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Haunt review: Six Flags Over Georgia Fright Fest, Austell

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One of the first views inside Six Flags around Halloween: a fountain, dyed red. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

Six Flags Over Georgia’s Fright Fest isn’t really about the scary stuff. It’s about getting in as many roller coaster rides as possible before the park closes for winter, about enjoying Monster Mansion for more than the air conditioning. Still, the park gets spirit points for dressing up and shifting the experience away from summer and into the Halloween season.

There are spooky shows for families and adults, staff members in costume, new attractions and activities for kids.

Little ones probably will enjoy the “Thrills by Day” theme on the weekends in the Bugs Bunny World children’s area. People shorter than 54 inches can wear costumes and participate in a costume contest. There are scary story times, pumpkin painting and trick-or-treating, too.

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Scariest thing at the park: Mr. Six. Eeeeeek!

After 4 p.m., the park shifts to spookier entertainment with more adult live shows and attractions like Dr. Fright’s Frightorium, a 17-room haunted house. The haunted house, and The Last Ride, a simulation of being buried alive, each cost an extra $10 to ride. (By the way, adults may not wear costumes inside the park.)

I wouldn’t pay the Six Flags admission just for Dr. Fright’s Frightorium — it’s not that frightening — but as long as you’re inside, it’s worth the extra money for a walk-through. It takes about 15 minutes to get through individual rooms. They’re not as compact as in Stadium of Screams or Netherworld, so the actors and effects aren’t getting into visitors’ personal space as much. Instead, it relies on visual details and actors energy to push visitors from room to room. No storyline ties it all together, but the actors certainly turned up the energy on typically spooky characters: evil doctors, mourning women and the creepy children.

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Spooky! A shot inside Dr. Fright's Frightorium.

Best: The Halloween decorations and attractions are fun, but the real value is enjoying Six Flags without the exhausting summer temperatures. The lines may be just as long as in July — park officials tell me that Fright Fest is among the busiest times of year, especially on Halloween weekend — but it’s just calmer. (There were no lines during my visit, but it was raining, and the park had only just opened.)  Because the park lays out a “thrills” versus “chills” schedule, you can even tailor your visit to the crowd that’s best for you. Families: come early. Teens and adults: come late.

Worst: Unless you’re they kind of amusement park geek who must try every single ride, skip over “The Last Ride.” It’s kind of amusing, and probably terrifying if you have claustrophobia issues, but 2-and-a-half minutes of rocking around in a dark box that smells like roses and mold is not worth $10. Mort, the saucy casket dealer, played his role with great humor, but he also said there’s rarely a line to hop in the (surprisingly realistic-looking) casket. Save your dollars for the haunted house, and spend your time watching reactions of others instead the casket, instead.

Would I go again? Yes, especially with the season pass deal that’s running right now. (Buy a 2010 season pass for a discounted price of $49.99, and you get in free for the rest of 2009.) Still, I’d be going more for rides and seasonal ambiance than for the specific Halloween attractions.

Want to go? Snickers Fright Fest. Fridays-Sundays through Nov. 1. $29.99 for online tickets. At the park, $44.99 for adults, $29.99 for kids under 48 inches tall, free for ages 2 and younger.Season passes for 2010 are discounted to $49.99 right now and cover admission for the rest of 2009. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-948-9290, www.sixflags.com/overGeorgia.

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4 comments Add your comment

Nicky

October 29th, 2009
5:06 pm

Actually, there is a board as you are about to enter the park, next to the ticket plaza, that has all the closed rides listed for the day. However, I do agree with the smaller coasters that were not affected by the flood were not open being an annoying factor to add to the day. Also, you can call ahead to find out what is open.

gb120566

October 24th, 2009
9:57 pm

went last weekend with two 50” tall kids. The only decent thing open they could ride was mindbender and scream machine. Cyclone, mine train, ninja, sky buckets, wheelie – all closed and they were too short to ride batman, goliath, or superman. Six Flags claimed it wad due to the flooding, but I think it was a cop out because they didn’t have enough trained employees. I noticed almost EVERY employee was an orange tag new hire. We should have been told about the limited rides at the gate or online.

Jamie Gumbrecht

October 24th, 2009
6:43 pm

Hahahahaha…yes. I’m sure you’ll win.

rachael

October 24th, 2009
4:46 pm

Oh, good. I can participate in the Bugs Bunny World costume contest.