Take a swing around Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2016 through Oct. 31.
October is finally upon us, and the frightful spirits of Dark Harbor have materialized at the Queen Mary. There’s just something about a haunt in an actual haunted place that adds to the eeriness of it all. The feel of the seaside attraction is as if they let loose the ghosts that roam the halls of the ship for Halloween and then let a traveling circus of the dead crash the party along with the stowaway voodoo dead. The good company of the raised dead taunts and entertains you.
Here are our most recommended and favorite things about the Long Beach attraction.
Voodoo House: Before you get started on the night’s festivities, I suggest you stop by the Voodoo House right in the entrance area of the event. Featuring a pre-show party from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the specialty potions and tequila tasting room is great for some pre-gaming with friends. Hosted by Herradura, the tequila flights demo the brand’s selection, and next door you can get some fun potion tube shots. We enjoyed the pumpkin one.
New Maze Intrepid: Right when you enter, you come across Dark Harbor’s newest maze, Intrepid, in the dome adjacent to Circus’ Big Top. Meet the Iron Master, the deranged builder of the Queen Mary, in his Scottish shipyard. This barebones metal labyrinth features mechanical steampunk builders and interesting creatures. There’s also some tube crawling, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes to move in and sturdy shoes. This goes for a couple more of the mazes as well. We loved that this maze featured a chance to go up onto a bridge overlooking the maze to show you the threats down below.
Multiple Paths: Many of the mazes like Intrepid include alternate paths, so the experience is different every time. Circus has multiple doors that lead you to different funhouse-esque halls. You could end up in a ball pit room or tumbling down a slide (I keep not getting that one!). In Lullaby, the maze splits into two paths in the middle near a teddy bear for some more action onboard the ship.
Showmanship: I have to hand it to Dark Harbor, their environment is always on. It’s not like you walk through zones and then are bored in line until the maze starts. While you’re here, nowhere is safe. The monsters swarm in line, and when you walk from place to place they mess with you in spooky jest. They also raise the bar this year on that strength, and many of the lines themselves now include nightly entertainment. In the queue for Soulmate, you are audience to a deranged, beautiful composer on the piano. While waiting to get into Circus, there are aerialists on silks doing amazing work. We also enjoyed the fire dancers on the main stage and the athleticism of sliders on the street. There is always something happening, even when you’re not inside the mazes.
Food and Drink: While we love the offerings in the Voodoo House, there are also fantastic options all around the event as far as sustenance and inebriation. There are full bars, even a bottle service area if you rent out a Creepy Cabana. At the Sideshow bar you can take in some kooky performances and hop on over to a hookah lounge. There are giant hot dogs, meat skewers, fries and all sorts of desserts in good portions. We loved the Ice Scream shop with dipped bars, frozen bananas and yummy soft serve. I really appreciated the pun titles like the Empty Skull for the soft serve and the frozen banana being called the Bone Banana (I see what they did there.).
Queen Mary’s Dark Harbour runs on select dates through Oct. 31. For tickets and more information, visit queenmary.com/events/dark-harbor.