During the month of October, many theme parks are open with some kind of a Halloween theme going on to get patrons in there on the weekends. King's Dominion is no exception. I have never gone to a park on Halloween, but since I have a couple of buds who love Halloween and wanted to go, it was just a matter of picking a day and getting our asses down there.
So last Saturday morning the plan was to meet up with DB and CT in DC where we would go to brunch, RC would meet up with us later and we'd all ride down to King's Dominion (KD). As with any leisure trip, things don't always go to plan. When the three of us tried to find a place to park in DC, we ended up saying "screw it, we'll find something along the way." I tried calling RC but then I was getting no answer (he was at the gym) so eventually we said we would just get on the road. Right as we were getting on 295, RC calls me back, and he is on his way to meet us. So I turn us around and we head to Greenbelt to do brunch at the Silver Diner while RC got himself together. After we finished with breakfast and coordinating meeting up, we got on the road and down to KD.
I'll mention here that the weather was predicted to have showers on and off throughout the day, and according to park policy, unless the rain was sustained long enough, they don't usually close rides, so we decided to risk the weather and go anyway. I mention this now to set up the context for later on.
The first ride DB, CT, and myself hit is Dominator, though it turns out the line looked deceptively short. It was here that I would realize that they were only running 1 car at a time on Dominator (and as it turned out, on all the other coasters as well), so that meant longer wait times. It was a bit disappointing because one of my bragging points about KD and similar parks is the short waits. However, considering it's October, and most of their staff is back in school, not much you can do about it. If there is anything I would definitely change, it would be to have security catch the stupid fuckfaces who can't go through a coaster line without lighting up a cigarette.
Next up was avalanche, and by now it started to rain. After that ride we dashed for one of the shops and bought umbrellas. Moving forward, we got into line for Anaconda, and were on the train within two runs because there was practically no one there. So we got in and everything started up.
And then it happened...
For the very first time in my life, I had a roller coaster actually stop during the ride. In this case, we were just out of the station and going up the lift hill. So the chain stopped, and we were just holding there. The staff came up the stairs and said that something had tripped the fault protection so the fail-safe kicked in and stopped the ride. Maintenance would reset the ride and see if it would start again, and if it did we would continue on our merry way, otherwise they would have to get us out of there. Did I mention it was still raining? I could at least look over and see the construction of the new Intimidator 305 that had been done. Of course, DB has some dark humor going on about how this could end up being one of those CNN moments, and that at least we're not stuck upside down. I vowed to him that if he jinxed us into getting stuck upside down on a coaster, that I would find a way to get out of my restraints, reach behind me, and strangle him. About 5-7 minutes later, the ride started up again and we completed it without any other mishap.
Backlot Stunt Coaster was next, and it was good as usual. After that it was beginning to get a bit late and almost time for dinner, so we found our way over to the Country Kitchen. KD was running a deal for a buffet dinner so we took advantage of that for our dinner. Fried chicken, brown sugar ham, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, biscuits, and such were enjoyed by all.
After dinner, the haunt started. Now the park was filled with fog and the ghosts and goblins were coming out to play. Of course it is now sunset and everything is dark. We saw plenty of scary looking people who were following customers around, and it caught people off guard, very entertaining to watch. We made our way over to Grizzly and had a ride on that, before we started in on the official haunt activities. Grizzly is fun to ride in the dark because there are some spots that are pitch black; it adds an element of fear.
After regrouping we started hitting some of the haunted mazes. They're basically areas that each have a theme to them, and most of the scaring is done by startling people. The rule however is that the costumed folks cannot touch you, and so you don't touch them back either. Anyway, so first up was Toxic Plague, definitely nasty looking, and scary at parts. Then there was club blood, if you like vampires, it's fun. After that we decided to head over to the Volcano roller coaster as a break and to hopefully take advantage of a shorter line. It wasn't shorter, but we sucked it up and waited.
After Volcano we hit the Alien Outpost. This maze is what a part of the Flight Of Fear coaster has been converted to for the haunt. After that was the Big Top Terror. Outside of this ride is a person selling polarized glasses for $1. Spend the $1 because it makes the maze so much more fun with all of the 3D effects. We went to try and hit Elvira's Superstition, which is a show inside the action theater, but it was closed at the moment due to mechanical issues. So we hit the Maze of Madness instead.
By this time it's starting to get pretty late, and so we hit the Starbucks for coffee. I would especially need it since I was driving home. We decided to try Elvira one more time for our final Haunt "ride" but if not there, then we would head over to Feary Tales. Elvira was open so we got in there and got to go on a rather wild ride.
By the time all was said and done, it was about 11:45, the park would close in 15 minutes and I knew full well it could turn into a clusterfuck if we tried to leave when the park closed. So we took off back to D.C.
So Halloween Haunt, definitely worth it, despite the disadvantage of longer lines for roller coasters. I will be doing it again next year, and that's already guaranteed because I renewed my season pass back in September. In fact, I will be going again on Halloween because a guy I met recently wants to go, we'll see if he enjoys it as well.