Luna Park at Coney Island, New York, New York, United States
Luna Park “Nights of Horrors” (and Coney Island October)
10/16/11 (Sunday), 10/21 (Friday), 10/22 (Saturday), 10/29 (Friday) and 10/31 (Monday)
So I was lucky enough to attend multiple “Nights of Horror” events this year. Unlike normal operations at Luna, the Nights of Horror is a gated event. The Cyclone, the Screamzone and Coney Island USA’s “Creepshow at the Freakshow” were all open as stand-alone operations. Admission was $30/person (although there were tons of discounts out there if you looked) and included all the open rides at Luna and unlimited access to the 2 mazes. The one drawback was there no re-entry – so if you wanted to go explore the other offerings at Coney you couldn’t go back to Luna (unless you’re willing to pay again). The rides operating in Luna were the flume, tickler (spinning mouse), air race, mega disk’o, eclipse (midi discovery), surf’s up, circus coaster, family swings, mini drop tower, kite flyer, and wave blaster. I don’t feel it’s really necessary to go into Luna ride reviews, it’s a pretty straight forward line up of the Zamperla product line, with the exception of the Air Race and log flume. I rode a handful over the course of my visits. I do always get a kick out of a spinning mouse – especially Luna’s Tickler - given the fact that the ‘pin’ is released on the upper switchbacks and has the potential to give some great additional spinning.
You had to go through a very intensive security gate before entering the park. Handheld metal detectors and they looked thoroughly through all purses and bags. They pumped the park with some fog, but it’s not overwhelming. All the lights were covered in blue gels. There were about 15 scare actors that walk the grounds of the park and a few in the very front of the park entrance. They were very effective and seem to really get a kick out of getting a good scare. The scare actors ran the gamut in looks from vampires, wolves, plain out monsters; but keeping to the general themes of the two mazes, most are evil clowns or skeleton scarecrows/farmers. The scare actors all did the “Thriller” dance at some point during the evening. The two mazes were themed “CUdie Farm” and “Coney Carnival”. The mazes take over the very back portion of the park which is filled with kiddie rides. It’s pretty impressive how big the mazes seem in the small space that they have to work with. The fact that you could do the mazes multiple times was a nice bonus, and they moved people through pretty quickly.
I’ll start with “Coney Carnival” as it was the lighter fare of the two. It used a lot of the kiddy rides as props and they’re all decorated with evil clowns, evil dolls, etc. There were a multiple basic animatronic stunts such as pop-up jack & the boxes, clowns inside ticket boots and on swings above your head, and multiple other ones. Couple that with live actors, some very disorienting mirrored hallways, a crazy inflatable wall hallway that you have to squeeze your way through only to be confronted by an evil knife waving clown (or two) on the other end – it had some very effective and cool scares. It might be the lighter of the two, but I think it turned out to be my favorite of the two just for amount of creativity put into it.
“CUdie Farm” was the darker, scarier of the two mazes. The entire maze was lined with corn husks and there were gore props aplenty. All of the scare actors were scarecrow/farmer skeletons and they were very aggressive (they won’t touch you, but they will really get in your space). This maze is much more about the actors than stunts. There were a couple of themed areas – primarily the “Slaughter House” that was so dark when the haunt was in full swing that you really didn’t see all of the effort they put into the blood and gore factor – which is a shame. The maze ends with the slaughter house with your standard chainsaw craziness – unlike most haunts I’ve done there is usually only one actor with a chainsaw – at CUdie Farm (C U Die) – there ranged from 2-4 actors with chainsaws – it definitely freaked people out, you always saw the first one coming but the secondary ghouls with saws stayed back in the dark corners to catch you off guard. The number of people that ran out of that maze is pretty hysterical.
***End Spoiler Alert***
Screamzone was decked out for Halloween, but not at the same level. Also open was the El Dorado Auto Skooters/arcade and of course Nathan’s. The boardwalk was deserted at night and Deno’s was open on weekends during the day, but closed around 7pm each night. They did not open for the last weekend due to the weather. The Cyclone was really nicely decked out for Halloween and all of the operators dressed in costume. A lot of great props were used in the station, queue and in the pre-lift turn. On Halloween night proper, 12th Street Amusements also reopened the Ghost Hole dark ride and Bumper Cars for the early part of the evening. I have to say seeing the Cyclone open on Halloween night was a real treat as well – I can’t remember ‘mom’ ever operating this late in the season before. To be honest, I only took one spin on her in my multiple visits – I’ve always felt that the Cyclone runs better when it’s a little colder and this would definitely be the case on my one late season ride (coupled by it running the better of the two trains). I could also tell where some late season track work had been done.
Coney Island USA continued the annual “Creepshow at the Freakshow” event – they brought back last year’s show “The Ride Inspector’s Nightmare”. It’s not really a haunted house, it’s more like a moving play – you go through different sections of the building in groups of 15-20 people where different tableaus are played out. I did it last year and while I appreciate the effort – it really wasn’t my cup of tea – so I did sit it out this year as it was a repeat of last year’s program with some script revamping.
On Halloween night proper – CIUSA also took over Luna park with live entertainment (sideshow, burlesque, bands, and costume contest). The crowd was much lighter than I had anticipated, but the park wasn’t empty.
Attendance grew steadily over the course of the month. I found the crowds overall well behaved, and there seemed to be a general consensus that this is a really well done, fun event. The crowd size was totally manageable, and leaned towards the lighter side. The freak snow storm the Saturday before Halloween really put a damper on what could’ve been a huge weekend. The biggest crowd I saw was on the Saturday the 22nd – it was very busy and really makes me feel like this could turn into a very big event in the near future. I think if the Luna event turns into something really big, Deno’s could definitely cash in on this with an event of their own.
Hoping that everyone had a safe, scary, and wonderful Halloween!
Does Dorney know about this "CUDie Farm?"
Their Backwoods Haunt..and my favorite..is billed as Camp CUDie...has been for a few years.
Thanks for the report! I haven't made it over to Luna Park yet at all..I don't really like the idea of paying to get in there, then still having to pay for Scream Zone rides, as well as the Cyclone. I wish they'd sell a POP that includes EVERYthing.
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