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Fright Fest

Six Flags Marine World, Vallejo

Reviewed by: Hauntmistress 10/20/2001

Having grown up in the Bay Area, I remember visiting Marine World when it was called Marine World Africa USA, and was located in Redwood City.  There were animal attractions, a playground for kids, and a water slide.  The park moved to its current location in Vallejo and added rides and other attractions after being acquired by Six Flags, Inc., the world's largest regional theme park company, which through a subsidiary, Park Management Corp., manages and operates Six Flags Marine World.  

A tradition of the new park is Fright Fest every October.  The park stays open later than its normal operating hours and in addition to the rides, features four huge haunted houses and other attractions aimed at frightening the daylights out of you -- or at least keeping you entertained.

The park is very dark and spooky at night.  There are well-costumed characters lurking throughout the park and they have an uncanny ability to sneak up on you and walk right next to you until you casually glance up to see that it's not your friend beside you, but a mass murderer with a chainsaw glaring at you.

When you first enter the park, you have no doubt that it's Halloween - Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is blaring and every half-hour a reproduction of the "Thriller" video occurs, complete with corpses, smoke, and lights.

Amid the roller coasters and spooky attractions, the haunted houses steal the show.  Brutal Planet, Nightmare, Carnival of Doom, and Black-Water Bayou all offer a party for your senses.  The costumes and make-up of the characters in the haunted houses are very well done.  The houses themselves offer room after room of scary props.  The houses are very dark and every now and again leave you with a sense of vertigo with flying props and spinning rooms.

Even though the park is moving massive amounts of people through its haunted houses, they make sure to leave plenty of room between your party and the next party, so you're not walking through the whole attraction with little screaming Johnny who was in line behind you.

For children, the park features a trick-or-treat trail, daily costume contests, and a hay maze in the Loony Tunes Spooky Town.

My only complaint about Fright Fest are the lines.  Give yourself plenty of time to thoroughly enjoy the attractions.  You have to wait in line to buy tickets to get into the park (unless you buy advanced tickets), and then wait in lines again for every haunted house you enter.  And by lines, I mean LINES.  The average wait time for entering a haunted house is over an hour.  Leave yourself at least four hours just to enjoy the haunted houses.  Although the later it gets, the more the lines decrease.  You also want to leave yourself enough time to go on the thrill rides, such as Vertical Velocity and Boomerang.

Fright Fest is costly, but more worth the money than most haunted attractions.  Not only do you get to enter four spooky haunted houses, you get to see various scary attractions occurring all through the park and ride the rides.  You will need to pay for parking, park admittance, and a ticket to the haunted houses.

A word of caution: be prepared to walk.  Not just all over the spacious park, but from your car to the park and back.  The parking lot is a good walk away from the park itself, and although there is a shuttle, the line for it is so long it's faster to walk.




Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. The four haunted houses are open 6 p.m. to closing Friday and 5 p.m. to closing Saturday and Sunday.


2001 Marine World Parkway, Vallejo


General admission is $42.99; $21.50 for children 48 inches and under; free for children under 3; $32.99 for the disabled and seniors over 60. There is a $10 additional charge for the haunted houses each day. Recipients get a coupon book that includes a ticket good for a return admission.  Parking is $10.




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