There are many haunted houses you can visit in California. I should know as I’ve been to virtually all of them. Most of them have lite scares and offer up dark creepy mazes, but in general, they are very PG-13. Dark Harbor is not that kind of haunted house. If you want to be surrounded by large crowds of young kids, go to Universal Studios Horror Nights. If you like rides, perhaps Six Flags Fright Fest or Knott’s Scary Farm is your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you are seeking true terror, Queen Mary is where you want to be.
This year, the crazy people at Queen Mary may have gone too far by hiring some true psychopaths. I don’t know where they got these people and I’m not sure I want to know. The mazes are decorated so elaborately, it made me wonder if the gore was real. By trying to create the ultimate haunted attraction, they crossed the line and are now serving up unimaginable horror. After barely escaping the mazes at Dark Harbor, I felt compelled to write this survival guide. If I can only save one soul, it will be worth it.
General Survival Tips:
Safety in numbers
This should be obvious but splitting up from the group is a surefire way to get into trouble. In horror movies, there is always a person who says, “Hey, let’s split up”. We all know what happens after that. Don’t be that person. Go with a large group. The larger, the better. Also, remember, the monsters at Dark Harbor will try to separate you from your group and there are places on the ship where there are several options to explore. Try to stay together. Just as in horror movies, there is safety in numbers.
Walk slowly and stay on the path
The mazes are dark and sometimes it’s hard to find your way. You need to be extra careful and follow the paths. If you wonder too far from the path, you will likely have a bad night. If a door is locked, don’t open it. Always follow the path!
Don’t accost the monsters
I think it’s fair to say the monsters at Queen Mary are already in a bad mood. There is certainly no need to anger them further. Have you ever heard the expression, “don’t poke the bear”. Well imagine instead of a bear, it’s an undead chef with a meat cleaver. The same advice applies only times 10. Whatever you do, never reach out and touch a monster.
Identify all the exits and safe areas
Identifying the safe areas ahead of time can provide you a clear exit path if things become too intense. One great way to get a reprieve from the carnage is by renting a creepy cabana. They offer a safe place to relax if you need an extended break. In addition, having a drink or two can help you obtain some “liquid courage”. This can help you with an upcoming tip (i.e. “Don’t show fear”). The 9 Degrees Ice Bar is also a great place to “chill” out.
Finally, monsters avoid carnival rides like the plague. Fortunately, Dark Harbor features the Sinister Swings. A ride, borrowed from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch offers a completely safe place to “hang around”. The swings are also extremely fun!
Find the Secret Bars
There are several secret bars hidden throughout the park. They offer a safe haven to those lucky enough to find them. Keep your eyes open and if someone in the maze gives you a hint as to the location of a secret bar, make sure to take it. Monsters are not allowed into the secret bars so it’s a good place to take a breather and indulge in a beverage if you are so inclined. In addition, one of the secret bars (hint: possibly within Deadrise?) includes a button which if pressed will activate a scare zone within the maze. You’ll have the privilege of watching complete strangers freak out while being completely safe within the confines of the secret bar. Other secret bars may be found within B340 and Circus. Stay focused and grab a few spirits before the spirits grab you.
Never show fear
The creatures at Dark Harbor are not mere actors, they are seasoned psychopaths. They can sense fear from far away. Try to avoid eye contact and never let them know you are afraid. If they see that you are scared, they will haunt you all night long.
The lovely lady pictured here had the unfortunate luck of running into Scary Mary within Lullaby. Mary quickly preyed upon her once she saw how afraid she was. I had just enough time to take this picture and run like hell. Sounds callous? Perhaps, but I’m alive to tell the tale.
Make sure you are not the slowest person in your group
Sure, this sounds cold to leave someone behind. Just remember, at Dark Harbor and in life, friends will come and go (literally), but you only die once.
It may seem messed up, but remember, monsters have no friends and follow no rules. Don’t be the one left behind like the unfortunate soul pictured here.
Check your shoes
Before entering any maze, it’s important to check your shoes. Make sure your laces are tied tight. The last thing you want to do in a maze is trip.
Test your cell phone
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and has full bars in case you need to call 911. You see this in movies all the time. If you are out of bars, you are generally out of luck.
Go with someone who screams
Going into a maze with a loud screamer is like having a built-in terror alarm in your group. It will alert you when things are about to get crazy. In addition, the monsters are attracted to loud noises which can give you just enough time to escape.
We were fortunate enough to have this screamer within our group. She created just enough of a distraction for the larger group to escape. So sad, she was such a sweet girl.
Guide to Dark Harbor Mazes
Most of Feast is comprised of rotting corpses. Just don’t touch anything (if you can help it) within this maze as you will likely contract some vile disease. It wouldn’t kill you to bring some hand sanitizer. If you are unlucky enough to run into The Chef, do not complain about the food. If you do, you’ll likely end up on the menu. It is rumored that during WWII, crew members mysteriously disappeared, and all signs pointed back to the kitchen where The Chef likely cooked them up. Never eat anything offered up in a maze. There are plenty of great eats outside.
The most haunted room on the ship is said to be B340. It was only recently opened up for guests last year. It had been closed to the public for over 30 years prior to that. The reason is it remains the home of Samuel the Savage. In October of 1948, Samuel had a psychotic break and brutalized several passengers. The crew confined him to B340, but the next day, he was gone. Nobody knows what happened that night, except for Samuel. If you happen to run into him, keep running.
There is an infamous swimming pool on the ship, located near where the Sunday brunch is currently served. It is rumored that a young girl named Mary drowned in the pool. The pool is off limits now, but Mary still haunts the hallways. The rule to surviving this maze is to avoid any and all dolls. They are likely possessed. Also, if Mary wants to play, don’t oblige, she will steal your soul. She may appear harmless, but don’t let her looks fool you. There is also a vortex located within this maze that is a portal to a darker dimension. If you find yourself in a tight hallway, keep moving. Do not slow down for any reason.
Deadrise pays homage to the infamous Grey Ghost. During wartime, the entire Queen Mary was painted grey to hide from Hitler’s fleet. Many people died during these trans-Atlantic wartime voyages, and it is thought that many souls still haunt the ship to this day. Likely, you will encounter them within this maze. The trick for this maze is to find the secret bar. It offers safe harbor (pun intended) to those lucky enough to stumble across it and is totally fun.
Beware of the Iron Master in this maze. He has a large anchor that serves as his arm. Don’t talk to him and never offer him a high five, it really pisses him off.
Intrepid represents a haunted train and honestly suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. You will see all types of monsters within this maze and it’s difficult at times to determine the theme. That being said, it’s still a top-notch maze and the atmosphere is chilling to the bone. Beware of the passengers on the train!
If you like undead clowns, and really who doesn’t, then this is the maze for you. It is teeming with unnatural face-painted freaks. They might even try to interact with you, but be warned. They are collecting children to add to their army of freaks.
I never really thought clowns were that scary until I got lost inside the funhouse within Circus. It offers a mirror maze and haunted bouncy ball pit. It is easy to become disoriented in this maze and here more than ever it’s important to stay with the group. Also, some clowns may be willing to pose with you. It should be ok to do a quick selfie or two, but don’t engage them in conversation. They will play with your mind.
Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor – Haunted House: Parting thoughts
I pray this guide makes it out to the masses. I’m sure the sinister forces at Queen Mary will attempt to silence me and my efforts. I am putting myself in great personal risk by writing this, but I felt compelled to do so. Please for the love of everything sacred, share this with as many people as possible. You may just save a life!!
Buy you tickets for Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor here. Good luck…your going to need it!
Disclaimer: Although our experience was complimentary, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own.
Spencer works as a senior software engineer by day. He is a self proclaimed adrenaline junkie. Serving as the president of a local caving group, he enjoys exploring caves, rappelling down waterfalls, cliff jumping and generally anything that involves adventure and danger. He loves to travel but appreciates the beauty of Southern California (and his wife) above all else.
Spencer’s better half (most of the time) serves as a Guest Ambassador at the Safari Park in San Diego. She also enjoys caving, canyoneering, hiking, and adventure. She is an avid Horror movie fan and frequents horror movie festivals. She is an animal lover and is active in protecting all endangered species (especially the Lemurs in Madagascar).