Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Fright Fest 2016 – MAZE Ratings and Reviews

20160924_203847-largeSix Flags Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest has opened for its 2016 run, and of course I was there to experience all mazes! This year’s line-up features six mazes, including the brand new Dark Oaks Mortuary . In addition, returning mazes like our favorite CarnEVIL welcomed me back this year as well. Let’s get to rating and reviewing them!

How we rate and review:

The four ratings exist of a Length Rating, which relates to the length of a maze, the longer the better. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical length of walking through the maze, but may also indicate there are plenty of different scenes and that the maze felt long. The Scare Rating is exactly what you think it is, how ‘scary’ does a maze get, how gruesome it is, if it creates a bunch of jump scares, etc. The Set Rating looks specifically at the job done regarding the theming of the maze, how immersive the sets are, how many different scenes guests encounter, etc. And then last, but definitely not least… the Experience Rating. Which is mainly based off of the overall feel of the maze, was it a extreme? Did it leave you breathless? etc. The overall experience, combined with the other three factors creates a FINAL SCORE for the maze. (Out of 10, 10 being: “absolutely unbelievably amazing”, 1 being: “Don’t even bother visiting”)

Dark Oaks Mortuary

Length Rating: 7 Scare Rating: 7 Set Rating: 7 Experience Rating: 7 FINAL SCORE: 7

Dark Oaks Mortuary is the park’s newest maze and is located in the Elephant enclosure. It’s one of the best mazes the park has ever created, and combines mechanical effects with plenty of scenes, generally dark sets and a good amount of actors. The beginning of the maze features inflating walls that are one of the best intros to a maze ever, this intro is frightfully long and builds up anticipation for what’s to come. The rest of the maze features several hallways and a diversity of scenes including a cage scene with strobe lights that was one of our favorites at the event this year. dscn3807-large


Length Rating: 8 Scare Rating: 6 Set Rating: 8 Experience Rating: 7 FINAL SCORE: 7

CarnEvil was our favorite maze last year, and though it’s no longer the single best highlight maze at the event, it’s just as good as last year. Taking advantage of the relatively small space adjacent to the food court, this maze is cleverly located under the large white tent which really gives the theme some substance. Now the word maze is common terminology for Halloween events, but the middle section of Carnevil really is a maze leaving guests confused. The scares are perfectly placed in this section to give just the right balance between scares and the anticipation of them. Combine this with some excellent costume and set design, some very clever and creepy scares, decent length and you have quite frankly one of (if not) the best maze in the park. There are plenty of memorable moments such as the strobe light checkered room which will leave you very disoriented. 20160924_195112-large

The Boathouse at Blood Lake

Length Rating: 6 Scare Rating: 5 Set Rating: 5 Experience Rating: 5 FINAL SCORE: 5.25

The Boathouse at Blood Lake is one of those mazes with potential, but it doesn’t live up to it. Its most obvious and detrimental flaw is its length, or lack thereof. The ending section especially feels very tacked on, with minimal theming and simply no actors, lighting, or effects. The main indoor section of the maze perfectly encompasses quality over quantity. It is very well themed, creepily lit, fog filled, actor inhabited, and generally very impressive. Although the space is quite small, the lack of light and disorientation causes you to move through it quite slowly and draw out your experience. The actors in this maze are also quite talented and provide some great scares throughout the main section of the maze. The theming is a bit simplistic, but with well-thought-out scare tactics there’s a good amount of jump scares. Overall the maze is about as good as last year, which means it’s not a highlight at the event. There’s definitely still room for improvement in coming seasons.dscn3797-large

Arsenic & Arania’s Nightmare Manor

Length Rating: 7 Scare Rating: 6 Set Rating: 6 Experience Rating: 7 FINAL SCORE: 6.5

With a simple haunted house theme, story could have very easily taken a back seat in Arsenic and Arania’s Nightmare Manor. Luckily we found it to be one of the most heavily plotted maze at the event. Themed to Arsenic and Arania, the twin girls who killed their father, the theme is well established to be a Manor, not something that should be hard to create though. The twins shows up throughout the maze until the very last scene making this maze feel the most fluid and story based. Aside from a rather long and actor-less door section, the sets are well done and fit well with the theme. Unfortunately, this maze could really benefit from some more actors in some more clever places, as well as some more technology. Mazes with a generic haunted manor theme nowadays usually utilize mechanical effects or digital effects, this maze is clearly missing all of that. The scares are evenly distributed and not always predictable which is this maze’s main strength. dscn3796-large

Shipwreck of Horror

Length Rating: 7 Scare Rating: 5 Set Rating: 6 Experience Rating: 6 FINAL SCORE: 6

Captain Bloat’s Shipwreck of Horror has an undeniably cool, interesting, and unique premise. As it is set in the actual shark exhibit, there is a lot of potential, which unfortunately this year again, we found to be somewhat untapped. The maze is very dark in general, but this isn’t enough to hide the short cheap looking sets and walls. The lights were turned off/dimmed in the shark tank section which meant that the biggest draw of the maze, the sharks, wasn’t a highlight. It’s all over in a somewhat short amount of time, and when you combine these factors, it just feels incomplete. Conceptually, it’s perfect for the park, it simply has yet to be turned into a great experience. I hope in years to come they manage to have the maze live up to its full potential. dscn3804-large

Scrapyard of the Dead

Length Rating: 7 Scare Rating: 6 Set Rating: 6 Experience Rating: 7 FINAL SCORE: 6.5

Scrapyard of the Dead is sort of the antithesis of Captain Bloat’s. It features a simple industrial theme, and basic fences and turnarounds in an all outdoor maze. This maze however takes good advantage of its theme, location and simplicity to provide guests with an immersive and somewhat-scary experience. As it is located next to an actual storage area for the park, the industrial theme really sticks, which is only further punctuated by a good mix of mechanical set pieces and props. Although there are a few good jump scares throughout, it could stand to have a few more actors sprinkled throughout to increase the scare factor. Fortunately, the maze is always quite a decent length which was very satisfying. Seeing as it is all outdoors, we highly recommend you wait until it is completely dark outside to experience this maze.dscn3810-large

dscn3777-largeThanks for checking out this Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Maze Ratings and Reviews! We’ve got reviews for all other theme-park Halloween/Haunt events in California as well, head on over to our Halloween Page for all the amazingness from events such as Knott’s Scary Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest, Halloween Horror Nights and the local California’s Great America Halloween Haunt!

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