Going back to Knotts Scary Farm is something I’ve been looking forward to all year. Okay, so pretty much since my last visit where as a regular attendee I was able to score a standby ticket for Special Ops:Infected, their new immersive zombie shoot-out experience. I remember standing around for about 20 minutes and being squeezed into a group before the park closed. With no expectations, I strapped on my gun and with my squad of strangers, unleashed a rain of bullets with my unlimited ammo gun on the zombie hordes in the infected area. It was adrenaline pumping and puts you right into the action of taking out the undead without the actual risk of getting bitten. It was definitely one of the best draws from last year that not enough people got to experience.
For 2015, Special Ops: Infected debuted with incredible demand. Even as press, the wait was over an hour to be able to review it. The lines seemed to go on for forever but it was worth it as this time around the interactive experience returned with some upgrades.
No more unlimited ammo:
This change raised the stakes. No longer a free for all, a whole new level of fear gets added when you have to pause to reload, have your guns zapped of power and needing to find a re-spawn point. It makes it so much closer to the experience of going through a zombie outbreak scenario. You don’t know fear in a haunted attraction until you have to find a special port to power your gun again, all while dodging hungry zombies.
If needing to find power up points wasn’t enough, you have to work as a team to take care of your squad when they’re left vulnerable. From holding it down while a challenge is being fulfilled to participating in a task, the intensity of it all builds the experience. Be sure to hydrate before because you will be sprinting a lot in the dark. Comfortable shoes are also recommended to get the full experience.
The tone of this event is both cinematic and video game-like. One moment you’re immersed in a story line and given clues to find a patient zero then suddenly you’re being attacked and fighting back. The actors are very committed to their roles as zombies or military personnel. They excellently guide you through the event ensuring that you have a great and safe time. There are level changes, secret passages and rickety bridges in the dark.
One thing though…it will take up most of your time
So maybe plan two trips to Scary farm if you want to do this, all the mazes and shows. It’s no joke that it’s really in demand. I’m positive that this event’s free ‘timed’ tickets will run out as soon as Scary Farm opens. I also use the term ‘timed’ lightly as because of the added upgrades to the story and game play, the lines back up. So say you had a 9pm ticket, you won’t be going in by 9pm if the first night is any indication. While the creators strive to keep this a free experience once you’re in the park, it might not be sustainable as the space and team vs. the demand might just not keep it running smoothly. It’s just growing bigger than being a small sectioned off park of Camp Snoopy. There is still a vast majority nightly who don’t get to participate.
Now, if Special Ops: Infected moved to say, Soak city and created a full event in a quarantined water park with more teams and space, Knotts Scary Farm could have something over most haunts in the city. I think people would definitely be willing to pay reasonably (like they did for the Trapped event) to roam in more space and have an intimate zombie shooting mission in smaller groups but with more space to create more opportunities. There would just be more availability to funnel people through at the same operating hours as Scary Farm while keeping true to their timed tickets and experience duration. So here’s hoping this season they see they NEED to expand it.
For those of you heading out to Scary Farm this season, be sure to get there early to try and snag passes to this while also keeping in mind 2-3 mazes you have to hit. I suggest Paranormal Inc. (You’ll wanna do this one twice), Voodoo: Order of the Serpent and Tooth Fairy.
Knott’s Scary Farm runs through October 31st! Happy haunt season!