Phantom Fall Fest at Adventureland in Des Moines, Iowa
As the temperature (and leaves) begin to fall, it can mean only one thing: Beggar’s Night and trick-or-treating are just around the corner! (Well, at least if you talk to any kid who likes candy…)
The event calendar is full of hay rides, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches. There are special “screamings” of horror movies at the cinema. Pumpkin lattes begin appearing on coffee shop menus. (Okay, forget that last part. Those appeared back in August for some reason.) And, of course, haunted house attractions begin doing their best to scare anyone brave enough to enter.
2022 will likely be the biggest year for haunted attractions Des Moines has ever seen. Although a few haunts have closed for good (a moment of silence for the Waukee Haunted House and the Ankeny Haunted Barn), a new contender has entered the race: Adventureland Amusement Park!
This has been quite the year for Adventureland. This family-owned park was sold to Madrid, Spain-based Parques Reunidos late last year. It is now operated by their U.S. subsidiary Palace Entertainment, which also operates other parks and attractions across the country. They have made many changes to Adventureland this year, with the latest being the addition of a new Halloween event: Phantom Fall Fest.
Phantom Fall Fest is a Halloween event that will take place inside Adventureland park. It promises to be a day at the park like no other. While there will be some (not all) rides operating, the real draw will be four haunted houses and three scare zones. (A scare zone is typically a themed area you can walk through, with props and effects – as well as scary actors – roaming around.)
Dates and Time
Phantom Fall Fest will be held on weekends only from September 30th – October 30th.
Hours: Fridays 6-11 p.m., Saturdays 1-11 p.m., and Sundays 1-8 p.m. Please note that family-friendly fun is during the day before 6 p.m.
The haunted houses for this inaugural year include:
- CarnEvil – scary carnival
- Cornstalkers – corn maze meets chemical spill
- Spirits of the Swamp – bayou ghost town
- mAlice in Wonderland – Alice in Wonderland-themed haunt with a very unique feature: multiple routes through it (we can’t wait to see how this is implemented)
Because of the unique experience of mAlice in Wonderland, that haunted house is not included with the Phantom Fall Fest ticket. You can add on this premium haunt for $5 and then go through it as many times as you can during your visit. (This haunt is being organized with the assistance of outside entertainers and it looks to be quite unique.)
The scare zones are themed fun experiences and are as follows:
- MasqueRAGE: The Phantom’s World – a Victorian masquerade ball theme
- Death Metal Vampires – heavy metal biker club
- Arachnophobia – spiders. So many spiders. And big, too.
In addition to these attractions, there will also be specialty food booths offering unique items not found at the park during the normal season.
Some of the park’s rides will also be operating, though with time restrictions:
- Open to 6 p.m. (on Sat/Sun:): A-Train, Carousel, Circus Balloons, Dragon’s Nest, Frog Hopper, Hampton Cars, Leap Frogs, Lady Bugs, Convoy, Lighthouse, Speedway Racers, Revolution, Red Barons, Tilt-A-Whirl, Tea Cups, Dragon Slayer, G-Force, Galleon, Rockin’ Rainbow, Giant Sky Wheel, Parachutes, Phoenix, Underground, Tornado, Spaceshot, Monster, Frantic Freeway, Scrambler.
- After 6 p.m. (Fri/Sat/Sun): Dragon Slayer, G-Force, Galleon, Rockin’ Rainbow, Giant Sky Wheel, Parachutes, Phoenix, Underground, Tornado, Spaceshot, Monster, Frantic Freeway, Scrambler.
You may notice that the family-style rides are available only on Saturday and Sunday before 6 p.m. During this time, the park is more of a family-friendly Halloween-themed event. After 6 p.m., only the more thrilling rides will be available. (Plus the Underground dark ride.)
One very important thing to be aware of is the chaperone policy. No one under 18 will be allowed to attend Phantom Fall Fest without a chaperone, age 21+, accompanying them. (It was originally going to be just after 6 p.m., but Adventureland revised this policy on 9/28/2022.)
Parking Not Included
Another thing to be aware of is, just like a day at Adventureland, parking is an extra fee. The current parking fee is $20, but you may pre-purchase parking online for $15.
Cash Not Included
Be sure to bring your credit card! Adventureland became a cashless park this season, and that continues during Phantom Fall Fest. All purchases must be made on credit cards or gift cards. During the normal park season, there were kiosks in the park where you could load cash on a gift card to spend in the park.
No Re-Entry after 6 p.m.
Plan accordingly: This event will also have a NO RE-ENTRY POLICY after 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., if you need to leave for any reason, you may not be allowed back in without buying a new price ticket.
Huge Savings for Buying Tickets Online
Admission to Phantom Fall Fest is the same as any other day in the park – $69.99. Between that and a $20 parking fee and a $5 upcharge for mAlice in Wonderland, it would cost $94.99 + tax. But, you can save a great deal just by buying tickets online.
Online, Adventureland is currently offering a $34.99 ticket (plus tax) and $15 discounted parking (plus tax). Add on the $5 premium haunt, and you will be set for a much lower price of $66.84 (total including tax).
Some Annual Passes get FREE Admission
Those who enjoyed a great year of fun at Adventureland may be able to get in for free, depending on which annual pass and which weekend. The current offer is:
- 2022/2023 Platinum Season Pass – free admission to mAlice in Wonderland through October 9 (first two weekends only).
- 2022/2022 Gold Season Pass – free admission to mAlice in Wonderland through October 2 (first weekend only).
You will notice the mention of the 2023 season pass. Adventureland currently has a substantial discount on passes for next year and if you buy one now, it’s also good for the rest of the 2022 season. The Gold season pass is currently on sale for $149, so if you are planning on going to Phantom Fall Fest, consider buying an annual pass. Even if you just used it for one or two Phantom Fall visits this year and again next year, it would save money.
The key things to know about this event are:
- Tickets should be purchased online to save significant money.
- Parking is extra.
- Saturdays and Sundays are family-friendly before 6 p.m.
- Under 18 will need a chaperone (21+) at ALL times.
- No re-entry after 6 p.m.
- One haunted house has a $5 upcharge.
- Everything is subject to change! (A number of the policies on the website have evolved over the past few weeks, with more details added.)
Head over to the official website to learn more, and to purchase the highly discounted tickets. This is a great chance to be part of Iowa Halloween history.
This is a huge event with many moving parts. It took much digging through the website calendar, F.A.Q. page, event description page, and watching what they post so social media to put this article together. As such, things have been changing, so always check the official website before you go for the latest information. (For example, as recently as September 26, they were running ads on YouTube offering a $29.99 ticket discount. Unfortunately, that offer ended two Sundays ago and is no longer available. The website has the current price of $34.99 listed.)
Outside of Adventureland
If the Phantom Fall Fest is more than you can (or want) to handle, consider checking out these other area haunted houses:
- Ames Haunted Forest
- Linn’s Supermarket Haunted House – is one of the oldest haunted houses around.
- Scare DSM (opened in 2021)
- Slaughterhouse – one of the best-themed attractions in the state.
- Sleepy Hollow Scream Park – multiple attractions.
- Tormented Souls Haunt and Scream Park (Madrid, IA) – haunt maze and zombie paintball trailer ride.
- Trail of Terror (Baxter, IA) – the longest haunted walk around. Community fund-raiser.