Entering the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor event you meet your hosts The Captain and The Ringmaster. After asking the monsters if they are ready to scare us, we entered to a spectacular night of ghouls, monsters, freaks, food, music, entertainment and fun! Even though they have had different Halloween events at the Queen Mary in the past, Dark Harbor, that has only been running for a few years, has an amazing atmosphere that makes it different from past Queen Mary adventures. Everyone I have talked to says it gets better and better each year. This was my first year going and will not be my last. I was told that they increased their season attendance record 6.5% over last year and they set a new record for a single night attendance on Halloween Night! I was only able to get there on the final night, which was Dia De Los Muertos, so in addition to the regular scares we got to experience our very own Day of the Dead party too. Most of the characters did not have their regular faces on and were more sugar skull decorated, but that didn’t take away from their ability to bring on the screams from the mazes and on the midway. The combination of super scary mazes and a fun carnival midway make it a great place for groups, date nights and families.
One of the things that will always make Dark Harbor unique is the fact that it is at the Queen Mary. With its haunted past and ghostly legends, it just makes it that much creepier knowing that we are walking though what is very likely real haunted areas of an old ship. Dark Harbor mazes bring out that haunted history in a very special way. Bringing the ghosts to life in their own mazes is a great touch and I would love to hear even more of their stories in years to come. Scary Mary, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry and Samuel the Savage are based on real ghostly legends. Most of the mazes had some sort of pre-show to give us those back-stories, but I know I didn’t get enough time to hear them completely. Not that that took away from the scare value- I just love a good ghost story!
I enjoyed all the mazes, but I truly loved all the fun Scary Mary interactions in Lullaby. With 10 Scary Marys to play hide and seek with there was a lot to see and do. I still get a shiver up my spine going by the pool area thinking that a little girl really drowned in a pool on this same ship. After Lullaby, the amount of scares and fun I had in the mazes were in this order: Soulmate, Deadrise, B340, Circus and Voodoo Village. I was really impressed with each maze as I went from each beautifully designed vignette to another, meeting demented, bloody and creepy characters who told me their sad (and sometimes angry) stories. The monsters had awesome timing and even though its hard to scare me, they got me turn after turn! Each room had so many details it was hard to take them all in. I would have loved to have had the time to go through them over and over to see each room in totality.
The Sideshow: Freaks and Oddities was not forgotten in this story. I got to spent a little time early in the night there and then again as my last place before closing. I admit I spent some time outside unsuccessfully trying to catch a great photo of the flash of fire at the entrance. Once inside I enjoyed an interesting group of shows; fire-breathing, contortionists, magic, The Ringmaster, and other body defying acts. It was a fun area to kick back and sit for awhile, have a drink and enjoy the people around you. I got very disoriented in the White Ghost room, actually getting a bit lost- but it was fun. The midway was fun too with yummy food and lots of unique shows like the Slider Olympics, the singers and the violinists. The costume contest had some clever costumes, but none as good as the scare actors themselves.
I am very thankful to the wonderful folks at Dark Harbor for inviting me into their world and I can’t wait to see what new monsters will rise up from the depths to scare us next year.
The next event coming up very soon is Chill. Great holiday family fun with an amazing ice kingdom, ice skating, ice tubing and tons of cold winter activities! Chill runs November 20th through January 10th. For information on Chill go to the Queen Mary Website: Chill at the Queen Mary
The Queen Mary is open year-round with great events and entertainment. Just go on their website to get the latest news. There is a hotel on board, numerous restaurants, banquet facitilites and a wedding chapel. If you love ghosts there is always something for you at the Queen Mary. When the sun goes down, the spirits aboard the Queen Mary come out to play. Explore the legendary ship with a series of twilight tours that explore the haunted past and paranormal activity that the Queen Mary is known for. Groups of 15 or more may call 562-499-1718 for discounted group rates
Website for the Queen Mary and Hotel: Queen Mary.com
Website for: Twilight, haunted tours and paranormal investigations