Haunt’s have to be on of my favorite things. The adrenaline rush of being scared by something is one of my favorite experiences. My sister and I had just finished up the Running Dead 5K, and wanted to check out the haunts at the Trail of Terror. One of the nicest things about participating in the race was that we got first access to the attractions inside the grounds. Having been to the Trail of Terror a few time before I know that the Maze has one of the biggest lines. We decided to head there first. They didn’t open the actual attractions until the gates opened at 7, but we were the first group in the doors.
The big maze was a little disappointing. First off, they sell you 3D glasses for $1 that help enhance your experience. I understand the marking approach of an add-on sale, but it’s also very frustrating. If you know me at all, I hate when you have to pay more for something after you have paid to enter the grounds. We opted out of purchasing them, even though you could use them on more than one attraction. I don’t think this hindered the experience any by not having them.
The maze is heated, which is nice because it can get pretty cold in Shakopee at night. They have the security briefing, of “no touching actors, we wont touch you”, and the “no pictures or phone out”. Both of which are very good rules. They try and pace out your group in the maze from the other groups. But no matter how much they try and do it, you almost always meet up with the group in front of you. This causes a chain reaction with the group coming in behind you. And if you’re trying to get scared, its very hard when you are in a constant stream of people.
The maze itself had some good scare zone, as I like to call them. They are well done, with good distractions. They also had what I felt like were a lot of dead space between zones. I’m sure it had to do with the twist and turns of the maze and trying to get the most out of it. I was a little disappointed though, in the quantity. I don’t think anything got me to jump in there.
The maze ends in their Bar/Party area. They have bar type games setup which could be fun. It’s heated and depending on how much you like to party, I could see people spending a bunch of the night there.
After the maze we decided to get some of the wood fire pizza they were cooking. They had normal carnival style food trucks set up, but when we saw the WildEarth WoodFired Pizza, we couldn’t resist. They have the wood fire grill right there. There is nothing better than seeing your pizza prepared and cooked right in front of you. The quality of ingredients and taste was perfect.
After a quick meal we went to check out the other ‘Rooms’. I like to refer to them as trailers. They are a quick little scare zone and have about 3-5 actors in each. Do not wait for over 5 minutes in line for these, you will spend a total of 2 minutes in them. They are just something to do to pass some time. I’m going to be a little critical of the Grubs Pest Control trailer here, they do not light it well at all. I just about walked right into a wall because I was wondering in the dark for almost the length of the trailer. When I said something to my sister about not sure where I was going, someone popped out with a flashlight and I found my face about an inch from the wall. I was very gratefully for the flashlight person. While wondering in the dark may scare some people, it didn’t do much for me. I would have actually been upset for hitting the wall. The other trailers were all fun in their own way.
You should check out their latest attraction, the Howling Pines Wood Walk. This is in replace of the Hayride they used to do. I’m very excited to see them doing this since the Hayride never really provided the scares that most people wanted. It also shows that they are receptive to feedback they have been hearing. Seeing as though we had just ‘ran’ this path earlier in the day during the 5K, we were not sure if we had the energy to do it again. We thought it might be fun to do it in the dark this time. We got back to where the line was and saw that we would probably have about a 30-45 minute wait. It was at this point we decided to skip it. I think if we would have gone straight from the Maze to the Howling Pines Wood Walk, we would have been fine. It was just a lot to do after a 5k, plus the 3/4 of a mile maze. Maybe next year.
In addition to their scaring sections, they do have a few carnival style rides and Kocker Ball. People looked a little silly doing it, but they were having fun. They have a couple fire pits to warm up at and a Mechanical Bull you could ride. With the exception of the fire pit, they all cost extra. I did enjoy their animatronic skeleton by the entrance. What you thought was just a free standing setup, was actually interactive. He would talk to you. You could ask questions and he would respond. He was even trying to get one girl to share her deep fried oreos with random strangers. He was getting a good crowd of spectators.
When it was all said and done, we probably got through all the attractions in about 1.5hrs. Probably 2 if we would have waited for the Woods Walk. The line of cars coming in was non-stop as we left. If you are planning going, I would get there early. We also saw a lot of people there bringing really young kids. While I think this event is definitely for the younger ‘party’ crowd, I would personally recommend ages 12 and up. You will give your kids nightmares otherwise!
I feel a little bad for being so critical of the Trail of Terror. I just think there is a little room for improvement. You also have to know that I don’t scare as easily as I once did. And if you can’t make me jump once, something is wrong. Maybe it’s me. If I would have gone on the Wood Walk, they may have gotten me there. Technically they did, but it was during the 5K. Since I know the path and where they were hiding, they may not have been able to do it again. If you are newer to the Halloween scene, this is probably a great place to go. For me, this place was my gateway to Halloween Haunts in the Twin Cities. I will always have fond memories of it.