Review: Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.28.10 PMAs a first time guest to Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor I was actually very excited to visit this event. Once you approach the event itself you are taken back by the enormity of the ship itself. The Queen Mary looms eerily over the entire event and it’s presence is undeniable.

You enter the event through a village of disney-esq store fronts doused in fog and and spooky halloween lights until you reach the midway. Packed full of roaming monsters, fireball canons aimed at the sky (think Universal, makes the whole event seem alive and chaotic), live bands (amazing B-52 throwback skeleton band), carnival rides, and carnival foods galore!

Queen Mary did an amazing job at hiring fantastic talent. All of the icons seemed ripped straight from a movie – Graceful Gale, Half Hatch Henry, The Captain, Scary Mary, Samuel the Savage and the zombie clown circus ringleader.

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.29.37 PMThe midway really was a stand out attraction at this years Dark Harbor. Not only could you rest in-between mazes, but could also get food from one of the endless carnival food stands, ride a zipline, dance along with monsters near the DJ, and also take a minute to really enjoy looking at the ship itself.

This years event included six mazes, 3 of which aboard the Queen Mary , they include:


This maze felt like an actual maze! Located in the food court area, this maze went on forever! It felt like you were endlessly wandering through a dismantled ship yard. There wasn’t a whole lot to the maze, but it was filled with amazing talent (the best was the woman who was cut in half by a falling barrel asking me. “How bad is it?”). Also the maze had a fire blaster shooting 50ft flames into the sky adding a great sense of urgency and chaotic lighting to this fun maze.
Scare Factor: 3/5 Theme Factor: 2/5 Creep Factor: 3/5

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.42.42 PMSUBMERGED (LOWER LEFT OF SHIP)

Easily the best maze at Dark Harbor. This maze is slightly similar to HELLFIRE as it really takes full advantage of its location and history. This maze starts off similar to the other mazes located in the ship with random wandering through cramped, smelly, monster ridden passages. But halfway through the mazes is when it gets good. This maze reminded me of the movie Ghost Ship. You walk through the rotten depths of the boat and almost magically your led by a beautiful yet eerily creepy ghost ( Graceful Gale, one of this years Icons for Queen Mary) through a red curtain and into a now empty but still hauntingly beautiful Ghost Ship. This effect was amazing as we ascend the stairs we see her hidden in the decrepit bowels of the ship as she guides us into a now bustling backstage women’s boudoir, as if we took a complete time warp to when the ship was actually alive. From this point onwards, it had the hotel from THE SHINING written all over it. Creepy vintage record music playing as we are led by the voice of Scary Mary ( another of 6 icons for this event) down dimly lit glossy floored rooms and hallways, We follow her voice all the way to the abandoned Queen Mary swimming pool. Talk about showstopper! You finally get to see one of the ships most haunted locations and on top of that we actually get to come face to face with the real little girl who supposedly drowned in this pool a long time ago! Make sure to look across the pool for a glimpse of her running around the pool deck, and especially make sure she’s not hiding underneath you!
Scare Factor: 4/5 Theme Factor: 5/5 Creep Factor: 5/5

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.46.21 PMHELLFIRE (MIDDLE OF SHIP)

This maze was very similar to Containment, as it just aimlessly wanders through the already scary ship with random talent and theming. I think the theme was similar to that of Silent Hill, a burning industrial nightmare filled with demons and ghosts, all pretty cool and creepy but not ground breaking. But luckily for this maze…IT HAD THE MOST AMAZING scene in all of the haunted houses for this year’s event, The Electrical room! A small shaky scaffolding you have to cross that looms over a 60 ft drop into the depths of the ship only lit by the sparks of a nearby electrical pipe. MAKE SURE YOU HOLD ON TIGHT TO THE RAILINGS! Thats all I can say about this maze. You really get to see how scary this ship can be in this not to be missed haunted house. This maze is confusing as it borders Submerged, so make sure you visit both!
Scare Factor: 5/5 Theme Factor: 5/5 Creep Factor: 5/5

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.38.02 PMCONTAINMENT (RIGHT OF SHIP)

This maze was scary and random. You enter through a mile of hanging bloody sheets. One thing that was cool and also sort of annoying was the fact that this maze and most others had minimal to no music playing. Music as you can guess plays a pivotal roll in storytelling. I felt the lack of music was because the ship does actually serve as a working hotel so I assumed there were noise issues? Not sure. But it was also cool because it really put you in the ship, you could here the harbor outside through the windows, you could here the banging through the walls, and you could also here the faint screams of what was soon to be ahead of you in the maze. This maze didn’t really have a theme, a beginning, nor an ending. But it did offer a never ending supply of scares and over the top talent, that and also the feeling of being unsafe in a rusty old ship bowel.

Scare Factor: 4/5 Theme Factor: 5/5 Creep Factor: 5/5


A complete go-to for haunted house 101. It has everything, a family of inbreds who’ve survived years of radioactive bombings, a human meat locker, a forest of zombies, ghosts, demons, you name it! Also this has to be the longest of all the mazes! I swear it took 15 min to get through half of it! This maze is not to be missed and it really was a lot of fun. Kudos again to the amazing talent!

Scare Factor: 5/5 Theme Factor: 5/5 Creep Factor: 5/5

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.37.09 PMCIRCUS (INSIDE DOME)

This maze is randomly located inside a HUGE dome (think Epcot on steroids) and houses a circus maze. This maze had some really stand out moments. Some of the best included the hall of mirrors and the hall of clown pants, Both of which you actually get lost in and can barely find your way out of! The talent again was amazing! They were so interactive and funny and scary all at the same time! This maze was the only maze to not have a nautical theme attached. Overall while slightly forgettable, definitely not one to be missed. It was more fun then scary and Everyone in my party laughed and screamed the entire way through.

Scare Factor: 3/5 Theme Factor: 5/5 Creep Factor: 3/5

One other stand alone attraction ( I believe is part of the VIP experience only) was the freak show. This was the weirdest and most random part of the event but somehow was also my fave! Literally a line of stand alone shipping crates each bearing a individual freak show sign. 6 freak-shows ranging from the white ghost, to headless Tina, to the crab man! You walk up to your freak-show of choice and you are pushed into an empty crate, each time the door man slams the crate behind you as hard as he can leaving you in shock as the bang alerts whatever is in the crate that you’ve arrived. Both funny and scary! If possible, make sure you visit these crates! Best was the Black Ghost Crate which really plays up on your senses and leaves you shaken.

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.40.11 PMPROS:

TALENT- amazing talent working overtime to make sure they leave you running scared.

THE SHIP ITSELF- It smelled ROTTEN, was scary as hell, claustrophobic, and was present throughout the entire event! Without this ship this event wouldn’t exist.

LOCATION-why pay $150 to take a private ghost tour of the ship when you can pay $25 and go through the same locations except this time theres actually going to be real terrifying ghosts lurking around every corner. Even without the ghosts and monsters, I’d pay 25$ just to walk through the ship.

LINES-Lines were actually awesome for this event. It meant they actually let people walk through the mazes in very small groups as opposed to being ushered through like cattle like they do at most Halloween events. So make sure you buy VIP or go EARLY!

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.39.30 PMVIP pass- you get an open bar, taco lounge, front of the line maze repeats, and also access to the awesome Carnival Freak-show Crates!


LINES- see Pro’s.

FOOD- I do not like food themed after zombies, baby thighs,and fried pimples. While fun to say out loud, that mixed with the bloody roaming monsters was enough to make me gag before I could even think about ordering any food. While this over the top food theming may be a PRO for other haunt lovers, food and gore do not mix ever for me!

$20 parking ($25 VIP Parking, event tickets are the same price which can be a tad bit frustrating so I suggest bringing friends to split that with).