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QueenMaryDarkHarborGREATbut $40 parking!

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  • QueenMaryDarkHarborGREATbut $40 parking!

    Yes, you read correctly. They are charging each car $40 to park for the Queen Mary Dark Harbor. I'll discuss Dark Harbor, but first, do any of you have any tips for beating this parking fee? There was a shuttle bus from a courthouse parking lot, but was this less expensive & how long did it take? I think there is just one hotel (besides the one on the ship) that is within walking distance, but I think this is an expensive hotel. So, yes $40 per car for parking!!! That was the scariest thing about Dark Harbor.

    My favorite part of Dark Harbor was the quality of the monsters. I thought they blew away the ones I've encountered at Universal's HHN & even at my favorite Halloween event, Scary Farm.

    There are three mazes off of the ship and these weren't as impressive as the four on the ship. My favorite effect in an off-ship maze was walking through an area, maybe 20' x 20' with a thick fog that seemed to stop at exactly the same height, maybe at 3' 6". I don't know how they did that. You had to walk across this square area with no visable path, so you had some freedom to move about, but there was something or someone (or more than one?) in the fog below. You didn't know where, but it was popping up and scaring the heck out of people. I only cought a slight glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye.

    The monsters in the four mazes on the ship mostly seemed like good professional actors, which they are. Some--particularly the women--were hilarious and/or creepy. I won't give any details, except one to give you an idea. A beautiful, glamorous actress with a very white face saw us and asked my name (Tom), then responded by calling me "Tommy" and acting like she was making conversation at a party at Jay Gatsby's. Just to test her I pretended to get a little bit serious and asked, "I hope you aren't offended by my asking, but are you alive?" "She acted slightly hurt, but dramatically insisted, something like, "Oh yes, and we're about to take a cruise on the Queen Mary!" I forgot the rest of what she said, but it was impressive improv!

    OK one more. In another maze filled with creeply "girls" (of course, played by young women), one girl asked if I would play with her and said something like, "You can play with me AFTER YOU DIE! We'll be best friends FOREVER!" Many monsters at Dark Harbor had excellent make-up and elaborate, expensive-looking costumes. The many who wore interesting contacts must have been uncomfortable, but didn't show it.

    In two mazes, monsters sprinted toward me in long halls, which was surprising. I've never has a monster run at me in a maze before. It was a goosebump-raising rush! One then moved around me energetically like a dancer who took a class in "high energy, masculine monster movement." I blurted out, "YOUR ENERGY IS AWESOME!" He stayed in character and said, "Thank you" in a quiet monster voice.

    There were monstors walking all over every area of Dark Harbor and many of these were inspired, and enjoyed acting creepy more than just scaring people. Knott's had great a great scare zone this year, but Dark Harbor shows that not all monsters have to just yell some version of "BOO!" I hope the Knott's people visit Dark Harbor and take notes (without pens--see below), so they can emulate the things that Dark Harbor is doing better this year.

    In one maze we were in front of two actual Japanese tourists. I thought they were brave to come to an event like this in another country, though the young woman had one of the loudest, highest screams I've ever heard. The monsters loved hearing that.

    We had the FastPass, which they call "Fast Fright," and some of the mazes on the ship had some really long lines, almost half as long as Universal's longest. So the Fast Fright may have saved us an hour or two of waiting in line,
    if you get into Dark Harbor right when it opens (so show up with you online tickets before it opens)--and if you go in Sept. or the first weekend of Oct.--I think you'd be OK without the Fastpass if you hit the four ship mazes first without taking breaks. The lines for the non-ship mazes seemed short all night long. (I guess you get what you wait for.)

    The security getting into the park was kind of strange. The pat down was pretty thorough with men & women waiting in different lines, and they wouldn't let me bring in a cheap, plastic pen, which I thought was weird & annoying. I can bring pens on planes.

    Finally be warned, yes again, that PARKING IS $40!!! This kind of thing annoys me enough that I won't go to Dark Harbor as often as I would if the parking was $20. Still, you should go because the actors in the ship's mazes this year (my 3rd year at DH), are by far the best actors I've ever encountered at a Halloween event.
    Last edited by jcruise86; 05-11-2018, 05:28 AM.

  • #2

    I just saw this on their website and will do this next time if it's an option. The water taxi sounds fun.


    Now you have three options for parking when coming to get the ship scared out of you at Dark Harbor.

    FASTEST SERVICE by parking at the Aquarium of the Pacific Parking Structure and taking the all-new Dark Harbor Express operated by the Aqua Link.

    For a great price of $3.00 per hour or a maximum of $16.00 per vehicle (CASH AND CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED) you get to take advantage of this convenient and easy parking option:
    • A cheaper parking price than at the Queen Mary parking lot.
    • Convenient access in and out of the parking structure at the Aquarium of the Pacific located at 99 Golden Shore, Long Beach, CA 90802.
    • Board the Dark Harbor Express boat service (operated by Aqua Link) near the Aquarium of the Pacific for your short boat ride over to the Queen Mary.
    • Dark Harbor Express is the fastest and most scenic way to get to the Queen Mary and avoid the traffic going into the Queen Mary parking lot.
    • Roundtrip fee aboard the Dark Harbor Express is FREE with a valid Dark Harbor ticket.
    • Dark Harbor Express service will operate from 6:00pm to 1:30am on each Dark Harbor date.
    • Parking fee will be collected upon exiting the structure. LOST TICKETS WILL BE CHARGED $24.00

    An alternative offsite parking option is available at the Long Beach Courthouse with shuttle bus service to the Queen Mary.

    For the price of $15.00 per vehicle (CASH ONLY) you can enjoy the following services:
    • Long Beach Courthouse is located at 101 Magnolia Avenue in Downtown Long Beach.
    • Board a shuttle bus for your complimentary ride over to the Queen Mary.
    • While the shuttle is complimentary, the wait times can be long during peak operating hours.
    • The shuttle bus will operate from 4:00pm to 1:30am on each Dark Harbor date.


    • #3
      I'm heading up there today. As a possholder I might be able to park regularly for a better rate. We'll see hat happens.


      • #4
        Interesting. The "maximum" parking fee at the Aquarium is 16.00 - unless you loose your ticket. Then the "maximum" is 24.00. Looks like language isn't their long suit.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Marko50 View Post
          Interesting. The "maximum" parking fee at the Aquarium is 16.00 - unless you loose your ticket. Then the "maximum" is 24.00. Looks like language isn't their long suit.
          And you get a cool boat ride to the Queen Mary! We'll do this in 2018 if it's still an option.


          • #6
            2018 update: I was disappointed that this year parking at the aquarium & taking a (free) boat to the Queen Mary wasn't an option on the website. I was glad that there appears to be $30 parking within walking distance this year, while last year it seemed like all parking within walking distance was $40. I got my parking pass online.