Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dorney Park Haunt Review

Tonight was the first ever Haunt at Dorney Park! Bad weather today - but the rain held off for the four or so hours that I was at the park, so that was nice. Surprising crowd given that bad weather - the Haunt must be quite a draw already.

Got there a little before the Haunt attractions started to open to check things out. I noticed that they changed out the souvenir photo shop and made it a Vampire Photo location. Great idea!

Like I've seen that they are doing at other park, when the monsters head to their respective Haunts they move in 'packs' like a mini parade of sorts. Here we see Vampires heading up to Club Blood - I think it's cute that they gave them umbrellas being vamps and all.

Okay first up was Doctor of Doom. I must say that I do not get why they did not just change the name? The actual haunted house was physically the same but totally repainted and with all new props - it really is a brand new house.

That said, it's not bad. They had a ton of clowns in there and without giving anything away there's some good scares to be found. This one is in blacklight and 3-D - which I like a lot because it makes everything more disorienting and it is easier to be scared. Overall a nice fresh take on an existing house - but change the name next year!

They have a funny little game set up next to Doctor of Doom for the Haunt as well. I believe you have to knock the head off a clown with a ball.

So the covered up box in the entrance plaza contains an electrocution prop. In the above photo you can see how the box fills with smoke after the guy gets zapped. Here's video:

I've seen this prop elsewhere and tonight the guy wasn't thrashing around like they usually do. Hmm.

Kill Hill was a nice surprise for me. I was rather worried that since the house was a children's one during the day it would be lame at night. Not so, as it was packed with monsters that I think actually gave the best scares of the night.

Also, maybe it's not new but the whole house is different than I remember. It seemed repainted totally inside and had stuff that I didn't remember in Boo Hill before.

CornStalkers was interesting, but the scares didn't really work. Again tons of monsters in this one as well, Dorney really held true to their desire to have 300+ actors for this year.

The problem was that the path was too wide, pretty much at all times. No fault of the designers was that the fog kept blowing out of the path tonight making scares extra hard.

The props, tricks, and special effects along CornStalkers are really fantastic, though. I won't spoil any of those, but they were pretty good. Oh, and the toilet seriously almost got me in the eye. Go through and you'll see what I mean.

Club Blood - easily my most anticipated Haunt for this year. I have to say that it by far has the best sets and props inside. It also had a lot of pretty ladies in little outfits. Very low on scares in there, but the place is total eye candy - and I don't just mean the ladies. There's so much to take it, the sets are pretty elaborate compared to the other houses.

It also always had a smaller line than the other houses, probably because of it's out of the way location. My personal preference is toward elaborate sets and eye candy, so this is probably my favorite of the new houses.

Terror Square turned out very nicely. They expanded upon the sets they had up last weekend tremendously - there's so much to see going through this one as well.

Perhaps I was used to the Fright Zone of years past which was pretty much fog and three tombstones - this year the game's changed. Terror Square had a church, saloon, even a cave that adventurous people like myself could crawl through. Add to that tons of demented cowboys, lots of skeletons, and a ton of other authentic props and you've got a winner.

The Fright Zone that used the same walkway as Headstone Hollow now does was nothing compared what's there this year. The fog is still intense, and there's still tons of monsters, but now you have smaller paths to follow and an almost insane amount of coffins and gravestones in your path.

And now that it's been improved so much you can really enjoy just how long this scare zone is. It takes a while to get from one end to the other - especially with all those monsters in your way.

ScreamWorks had a totally insane line so I skipped it tonight. I'm not sure if it was redone inside or not - the queue was out onto the midway and I arrived at the house at the end of the night and couldn't do the wait. I'll head in there soon, though.

I also got to go into General Jack's Side Show Bizarro, but didn't see any of the acts or really check it out fully. The park had their media/private party event tonight and it was in this area for several hours. When it finally did open I was ready to head out of the park, so this will have to wait as well.

A general suggestion to the park: make sure you're on top of who's working the doors at the haunted houses. Some keep the line moving nicely, others were letting lines back up for no reason other than being distracted or talking to people. That's frustrating and not needed - and sadly I saw this over and over tonight.

That said, tonight was the first night and these things do get worked out, I know!

Overall The Haunt was really great and I'm so happy that Dorney Park was finally able to expand Halloweekends to meet the market demand for a more mature, scary event. Now go make plans to visit The Haunt!


schwee said...

I was there as well on Sat. and the Haunt seemed like it needs a little work but they are moving in the right direction. They really need to work on the scares a bit more instead of just the intimidation in your face follow you around thing. Sure am glad the rain stopped enough for them to open Laser though!

Chris said...

Such a cool review! Thank you. Club Blood looks like it lived up to the promise- it sounds even cooler than I imagined. So great to see it executed so well, I know it is going to be a smash for them.

Anonymous said...

cool review 2 years ago i went and dr of doom was kinda lame but it sticked to its name except for the knives. I was still scared though. I'm the kinda person who doesnt like real scary stuff but my friends made me go in dr of doom anyway. Is kill hill still the same as boo hill or is it scarier?