Listen to TSPP Episode # 214 - Fright Fest 2012 at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 10/23/12
After rediscovering Discovery Kingdom this summer, thanks to the debut of the magnificent Superman: Ultimate Flight coaster, I was so glad to return to this beautiful park one more time before year's end, to join The Season Pass for an in-depth podcast review of their Fright Fest event.
I hadn't been to a Six Flags Fright Fest in many years; could the last time have been more than a decade ago? Possibly. And as I was living in New York back then, it would have been a Great Adventure Fright Fest. There were roaming scareactors, some fog, some strobe lights, I think I got jolted a few times, maybe. Yeah, so, anyway.
Back in Los Angeles, where we have no shortage of heavyweight Halloween celebrations, the Six Flags offerings have never been very enticing (even though I've heard that Magic Mountain is stepping up their game). But Doug had some pretty good things to say about SFDK's Fright Fest last year and the park promised us an even better time with more mazes, etc., for 2012. Frankly, I was happy to show up just for the chance to get in one more ride on Superman, and if the Halloween icing was tasty, then fine, more cake, please.
Turns out that icing was very tasty.
I can't say this, and you can't hear it, too many times: Discovery Kingdom is the most gorgeous and distinctive Six Flags park in the United States. More than once this trip, I noticed some evidence of its corporate parenthood peeking through the abundant foliage – a little "Go Big!..." addendum on a billboard, for instance – and it was startling. That Superman is the only DC-branded ride here also keeps the intrusion of general Six Flaggery to a minimum.
And while Discovery Kingdom doesn't have the experience, or budgets, to put on a Halloween show anywhere near as elaborate as you'll find at Knott's or Universal – yet – there is a lot of love and creative thinking going on up here.
Best example: this Fright Fest has signature characters who serve as hosts of a sort, with their own maze and everything: Nicholas Nightmare and his two daughters (pictured above), Arsenic and Arania. Nicholas is dearly departed, but the twins make their rounds and pose with guests at the front of the park.
These two spooky chicks were awesome. We watched for quite a bit as folks shimmied up warily to get their picture taken with 'em and they NEVER broke character, never smiling, never making a sound, never doing anything but staring people down. I hearted Arsenic and Arania a bunch.
And this is Nancy Chan, SFDK's Communications Manager, who showed us around, took us through some of the mazes, an excellent host herself. Here she is giving us a delightful tour of "Nightmare Manor."