We’ve been attending Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor for years and look forward to it every haunt season. The location on the water always adds an extra eerie vibe, and a chill to the air (which we appreciate since it still feels like summer here!). And of course, the fact that the Queen Mary ranks among some of the top most haunted locations in the United States gives Dark Harbor tons of extra creepiness points. The evening started off with an introduction and some words of wisdom from the Captain and The Ringmaster, before they unleashed their monsters into crowd. One thing we love every year at Dark Harbor is their attention to detail with the main characters. If you have the chance to interact with them, do it! Whether it’s the Voodoo Priestess conjuring up a fascinating show on the Fire performance stage, or Graceful Gale gazing wistfully down over the railing from the RIP Lounge, the stars of Dark Harbor add a lot of spirit to the evening.
Three of the mazes are actually on the Queen Mary, and we can’t get enough of them! Feast is claustrophobic and ominous, with moments of complete darkness. Knowing the ship is famously haunted would make this scary enough as-is, but on top of that, Chef and his evil staff are there, stalking guests around every corner. Rumor has it, they’re serving the living to the dead. And watch out for Half Hatch Henry keeping his eye on Door 13. Also onboard the ship is B340, which traces the story of Samuel the Savage, the deranged passenger that went on a bloody rampage across the ship before mysteriously disappearing. The pulsing soundtrack creates a sense of urgency as you’re thrown into the crime scene, following the lead detective on the case. Right next door, Scary Mary creeps around in Lullaby looking for ‘friends’ to play with. Mary allegedly drowned in the First Class swimming pool aboard the ship back in ’52, you’ll need to be careful that she doesn’t lure you to the same fate.
The new maze this year is Rogue, taking over the location that previously held Deadrise. In Rogue, a monstrous wave has hit the legendary Queen Mary, causing the ship to nearly capsize. The Captain and his crew are frantically trying to salvage the ship. This walk-through had some really great effects, including projections of the angry sea that was threatening to take us all under. Like last year’s maze, this location also has a secret bar. If you find your way in, be warned, the ‘Captain’s Death’ shot suits its name well. It damn near killed us too (super spicy)!
Also off ship are the last two mazes: Circus and Intrepid. Circus is vibrant, fun and freaky with fantastic scareactors. We’d love to take some of the set pieces home for our own decor! We really enjoyed the disorienting funhouse elements, and this maze even hosts our favorite of the hidden bars. Hint: Try making friends with some of the roaming monsters outside of the mazes to gain a token for entry to the hidden bars. Intrepid is one of the stand out mazes at Dark Harbor as far as set design goes. It’s part indoor, part outdoor, with an impressive variety of scenes and scare opportunities. Make it all the way through and you’ll come face to face with the Iron Master.
It was a tough call this year, but here’s our maze ranking for Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2019:
- B340 – great sets, great makeup & costumes, great scareactors, great soundtrack. Creepy-as-hell hallway scene
- Feast – even without the monsters the design and location would be scary…
- Rogue – large scale with cool new effects
- Circus – creative and vibrant design with very fun characters
- Intrepid – variety of sets, effects and scares
- Lullaby – similar to before with inventive new ‘pool’ scene
The Dark Harbor grounds are small enough that you can hop around the mazes to whatever looks appealing, without wasting 20-30 mins of travel time in between. We’ve told friends this is a great ‘date-night’ haunt because the size allows you time to enjoy yourselves without power-walking through a whole theme park. But that’s not to say it’s lacking in things to do! Aside from the mazes, there are themed bars and lounges (mapped and hidden!), exciting live shows, tons of food and treat options, a haunted hookah lounge and more!
We’ve loved seeing Dark Harbor improve over the last couple years and would highly recommend adding it to your haunt season list! Tickets and more information are available now HERE. Super fans should also check out their ‘Dark Hour’ VIP option for an exciting cocktail hour and backstage experience.