Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Theme Parks
Review by: Rob Milo
(9/19/18) Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest, one of the smaller players in a dense field of seasonal haunt attractions in Southern California, has proved to be a well respected option for local enthusiasts. This year, the park has rolled out a wide variety of scare zones, mazes and entertainment options. Your intrepid reporter, mortally afraid of haunt mazes, will be sheepishly avoiding them. There are plenty of other more palatable diversions available during the evening, so we'll concentrate on those for this report.
Opening night was busy but not so much that crowds hurt the enjoyment for the average visitor. Most of the rides run unlit, adding to the sense of thrill permeating the grounds. One of the few exceptions is Crazanity, resplendent with its elaborate lighting package. Fog frequently envelopes guests and ghouls alike, ramping up the uncertainty of unknown frights around the corner.
Upon entering through the Main Gate, guests are immediately thrust into the first of many scare zones, Demon's Door, transforming the park's entrance into a netherworld of demonic beings from another time. A impressive periodic geyser of fire occasionally spews from the Revolution fountain, drawing guests to the end of the street.
At sunset the DC Universe is transformed into City Under Siege, serving as the portal through which the unleashing of the monsters takes place. All the scare actors for the various zones funnel through the street and into the unsuspecting crowd. The main residents here are creepy and aggressive clowns, springing tricks and pranks on innocent victims touring the neighborhood. This is one of the more enjoyable zones to just sit and people watch, an absolute highlight.
Around the corner, Gotham City is transformed into the Witches Lair, a nearly family friendly zone with a forest, enveloped by fog and populated with witches both small and tall. A short-walled labyrinthine maze gives younger guests a way to test their muster without entering the bigger, scarier mazes, a nice concession to younger visitors, and this admittedly scaredy-cat correspondent.
It's worth noting at this point, that the park brochure for Fright Fest includes a three-tiered "Fright Guide", noting the scare level of the offerings on hand. Throughout the night, I also observed various scare actors taking the time to chat with younger guests, being sure not to scare them too much; a nice touch.
Located at the farthest edge of the park, the Apocalypse roller coaster suits well as a backdrop for The Shadows, a seemingly zombie themed zone. From here, we ventured up into the woods, the setting for Nightmares-A Twisted Fantasy. While the Revolution roller coaster hurtles screaming guests through the trees in near darkness, fanciful denizens, bathed in blacklights, taunt visitors as they navigate the wooded path. Designers put in lots of effort for this one, as the area is populated by creepy mushrooms, spiders, and webs, all slathered in vivid fluorescent colors.
Over at the Full Throttle Stage, Voodoo Nights showcases multiple music, DJ, and dance performances. This was quite a good show, injecting a mix of contemporary and classic pop songs into the mix. A good crowd gathers for these shows, and the performers are able to maintain interest and momentum throughout the night. An unexpected treat.
The largest scare zone, Territory Twisted, in the Screampunk District, oddly wasn't as densely populated. Lots of fog and lighting effects are a welcome addition though. Perhaps we visited during a lull in the action.
There were a few drawbacks to the evening. Lines at most of the big rides were fairly lengthy. Casually observed times were frequently over an hour or two. This leads me to believe that "in the dark" rides should perhaps be implemented on a more frequent basis. It would certainly save on the electricity bill. Additionally, though food service has been given more attention in recent years, our group waited nearly 30 minutes for a small order to emerge from the Metro Park Pub kitchen, even after twice following up on its status. As mentioned earlier, crowds did not seem excessive this night, so this was a bit disappointing.
In summing up, Magic Mountain's Fright Fest is certainly worth consideration for anyone within a short drive from the park. The expansive park swallows people up, so it doesn't feel as claustrophobic as other nearby parks. It's a very cheap option for those locals with annual passes as well; there is only a nominal upcharge to enter the mazes. The scare actors are as good as in any other event, clearly enjoying their short lived time behind their masks.