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REVIEW: Queen Mary's Dark Harbor

Long Beach is famous for numerous things including Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, Snoop, Sublime, and the enormous retired British ocean liner, The Queen Mary. Every fall, numerous spectral, coral-infested zombies, Sliders, and ghoulish creatures take residence within the colossal ship (which is haunted in its own right) and its six mazes, creating the annual Halloween tradition of Queen Mary's Dark Harbor (@qmdarkharbor).

The Queen Mary has a wild personality of its own. The guts of the ship are dark and ancient, oozing with emerald and golden fog as the ship creaks and moans. The narrow walkways are dimly lit in eerie colors, their paths rearranged each season to offer a different experience, even if within the same maze. It is rumored that men were murdered and children drowned on this ship. These stories feel very real as you make your way through the creepy inner chambers of the boat which are decorated with decrepit pianos, haunted rocking chairs, and rotted sailor’s netting.

Exploring the Queen Mary alone is a feast for the senses, however this experience was surpassed by the land maze, Intrepid, which stole our hearts. Intrepid has done away with its former steampunk theme and this year offers a haunted train exploration of Edinburgh, Scotland. As you move deeper within the maze you will encounter catacombs and swamps in which bushes come to life and monsters have hammers for hands. This maze was absolutely incredible, and we recommend that you place it at the top of your list when you visit Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor.

Another attraction we enjoyed was the 4D movie experience “Panic”. For this viewing you get to sit in a movie theater located on the Queen Mary and enjoy a short film where monsters actual spit and poke at you. Visitors to Dark Harbor can also take a ride on the swings from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch for a small fee. These swings are a large, beautiful centerpiece in the middle of Dark Harbor, offering a majestic presence enhanced by envisioning Michael Jackson going for a ride to inspire new music.

Though the ghost stories of the Queen Mary have been described as a “cynical exploitation of the space” (Skeptical Inquirer, 2013), it is easy to see how the phantasmal lore of the Queen Mary has grown over the years. We dare any skeptic to stand all alone in the ship’s boiler room surrounded by Dark Harbor monsters and not feel a very real sense of terror. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor takes full advantage of its reputation to lift the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead in order to transport visitors to another universe in which zombies, ghosts, and monsters do indeed exist.


October 11, 2018

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