Dark Harbor Screams “Halloween”

Story and photos by Andy Lizarraga

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Heavy gloom covering the sky mixed with pumpkin spice-flavored lattes at every coffee shop can only mean one thing: It is finally Halloween season. Theme parks across Southern California host Halloween events that turn fears into a reality; Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is no exception. 

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Dark Harbor has six mazes: “Rogue,” “Lullaby,” “Feast,” “Circus,” “B340,” and “Intrepid.” Three of the mazes are actually located on the ship. If you’re already terrified of people in costumes, then you’re in for a real scare; you may run into an actual ghost! Characters roam around the event, sliding in front of guests and appearing from hidden spaces, scaring anyone who crosses in front of them. 

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There are many activities to do at Dark Harbor. Guests can sit in the Haunted Hookah Lounge and smoke a variety of different hookah flavors to escape the monsters for a little while. You can also pay $5 and ride the Sinister Swings from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. A stage also sits in the middle of the event, hosting different types of live entertainment like the Voodoo Priestess, who uses fire to threaten others in order to take control of the ship.

If you’re someone who needs a drink (or two) to muster up the courage to walk through the event, most mazes have hidden bars located inside, but guests will need wooden chips, given throughout the event, in order to enter. The bars can be found by knocking on certain walls or finding a secret room, which is usually guarded by someone (hint, hint).

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Out of all the mazes, my favorite has to be “Rogue.” The maze, making its first appearance this year, revolves around a wave that has hit the Queen Mary, causing the ship to nearly capsize. The crew and passengers on board are left disoriented and confused in the fight for survival. The scares in this maze made guests, including myself, jump back in fear. 

The one thing I would stay away from at the event would be “Panic: A 4-D Experience.” For an extra $5 per person, the theatre on the ship presents a mediocre 4-D show that squirts water at your face. Honestly, it’s not worth it. 

Overall, Dark Harbor is one of my favorite Halloween events. Each maze brings a very unique theme that leaves a lasting impression. With booze, mazes, and a haunted ship, there’s nothing else I could ask for.