My wife and I got a babysitter last night and went over to the local roller coaster park (Six Flags Magic Mountain) for what they call "Fright Fest". Basically, they decorate large portions of the park, have people dressed up in "scary" costumes (with pretty good makeup, by the way) walk around the park, and put together several "mazes" and "haunted houses" for the visitors.
We arrived at the park at about 5:30 after a quick bite to eat, and immediately headed for the "Goliath" -- the biggest rollercoaster in the park that goes up to 85 miles an hour (but it has no inversions ...); it's one of my favorites. Each of the major roller coasters at Magic Mountain have cameras set up at some point on the ride to capture your face at that particular moment. The park hopes to sucker you into buying the pictures, which, of course, are sold at exorbitant prices. Usually the cameras are placed at the bottom of a particularly big hill or coming out of a loop. In "Goliath's" case, it's after the second major drop.
Well, dinner wasn't sitting too well with my wife, so she didn't exactly enjoy this particular ride (though normally she would have). Coming (hobbling?) off the ride, my wife and I went to look at the picture of us, and it was really funny. There I was with my mouth open, shouting, with a smile on my face; and there was my poor wife, face scrunched in a pained expression that looked like she had just tasted something horrible. Turns out she had almost thrown up on the ride! Despite her discomfort, the picture was still very funny -- she wouldn't let me take a picture of it, though, with her camera phone ...
In any case, we moved to the next ride pretty slowly, watching the tail end of a "eat something really gross" contest that had been set up for Fright Fest. Some guy ate a super-hot chili with a worm wrapped around it and won a bunch of "Flash Passes" for use around the park.
Our next stop of the evening was to the ride called "Scream." This is one of my wife's favorite rides, and by this point she was doing a little better and enjoyed it a little more. For Fright Fest they had turned the lights off most of the coasters, so it was a different experience altogether. Quite fun!
We then went over to the "Gotham City" part of the park where they had a "haunted house" set up, called "Brutal Planet". Both my wife and I had grown up in Utah where they have some pretty spectacular haunted houses, and we were definitely expecting something more out of this. As it turned out, the haunted house consisted of people dressed up in spooky outfits who would jump out and scream at you when you came around a corner. With so many people moving through, you usually had some advanced warning when somebody was going to jump out. It wasn't terribly frightening, since they weren't really allowed to touch you. In our case, however, we were walking in front of some skittish girls, who screamed at everything, so it was entertaining just watching them! Also, I found out afterwards, that people would often walk behind my wife and breath on her neck. She didn't really like that, and put her hair down for the next one ...
Anyway, after leaving there, we went over to a different "maze" (which wasn't), called "Deadman's Bog." They basically turned the line for one of the rides into a pathway that they filled with smoke and covered with camouflage. Along the way, they would have people jump out at you from the mists and they'd have people just standing in line looking spooky and trying to stare you down. The highlight was when there was some guy (dressed up, of course) behind some of the camouflage who would push himself forward so you could see him, who kept repeating over and over again the words, "My bog!" His tone of voice and the environment were really quite funny.
Leaving there, we then went over to "Riddler's Revenge", one of my wife's favorite roller coasters. There was practically nobody in line, so we got right on ... the front row! By this time, my wife was feeling much better. She had never been on the front row before, and it was totally awesome. The ride was smooth, the wind was crisp, and, with the lights off, the views around the park were spectacular. To make it even better, we were able to ride it four times in a row! The third time we had to move to the second row, which reminded me why that ride wasn't my favorite (it's kind of bumpy and throws you around a lot -- issues not felt on the front row ... hmmm). In any case, with nobody in line, the front row was definitely the place to be, and we later agreed it was the best time of the entire evening. Good stuff!
We then headed up the hill in the center of the park towards the "Superman" ride. It had a much longer line (as compared to no line ...), so we only rode it once. By this time it was getting kind of late, so we went over and went through an even more disappointing "haunted house" called "Willoughby's Haunted Mansion".
After, we went over and rode on "Tatsu". This is the newest ride in the park, and is tied with Goliath as my favorite. With the lines so short, we decided to wait to sit on the front row. In my opinion, it was definitely worth the wait. Most of the time when we're at the park, it's during the day, and so it is that riding the coasters at night is a totally different experience. In this case, being on the front row and with the ride the way it is, we had a very expansive view of everything around us, and it was amazing.
By this time, we were pretty tired and so we headed home. We had never been to Fright Fest before, and it was fun. However, if we didn't already have season passes to the park, it probably wouldn't have been worth buying tickets just to go there for that reason.
In any case, we had a great evening!