They Own Fear: Reviewing Worlds of Fun’s 2019 Halloween Haunt
As darkness falls, fear rises when the Overlord calls his army to transform Worlds of Fun into the park’s annual Halloween Haunt event. Now in its 13th terrifying season, Worlds of Fun’s Haunt is among Cedar Fair’s larger Halloween events, featuring eight haunted mazes, four scare zones, and three live shows.
During a recent visit, I had the opportunity to experience Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt for the first time, and in doing so, I figured out very quickly why the park has adopted the hashtag #WeOwnFear to promote their event. Here’s a quick run-down of what I experienced.
Near Worlds of Fun’s Main Entrance, the stage is set for the arrival of the Overlord, which takes place each night. However, the Overlord doesn’t travel alone.
A wide array of “screamsters” from Worlds of Fun’s 11 mazes and scare zones parade through the entrance area, joined by several classic cars that have been decorated for the occasion. They form a circular perimeter around the center of the entrance plaza, and as fog rolls in and the music gets louder, the scare actors interact with the audience until the Overlord makes his towering entrance.
I highly recommend getting a spot early for this grand entrance, as the guest traffic flow around the area is altered, because everyone wants to see the grand entrance. Having seen the parade twice, it’s worth noting that the vehicles used are different every night, so you never quite know what you’ll be seeing.
As the screamsters chant, the Overlord rises, high above his castle, and “welcomes” the assembled audience to Worlds of Fun’s Haunt. He goes attraction-by-attraction, summoning the monsters in each maze and scarezone, as a way of letting the guests know just what they’ve gotten themselves into. He is also joined above his castle by the Wicked Witches of West and East, who elaborate a little more about the scares.
With some pyrotechnics and theatrics, it’s declared by the Overlord and the witches that “WE. OWN. FEAR,” and it was time for Haunt to begin. This would look incredible under a near full moon (Saturday, October 12), by the way.
The makeup on many of the scare actors was really well done. Very intricate.
Armed with a Fright Lane Pass (and honestly, this is the only way I’d ever want to experience a Halloween Haunt, because who wants to wait in line?), my first haunted maze I visited was Khaos Unleashed, which was new at Worlds of Fun in 2018 (and in 2019, has a new location, near Worlds of Fun’s Grand Carrousel.) According to Haunt lore, “Reality has been rejected during Haunt and havoc has taken over, and chaos reigns supreme. Rising from the underbelly of Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt, Khaos Unleashed is like no other experience testing the limits of all your senses with an explosion of sensory deception that is utterly beyond description! First, you’ll feel confused, then disoriented, and eventually, you’ll find yourself traveling in circles.
True to its description, Khaos Unleashed did a lot of those things. I was confused. I was disoriented, and it felt like I was traveling in circles in the maze (because at one point, I think I legitimately was.) There were several really great scare opportunities in Khaos Unleashed, but I’m not sure if it was a shortage of scare actors, or just odd placement throughout the maze, but there was only one moment during my trip through the maze where I got a good “jump” scare, and it involved some lasers and fog creating a great hiding place for the scare actor.
Making a counter-clockwise trip through the park, the next maze I came upon was “Lore of the Vampire,” which as you might guess from the title, heavily features Vampires. Each night of Halloween Haunt, you can journey into the catacombs and tombs of the most feared creatures of Transylvania to bear witness to the abomination of the children of the night. Over a century’s worth of blood-starved vampires lurks around each corner of their daytime prison as they wait for the curtain of darkness to shadow their search for the liquid of the living.
Lore of the Vampire was an incredibly intricate and detailed maze, and one of the longest haunted mazes I have ever experienced. Taking place on multiple levels, and indoors and outdoors, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to make it out alive. I later found out that Lore of the Vampire actually uses some of the queue house of Worlds of Fun’s former Orient Express roller coaster. The scare actors were great inside this maze, with some great improvisation and scaring. A bit of advice as you ascend into the “train station” area of the maze. Don’t walk towards the light…unless you want future hearing damage.
I headed to my third haunted house of the night, Blood on the Bayou. High on the hill, the cursed mansion sits near blood-red bogs filled with roaming spirits ready to tear the life from their next victims. Filled with mysteries too dark and demonic to explore, only those brave and foolish enough to press on discover the enigma of the plantation manor. Another very detailed maze, and one that felt deceptively long, Blood on the Bayou had a little of everything New Orleans themed; a plantation facade, some alligators and other swamp animals, and a whole lot of voodoo. The only thing missing was a tent at the end of the maze that was serving up some gumbo.
There were several life-like mannequins inside this maze, which made it difficult to decipher which were scare actors and which were mannequins. I will say, my favorite scene in the Blood on the Bayou maze involved a ouija board, playing up the voodoo aspect of the maze. The scare actors in here were great as well, however, the one of the best scares is at the end of the maze — you have been warned!
Almost adjacent to Blood on the Bayou is the London-themed “Ripper Alley” maze. Jack the Ripper is on the loose and has petrified the citizens of Whitechapel with a rein of bloody terror. As you roam the cobblestone streets and corridors of Victorian-era London, you’ll find that Jack isn’t the only butcher hunting in the fog. Step lively, or you’ll suffer the fate of an oh-too close shave at the hands of Sweeney Todd or become the next twisted experiment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
As a party of one, I ended up walking through much of this maze by myself, which added to the creepiness factor. The fog was heavy in this maze, and made it difficult at times to find your way through the maze itself, but added to the storyline. My favorite moment in this maze was early on when a scare actor popped out of a curtain and yelled “BY YOURSELF, ARE YA?! GO THAT WAY!” and pointed me in the right direction. It was a pretty jarring jump scare, and definitely had me on-edge for the rest of my walk through the maze.
I will give the scare actors a lot of credit in this maze. British accents aren’t the easiest to pull off, especially for people in the midwest. The accents in here were pretty great, and there were several scare actors in scenes who were having story-related conversations in their accents. I enjoyed this maze a lot.
After night rides on Timber Wolf and Mamba, I resumed my haunted journey around Worlds of Fun with a trip to MacDonald’s Slaughterhouse, which is the home of Blood Shed. As this crazed family of farmers torment and cattle prod you through the bloody chutes of this heart-pounding maze of halls and meat lockers you’ll find out where the beef is!
Blood Shed was a pretty solid, albeit on the shorter size, maze, and the scare actors, with their pig faces, were some of the most terrifying of any maze at Worlds of Fun. The scares inside were pretty stellar. I will say though, with the only other Cedar Fair Haunt I’ve been to being Carowinds, the scare concept of Butcher Shop is done slightly better down at Red Ribbon Meats at SCarowinds. It wasn’t a bad maze by any means, but I constantly found myself walking through and making comparisons between the two mazes.
My next maze of the night was Corn Stalkers, Worlds of Fun’s lone all-outdoor “maize.” It was by far one of the best “corn mazes” I’ve ever been through. Out of the abyss of corn come those who stalk the living each night of Halloween Haunt. Perched above the fields and standing guard of their harvest, scarecrows fashioned from overalls too worn to mend, burlap sacks, and stuffed with corn husks are found around every turn and dead-end in this maize.
There were scare actors around seemingly every turn, “stalking” the guests in the maze. The pathways were narrow, the fog effects were great, and Corn Stalkers was overall a very solid adaptation of the classic haunted corn maze. The one strike against it, and this is through no fault of Worlds of Fun or the scare actors inside the maze, is that I was in front of a large group of obnoxious teenagers, and about halfway through the maze, they caught up with me (and I caught up with the group ahead of me), and we “conga lined” through the rest of the maze. This muted some of the scares, as the scariest thing in the maze was walking behind me and ruining many of the potential frights.
Up next was the Chamber of Horrors maze, which is “Condemned” for 2019. After a mysterious fire ripped through the halls of the Chamber of Horrors, the now crumbling and condemned structure calls for its next explorer to enter the exhibition of the weird and creepy.
There were several sideshow oddities throughout the maze, themed to a wax museum. The interior is incredibly dark, with a journey through the maze made possible by some handheld flashlights handed out sporadically to groups entering the maze. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to be handed the flashlight, so I tagged along with the group of people in front me who had one. The creepiness factor for this maze definitely came in the form of the wrapped mannequins in the maze, playing up the condemned aspect. You didn’t know if they were scare actors or just mannequins. (Or I didn’t anyway.)
My final maze of the night (that I originally missed, because I wasn’t familiar with Worlds of Fun’s layout) was Zombie High. After an incurable outbreak of an unknown virus, the administration of Cleaver High School was left running from the brain-hungry, bloodthirsty undead swarming from the school grounds. Months after the outbreak began running rampant, the doors of Zombie High are back open, and class is in session.
Another maze that I previously experienced at SCarowinds, Zombie High continues to live on at Worlds of Fun. The scare actors all play their zombie roles very well, but the star for me in this maze is the attention to detail in the maze. Everywhere you turn, there are “gory” titles written on chalkboards, or details in the cafeteria. It would be great to just walk through this maze, lights on, with no scare-actors terrorizing you, just to take a look at the details inside the maze.
Not to be missed at Worlds of Fun are the four scare zones, which I didn’t take detailed walks through, but they were all great in their own right.
In Outlaw’s Revenge, Gunslingers and malcontents seek their revenge in the ghost town of Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt. Outlaw spirits of Boot Hill Cemetery roam freely amongst the townsfolk who dare to cross their path while searching for revenge from the local hangman. If sliders are your thing (and if they’re not, why?!), Outlaw’s Revenge is the place for you!
In World of Fun’s new-for-2019 scare zone, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, there are plenty of pumpkins on display, and all appeared to be hand-carved. As All Hallows Eve draws closer, the town can no longer ignore the menacing turn this once auspicious farmland has taken. All the more bizarre is Peter’s horrific display of pumpkins, spewing seeds and guts that foul the breeze across town while more people go missing.
The scare actors in this scare zone were pretty limited during my one walk through, but I fully admit I could have caught the maze at a bad time.
This is my face when I realized I didn’t take any photos of The Boneyard. As darkness falls, fear rises in this dark and demonic stain on the Halloween Haunt landscape. Murderous and maniacal monsters roam the bleak and fog-filled pathways as light only occasionally streaks across the sky. Orcs, goblins, and terrible beasts crawl out of the unknown depths that lurk beneath our feet to feed on the marrow of the living.
Lurking in the fog of the Boneyard, the scare actors here were some of the most menacing, and all played their roles really well. My favorite moment here was when I walked through, a scare actor with a skull in his hands popped out of the fog right next to a couple, and had the skull on a rope while saying “heads up!” I love a good skeletal pun.
There were also several clowns on the loose throughout Worlds of Fun Haunt, and a wide variety of “screamsters” in the International Plaza, where Hexed was located. To me this area was less of a scare zone, and more of a dance party, with multiple entertaining options through the night.
International Plaza was also where the acrobatic Skeleton Crew show was located. This show was great at showcasing the feats of strength possessed by these acrobats, including trapeze work and lots of trampolining. It’s a perfect show to take a break from some scares during Worlds of Fun haunt, but I actually experienced by “best” scare of the night while waiting for the show. I won’t spoil it, but what scared me is pictured earlier in this article, and if he gets you, it’s clearly a “cymbal” that you’re going to have a good time at Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt
Quick Miscellaneous Thoughts:
- Fog was everywhere, and unavoidable. Made it great for scare actors to hide, but sometimes difficult to walk around.
- I visited all the haunts on Friday Night with my Fright Lane pass, but also visited the park Saturday Night as well. If you attend Worlds of Fun haunt, I can’t recommend the Fright Lane pass enough, especially on Saturday nights. It’s well worth it if you want to experience as much as possible.
- The wait times for the roller coasters (I rode five — Patriot, Timber Wolf, Mamba, Boomerang, and Prowler) on Friday night weren’t bad at all, as it seemed most people were queuing for the Haunted Houses.
- There are special Haunt Bars throughout the park with special food options, however, I didn’t try any. Our friends over at CPFoodBlog have a list of what’s available.
Haunted Maze Rankings
If you’ve come to the bottom, looking for a ranking of all the haunted mazes, here you go.
- Lore of The Vampire
- Blood on the Bayou
- Ripper Alley
- Zombie High
- Chamber of Horrors: Condemned
- Khaos Unleashed
Worlds of Fun Haunt takes place on Fridays and Saturdays through October 26. Worlds of Fun is also open on Sundays in October from 11:00am-7:00pm, but there is no Sunday Halloween Haunt. For more information, be sure to visit Worlds of Fun’s website, and follow the park on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.