REVIEW: THE QUEEN MARY’S DARK HARBOR
Before the ship’s retirement in 1967, the Queen Mary was the site of 49 deaths. After settling in its forever home of Long Beach, the Queen Mary has become a famous site for recording ghost sightings. Taking this information into consideration, this has to be one of the best places in the world to set up a series of haunted mazes.
Queen Mary’s 2017 Halloween season, Dark Harbor, had an impressive opening last week. First, it was a delight to discover that they updated the production of the mazes on the boat. The classic mazes “Lullaby”, “B340” and “Soulmate” are now re-routed through new areas while a new fourth haunt, the twisted WWII culinary maze: “Feast”, was added into an area of the ship I'd never seen before. These improvements that Dark Harbor’s production team are doing- expanding the ship’s haunts to reveal perspectives of the boat missing from previous years- are welcomed. Unlike Halloween Horror Nights they don’t seem creatively stuck and are willing to keep things fresh.
The land mazes, "Deadrise" and "Circus", have both been relocated. In the past I usually didn’t enjoy these as much as the ones located on the boat. However great improvements have been made with their set and characters. For example Circus now has an improved "white room" and a hidden bar. These are now feeling on par with the ship maze so much that I didn’t even miss the dome being a part of the park.
The “Intrepid” maze has been moved to the North Pole village area of the park. It's a relief seeing them incorporate this building again as it has always been one of the best areas in the park for a maze. Additionally the steampunk theme of last year’s maze is long gone, and instead it is highlighted by a simple and creative laser smoke room that is hidden among the swamp themed ruins.
Dark Harbor is creative, historic and fun - making it one of the best haunts in the southern California area. We highly recommend you make it out to experience it if you have the time (and purchasing front of line is highly suggested).
Lastly, the park has been purchased by the developer Urban Commons who are proposing to turn the entire park into a run-of-the-mill mini-mall. To most people, the true power of this ship is that it transports you to a different time and space. A mall would ruin that, so let’s hope the developers are very careful about what they do to this sacred space.
October 05, 2017