Frightdome 2013

Our annual trip to the Frightdome started off a little rocky.  Actually, it was totally fucked up, but they pulled their head out of their ass and made it our best trip yet.


The Problem

We decided to opt for the VIP Tour tickets this year.  Andy and I were NOT  up to fighting crowds and standing in line.  We were also escorting two teenage girls (my daughter Rosie and her friend Malia)  to this year’s event.  We had tickets for the 9pm tour but showed up when the gates opened at seven.  The nice lady on the phone for Frightdome walked me through the process on and said if we showed up early we would be given free fast passes to use while we waited for our tour. Cool.  I was “totally satisfied with this call”.

"We only do fast passes."
“We only do fast passes.”

We bought the tickets online at and printed those suckers up like we were told to. When we got there, the folks at the Will Call counter didn’t have a clue what our tickets meant.  They called for a “manager” to help us.  When he showed up he started grilling me about where I got these tickets.

  • Him:”Where did you get these?’
  • Me: “”.
  • Him: What’s your email?
  • Him: “What credit card did you use?’

I’m thinking, “WTF?”  With a thinly veiled threat he informed us that, “We’re getting a lot of these and they all come from the same email.”  Apparently he was implying that either we forged the tickets or were ripped off by a “third party”.  His tone was anything but pleasant.


Fat chance trying to light up with the lighters being FORBIDDEN.
Fat chance trying to light up with the lighters being FORBIDDEN.

I was already a little miffed because I had to surrender my lighter to the security amnesty bucket.  Something odd for an event that has a smoking area on their map. As “The Manager” got on his radio, I called the nice lady at  I asked her where she was and she said, “In an office.” Hmmmmm?  I explained what was going down and she said, “I’ll send someone right down.” At this point we were escorted out of the Frightdome by “The manager.”  “Fuck this.” I said, “I want my lighter back.  Rosie, get me my lighter.”  Rosie reaches down and snatches my lighter back.  “Security Chick” says, “You can’t do that.”  I say, “That’s  my daughter. That’s my lighter and we’re leaving.”  Security Chick has that “Deer in the headlights” look and our group heads outside. Andy’s upset because he thinks he’s  been fucked out of $400.

I’m telling “The Manager” to talk to the lady on my cell to straighten things out.  He doesn’t want to hear me out.  I say, “I guess we’ve been screwed out of 400 bucks.  You better fix this right now.”  He tells me to back off.  Andy tells me to back off.  I back off.  “Manager” suddenly adopts a pleasant tone of voice for the first time.  We get to hear his story about this “big problem” they’re having with the VIP passes.  Now I don’t care.  This is our only shot to do the Frightdome and things are going south.

Now “Manager Chick” shows up.  She’s pleasant and asks me what email I used.  I tell her.  She asks if I got an email with a confirmation code.  With the magic of my iPhone, I check my email. WA LA!! Here’s the confirmation code.  She tells “Manager”,  “They have the code, let them in”.  We then are lead back in the ticketing area.  “Security Chick” wants to wand us but “Manager” says, “They’re with me.”  We sail past Security Chick (with my fucking lighter) and she still has that “Deer in the Headlights” look.

Oh Boy. Now we’re paying customers and get to go into the Frightdome.  We hang out for about an hour and then head back down the huge flight of stairs to be 15 minutes early for our nine o’clock tour.  We go to the holding pen with other VIPS wait for our tour guide.  There are about ten of us on the tour.

i got the girls some light up head gear so we could track them in the dark and smoke of the Frightdome.
I got the girls some light up head gear so we could track them in the dark and smoke of the Frightdome.
This was our VIP tour guide.
This was our VIP tour guide.



All right!  Let’s get the show on the road.  With a hearty “Let’s go!”, our tour guide leads through the turnstiles.  Revving his chain saw, “Tour Guide” parts the crowd as he leads us to the first haunted house.  BUT….before we get there we get ditched.  Suddenly our little party and a nice couple are standing alone wondering where the fucking tour guide went.  Andy has the idea that we can catch them coming out of a house and we can rejoin the tour.  After three or so house exits we give up.  “Fuck this”, I say and we head back down the stairs AGAIN.

When we go through the turnstiles the crew working there greet us like long lost friends.  Another manager steps up to the plate.  He’s a 20ish young man named “Jason”.  He apologizes for our experience mentioning opening night SNAFUs.  He tells us to wait while he gets another guide.  As he talks to his radio I get the feeling he’s kicking ass and taking names.

The Solution

Licky split a new guide appears.  I recognize him as a clown that has worked the Dome in the past.  Jason introduces us to “Patch” and says we’re in good hands.  Indeed we were.  “Patch” explains that he will personally take us through the Dome and we won’t miss a thing.  Once inside, he asks us what we want to see first.  We tell him to pick a haunted house (there are six of them) and we’re moving.  Slowly. Patch makes sure we don’t get lost in the crowd.

"Patch" and the girls.
“Patch” and the girls.

At the first house, Malia isn’t up to going in and Patch stays with her while the rest of us dive in. At each house he tries to gently urge her to go in.  He’s really nice.  He has worked hard on these attractions and truly wants Malia to enjoy them.  But when she says no, no means no and he doesn’t question that.   After two more Malia gets her nerve on and goes on in.  She sure was scared but she Loved it. While we go along we learn that Patch has been in the business of scaring people for 18 years.  Eight of those designing and working the Frightdome.  He’s sharp and professional and really nice.  Every now and then he stops to let people take pictures of him.  We get to meet his clown friends. We get to see everything.

Patch and Malia.
Patch and Malia.
"Panda", I think.
“Panda”, I think.
“Buster” has a twelve inch mohawk.


I can’t give Patch enough Kudos.  He truly turned a bad situation around and made our trip to the Frightdome a memory of a lifetime.

Remember Jason? While I was wandering around trying to find the T-Shirt getting place Jason walked up to me, addressed me by name  and wanted to know if everything was OK.  He’s  Jason Egan the owner and CEO of Frightdome! Yeah, go back and click that link.

Did I mention that Rosie and Malia got to hang out with Doctor Who?
Did I mention that Rosie and Malia got to hang out with Doctor Who #9?
A Perfect Ending to a Perfect night with Rosie and I doing the Time Warp.
A Perfect Ending to a Perfect night with Rosie and I doing the Time Warp.


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Rosie Does the Frightdome

The Cat’s Out of the Bag- The Tumor is on the Table

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again




7 thoughts on “Frightdome 2013

  1. MY take on Frightdome night. Should have taken the chore of finding a parking place as a sign (problem, problem, problem…SOLUTION). After repeated loops of the parking lot it was Valet time. Entrance time expecting smooth sailing (the whole point of printing our own tickets and paying by plastic). Nothing like VIP booth personal looking at our tickets with an expression akin to putting a dictionary in front of a chimp. Total A-hole entrance floor manager steps in to put an end to the “problem” (our group). He’s already decided that we used a stolen credit card &/or purchased bogus tickets and “our fraud isn’t their problem”, his words. But Walt & I were the ones with the attitudes.
    A-hole: “We’ve already had fake tickets like these before!”
    Walt: “Those were purchased from your webpage.”
    A-hole: “When you purchased discount tickets from a 3rd party site those are fake tickets.”
    Me: “We paid full price & bought those from”.
    A-hole: “Well when you use a 3rd party sight…”
    Me: (interrupting) is 3rd party sight!”
    A-hole: (changing subject) demands Walt’s name then points out that’s not the name on the ticket, each ticket printed as a separate full page.
    Walt: “The website wanted a separate name for each ticket, try going down two pages.”
    A-hole: “Well YOUR NAME doesn’t match the credit card name”.
    Me: “It was my card”.
    A-hole: “But it was his e-mail”, pointing at Walt and with a “ya, right” tone.
    Me: “I have better credit, he has a working printer!”
    A-hole: “So you have the card with you?”
    Me: “No I don’t have the card with me!”
    Walt calling the reservation line and having the woman Walt dealt with the day before was met A-hole refusing to take the phone, instead asking we to follow he outside the entrance, as if we were being thrown out. Once outside he berates Walt that since we can’t prove to his satisfaction that the tickets aren’t bogus we can’t get in. Walt snaps and gets in A-hole’s face where upon A-hole gets all alpha male that Walt needs to step back. Recognizing A-hole was looking for some excuse to kick our group out (at least two suites were on their way by this point and bigshot alpha male A-hole wanted we gone rather than admit he was in the wrong) I also told Walt to step back. Every took a breathe but A-hole still insisted we had purchased fake tickets from a scam sight.
    Finally a reasonable employee pointed out a valid purchase would have resulted in an e-mail with confirmation code that Walt brought up in seconds on his phone (curiously A-hole never asked for this while demanding we prove we had valid tickets). A-hole took we back inside the entrance then stormed off without as a so much as a “sorry” or even “just doing my job”. That was the FIRST twenty minutes at the park.

  2. Part II: the death march.
    Finally heading in the park (see below for the quest getting in turned into), the only chore was two flights of stairs, stairs and my gimp foot don’t mix. Once inside took in the sights, When we could see more that two feet ahead, flashing lights + smoke machines. Had about an hr before the guided tour, then back down the stairs to were the tours kick off. Now back up the stairs with a guide who still pissed he never made the team for the Olympic 100yrd dash. Carrying a revving chainsaw the crowd part for he then slammed closed as he went past while the group got more and more strung out. The girls following a couple in front of they while I tried not to lose sight of the girls but not leave Walt behind, we turn a corner and our guide and everyone but the couple ahead of we has vanished. After a fruitless few mins hoping to spot the guide it was back down the stairs to complain (this was now the 4th time crossing those stairs, 3 of these in 45mins, I’m still feeling it) Fortunately we had been flagged as having been mistreated initially and quickly given their most experienced guide, just for we 4. Once back up the stairs AGAIN, 5th crossing 🙁 we finally had the night we’d been looking forward to for weeks. Aside from Walt getting lost about a half hour, I and the girls passing the time with the stage shows and people watching the impromptu dance club the open area in front of the stage had become, it was a great night. Except for the final time down those damn stairs!

  3. I’m glad you all had a good time! I also had a good time staying home with Jackie. We enjoyed the quiet!

  4. I am very pleased to hear that we got your night back on track and into a much better time for all four of you. I actually had a blast giving you all the tour, granted Malia should have gone into more of the houses, but we tried right? At least we got her into the clown house!

  5. All i can say is wow that was crazy you guys went through a lot but luckily in the end you guys had fun and it sounds like you had the best time every but it took so much to get the fun going omg the things you go through to enjoy yourself

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