Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor
Named one of the 10 most haunted places in America, the Queen Mary is a particularly apt location for a haunt. With 49 reported deaths in its almost 90-year history, the Queen Mary is not a stranger to the paranormal. For decades, guests have reported witnessing apparitions lurking throughout the ship. What makes Dark Harbor unique from other jump-scare attractions is the maze curators drew from the Queen Mary’s rich haunted history to bring to life the spirits that reside there. Patrons can anticipate mazes having well developed narratives that feature these legendary ghostly characters. Dark Harbor does not disappoint by using high quality set design, special effects, and light interaction to assist in immersing participants. This year, the Harbor reveals it has hidden bars in select mazes where patrons can enjoy libations… if you can find them. Six mazes return to the harbor this year, with one new maze, FEAST.
FEAST, which debuts this Halloween season, brings guests to the dining room and kitchen for a supper that is sure to make you lose your appetite, inspired by a chef burned alive on the ship during World War II. As the story goes, disgruntled soldiers threw the chef into an oven after feeling underwhelmed with his culinary skills. Back for revenge, a scorched and belligerent Chef points his knife at participants and asks if they would like to be next. What sets this attraction apart from others at Dark Harbor is the experience of crawling through a section of the maze to simulate going into the deathly oven. Luckily there is no heat, however it can be a bit hard on the knees. Participants transition through the oven into the kitchen where cooks are making ghastly concoctions that are too intriguing to look away. Brains, eyeballs, and other human remains adorn porcelain plates in elaborate displays reflecting the economic prosperity of post war life. But, can you escape before becoming a first-class passengers’ meal?
If you are fortunate enough to evade Chef’s grasp, it may behoove you to regroup with a few shots at the MEAT LOCKER before you get into any stickier situations. Also, premiering this Halloween season, MEAT LOCKER is an ice bar with vodka tastings included in your ticket for patrons 21 and older. For up to 20 minutes, participants can taste unique vodka flavors including Fruit Loops, Butterscotch, Triple Chocolate, Sriracha and many more, if you dare. You will experience 7 degree temperatures but don’t worry, you will be provided with a heavy jacket.
Warm back up with a few belly-laughs at CIRCUS, which is a staple in Dark Harbors’ haunted lineup. CIRCUS, which plays homage to the entertainment and light-hearted spirit of the ship, showcases the cheerful eerie playfulness of the undead. Find your footing or succumb to your inner child and swim heedlessly through a ball-pit. Negotiate truth and illusion through a hall of mirrors. View the delightful uniqueness and peculiarities of circus displays. And if you are finding your lips are dry, you may enjoy specialty cocktails at a hidden bar, if you enjoy reading and know where to look. By navigating through white fog, paying particular attention to avoiding nefarious characters, you will find yourself having escaped the CIRCUS feeling more delightfully creeped out than when you entered.
Things get even spookier when you visit Scary Mary. Based on the true story of a young girl who died in the ship’s swimming pool, LULLABY introduces you to Scary Mary, a spirit who refuses to move on. LULLABY takes you through the ship’s bowels where guests get to view the swimming pool where the spirit of a girl can still be seen laughing, splashing in the pool, and clutching her teddy bear. Mind games are played, as the blonde, curly haired, and doll-like Mary appears maniacally cackling at every turn, given that it likely has the highest number of scare actors of any maze at Dark Harbor. Rotting boards creek under foot and musky, damp, air fills the room reminding you of how long it has been since her demise. You are fascinated as you get a glimpse into Scary Mary’s life and you’ll find she is a real terror. She screams “Get out of my room. I’m getting claustrophobic!” and you don’t dare disobey.
Having escaped Scary Mary’s clutches, you may find yourself exploring the darkest corners of the mind in Room B340. It is said that this is one of the most haunted rooms on the Queen Mary due to its heightened paranormal activity. There is some debate about the history of the room, however historians seem to agree that a man died here from unconfirmed causes. One legend accounts that room B340 was a holding cell for a mad man plagued by volatile episodes with authorities unable to determine if his death was a murder or a suicide. Participants can make up their own minds as they enter maze B340 and explore the fractured psyche of Samuel the Savage. An obsessed Samuel finds the pattern B340 displayed throughout his memories. Troubled from a young age, a dunce hat can be seen beneath a row of chalkboard sentences. Frightening religious figures loom with disappointment, split off parts of Samuel’s personality, a sign that the mind is turning against itself. Protectors become the tormentors as they taunt, “Samuel’s gunna get you”. Consider yourself warned. You’ll want to escape before it’s too late. But due to Samuel’s complex state of mind, getting out will not be easy. Be prepared to walk up and down a few flights of stairs.
Last of the 4 mazes on the ship is SOULMATES, which recounts the story of Graceful Gale and her search for eternal love. Graceful Gale appears to be based on another of the Queen Mary’s resident ghosts who has been seen dancing near the piano bar. Affectionately known as “the Lady in White”, a beautiful apparition in a long white evening gown has been seen lingering in the lobby in hopes of finding her one true love. Cut up magazine pages and human skin fragments quilted together into a suit marks Graceful Gale’s desperate attempt to construct the perfect man, and you may have the piece of the puzzle she is looking for. With some of the best jump scares in all of Dark Harbor this maze is one you won’t want to miss.
Once back on dry land, you will find DEADRISE, a maze that pays homage to a time when the Queen Mary served as a military vessel dubbed the “Grey Ghost”. Army green, tweed rope, and netting can be seen throughout this haunt creating good integration yet somewhat monotone surroundings. Although this maze appears to be scarce on actors, it has the greatest variety of special effects in the harbor. Water, fire, fog, hanging obstacles, and floor effects create an eerie journey through a shipwreck claimed by angry spirits. This labyrinth-like maze appears to have multiple paths to safety. Stay close to your party or risk getting lost and becoming a prisoner of the undead.
Finally, consider the source when you experience INTREPID, which introduces the ghostly creator of the Queen Mary, the Iron Master. Originally built in Scotland by John Brown and Company, the Queen Mary’s roots go all the way back to 1930s in the United Kingdom. Scottish influences feature in INTREPID as snow fills the streets, bagpipes wail, and a loud train horn periodically sounds. Men in green plaid kilts accost patrons with cries of “Where is your ticket? How did you get on this train without a ticket?” After narrowly disembarking the train, you are faced with men in plague masks. “What kind of viruses was I exposed to? And how did I end up in a forest?” Met with thick green fog at every turn and monsters lurking in the shadows, you must find a way to escape. INTREPID provides a revamped maze in the location that was originally home to VOODOO VILLAGE, and provides a refreshing take on the Queen Mary’s haunted origins.
Dark Harbor sets itself apart from other traditional theme park attractions by using real ghost stories in a haunted location to captivate and thrill their guests. Guests are invited inside the Queen Mary where they can fully immersive themselves in a paranormal experience and encounter their own ghost sightings. With high quality set designs, well-developed characters, and intriguing narratives, horror fans are bound to enjoy their stay in the Dark Harbor. Although the Queen Mary set sail for it’s very last voyage on October 31, 1967, Dark Harbor invites patrons to experience the haunted spirit of the “Grey Ghost” every Halloween season for 23 nights only.
For more information and for tickets, please check out their website here!