Dark Horizon Orlando finally opened this past weekend after a week setback due to hurricane storms back in September. This haunt, positioned just minutes away from Walt Disney World, is operated by the same folks who brought us the wickedly awesome Queen Mary Dark Harbor. This is their first east coast haunt and their goal was to bring “west coast” style haunts to the other coast. We were invited for their media event on opening night, October 10th, and have details on what to expect.
Dark Horizon Orlando will operate for 16 nights during the Halloween season. These nights are every weekend, Thursday thru Sunday, through November 2nd. Thursday and Sunday nights are $34/adult+tax whereas the Friday and Saturday nights are $39/adult+tax. The event is single admission, no re-entry, and happens rain or shine. Parking is NOT on site for the haunt, instead you are parking in a remote grocery store parking lot up International Drive to then take a catered bus in. Parking is $20 per vehicle. We suggest taking a ride share from your hotel over to the haunt to avoid this congestion. The event starts promptly each evening at 7pm and goes through midnight.
The event is split into four sections, three being haunted: Port, Everglades, and Village. Live entertainment happens in the Port and Village areas. It’s sometimes difficult to tell what area you are in due to the constraints of the event space. This all happens in a parking lot next to a hotel, rightfully so this adds a playful barrier between being a haunt event and keeping things relatively calm for resort guests. We hope people aren’t stationed in these rooms near the event, that would be chaos.
Port is the first area you enter after admission and it includes an entertainment stage, a bar, a shop, a snacks stand, and of course a haunted house. This house, named Ghost Ship, we felt was the weakest of the three. However, what it lacks in scares it makes up in novelty. Halfway through the maze there’s a hidden bar accessible by a token. We weren’t fully explained how to get a token being a regular guest unfortunately. If you get your hands on a token you get into this bar serving two premixed drinks. It’s a little hot and humid inside, but it’s wild to be in a bar IN a haunted house. You will need to finish your drink before progressing. The maze ends going up a stairwell and coming face to face with Captain Killigrew herself before walking the plank off an inflatable slide. The bar in Port is the only spot where you can get draft beer at the event.
The second area is the Everglades which is home to the Murder Island haunted house. Bloody Watson, the villain of this area, is causing havoc and of course you’re on the trail. This is truly a “west coast” style haunt because of the inside/outside portions blending seamlessly along with the scare actors taking time to block your path and create creepy moments. There’s also a VIP bar in the Everglades area at the exit to Murder Island, aptly named The Cellar.
The last area is named Village and is home to another entertainment stage, a snack stand, and the final haunted house: Vodou. This house takes you through a Haitian-inspired voodoo town and straight into Mambo Cecile’s world. We felt this was the darkest house and also the most difficult to find our way through. The “boo holes” the scare actors use and the actual path are hard to tell apart at multiple points.
Dark Horizon cites themselves as a party, in and out of the houses, and we tend to agree. With live music being spun by a skeleton DJ and mixed drinks with a BIG kick, this event is a party themed to Halloween. Our only gripe would be the space the event used. We would like to see them expand in the future and not have a bright hotel lighting up the entire event. There’s plenty of other locations they can utilize that are just as close.