Visibility / Location:
Since everything is located at Six Flags Amusement Park, you honestly cannot miss it. If you are coming from the south of Gurnee heading Northbound on I-94 off the expressway you pass the American Eagle a legendary wooden roller coaster with three gigantic spiders crawling on it. There are two lanes pointing you in the right direction. And a vast parking lot with more than ample parking.
The lines head of you as you walk up to the gates of the park are for season passes and ticket holders. If you have not purchased admission to the park previously there is a ticket booth found to the far left of the main entrance. There you can purchase your admission to the park and a wristband for the six haunted houses located inside the park which you can attend as many times as you want that visit.
We went early in the season so there was no need for wait entertainment, there were no lines. There are specially themed scare actors roaming the park in various zones. I could consider this wait entertainment if you were in line for a particular haunt. County Fair has clowns. Yukon Territory, maimed Lumberjacks. The Southwest Territory there were the walking corpses of Pirates and Sea Hags. Hometown Square had zombie attendants. Wandering around Mardi Gras were masqueraders who had their fleshy area around their eyes peeled off, Orleans Place we were accosted by beast-people, and Yankee Harbor with steampunk themed revelers.
$71.99+tax* General Admission to the park. (The following is included with your GA Ticket)
-Scare actors roaming the zones (After 6pm)
$30.00** Haunted House Wristband (All of the above, plus unlimited access to the six haunted attractions the day of the visit)
$40.00 Express Haunted House Wristband (All the above, but with a "skip the line" perk. Which offers little to no wait.)
*Current Season Pass holders do not have to pay admission, option to purchase a 2017 Season Pass with Fright Fest 2016 and parking included$146.99+tax, reduced General Admission price if purchased the day before See website for prices.
** Season Pass holders receive wristband and Haunted House Pass, good for unlimited visits to all six haunted attractions for the entire 2016 Fright Fest season.
(Free with Gold Season Pass)
The following is a list of each haunt's individual length.
In the beginning of the evening Three of the haunts open at 5:30pm the other three open at 6:00pm
Big Top Terror
Gates of Hell
Massacre Medical center
LPR Score = 0.561
LPR stands for Length/Price Ratio. It represents perceived value of an event, by comparing length vs price of admission. Higher numbers represent more value per dollar. Actual quality and/or entertainment value of an event are not factors in this calculation. Click Here to see how this event compares to others visited this year by the staff of HauntedIllinois.com.
Big Top Terror
Gates of Hell
Massacre Medical center
We went early in the season so flow control was great, there were others in line but we never caught up to them. Each haunt had their own way of handling groups in this processes which will be explained in the Final Summary section.
Big Top Terror
A new addition to Fright Fest. This clowned themed experience is located near the American Eagle in the kid themed area of the Country Fair zone. The standard rules are read by a staff member once you get to the front of the queue. Flooded in UV blacklight the path is decorated with sketches of clowns and splatter on the walls. Around each turn handwritten warnings to go back and impending danger with a few DC Jokeresque HaHaHaHa.... scribbled in random locations. Wandering through the children's' room there are Teddy Bears on the shelves and popcorn boxes lined along the walls, and yes more clown "sketches". No haunt is complete with a UV reactive vortex and a maze. This is the best part of the haunt. Vinyl strips of red and white alternating colors on the walls and being hung overhead. As you pass you have to ascertain the correct direction to make your way through. There is no wrong answer as long as you don't get turned around. Most of the actors would scream from hidden spots and around corners. No banter or giggling or clown defined scare that panic a suffer of Coulrophobia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coulrophobia
The second of two "new" haunts, in all reality an improved version of last year's' Fear haunt, formally located in the water park has a new location in the Southwest Territory zone. Is a very dark path, dimly lit, with various fears of the "creepy crawly" type such as... Entomo-, Anachro-, Ophido-, and Melisso type phobias. Many of which were such items attached to the walls and not many obstacles found in the maze. Most rooms were separated by strips of black plastic to obscure your view so you would not be able to prepare you for the next infested room. There had been actors in the haunt popping out from the sides and concealed corners to once again, scream or make a type of alarming noise as you pass. The walls were black, which made it quite difficult to identify what room you were in and what to be afraid of, and not much in decoration was done with an exception to spiderwebs and bee / hornet nests. There were a few exceptions such as making your way through the bee filled zone complete with "flying" bees large menacing looking hives and quality audio. There was a very impressive giant snake at the ready and attempting to fill you with venom. The flank attack fell short since you can identify your impending doom as you walked toward it, and the operator's light colored clothes showing behind the control mechanism. Even the counterweights could be counted if one was inclined to do so. If you have one of these fears, this is the haunt for you. The constant reminder that these things exist on planet earth and quite possibly near your home will make you jumpy.
Gates of Hell
The longest haunt in the park and possibly having the most actors, this is put together well. Found in the entrance of the Picnic Grove Section of Yankee Harbor. Ready to go in, a Six Flags Park attendant informed us of the rules and told us to enter. Right away you are greeted by various inhabitants from different directions and not just simply "around the corner". The actors here had more of a speaking part, telling us it's not a good idea to go forward and what may happen if we do. Questioning us why we are here. And begging us for pieces of our flesh and souls. There were a few animatronics that would trigger a little late so we had to stop and turn around to see what may have caused the racket behind us. Once you go into the smaller maze you pass through an open area and enter the main haunt. As you open the door the audio and strobes hit you, and again greeted immediately as you venture this new path. More in design and decorations are found along the wall mostly themed like any respectable haunt would. Still pretty dimly lit to actually see any detail the actors dressed in detailed costumes did their part well. Many set pieces and animatronics were there to keep you looking around. At times our tribe got split up and had to take separate short paths, or paused us while a member went ahead and we had to stay behind for an extremely small amount of time, we would regroup in the very near future. This happened on several occasions. The actors did a bang up job on this and were always in character even tho I messed up and did not quite follow their directions. The second part of this haunt started off with simple black walls and black picture frames with the canvas becoming alive with human features, until we got to a new area which was more of a uniform design white opaque walls with static zombie silhouettes being lit from behind and cyclone fencing covering that. Actors with their jumpscares from the various locations of the multiple twists and turns as you make to the butcher room. This final scene would make Hannibal Lecter's mouth water. Many body pieces on display, the deli workers keeping busy and tending to their tasks. Highly detailed with props and perfect lighting, this set complimented the actors masks costuming, props, and acting. As brief as the encounter was, by far the best room of the house.
One of the most unique uses of Six Flags property. This haunt is located in Roaring Rapids. No, you will not get wet, after the regular summer season the rapids are drained and the round river rafts are put into storage. The path to this one is long and traveled. It takes you to where the regular dock is where you usually get on for the ride. This is where the line for the haunt begins. Others were also in line maybe seven other people. Those seven were two other groups. Who went right before us. It wasn't long where it was our turn, the Six Flags attendant let us know about the rules and we headed down the small set of stairs into the channel of the rapids. Here the park has designed this twisting corridor of poured concrete by adding various military themed obstacles. It seemed to be somewhat effective, there could have been zombies hiding anywhere. Small communication stations, entering ransacked bivouacs and lean-tos. Exploring more reminded us even though we were in an open air outdoors type of haunt we cannot leave in any direction. To move forward to the end was our only option, scaling those walls would be impossible. There is very little lighting mostly the ambient light from the park and other shop lights and lamps as part of the set design was more than enough. The props were well thought out, the sets were minimum with random construction items, desks, picnic benches and other outdoors type of furniture. But they fit the theme well and were certainly more than appropriate. The other groups ahead of us we never saw, which I thought we would catch up with them given the spacing between us. But maybe it was all the turns of the rapids that constantly kept them hidden from our view. There was a decent amount of actors usually two per scene. Some were incapacitated and tried to reach for you as you passed, others would come out of nowhere to give a good scare. Another group did catch up with us, but this was no fault of the park or design of the haunt. They were frightened enough that they passed buy us in a flash and disappeared out into the darkness, which shows how much comfort space is around you and the zombies free roam area. There were some park employees found in the path during our walk. Management it seemed, and were walking the other way in our direction. There was no concern or emergency. But whatever their quest was I hope it was taken care of. We did find the end and had to walk up a ramp to get out of the channel with zombies trailing behind us we felt completely safe after we reached the top.
Found in the SouthWest Territory we head up to the front of the line, the Six Flags employee recites the haunts basic rules and are let in. Moderately decorated you are roaming in an old home. The rooms are and halls are wide and easy to navigate. Once you start exploring a masked female character wearing "old timey" clothing and popping out from around the corner comes at you with a shriek, this theme happens all through the haunt. You will experience multiple identical versions of these "wives" it seemed there was some sort of script or verbal warnings but is very difficult to understand them due to the overpowering audio track, which was just basic thuds and various non descript "horror" ambiance. The path was laid out nicely. You experience areas like the Living room, study, kitchen and an extremely long closet. The various effects were nice mostly the "faulty wiring" witnessed in various locations, there are many jump scares created by the actors and the animatronics. It seemed to end somewhat abruptly and somewhat a quick path.
Massacre Medical Center
Also found at Country Fair nestled in the center if the Midway games. We were the only ones in line so the attendant ushered us to the from door read us the rules, and allowed us to enter. We entered the long corridor and once passed the hanging black plastic strips we saw that the patients had full control of the mental health facility. Approaching the check in counter you can clearly see that the residents have clearly checked out. And we were left to wander the halls as the committed passed us by talking nonsensical gibberish. Some which were still locked up trying to break free from their caged rooms, or wandering in and out from the halls to the rooms and offices. Some pretending to be doctors, or were they pretending? Our trip through halls into the operating rooms was highly detailed. Blood splattered on the grimy walls, broken fixtures and scattered papers all around us. Hospital and surgical equipment obviously used and mistreated by the recently escaped patients. At various doorways there would be a freestanding wall creating a bit of a T-intersection not knowing what you are about to witness in the next room, great concept for traffic flow and to heighten the scare. This haunt has the most complete and thought out path, no plain black walls. Open rooms to walk through and highly detailed sets and corridors. They even have a disabled ambulance sitting there for one of the scenes. It all comes together nicely at the end with a lightly decorated egress to slowly bring you back to the amusement park's reality instead of the quickly abrupt exit where you are in the haunt one second and immediately back on the grounds of Great America.
Shows are also a part of Fright Fest and included with your admission cost.
The go-to show is without a doubt is Love at First Fright housed in the indoor Grand Music Hall in Hometown Square. This long running show is a musical filled with Halloween related characters, and songs which fit the bill. Every year the show's script is updated with popular references that may have occurred the current season.
The only other show with music and choreography was Dead Man's Party - Unleashed in the open air eating of the Wildness Theatre, in the Yukon Territory. Greeted by Miss Dixie I did have high hopes for this show which I saw another version the previous year. But this was a brutal change from 2015. The main difference was the lip syncing, It's fine when you have to sing to a track when no live band is available. But we have live singers right in front of me, do not move your lips to the words and please don't use a microphone like you need amplification. The other complaint, songs I've never heard of. There was maybe one song I might have recognized as a current hit or on the pop charts. But there are some really odd selections compared to last year which were themed for the season and most members of the audience could sing along if they wanted to.
If you are in the mood for total strangers being your best friend take the chance and visit professional hypnotist Dr. Susan Rosen. Performing at the Pictorium in Hometown Square. She is not new to this type of entertainment, and has the history to prove it. Each show can vary depending on the volunteers and the individual's' vulnerability to the power of hypnosis.
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