For years, Fright Fest has been the horror-filled Halloween event presented at Six Flags thrill parks. But this year, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California is bringing the scares considerably early with their new Spring Break inspired Scream Break event. I’m always excited for new horror events in the parks, but this announcement immediately made me wonder how it will differ from and how it will affect the Halloween time Fright Fest event.
Let’s first take a look at some of the differences. Scream Break will be offering two mazes and three scare zones. This is considerably fewer of each than guests typically experience at Fright Fest. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Six Flags Fright Fest, and Southern California haunt events in general, have been having an extremely hard time staffing their haunt events with monsters during the Halloween season. There is a lot of competition and it’s grueling work. Having less mazes and scare zones to fill, along with less competition due to the time of year, hopefully means the mazes and scare zones that are part of this new event will feature monsters aplenty. It could be a quality over quantity scenario, which I’m all for.
The other even bigger change is that this is a hard ticket, after hours event. Typically for Fright Fest, anyone with regular park admission, whether it’s a day ticket, season pass, membership, etc., could stick around for the nighttime event. You would have to purchase an additional wristband to experience the mazes, but the scare zones and all other entertainment were included in your regular admission. Everyone attending Scream Break will need to purchase a separate ticket to attend. Presumably, this could be a test for Fright Fest later this year.
While nobody wants to pay extra money to attend an event they might typically have access to, this could benefit Fright Fest should it adopt a similar entry method. Fright Fest has struggled over the past several years. The quality of entertainment was lacking and it was typically low on haunt fans lists in comparison to other SoCal haunts. Like so many things, part of this was due to budget. With no real additional income coming from the event due to so many entering for free with a season pass, it could be hard to justify investing in the event. Should the strategy for Scream Break work out, Six Flags could have more reason to invest in Fright Fest if they believe it would succeed as a hard ticket event.
The cost for a single ticket to Scream Break is $39.99. The cost of a single day weekend ticket purchased online in March and April varies but is around $69.99. That $30.00 difference could become problematic if guests decided to forego purchasing a daytime ticket to instead purchase a ticket to the hard ticket after hours event. But this all seems to be a test. If it is a successful test, I would expect to see that $39.99 price tag increase should the model be replicated for Fright Fest. Perhaps the cost would even surpass the regular park admission.
Overall, I think it’s wonderful that Six Flags Magic Mountain seems to be testing the waters with Scream Break. I’m ready for Six Flags to have a horror event that rivals it’s nearby competition. Whether Scream Break becomes a new annual tradition, or if it’s just an experiment for Fright Fest, I’m all for it. I’m routing for them to figure out a formula that can improve their Halloween entertainment.
What do you think? Are you excited for Scream Break? Do you think it will affect Fright Fest? Are you ok with paying a separate admission for an after hours event at Six Flags? Leave a comment and let me know.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.