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The Fate of Haunt


ki95
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Many of the Cedar Fair parks have announced today (February 25th)  that they are getting rid of Haunt & expanding Tricks and Treats to an all day event. Will this trend come to KI & was 2021 the last year of Haunt?! 
 

IF Haunt is no more, does this mean that KI will remove the maze buildings for future attraction use?!

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In case people missed the source and link to the other thread...it is two of the smaller parks.  Until you see Knott's, Wonderland, Dominion, Carowinds, or the Point cancel it, I doubt we will not have it this year....but with the current trend of being more family-oriented, it is something we could see happen down the line, especially if they decide the hassle and staffing of the event becomes more of a liability than an asset.  Things can change, but Knott's, Carowinds, and Dominion are the only "confirmed" Haunts at this time, but KI is usually one of the last in the chain to formalize the next event.

https://cpfoodblog.com/several-cedar-fair-parks-replacing-halloween-haunt/

 

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I personally hate this completely family oriented approach that many parks are taking. We have a kids event, the adults need something too! Haunt shouldn’t be for kids, and definitely shouldn’t go away. Every year, haunt seems to shrink a bit, and it worries me.

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It goes in cycles.  If Haunt disappears, they will go this route for 7 years or so and then bring it back.  This is an easier bring back than Winterfest so the gap would be less.

But yes, even though our Haunt has scaled back every year, and is by most people here the same event from prior years, it still brings crowds, so the incentive to spend a lot to change it up every year isn't there.

KI has data on a tricks and treats only event from 2020 and data on Haunt "post" pandemic, and CP has numbers on expanding Haunt to Thursdays and Sundays, so CF has a wealth of data to go by to make a financial decision over an emotion decision.  I am sure someone is crunching the numbers and doing the analysis to determine if Haunt should continue.

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I do like the idea of the expanded Tricks and Treats event California’s Great America and Valleyfair are hosting. It seems like a Winterfest-type Halloween event. At least Halloween Haunt is getting replaced by something decent looking. It would be nice if Kings Island could host the expanded Tricks and Treats event and Halloween Haunt, but I think The park will instead host Halloween Haunt and the toned down version of Tricks and Treats.

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I don’t exactly see the park’s numbers but I have always been under the understanding that Haunt makes money hand over fist. I can’t imagine that not being true. Maybe the parks that are losing Haunt do good, not great, numbers and the staffing and other considerations make this make sense. 
 

Loosing Haunt or Winterfest would be tough for  Kings Island and even Cedar Point. Offering a product and then substantially reducing it would wreak terror on season pass sales. Plus the new guy doing PR ain’t exactly Jeffrey Siebert when it comes to selling the park’s perspective. It imagine be pretty devastating.

 

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Dollywoods Luminights are packed.  It seems like the better route for the future. 
 

Kings Islands Haunt crowd is questionable enough that they don’t allow re entry.    If Haunt is attracting the sane unsupervised crowd as last spring, that’s a consideration. 

The scare mazes and dark foggy pathways are a liability.    They have cut down on the fog recently. 
 

Ultimately they will chose the demographic that spends the most at the park. 
 

On a side note I would let be one bit sad if those hideous metal side Haunt buildings disappeared from the parks.  
 

 

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I really hope Haunt does not go extinct, but if it did in the future, I would just like to say that I was glad to be a part of it (I was a Scareactor in 2019).

And I agree about the Haunt crowds, but at the same time, Haunt has been a fun and special time for myself and a lot of others. I would hate for it to fade into the past. Howsoever, if it did come time to shut it down, I would like there to be at least one maze open for old time's sake (perhaps Slaughterhouse, Killmart or even Chaos, since the latter fits perfectly with Area 72 - perhaps they could run this Chaos year-round...).

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13 hours ago, FUN&ONLY! said:

I do like the idea of the expanded Tricks and Treats event California’s Great America and Valleyfair are hosting. It seems like a Winterfest-type Halloween event. At least Halloween Haunt is getting replaced by something decent looking. It would be nice if Kings Island could host the expanded Tricks and Treats event and Halloween Haunt, but I think The park will instead host Halloween Haunt and the toned down version of Tricks and Treats.

It’s almost like they could make Rivertown & Planet Snoopy the treats side for kids, then Action Zone & Coney Mall/Area 72 the tricks side with a more Haunt approach. International Street & the walkway between Coney & Rivertown could serve as transition points with a middle ground feel (the Pumpkin Eater vibe minus scareactors)

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2 hours ago, super7 said:

Dollywoods Luminights are packed.  It seems like the better route for the future. 
 

Kings Islands Haunt crowd is questionable enough that they don’t allow re entry.    If Haunt is attracting the sane unsupervised crowd as last spring, that’s a consideration. 

The scare mazes and dark foggy pathways are a liability.    They have cut down on the fog recently. 
 

Ultimately they will chose the demographic that spends the most at the park. 
 

On a side note I would let be one bit sad if those hideous metal side Haunt buildings disappeared from the parks.  
 

 

Dollywood & SDC are more family/kid centered parks. KI & other Cedar Fair parks are a mixed demographic with more thrills than kid friendly attractions. So it would make sense for Dollywood and it’s sister parks to do an event like that compared to Cedar Fair and have both a daytime and nighttime event

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Regardless, I feel like a refresh of the event would be great for the park. It’s been a bit… stale for a while. I wish it was on the same level of quality as Winterfest. But if it’s been a lot of cash, I don’t see why they’d change anything. 

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1 hour ago, beastfan11 said:

Regardless, I feel like a refresh of the event would be great for the park. It’s been a bit… stale for a while. I wish it was on the same level of quality as Winterfest. But if it’s been a lot of cash, I don’t see why they’d change anything. 

Somehow I feel like a refresh of the event wouldn’t make it any better. Probably worse. 

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1 hour ago, BoddaH1994 said:

Somehow I feel like a refresh of the event wouldn’t make it any better. Probably worse. 

Given the recent refocus on the family aspect within the chain, I’d probably agree with you. But an overhaul of the Haunt experience as a whole would be welcomed I’m sure. A lot of the mazes have seen better days. I’d push for quality over quantity always.
 

Less, but better mazes. A larger emphasis on scare zones. Maybe incorporate some other fall festival-esque activity’s like food trucks, live music, entertainment, etc. 

I know I more or less described many aspects of the Tricks and Treats festival. But I think there’s room for improvement for the actual Haunt event as a whole. 

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I like the overall environment of Halloween Haunt.  I think the kids portion of the Haunt is over crowded since moving back from Soak City.  Planet Snoopy becomes too crowded and using Soak City was a great way to resolve that.  The park is always packed full of guest every Friday and Saturday night during haunt.   Canceling this even would hurt the parks even more.  If Cedar Fair is strapped for cash its time to offload some of the parks they haven't touched in 20 years.

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1 hour ago, beastfan11 said:

Given the recent refocus on the family aspect within the chain, I’d probably agree with you. But an overhaul of the Haunt experience as a whole would be welcomed I’m sure. A lot of the mazes have seen better days. I’d push for quality over quantity always.
 

Less, but better mazes. A larger emphasis on scare zones. Maybe incorporate some other fall festival-esque activity’s like food trucks, live music, entertainment, etc. 

I know I more or less described many aspects of the Tricks and Treats festival. But I think there’s room for improvement for the actual Haunt event as a whole. 

I’d be all for having less mazes if that means a bigger budget per maze, I’d love to see some extremely high quality & high tech mazes make their way into Haunt. There’s some really cool technologies out there that are specifically made for haunted attractions that I’d love to have in the mazes.

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I agree that the family friendly portion of the event would be better held in the water park.  More room to spread out.  Planet Snoopy gets congested as it is with the rides in there, and then add in all the trick or treat stations, and it is chaotic.  I get that opening the water park for the event means more staffing, which hurts margins, but I think it would produce a better all around event.

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Great America was the test park for Winterfest.  At first it was the only park in the chain to have the event.
 

From what I have heard this is being tested and might expand to more parks.  The rumor I heard is this will be a project of similar size and scope to Winterfest, and will be an expensive project.  My guess is if this does well we might see it instead of Haunt next year.

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4 minutes ago, Kenban said:

Great America was the test park for Winterfest.  At first it was the only park in the chain to have the event.
 

From what I have heard this is being tested and might expand to more parks.  The rumor I heard is this will be a project of similar size and scope to Winterfest, and will be an expensive project.  My guess is if this does well we might see it instead of Haunt next year.

This makes a lot of sense. The fact that Cedar Fair has had concept art created for Tricks and Treats shows that they are putting some effort into the new event.  As for why California’s Great America and Valleyfair were selected to run this new event, it is probably because Cedar Fair believes the response at these parks will be representative of the other parks in the chain. Cedar Fair is not just running this event at their smallest parks. If that were the case, Dorney Park and Worlds of Fun would get Tricks and Treats before California’s Great America. The selection of California’s Great America and Valleyfair seems very deliberate. Cedar Fair has tested multiple events/parades at other parks before a larger rollout including Winterfest, Grand Carnivale, and the Winterfest Wonderland Parade.

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CF operates its parks on a 5 year plan (plans were likely adjusted during the pandemic slightly so this has been in the works for Great America and Valley Fair for a few years now.  When you look at KI, they have continually reduced their number and investment of their haunts from 10 (plus a bonus fright lane escape room in lobby of KI theater) down to 5 in 2021, perhaps part of KI’s 5 year plan to transition in 2023 or 2024 to this newer, expanded model of ticks or treats.  When you look at the 6 new tick or treats lands (Icky Ville, Spooky Spires, Point Peculiar, Everfall, Sweet Tooth Ave, and Conjure Creek), you can almost see where they might fit into KI.  The good thing, depending upon how one looks at it, the description of these lands seems to bring more and new entertainment (which would be good for several KI locations).  All of this is another CF chain wide swing from the adult oriented Haunt when they took over from Paramount (those that remember the look on CF management faces at the first KI showing of Dead Awakenings that first year of ownership) to more family oriented events (like this years KI tricks or treats event).  If KI Haunt was replaced with Tricks or Treats, would people still come and make it a big money maker?  Most likely yes - people want to use their season pass, meal plans, and drink plans as much as possible, plus enjoy the many fall cool night rides before winter Coker sets in. 

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It’s been years since I’ve done a haunt maze at Kings Island, the maze waits are very long and the experience in my opinion is not that great. They put way to many people through the maze at once and a lot of the jump scares are spotted before your group gets to it. I typically go to haunt anymore to get my fix of night rides. This year I went to Luminights at Dollywood and I can confirm it was packed! The benefit tho was that majority of the crowd their were either elderly or had kids which meant wait times for the big coasters were short. The longest wait I had was FireChaser Express, followed by Thunderhead which for some reason was only operating one train. I wouldn’t be upset if Haunt went away, and if it does go away hopefully those ugly haunt buildings follow suit.

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On 2/26/2022 at 9:02 AM, ki95 said:

It’s almost like they could make Rivertown & Planet Snoopy the treats side for kids, then Action Zone & Coney Mall/Area 72 the tricks side with a more Haunt approach. International Street & the walkway between Coney & Rivertown could serve as transition points with a middle ground feel (the Pumpkin Eater vibe minus scareactors)

I was thinking something similar. Possibly even doing Planet Snoopy and Soak City for an expanded family friendly event. I know they have utilized Soak City before but they could really expand with a treat trail along the path with some booths, or make it a Jack o' lantern trail along the lines of Dollywood's displays between the areas. And then village settings in the water park and stuff around Planet Snoopy. Could probably fit a lot of what is at the new festivals in that area.

I would hate to see Haunt go away completely but the new event for those parks does look nice.

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On 2/26/2022 at 10:08 AM, beastfan11 said:

Regardless, I feel like a refresh of the event would be great for the park. It’s been a bit… stale for a while. I wish it was on the same level of quality as Winterfest. But if it’s been a lot of cash, I don’t see why they’d change anything. 

Herschend is able to operate almost daily from April until New Years by attracting that demographic    Perhaps Cedar Fair is finally realizing theat they  have more operating days by marketing to a different demographic   
 

Cedar Point kept the haunt portion to the Frontier section    They seem to be trying to attract people that aren’t interest in gore or scares by keeping the majority of the park free of scares   

 

Winterfest is gorgeous    A pumpkin  and friendly monster version in orange green and purple lights would be equally gorgeous   

 

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5 hours ago, PKIDelirium said:

I'd like to see a return to the edgy first few seasons of Cedar Fair's Haunt at KI, with things like the Club Blood maze and Dead Awakening/Hot Blooded caliber shows returning to the Showplace.

I am not sure if we will ever see anything to the degree of Extreme Midget Wresting (Sorry for not being PC, but that is what they call it and still do!) https://extrememidgetwrestling.com/ 

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2 hours ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

I am not sure if we will ever see anything to the degree of Extreme Midget Wresting (Sorry for not being PC, but that is what they call it and still do!) https://extrememidgetwrestling.com/ 

Finally someone else that remembers this! Every time I've brought this up, nobody believes me. Even some of my coworkers can't believe that KI used to have that.

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5 minutes ago, Snowball said:

Finally someone else that remembers this! Every time I've brought this up, nobody believes me. Even some of my coworkers can't believe that KI used to have that.

Now you have the linked thread in my post to prove it.

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