Total Rating: 2/5
Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari
1 Six Flags Boulevard
Jackson, NJ 08527
Pricing: Expensive ($40 or more per person, plus $25-$35 in parking, and about $20-$60 in refreshments)
Recommended Age Group: 10+ (if you're over 13, this may be too tame for you)
Many "haunted" shows
4 "Haunted Trails" (already existing areas of the park populated by actors in costume)
1 Haunted Walk (new attraction)
Wheel of Fright (horror game)
Coffin of Fear (horror game; not active during our visit)
Ugh...Frightfest. Great Adventure's FF is a huge event; it attracts tons of people, horror buffs and thrill-seekers alike. The main attraction is, of course, the theme park elements; huge coasters and amusements tower into the night sky, dwarfing all the lesser elements of the event. But we weren't there to rate roller coasters; we were there for FF itself, from the Awakening Parade, through haunted music shows and dolphin acts, hypnosis and haunted walks. We were there to experience the Fright!
In theory, anyway. In practice, the only thing we experienced was overcrowding on an epic scale. Within minutes of the Awakening Parade (which was pretty good, actually; see video embedded above), we were rushed by literal hordes of people, and every haunted attraction was full to bursting. The transformation to Frightfest occurs promptly at 6:00PM; by 6:20PM, the line for the haunted forest was estimated at almost an hour long, and the attraction didn't even open until 7PM! There was plenty of screaming, but not the kind you'd hope for; packs of irate mothers and terrified kids were everywhere (which is why we went 10+ on the age recommendation). According to employees at the park, the haunted hayride seen in years prior was discontinued, and most of the remaining haunted attractions were less than impressive. The effects and general theme were excellently executed, and the talent was spot-on; unfortunately the 20-40 actors they had were simply insufficient compared to the thousands of visitors to the park. It was a challenge to even find people in costume half the time, and every opportunity for entertainment was obscenely overcrowded. We walked around for about two hours with absolutely nothing to do, simply because we could not find a single line that was not ridiculous (see the video below).
So to summarize, is Frightfest interesting? Yes. Is it fun? It could be. Are the actors good? They're dedicated to the scare and often pretty talented. Do we recommend it? No. It's just too damn crowded. Any attempt to do anything fun is quickly quashed by gargantuan costs for refreshments ($4 water...and it's Dannon...) and enormous crowds. What scares there are lose all impact because of the crowding, and what fun you may find hiding in every corner will be quickly seized upon by the packs of roaming thrill-seekers desperate for an escape from the more crowded park elements. If you have a family, and lots of tweens, you might be able to make something worthwhile out of this event; otherwise, please, for your sanity's sake, stay away.