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Canada’s Wonderland Halloween Haunt 2019 – Ranking the Mazes!

Warnings and Rambling Before We Start

So first thing’s first: There are maze spoilers throughout this entire post so you might want to come back later if you’re still planning to do Haunt and haven’t done the mazes yet.

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to share a bit of my Haunt backstory before we get to the list.

When I was younger, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Fearfest at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland because we were the only park that hadn’t gotten it yet (aside from Great America I believe). I’ve never enjoyed horror things so I mostly wanted it so that our season would extend past September, and because I wanted to fit in and say how our park was also cool for having a spooky time of year too. Fearfest at PCW debuted in 2005 but my first visit was the following year in 2006.

With my downright loathing of horror, I managed just a single maze in 2006 and that was essentially it for the entire night besides a couple of rides. It was Bloodshed when it was back in Kingswood. I still vividly remember certain aspects of the maze which is probably telling of how much it traumatized me at the time. I remember having to cover my ears because I found it too loud, and getting pushed through the maze by the people behind us into the large hanging corpses and out the exit. That was my first and last maze up until this year because I hated that experience and never really felt ready to take it on again.

It’s kind of funny how deciding to go through mazes this year was almost entirely because I was angry at myself for buying the expensive No Boo necklace that turned out to be useless to me.

After trying a few mazes on my second Haunt visit of the year, and being impressed by the quality of them, I ended up doing them all by my third visit of the year.

The mazes startle me good but what makes it even better is being spooked with other random strangers and laughing together. These mazes may not be the scariest thing out there, but the experience as it is is so enjoyable that I actually wanted to keep doing certain mazes over and over. With that said, I will give a fun, scary, and set quality score for each maze, but the rankings really just reflect how much I personally enjoyed the experience overall. Remember that this is all my personal opinion. Feel free to leave your own in the comments!

Now, let’s get on to that list!

The Nine Mazes, Ranked!

#9 Code Red

Code Red was an unfortunate one because it left me wanting to do the original Asylum maze. The sets were kind of confusing and somewhat bland when compared to other mazes. You can see the rush to modify the maze into something else but it’s been a few years since that had happened so I’m surprised it hasn’t been reworked to something more consistent. I hope this maze will get a proper makeover or re-theme soon.

Fun: 4/10

Scary: 4/10

Set Quality: 3/10

#8 Blood Shed

I’ll be honest… I’m disappointed I didn’t relive my childhood horrors from the original Bloodshed maze. While the maze felt like being in a large barn, especially being in the wooden Courtyard pavilion, it felt like it was missing a lot of detail and that I was just walking through bare hallways at some points. There wasn’t anything memorable about this maze. It was also very weird to me that the hanging limbs were in Code Red but nothing like that in here.

Fun: 4/10

Scary: 4/10

Set Quality: 4/10

#7 Forest of Fear

Forest of Fear and Bloodshed had a similar vibe because they felt about the same size and they both felt like one single big scene for the entire maze. There wasn’t much of a variation of props or themes throughout both of these mazes. I gave the slight edge to Forest of Fear because I liked the sets more, along with the wooden flooring with slight changes in elevation. There seemed to be a lot of actors in this one, though I can’t even remember what they were wearing or what they were supposed to be.

Fun: 5/10

Scary: 4/10

Set Quality: 6/10

#6 Sci-Fi House!!

When I started considering doing mazes, people suggested I should do Sci-Fi House first because the lighting in the maze is rather bright so you can see everything. There were a few areas where the sets seemed kind of bland or awkwardly laid out (especially the entrance that’s supposed to be the front porch but there’s just a picnic table there and nothing else) but there were other details that I really liked, like the TVs and projections, and the cupboard doors that moved on their own. I liked this maze because it was so weird and didn’t take itself very seriously – I burst out laughing when one of the actors went “oga boga boga!”, and when another was just sitting on a table waving their arms – I think it just needs to be a bit darker and have a few adjustments made to the sets.

Fun: 6/10

Scary: 6/10

Set Quality: 6/10

#5 Blackout

I went through Blackout three times this Haunt and had two great experiences while the other fell flat. There appears to be two different Blackout entries and paths so that’s probably why I had such a different experience that disappointing run. It was disappointing that one time because there was light coming from above that gave away where the passage was going, and it was the one time when the inflatable wall at the end wasn’t on.

Initially, the scariest part of the maze for me was the thought of accidentally walking into the person in front of me. It turns out that was actually the funniest part of it. The last time I went through Blackout was with a large crowd so when the group suddenly stopped, everyone would walk into each other. There was no real frustration or anger about it, just laughing it off. I like my personal space most of the time, but there’s something fun about everyone piling into each other in complete darkness.

I did get a bit anxious at parts where it was pitch black and I couldn’t really sense anyone around me, giving me a feeling of being lost in the dark.

There were more actors in the maze the second and third time I went through and they were having a lot of fun with it which made me laugh. I ended up leaving the maze with sore cheeks because I was laughing so hard.

I do wish that it was the sort of maze where you have to feel your way through. Or maybe a section where the ceiling gradually gets lower so you have to crouch just slightly down to get through. I would have followed along the walls by touching it but I was scared that there would be an actor there and I’d end up palming their face or something.

Fun: 9/10

Scary: 7/10

Set Quality: 2/10 (It’s low a score because it’s literally black walls and no lights, but lower than I originally had it because of the wild variation between the times I went through it.)

#4 CornStalkers

I enjoyed how the queue had no lights and a fog machine so the experience starts with walking through a dark forest.

We were ushered into the photo shack at the beginning of the maze the first time I went through. Inside, they take your picture once and then blast a horn and take it again to try to capture a moment of terror… Our two pictures looked exactly the same. There was a backup at the shack because people couldn’t figure out whether everyone had to go through the shack or not. Honestly, I’m not really against having the photos, but I also do not care for it at all.

The maze itself was good with several jump scares throughout. I was a bit confused by the monsters quickly walking toward you. It didn’t seem to fit the maze.

The large rat animatronic at the end was VERY impressive but it also seemed a bit out of place for Cornstalkers. I thought maybe there could have been a few hints about it along the maze or a section leading up to it with a significant amount of rat props.

Fun: 7/10

Scary: 8/10

Set Quality: 8.5/10

#3 The Crypt

The Crypt’s sets are really well done, with things like a wall of skulls and a part with the standing mummified props mixed in with actual actors. My only issue with this maze is that the first half through the passageways was a little too bright and… too clean? I was thinking maybe they could cover the floor with sand or even burlap, just to change the texture you’re walking on.

Fun: 7/10

Scary: 9/10

Set Quality: 9.5/10

#2 Spirit Manor

Spirit Manor was the first maze to open in the daytime for Camp Spooky and I was really impressed by all of the detail in the sets when I walked through it. I like that each room is different and there’s no part that felt out of place. This is why I really wanted to do it at night.

In the night, they play a soundtrack that has a piano playing with thunderstorm ambient sounds that trigger the lighting. I love it so much that I wish they kept it in the daytime too. It actually had a relaxing effect on me when passing through the greenhouse atrium whatever room with the windows lit up in a kind of moonlight white. I thought it would have been cool if they could project rain onto the windows and make it look like it was actually raining.

There were some very good scares, particularly with the guy slapping the bookshelves while popping out at you, as well as multiple actors just standing there with resemblance to the girl from the Ring.

Fun: 8/10

Scary: 8.5/10

Set Quality: 10/10

#1 The Ruins

The original reason why I went through Ruins was because I had to do it to get to Blackout, which is one of the mazes I wanted to try when I was still hesitant about doing them. I ended up enjoying Ruins the most this year.

I really love the idea of taking a flashlight through the maze, though no one around me seemed to have one the second and third times through the maze which was disappointing. There were also a couple jump scares in there, though not as intense as others I experienced in other mazes.

The two main reasons why I put this maze at the top of my list is the quality of the sets and the length of it. There are so many cool details about this maze that I didn’t even catch all of them the first time I went through it (though part of that may have been some effects not working that time). It also felt very long even though I don’t know for a fact if it is longer or shorter than other mazes.

There was also the novelty of being in the Mountain for this one. Since this is my first year doing these mazes, it gave me a funny feeling knowing I’ve walked by the doors all summer but could never imagine how it was behind those doors until now.

Fun: 9/10

Scary: 7/10

Set Quality: 10/10

Final Thoughts

All in all, it was a fantastic Haunt season for me because I’m actually in the spirit now. I’m looking forward to doing all of the mazes again next year.

There is an obvious drop in the quality of the mazes mid-way through the lineup. The top mazes on my list exceeded my expectations and I can only hope that Wonderland will revisit some of the older mazes for a refresh or new story to bring them up to that same quality.

I have high praise for all of the actors that work these nights and deal with the crowds to do their thing. I like the ones that have fun with it and don’t try too hard.

I know logistically it’s tough, but I would have liked to see a couple mazes on the south side of the park. I’m surprised they didn’t use the new Kingswood event tent for something.

See you next year, monsters! 👻

Posted in Canada's Wonderland

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