We love The Queen Mary’s Halloween Offering, Dark Harbor. This is an event built from sheer passion that rises from the murky depths to terrify haunt lovers from around the world. Since this venue enjoyed a renaissance when the Dark Harbor team came aboard, the event has gotten bigger, better, and more sophisticated with each passing year. This little venue crashed ashore and was immediately a heavy hitter in the haunt industry.
As the event evolved new characters were invented that drew upon the storied vessel. The Captain, Graceful Gail, Scary Mary, Samuel the Savage, all based on actual ghosts from the ship. Then came the Ringmaster. A ribald animal wrangler who is blithely unaware that she is dead, this new character brought a level of cheeky humor and fun to what was, before, a seriously scary event. Then came the glorious Voodoo Priestess and her minions. Then the Ironmaster with his ties to the origin of the ship. Finally we were introduced to a new ghost on the ship, The Chef, whose taste for human flesh serves as the main ingredient for any entree he dishes up.
Meanwhile, a storm was brewing. The increasing popularity of Dark Harbor meant more people clamoring to see the event. Of course, with the way the event is situated, on a very small peninsula, this forced the issue of parking. With limited space near the ship, management began reaching out to surrounding areas for parking during the Dark Harbor event. While it has been an awkward problem in the past, it seems that they may have finally cracked this nut by offering three solutions at varying prices.
The season opened with a rocky start in regards where visitors could park. Fortunately the Queen Mary management heard everyone loud and clear. The Ship side parking has been reduced to the familiar $20 per car. However there are far better options that are just as easy to deal with.
The Long Beach Aquarium offers seaside parking just across the bay for a maximum of $16 from 4pm-a half hour after event closing. On top of that, there are multiple restaurants that you can eat at, right there on the water before heading over to Dark Harbor on the now TOTALLY FREE Water Taxi that also runs from 4pm-a half hour after event closing. Just watch out for the monsters they have on board. The boat drops you off, literally next to the Queen Mary herself, next to the box office and front gate entrance.
If a free boat ride and monsters is still not worth the extra dollar you, the Long Beach Courthouse is $15 and just as easy. Shuttles are lined up, waiting as you find your spot on the third level of the structure and run 4pm-a half hour after event closing. This is the equivalent of riding the Toy Story Shuttle at Disneyland, just for less money.
While a lot of people are following the signs to Queen Mary for the Queen Mary event, it would do visitors good to try out these options. They end up being cheaper, easier, and in the case of the Aquarium parking could be a lot more fun. Just watch the informative video we put together for you!
Norm(an) Gidney is a nearly lifelong horror fan. Beginning his love for the scare at the age of 5 by watching John Carpenter's Halloween, he set out on a quest to share his passion for all things spooky with the rest of the world.