It’s that time of year ladies and gentlemen, the fall season has snuck up on me again, and it’s time to review some haunts! If you’ve kept up with my reviews in previous years, I was previously living in Minneapolis Minnesota. I’ve since made the jump in my career to Los Angles CA, and I’m excited to finally dig into some Haunted attractions in the city of angels! My tour kicks off with the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride…
Nestled up in the mountains of Griffith Park, the Haunted Hayride takes advantage of the long since abandoned Zoo property, boasting a hayride and three walk through haunted attractions. This year also marks the 10th year of operation for the Haunted Hayride, with new management and a new theme, revolving around the fictional town of Midnight Falls, circa 1985.
The “Midway” area is probably the most themed area of the event, designed to feel like a Halloween festival in a small town somewhere way out in the sticks. Notable sets included a radio station in the line for the hayride, a skeleton carousel, and a stage for live entertainment. When I first arrived at the Haunted Hayride, the theme in the midway got me excited for what was to come. Unfortunately, this was the peak of the set design and theme, with the walk-through mazes and hayride being very underwhelming. The hayride mainly took advantage of the abandoned zoo exhibits, with very few props recycled from years past scattered around. The walk through attractions was mainly black walls and pallet boards, with only a few notable scenes between all three of the mazes.
Lots of standing around, awkward interactions…Most scenes were run by only one person, with each scene having at least 2-3 nice opportunities for scares that weren’t being taken advantage of by said actor. When actors weren’t standing around, lots of awkward following occurred.
The haunt’s location up in the mountains of Griffith Park makes for a very woodsy feel in the middle of bustling Los Angeles, unfortunately this wasn’t fully taken advantage of.
Is It Scary?: 2
Simply put, following and Standing around isn’t scary. Actors need to be more interactive with the patrons. Did not see one potential situation where the actors could scare the average haunt goer. If a haunt goer gets scared from actors just staring at them and following them. This is for you. For the rest, this place won't phase you.
Customer Service: 3
From the absolute start, my experience at the Haunted Hayride was a train wreck, it became obvious very fast that whoever was managing this event clearly did not have a plan for crowds and parking. On the night I visited, 8,000 people were in attendance, and they clearly had done nothing to prepare. Parking up in front of the event was filled before the haunt opened, with everyone else scattering around Griffith park fighting for virtually no parking. People finally started parking in marked out, “no parking zones” and emergency vehicle parking. This made for a very difficult night for parking, entry, lines, etc. that really just made the whole experience a headache. My group had purchased the VIP pass ($59), in the hopes of avoiding some of the lines. A quarter of a way through the Hayride line they had us pose for a picture, before referring us to yet another line. We asked to make sure this was for VIP, and they hurried us in, assuring us it was. Out of 16 rows of line it took us almost an hour and a half to trek through one of the rows, the whole time assuming that the general and VIP lines had merged after the photo opp. Finally we checked with another employee, who informed us this was not the case. Had we of been placed in the proper line, we would have already been on and off the hayride by this point. The employees were very apologetic and moved us to the deluxe line.
Costuming and Makeup: 5
Lots of fun foam latex prosthetics on the roaming actors, silicone mask in the walk through houses and hayride.
Special Effects: 4
A few large-scale props, but the event was very actor driven.
Bang for your buck: 1
Had we of actually been in the proper line for VIP, the waits would have still been astronomical for everyone but Deluxe pass guest, (a whopping $109) considering how small the three walkthrough attractions were, and the hayride, all of the prices for the event were a bit steep, and just not worth it.
I was really rooting for this one, but left disappointed. Monte Revolta was the best part of the event and my review does not reflect his killer performance. We recommend skipping this attractions all together. With the lack of actor interaction and sub-par quality of entertainment that you get with the insanely high ticket price, It's simply not worth it and you will leave very disappointed while asking yourself, "Did I really just drop that much money on this place?"