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Run, Don't Walk, to Fright Dome's Freaky Fun Fear Fest

October 1, 2012 at 7:44 PM | by | Comment (1)

Quit your (Walking Dead) shuffling and run to the most fun you'll have this Halloween. Witching Season has only just dawned, but already we've discovered this year's must-see event. Fright Dome within Circus Circus' Adventuredome theme park is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

This was our first year entering the Dome, but we now wish we'd attended previous incarnations. We'll give you a rundown and offer some tips. But, this is an easy review to write. If you want a fantastic evening of thrills, scares and laughing out loud, Fright Dome is no-brainer. BrrraaaaiiiiiNNNNNSSSSSS.

There are five mazes. You line up, meet a costumed guide, receive instruction about what not to do and them walk into the scares. This year, they added a new maze co-created by zombie film pioneer George A. Romero, "Ward of the Dead," a locked down hospital filled with, guess what? This was actually our favorite haunt. The design, the doors and our nurse guide really help add to the tension. "The Anniversary" maze includes favorite scenes chosen from the last decade of performances. Then there's "Infected" (that's another Zombie maze), "Fright Dome's Urban Legends" (self-explanatory), and "Camp Massacre" (featuring a very shocking ending. That one has more hanging obstacles and bonus chainsaw action. A great combination...).

The usual Adventuredome rides are all running in the dark. And, all rides are included in the ticket price. They've added some animatronic monsters to the water ride, but the real thrill is riding a roller coaster in often total darkness. An absolute must.

The staff runs into the hundreds of guests and at least one hundred are in costume. And, not just dress up. Everyone appears to be in full, ready-for-their-close-up horror movie splendor. Now, we say appears as it's pretty dark inside the cavernous Fright Dome. Our first words of warning -- it's dark, loud, can get very crowded, warm and smoky. Lots of dry ice and smoke effects. If you don't like strobe effects, a few locations utilize them to clever effect. If you don't like packs of teens running around, well, you'll need to get used to that. But, for us older folks, you won't feel out of place. You're all in the fear together.

It's also very difficult to work out your location after exiting a maze. So, don't feel bad if you didn't see everything. We walked the five mazes and went on a couple of rides, but we'd happily go back to see what we missed. None of this will spoil your evening as this is riot of good times. The clowns, characters and human scaremongers are everywhere and watching you. Don't be surprised if they start following you as you meander unaware. It's their job to make you jump. They're pros at it. They get the job done.

Other tips: Don't take anything you'll need to carry. They ask you to take off hats and jewelry on account of hanging bodies and other nastiness. We were carrying a large-ish camera and pushing past bloody doors and obstacles was tricky with something in our hands. The tours are quite brisk and you want to keep up. So, anything you can drop is a hindrance to the fun. This writer dropped his 3D glasses, stood up and his tour party had vanished. You don't want that creepiness to befall you. Patch the Clown then decided to follow us for a while. Yeah, you don't want to be dropping things. Oh, and there's a 3D section in one of the mazes, too. We don't want to spoil it any more than that. It's very clever.

Our best tip to top off your evening? Invest in a VIP pass. Or, even better, the VIP Private Tour. At $89.95, it's expensive but we think it worth it. As part of their media night, we were given a tour experience, featuring the excellent zombified Doctor Jesse. Somehow, in the dark and controlled chaos, he knew where to go in the shortest possible time and then led us all the way to the front of the line. A great experience. Particularity as you pass signs indicating one hour waits. Jesse is used to hearing that on busy time periods it can take a whole evening just to see three of the mazes. You waste too much time in the regular lines and they'll even let you get the jump on the masses to the front of the theme park rides. The rock star treatment is swell.

Performers and staff are 100% committed and having a ball. We met staffers who have been working here for years. While they can genuinely make you scream, there's a fun factor here that can't be ignored. No one can touch you and the environment is safe and drama free. We became big fans and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this attraction. Once again, FUN, in all caps. Happy Halloween.

Fright Dome at Circus Circus is open 7 p.m. to midnight on select dates between September 29 and October 31.General admission is $37.95, Fast Pass for express entry is an additional $15. A VIP Private tour is available for $89.95. They say it is "not appropriate for children under 12." We agree.

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Jealous

I'm going to have to get out to Vegas for Halloween.  It seems like you could spend 4 or 5 days and still not see all the spooky attractions that have popped up.

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