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Posts posted by RingMaster


    So Action theatre may be renovated to a PvZ game, or Mass Affect. Unfortunately they are partnering with EA Games who has been tagged Worst Company in America by Consumers back to back years 2012-2013. More Shade is a nice addition. Still no word on our Food Experience being improved on. AND no word on if we will see something other than an B&M coaster addition, being added to a CF park.

    And EA continues to "disappoint" consumers (won't even call them fans) with their latest atrocity, Star Wars Battlefront EA.



    Compared to Konami, EA has been treating their customers (and their associates) like royalty this year.

    • Like 2
  2. Considering Sally was behind the critically-acclaimed Justice League dark rides at select Six Flags parks (that somehow aped even the still-legendary Spider-Man attraction at IOA in some aspects), I am super excited to see this concept come to fruition wherever it gets installed. Hopefully Cedar Fair will jump on this concept and contract Sally for the rest of their "Amusement Dark" rides after the lackluster Guardian and Iron Reef attractions.

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  3. There used to be a system back in the Paramount Era where engaging with both guests and your supervisors (say, taking a lap around the fountains with your manager while sweeping in Park Services/Ecology) netted you coins that you could trade in for meal tickets at the employee cafe. There was also a fairly comprehensive perks system in which you could aim towards tickets to parks outside the former chain of Paramount Parks, including Dollywood and Cedar Point, and you were given up to 20 tickets to the Island to give out to friends and family members depending on how many hours you worked.


    Cedar Fair did away with almost all of those programs and reduced the amount of tickets to a measly four, regardless of hours worked (at the beginning of the Fair's reign of the Island in 2007).

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  4. In terms of being a money-making franchise, the Fast and the Furious line is one of Universal's most lucrative franchises now, with the most recent Furious 7 becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of all time. The unfortunate passing of Paul Walker more than likely aided in further sales, as did Heath Ledger's passing prior to the release of The Dark Knight.


    Honestly speaking, though, this particular IP would have probably fared much better as a stunt show to rival Disney's Lights Motors Action! show as a replacement for Waterworld (even though I still, to this day, regard WW as the greatest theme park show I have ever seen) or, to a lesser extent, Terminator 2: 3D, with the melding of live-action and film scenes.


    EDIT: Now that I think about it, I want Universal to gobble up the licensing rights to the Mad Max franchise and do a Mad Max stunt show. I would witness that so bad...

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    unfixed and ignored

    This sums Haunt up.  When you watch a few yellow shirts walk by multiple scareactors who are socializing and just hanging out and these yellow shirts say nothing, but rather acknowledge them and move on and said employees continue to socialize and ignore the numerous guests walking by.  I understand actors need a break, go behind the scenes and take your break.  Don't do it in the middle of I-Street.  Then again I only witnessed one mohawked roamer trying to scare people, he was working very hard every time I saw him.  The rest I saw just stood around, socialized or broke character and held conversations with guests.



    There are so many department supervisors wearing yellow shirts that it's impossible to tell if a person in charge of the scareactors in Rivertown or a Games Area Supervisor just walked past.

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  6. Given the size and height of the Twister show building (the ride uses some massive fan equipment for the funnel), I'd expect them to use the Soarin' system of motion simulator. Hopefully both it and the upcoming Fast and the Furious attractions are decent enough to warrant the removal of their previous counterparts, or Disney may finally be able to win back Orlando once Pandora opens up.

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  7. The park insists the event is still immensely popular among the crowds, and it does show that the park is always crowded on a Saturday night.


    Honestly speaking, we did get a major overhaul...back in 2007, and not in the way that people were expecting. What we wanted was a level of immersion and incredible maze experiences seen out of the grandfather of all theme park haunts, the one the event moniker is named after (and there was even a small markteing push to imply people from Knott's actually came over to oversee the proceedings). What we got was a disheartening campaign to be edgy, risque, and shocking, without delivering the much needed bite to back up the annoying bark. 


    I've seen several really good maze designs come out of the Island that would be on par with something Knott's could concoct, such as 2008's Urgent Scare, 2011's Wolf Pack (2010 was the inaugural season, but its second year was truly great), 2012's Cavern of Terror, and 2014's Kill Mart and Slaughterhouse II: Electric Boogaloo. They also put some effort into roaming monsters, in both small-scale zones (Freak Street, Backwoods Bayou) and entire areas of the park (Coney Mall, Rivertown).


    I just want them to stop refusing to fix the things that clearly are not working with the event. Mazes that have been around for 10+ years, like Sorority House, Tombstone Terror-tory, CornStalkers, and CarnEvil. Lackluster maze experiences with good concepts but poor executions and no effort to retool them so that they DO work, like Mysteria, Holiday Horror, and the current Urgent Scare. Poor actor training and staffing issues that render attractions almost devoid of talent at their busiest moments. 


    The decorations are fine, the shows are alright (could do with less music revue shows and more entertainment in the vein of Alonzo and Blood Drums), and the costuming and wide berth of monster designs is great (airbrushed and painted makeup could be better).

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  8. Was down at Haunt this past Friday and my overall opinion is that Haunt has become uninspired.  I have been going to FearFest/Haunt since inception and this years rendition was very underwhelming.


    The only positive from the night is that lines were short.

    My thoughts on the park.  Lots of fog as always and great use of LED effect lighting throughout the park, but the random placement of props and displays is just odd.  Still haven't figured out the purpose of the stage over by the theater in Nightmare Alley and why do they not have a handful of characters roaming that area? Could be a great scare zone.  

    Speaking of actors, not sure how many times I notice characters in scare zones or roamers just standing around and talking with each other or park guests. Seriously?  Witnessed multiple statue characters just conversing rather than engaging the crowd as they walked by.  I thought one time down I-Street as I walked behind a couple supervisors they would say something to the socializing statues, nope they just smiled and moved on.  May as well get your cell phone out and update Facebook while your socializing because that is how pathetic the effort was from most actors.  I did notice a few who were menacing the guests, but these actors were far outnumbered by those who came across uninterested.  These observations were carried over to the houses we went through as well.  Actors just standing and passing the time rather than trying.  Groups were small enough they could reset, but instead chose not too or were never set to begin with.  I understand these are long nights, but the park and management needs to do a much better job in motivating and incentivizing the actors.  Then again when your own app rates most of the houses as not scary, you have sent a message loud and clear you don't care anymore.

    Overall we left very underwhelmed by the event and this years rendition played as nothing more than a late season cash grab. 


    Surprised that a scare zone listed on the park map and on the website as a scare zone has no monsters roaming though said scare zone. This stinks because there are people like Gator's evil(?) twin brother and plenty of other monsters working their butts off being actually scary, but it just seems to be that a vast majority of monsters are just not giving it their all. And why this is still an issue when we're about to hit the last weekend of the event and of the season is beyond me, considering most "weak" actors are removed by the second or third weekend. It's ridiculous how many issues there are plaguing the event that have gone unfixed and ignored. 

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  9. Also, three-quarters of our Theater is gutted and would most likely require a multi-million dollar renovation just to get it back to its original state as a motion simulator. One side has stationary bench seating; the other has multiple floors entirely removed. You would probably stand a better chance at renovating the former Enchanted Theater (which sits behind Great Pumpkin Coaster and houses CarnEvil) into a motion simulator theater (or a "4D" theater like the one at the Cincinnati Zoo).

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  10. The actors are really what make the maze. I've said for years that Death Row had one of the blandest layouts and designs for a maze, but the best crew of actors ever. It really all comes down to a sense of balance, with the scale leaning more towards the quality of the actors. You can unload $100,000 worth of props, set pieces, and special effects into a single room and have it look sensational, but if the talent just isn't into it or is nonexistent, that room (and potentially the whole maze) will suffer. 


    This is why the Roamers, Creepers, and Scare Zoners have the toughest job of Haunt. There is no 10x10 room to work in or drop-window box to pop out of; you have an entire area of an amusement park to patrol and entertain customers. They are in sight of all customers at all times, and they have to be on fire at all times.

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  11. Technically, they already have to go through Coney to get to The Beast because of Backwoods Bayou, but Cemetery Drive negates this as it takes up almost the entirety of International Street. Not to mention Nightmare Alley is on the most direct path to Banshee and Action Zone from the park entrance, and we still have roaming monsters in Coney and Rivertown to begin with. That being said, a "solution" to the Rivertown scare zone idea would be to have the Terror-tory take up residence between Reds Room o' Remembrance and the train station, leaving the major pathway (Arcade to Train) uncluttered of zoned scaring.

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    I'm waiting on some glowing faces or sudden flashlights under faces, scarier sounds.


    Sometimes your imagination can run wild just from scents and sounds alone....see ExtraTerrorestrial Alien Encounter (Disney ride).


    For example....how about a dark room with a nasty smell and the sound of crypt doors opening and closing all around you...then perhaps the feeling of bricks with bones / skulls sticking out of holes... and maybe old cloth or quilted coffin silk.... simple stuff but gets the point across...

    I like the glowing faces idea, but how could that be shockingly revealed?

    The actor wearing a dark cloth mask until the surprise?

    Or make like that Edward Mordrake and have the glowing face on the back of the head of the scareactor?



    Basically the flashlight idea, but with blacklights in place of regular flashlights. Universal had a maze a few years back reliant on silicone masks with a luminescent gel "baked" into the masks to have them glow from the inside out. They would sit under blacklights to "charge" before the night began, and the effect would essentially be a quick strobe light on the character, but the UV light would place greater emphasis on the glowing masks to make them appear like ghosts.

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  13. Why do I suspect receipt of a cease and desist?

    See also Twisted Sisters, VooDoo, Grizzly at Silverwood....


    I thought for a second this was Busch Gardens jumping down the Island's throat because they share(d) the exact same attraction with almost the exact same name (Howl-O-Scream's was called Delta Epsilon Delta), but that sorority house is no longer in Tampa. Guess it just boiled down to an actual Delta Delta Delta sorority getting mad and saying, "Hey, stop it", and Kings Island responding with, "Okay."


    EDIT: Cool to see Busch Gardens with their own take on Knott's Infected attraction where you have laser guns and take down zombies.

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  14. Tombstone in its current state feels more like a scare zone akin to Backwoods Bayou or Nightmare Alley, but one you have to wait in line for and it's one-way only (like CornStalkers' previous location in Action Zone on the Timberwolf path). And the biggest thing with scare zones is a lack of hiding places and an increased emphasis on guest interaction and improv. Take the Terror-tory out of White Water Canyon and put it in Rivertown as a scare zone and it would (theoretically) work a lot better than it does now.

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  15. I'm more interested in the Plants vs. Zombies film than I am for Mass Effect, even though I am a huge fan of the series. The Mass Effect film will most likely be a knock-off of the first generation of Star Tours or that godawful Meteor Attack film that debuted alongside Tomb Raider The Ride in 2002. PvZ, however, is a different story. It's a weird game to begin with (and even spawned a Call of Duty spoof called Garden Warfare), so I don't really know what to expect except something crazy and unique.

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    Explain this to Universal Orlando...who closes their park to MORE people and has them come back in. Technically, you can in fact stay in the park but only in sectioned off ares until Halloween Horror Nights begins. 


    ....and don't be snide in your comment. I am a haunt consultant...if KI wanted me, believe me, they know where to find me. I've worked with many theme parks around the world (in recent years mostly in China and Europe) with their Halloween events and I'd be happy to assist KI on their event. But, I don't have the time to -as you put it- apply for a job there. I can make more money assisting other parks, maybe KI's competition, than I would having a full-time job at the park. Just sayin'...



    The parks in Florida also charge alot of money just to get in for a daily ticket. 80.00 for an event on top of what they charge just to get in is a bit much don't you think?



    With how they handle their event and their ever-changing lineup of mazes and scare zones each year? No. Plus, they have multiple options available for guests to come on multiple nights within a set span of nights for less than the price of a ticket, which makes sense because there's a rare chance you'll be able to get through all nine of the houses in one night with the lines they have.


    But let's compare the perceived value of both events, shall we? Starting with the average ticket price, with no Fright Lanes, Express Passes, or Meal Deals:


    Haunt at Kings Island = ~$60 (Saturday ticket)

    Halloween Horror Nights = ~$100 (any night)


    Divide the ticket price up by the number of mazes each event has, and we get:


    11 mazes at Haunt = ~$5/maze

    9 mazes at HHN = ~$11/maze


    If we add in the other elements of the events, which are the scare zones and live entertainment (roller coasters and thrill rides are excluded), we get:


    18 Haunt attractions = ~$3/element

    16 HHN attractions = $6.25/element


    Yes, we are talking about two vastly different styles of thrill park (year-round theme park vs. April-October amusement park) in two vastly different markets (Orlando vs. Cincinnati), but, honestly speaking, you get what you paid for. Once again, I don't own a season pass to the Island, so I'm paying a regular ticket to get in. Which means I have a much different outlook on the event than someone with a Platinum Pass who can just waltz in multiple nights.

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  17. Saying that, I am going to hold nothing back in my review and I hope someone from KI reads this and becomes...inspired. 


    The moment I read that, I knew this review was going to be something...special.


    I think the issue with motivation is twofold. One is the obvious fact that it's an event at a world-class amusement park that sees crowds of over 30,000 roughly every Saturday. People will essentially come through those gates no matter what, so their (proposed) thinking is that they don't have to change a single thing about or fix whatever it is that may be broken with the event, because they assume guests won't care and still pay to get in (see this year's issue with the food experience). Also, roller coasters. They even said it in one of the news stories about how one of the main components of the tagline "Whatever You Fear Is Here" is the bevy of roller coasters KI has, as if it's another excuse to not deliver new, innovative maze experiences because they just built the world's longest inverted coaster.


    On a side note, I doubt there is an issue with funding if they can put $60,000 worth of animatronics and props into a single maze. Maybe it's more mishandling than anything.


    But the other issue is competition. To be more specific, competition with events of the same caliber as KI's Haunt. Competition breeds innovation. This is why Knott's Scary Farm has upped their game in the quality of their mazes now that Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights (Hollywood) is becoming increasingly more popular. The next closest theme park haunts not owned by a Cedar Fair property are Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream in Williamsburg (who is in direct competition with Kings Dominon's Haunt), and Six Flags Fright Fest at NJFTP, D.C., and Chicago. There is no direct competition theme park-wise with Kings Island for them to suddenly scramble together and churn out a better product. Middletown's Land of Illusion is probably the closest professional haunt to compete with its multiple mazes in a park environment, but they don't have roller coasters.


    - RingMaster, cynical Haunt-goer 

    • Like 5
  18. Considering Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, expect to see lighter crowds than normal due to:

    1. Children and families trick-or-treating without having to worry about school the next morning, and
    2. Adult-oriented Halloween parties actually taking place on Halloween as opposed to, like, the Saturday before if it were on a Tuesday.

    Of course, Halloween is also the final night Haunt is open, so there will still probably be crowds trying to squeeze in one last round of scares.

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  19. The only reason I can think of for the use of necklaces in the mazes is if they want to look at the scenery and environment of one without the scaring from actors (like, say, the Lights-On tour at Dent Schoolhouse), and even then that's a stretch, because if said person is in a fairly large group, does that mean the entire group doesn't get the scare? Or if a wearer has a phobia of clowns, does that mean they can walk through CarnEvil and not have to worry about a clown catapulting from behind a curtain?

    • Like 4
  20. Since we are talking about scare levels, here are the ratings according to the Kings Island Mobile App:

    Blackout: 1/5

    Wolf Pack: 3/5

    Cornstalkers: 4/5

    Delta Delta Die: 1/5

    Board To Death: 2/5

    KillMart: 2/5

    Urgent Scare: 4/5

    Slaughter House: 5/5

    Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror: 1/5

    Tombstone Terror-Tory: 1/5

    CarnEVIL: 4/5


    I have to say in my opinion these are incredibly false, and I cannot be the only one that thinks that.


    If those are ratings from people who set up Haunt or even advertise/market it, that speaks volumes about how much faith they put into an event they consider to be "the most immersive horror experience in the Midwest" if half of the attractions rate below average.

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  21. Unless it would have helped to further explain whatever "story" the maze had (like how Knott's Black Magic Key shows the actual seance taking place and the spirits being released and wreaking havoc in the theater), there literally would have been no purpose for a Skeleton Key to be in Blackout except for a cheap cash grab. Which, considering that the Keys in the other mazes aren't story-related either (Slaughterhouse and maybe DDD being the exception), and they made a habit at one point to stick gaudy photo-ops into mazes that broke up the flow, still surprised me that they didn't put one in.


    TL;DR version: a rose is red, a violet is blue, a RingMaster is the Halloween equivalent of a cynical, bickering coaster enthusiast.

    • Like 6
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