems to lie in up-charge events - so-called "Premium Experiences," such as private parties and tours.
VIP Admission (including Fast Fright Pass, RIP Lounge, and drink tickets) starts at $99. Those with an undisclosed "wad of cash" (per the official website) can arrange for a private party at the haunt's RIP Lounge or the Sideshow. Other options include renting a private Creepy Cabana for $99 or enjoying a private freak show performance from a seductive sword-swallower, a magician, or a "Human Blockhead" for $49. For $199, a group of up to ten can enjoy a Tequila Flight in the Voodoo House's tasting room, hosted by the Voodoo Priestess herself.
As if that were not extravagant enough, this year guests can charter a fifteen-minute, guided tour led by the central character of each maze: the Iron Master in Intrepid; the Ring Master in the Circus; Samuel the Savage in B340; the Captain in Deadrise; Scary Mary in Lullaby; and Graceful Gale in Soulmate.
In short, the former luxury liner has become a luxury Halloween event, the cost of which could theoretically run over $1,000 for those who want each and every premium experience. (And you thought $75 for a ticket to Delusion was expensive!)
Fortunately, it is still possible to visit Dark Harbor on a reasonable budget. Ticket prices start at $20 in advance for early-entry “Happy Haunting Hour” (ticket holders must enter during first hour of operation). General Admission is $24 in advance and $29 at the gate. Season passes are $59.
Dark Harbor will be open on September 29-30; October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 26-31. Hours are 7pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays; 7pm to midnight on Sundays and weekdays. There are special hours opening night on Thursday, September 30: 8pm to midnight.
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