Coronavirus fears spook Queen Mary into canceling Dark Harbor haunt

Monsters wait for guests at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor haunt, which is canceled for 2020.
Monsters wait for guests at the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor haunt, which is canceled for 2020.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Come Halloween, the Queen Mary transforms into a haunted spectacle full of monsters and frightened folks. This year, the old boat will be a real ghost town.

The ship’s Dark Harbor 2020 season has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a post on the annual attraction’s Facebook page announced.

“With the uncertainty that lies ahead in the coming months, this unfortunate decision could not be avoided,” the post said.

The horror spectacle’s website highlights the horde of creatures that haunt the ship: an undead captain, a demonic drowned child, an evil maniac chef. The monster-characters aren’t allowed to touch guests, the website adds, but even that hint of social distance won’t be enough for would-be-wraiths this year.

“To make Dark Harbor the successful event that it is, our partners undertake months of preparation and hard work. We do not believe that California will meet the requirements to begin Phase 4 of reopening by September, which allows events and large gatherings to take place, and we believe other 2020 large events will soon be announcing cancellations,” said a statement from Urban Commons, the company that manages the Queen Mary.


The event typically welcomes about 140,000 guests over its season, which runs from the end of September until the start of November, and can get up to 9,500 guests on a busy night, the statement said.

The event’s platform and centerpiece — the historic Queen Mary — once held the record for the fastest transatlantic voyage by a passenger liner. During World War II, it ferried troops across the ocean.

Now a tourist attraction docked in Long Beach, the ship suspended operations on May 6. As the pandemic continues, the Queen Mary’s closures extend too.

But Dark Harbor promises to rise from the dead next year. The attraction’s Facebook post said it “[looks] forward to the 2021 haunt season.”