Thrilling Roller Coasters and Halloween Haunts

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Fall is now in the air (though it’s still not cool enough here in Missouri), and that means my favorite time of the year in America. I love the blend of beautiful nature and all the Halloween fun. While I enjoy a wide variety of activities, one of my favorites is visiting amusement parks. For me, it’s the best time, because the temperature has dropped from the stifling heat and humidity of summer AND all the Halloween haunt activities are in full swing. Missouri has two really nice amusement parks, conveniently located on opposite ends of the state: Worlds of Fun in Kansas City and Six Flags over St. Louis.

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I’ve been to Worlds of Fun Halloween Haunt three times, and this was the first time I went to Six Flags in St. Louis. Unlike previous years, I decided to go very early in the season, so there would not be as many crowds as there would be later in the season. The first two times I went to Worlds of Fun, I went either on Halloween or a day after, so as you can imagine, the crowds were enormous and the lines long. I HATE waiting in lines, and even though I mitigate line waiting by purchasing fast passes for the haunts, it is still too long for my tastes. Having heard that earlier weekends were not as crowded, I decided to test that out by going to Worlds of Fun on their second operating weekend (which this year, put it at the last weekend in September) and the opening weekend at Six Flags, which was the first weekend in October. The only downside to going so early? Most of the fall foliage is not near peak. But hey, small price to pay for shorter lines.

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I always make a full day of it, because I want to get all my roller coaster riding fun during the day, and leave my evening for haunt experiences. And I have also seen that the lines for rides are MUCH shorter the first few hours after a park opens than later in the evening. So my typical plan of attack, at least when visiting Worlds of Fun, is to ride all the thrill rides first and then eat and be ready for Halloween fun after the sun sets.

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That was pretty much my plan this time around at Worlds of Fun. There was always plenty of people at the park during the day, but the lines are much, much shorter (except for the water raft ride), so I was able to get my adrenaline thrills done fairly early. So by the time night fell, I was ready to get my Halloween on. Just like last year, I purchased a Fright Pass and a Skeleton Key pass. Like I said, I hate waiting in line, so anything that can cut into that, I am usually willing to pay. It really does make a tremendous difference in the amount of line waiting, and I was able to see all of the Halloween haunts in only about three to four hours.

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I also went a bit further and purchased a Skeleton Key pass. That comes in the form of a glowing necklace you wear when going through the haunts, and at certain points of the attraction, you get pulled aside to do something different, something that is supposed to push your boundaries and gross you out. I was a bit wary about the Skeleton Key this year, because I had mixed experiences of fun last year, but since I think most of the mixed experience came from the crowds, I decided to give it a whirl. I enjoyed the Skeleton Key activities more this year. There are six of them at different haunts, and three of them I was able to do alone, and three of them were with small groups. I did prefer the solitary experiences more, especially the blackout maze at Lore of the Vampire, though the Asylum Island small group experience was probably my favorite overall, just because it was rather different.

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Having gone two years in a row, it is interesting to compare the haunts from the previous year. While some of them kept the same themes, they weren’t identical. Overall, my favorite was Asylum Island, followed by Blood on the Bayou, a new haunt for this year.

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I have been to Six Flags in Dallas and Atlanta, but had never made it to the other side of Missouri. I made it a long weekend in St. Louis by combining it with some other haunted houses in St. Louis. But I had one full day and night devoted to Six Flags. I had the same plan of attack for Six Flags. Get there right when it opens, get a Slasher Pass Express to cut down on line waiting (Six Flags does not have a Skeleton Key equivalent), load up on fun roller coasters before spending the evening at the Fright Fest sites. The difference is at Six Flags, I decided to purchase a Flash Pass to cut down on line waiting for the roller coasters. Since it was my first visit, I wanted to ride roller coasters during the day and night, and I know lines can get long at night. Now, personally I think the Flash Pass is a bit overpriced ($80 for the Platinum pass), but I can’t say I didn’t get my  money’s worth. I never waited more than 10 minutes for a ride, and I was able to ride when I want to. I imagine lines might be longer during the height of the summer season, but this day I was able to book a ride whenever I wanted and walk in immediately. Thanks to this, I was able to ride all the thrill rides at least twice, which was a hell of an adrenaline rush.

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Having been to Six Flags and Worlds of Fun in back to back weekends, it was interesting to compare the two. They do have similar thrill rides. I mean, similar setup and concept, though I have to give the edge to Six Flags.  I couldn’t get enough of their Batman ride, as it was a bit smoother and twistier than Worlds of Fun (called Patriot there). Their high speed wooden coasters were equally good, though I had forgotten how freaky it was riding it at night since I could not see where I was going. But for sheer WTFness, I have to give it up for Mr. Freeze’s Reverse Blast. I have never been on a roller coaster quite like this one, and it was a HELL of a ride. You ride the same track twice, but you start backward. It is not the standard roller coaster where you chug to the top and drop down. Nope, this one shoots you out of the ride dock at a high speed and you speed UP and twisting before stopping in a near vertical line and then dropping and doing the track all over again. Oooh yeah, that was one amazing adrenaline rush, and if I smoked cigarettes, I would have wanted one afterward. While super fun during the day, it was even more fun at night, when I couldn’t see where I was going.

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The Six Flags Halloween haunts were good, though my favorite one was Voided Vision, because that was basically a blackout maze I was allowed to wander through on my own since it was early in the evening. Like all of my other Halloween experiences, I was alone. One of my frustrations with these super popular attractions is that they send people through in large groups. I get that most people are there in large groups, and they want to get as many people through as possible, but it still sucks when I am with a group of people. Sure some groups are fun and get into the spirit of it, but some just talk way too much, or are clearly not having a good time. And going through in a strange group can be particularly disappointing for blackout mazes, so I was glad the attendants sent me through alone. Like usual, I get the round of compliments about how brave I am, but hey. I want to do Halloween stuff and I would rather do it alone than not at all.

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Overall, I had a LOT of fun at both Worlds of Fun and Six Flags. I got my thrill ride adrenaline rush and my Halloween season kicked off in grand fashion. If I am still living in the state of Missouri next October, I will definitely be back to both.

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