My wife and I decided to head to Lagoon to experience the first night of Frightmares. I wanted to get photos, and she had nothing better to do than tag along. I always love Frightmares because Halloween is my favorite holiday, and many of you know that Lagoon is one of my favorite places to hang out. Combining the two into one glorious event is my little piece of heaven that occurs once a year, so I was thrilled to find out that I had this evening off. I immediately made plans to head to Frightmares because I don't think I have ever been to the first night in all the years Lagoon has held Frightmares.
As usual, Lagoon did a fantastic job of decorating the park. One of the things I love about Frightmares is all the decorations that appear all over the park. A lot of small nook and cranny areas even include a pumpkin, some graphic, or another type of decoration that just adds to the atmosphere. I love the purple hearse that sits at the entrance, and I was surprised to find two more hearses on the south end of the midway when I walked around the park. This is my first time ever seeing a white and black hearse on the park during Frightmares. Did Lagoon have those last year, or is this new for this year?
The biggest change that we encountered was going through the main gate. As long as I can remember, Lagoon has always given a card that has each house name on it to every guest. Those cards served as passes to each haunted house on the park. Tonight, Lagoon did not hand out those cards as people entered the park. My wife and I found it odd, but it turned out to be a lot of fun because we got to enjoy a couple of the houses a few times. I can see the benefits and downsides to this decision, so it will be interesting to see what Lagoon does after giving this a try. You can still purchase a Time Warp wristband to gain quick entry into the haunted houses. Each wristband costs $15. I would suggest checking out the lines first before purchasing one of these. I suspect the lines on a Saturday will be much longer than on a Friday. Luckily for us, the lines were short, so we decided not to purchase the wristbands.
The new entrance to Fun House of Fear is awesome! I love the new entrance. I think it's simplicity and uniqueness from previous years really improves the house. It also makes it much easier for people to tell that the building contains two houses. The Backlot entrance also uses a simple touch to it that works really well. Unfortunately, we decided not to hit these two houses tonight because we want to save them for tomorrow. We did check out Lockdown and Nightwalk. Not much has changed in Lockdown from the last time I went through it. It gives Lagoon employees a chance to be rude and yell at park guests without getting in trouble, so I think they really enjoy it. Sadly, the line guards weren't as good this evening as I have seen in previous years.
Nightwalk was a new experience for me because I missed Frightmares last year, so I looked forward to checking this one out. I was really impressed with the detail put into the rooms. However, I was confused with some of the rooms and what was going on because of all the screaming, but I enjoyed it anyway. I think I spent more time admiring the rooms than I did the acting. At one point, I was looking at the detail of one of the rooms and turned to say something to my wife. One of the actors was standing right there staring at me, and it made me jump. I think that was one of two times I got a good scare while going through the houses, and that one was my own fault. I also really liked the flat-screen displays in the line showing portraits of a person or couple that stays still for a few minutes then something happens resulting in a death of the person in portrait. They did utilize similar screens in a coule of locations in the house. I liked most of them, but the action in one of the displays in the middle of the house seemed kind of pointless.
One room really stood out to me because it worked really well and didn't take much effort to pull off. I'm not sure if this is new or not (because I never went through the house last year), but I think it deserves to be mentioned. Oh, SPOILER ALERT. Skip past the rest of paragraph if you don't want to read about this room and one other. Anyway, they have a room lined with speakers. At the end of the room is what I believe to be a plexiglass wall with a lightning bolt on it. You can't see this until it lights up, but when it does a large boom erupts from the speakers at the same time simulating a lightning strike. This room got me to jump because it was so unexpected and loud. Another room that I really enjoyed was an outdoor area where three large animatronic creatures sit. Sadly, the room was very plain compared to the rest of the house, but I liked looking at the large creatures. I kind of wished they did more too, but I still enjoyed it. Maybe a low fog rolling across the ground and an actor worshipping the creatures or something would add to it. When we went through the room, they had two actors in masks. One of the actors just stood there and looked at us all menacing like, and the other tried to get in your face. I ignored them both and enjoyed checking out the animatronics.
Another big change this year is the straw maze. It is now located on Main Street in Pioneer Village. We went back and looked at the maze, but it had no actors in it. According to the Frightmares brochure, the straw maze is only open Saturdays, Sundays, and the Thursday and Friday of UEA weekend. While the maze was not open, kids and parents were still wandering through it and having fun. It is weird seeing the maze in PV, but I think it's good that Lagoon is expanding away from the area around the Bat. I still think Lagoon needs to convert one or two of the pavilions on the north end of Pioneer Village into a wild west haunted attraction to utilize more of Pioneer Village during this time of year.
Well, thanks for reading. I will get some more pictures up soon! If any of you want to see anything specific, please let me know! I also plan to discuss the entertainment shows next and go into more detail on the houses once I get a chance to experience the Fun House of Fear and the Backlot. If you have any Frightmares questions, please ask. I will make sure to get the answers for you.