If you want to add some extra chills to the most thrilling of LA's theme parks, Magic Mountain adds tons of scary mazes, roaming zombies and menacing clowns for their annual Fright Fest. They also add the extra thrill of lots of extreme rides in the dark - with their usual nighttime lights turned off - including some that take on super creepy personalities or run backwards just for Fright Fest. On the Scare Scale, it falls in between the gruesome Universal Halloween Horror Nights and more family-friendly Knott's Scary Farm.
Rather than closing down and requiring a separate ticket like the other LA-area theme parks, your daytime ticket is good for all the nighttime fun except the mazes, which require a separate maze pass. Here is an overview of what to expect this year, for the full reviews of the 2016 Fright Fest, scroll down.
Fright Fest Scare Zones and Shows
For 2016, you can look forward to two all-new scare zones. Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience and The Ruins will join the steam-punk-themed TERRORtory Twisted, Demon's Door, Zombie Xing, Exile Hill, and Nightmares: A Twisted Fantasy. There are also eight different themed shows to keep you entertained in each different scare zone.
Fright Fest Mazes
The new maze, Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising will be the largest maze in the history of Fright Fest. It joins Willoughby's Resurrected haunted mansion and the adjacent Willoughby's Garden of Darkness, Red's Revenge for the wolf gobbling up her grandmother, the gruesome Vault 666, and Toyz of Terror 3D.
Fright Fest Scare Rides
Rides that add an extra bit of thrill during Magic Mountain Fright Fest include X2: Satan's Domain; Viper at Night; the Riddler's Revenge; Tatsu in the Dark, Full Throttle Fears, Goliath in the Dark, Batman the Ride and Terror on Twisted Colossus.
Daytime Halloween Fun at Magic Mountain
During the day, kids 12 and under can wear non-mask, non-scary costumes and enjoy non-scary Halloween fun including the Looney Tunes Trick or Treat Masquerade. No costumes for anyone over 12.
Location: Magic Mountain Parkway exit off Interstate 5 in Valencia, Santa Clarita, CA
Dates: Sat-Sun, Sept 17 - 25, Fri-Sun Sept 30 - Oct 30, 2016
Hours: Vary by day, check the website
Cost: Online at least 1-day advance - Admission Plus Maze Pass $66.99 Six Flags admission only $54.99 (+tx and service fee), $79.99 admission only at the gate, kids under 48" $54.99 (no mazes), Kids 2 and under free. Fright Fest Maze tickets can be purchased individually on site. Check the website for specials. The nighttime event is NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN UNDER 12
Info: (661) 255-4100, www.sixflags.com/parks/magicmountain
Note: You can get into Fright Fest if you have an annual pass, but admission is not guaranteed if the park is at capacity, so if you're using an annual pass, be sure to be there early. Also, the annual pass does not include the mazes, which can be purchased separately.
2016 Magic Mountain Fright Fest Review by our Halloween Correspondent, Melissa Breccia
Atmosphere is the most important element in any haunted attraction. As the sun sets, each section of Six Flags becomes united in setting the tone for Fright Fest. Although some areas of the park are dressed in neon shades that drip off of the trees, the presence of creatures within the crowds add an ominous, toxic feeling to the colors.
Scare actors use a number of techniques that offer guests the chance to experience various types of interactions. Some monsters approach with an invasive presence. Others walk quietly, only making themselves known when they have reached their target. Some are even willing to chat, providing entertaining, yet eerie, dialogue.
The park has seven mazes that provide different settings: a city that is plagued by virus, a haunted toy factory, a garden of carnivorous plants and more. Between fog and darkness that heighten the sense of danger, you catch glimpses of myriad props and intricate details of each creepy storyline.
Although each maze has guests walk through without stopping, there are chances to interact with the souls who haunt each attraction. In the maze, “Toyz of Terror 3D” I spent a moment with a crazed monkey, our bodies dancing in unison, mirroring the other’s movements. While they are not allowed to touch the guests, they do take the opportunity to eliminate personal space. The initial shock of a body lunging toward you may be intimidating, but many of the costumes are beautiful in a sinister way.
My favorite maze was “Red’s Revenge,” which tells a malevolent side of the Little Red Riding Hood story. A demonic wolf-like beast prowls throughout the environment, crawling and advancing upon passersby as other evil creatures stalk alongside a venomous Red Riding Hood. The entire narrative of each maze can be lost in the excitement of the scares, but the sets illustrate the general idea behind each one.
Another notable maze was “Chupacabra.” Creatures taken from folklore are bound to spark the question of their potential reality, adding another chilling aspect to this maze. The heavy usage of fog allows many things to hide until the perfect moment.
While each maze is a delightful celebration of horror, the long lines can be exhausting. I do recommend purchasing an express maze pass if you want to see all of the mazes. Fortunately, because many park-goers are occupied with the mazes, the lines for rides become much shorter as the night goes on. Six Flags turns the lights off on its roller coasters for Fright Fest, which adds a thrill level.
If you do not opt for the express maze pass, the scare zones throughout the park are also a great way to become immersed in the Halloween season. If you are looking for a more hands-on haunt that is laden with tension, Fright Fest is not the most intense or engaging Halloween experience out there, but the chance to be thrilled by rides and monsters in the same place is a fantastic opportunity and still great fun for haunt fans.