Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dorney Park's Haunt VI Celebrates Six Years of Fears

Amazing how time flies when you're scared, isn't it?  This year marks the sixth year of Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park.  While there were no brand new attractions this year, two of the existing scare zones were heavily improved and new live entertainment debuted as well.

The park always does a unique set up at the main entrance, swapping it out each year for a new display.  2013 was the year of the ogre, seen above in less than desirable lighting - my apologies.  The massive creature sits sleeping quietly, only awakening from time to time.  When he does he stands up and shows off his truly impressive size while giving a speech.  He's a pretty neat animatronic, and I do believe he came to Dorney via Ohio.

With no brand new Haunts this year there were some new props and smaller additions to existing attractions.  One that really stood out this year was CornStalkers, even though it is one of the oldest at the park.  The extremely long and winding path was really well done this year, with the actors in what looked like improved costumes that blended into the corn seamlessly.

With tons of original farming props along the way and purposely blinding lights, CornStalkers was full of scares.  Other mazes returning this season include Blood Shed, Desolation: Operation Latchdoor, Grave Walkers, Mansion House Hotel and Psycho Circus.  The scare zones include Age of Darkness, Cut Throat Island and Head Hunters.

A new live show opened on the park's Center Stage this Fall, named Witches' Brew.  Set at the witches' castle, the show features popular music sung by a full cast of performers.  This year the park's large indoor theater was not utilized for any show, the first I can remember since it opened a few seasons ago.

Witches' Brew appears to be quite popular with the crowds, and it probably doesn't hurt that the cast is rather easy on the eyes!

As for the attractions that were bulked up in 2013, the first of them is Head Hunters - The Sacrifice.  Last year this outdoor scare area was lacking a lot of props and relied mostly on some tribal characters chasing guests and giving good scares.  This year the area was totally renovated and changed into a very different experience.

The pathways for Head Hunters are now defined more clearly, so that guests may choose to bypass it or head through via two entrances along the Possessed midway.  The park built several full sized tiki huts along with a lot of dead trees and macabre scenes.  There are a lot of life-sized mannequins that make it hard to tell which are live actors and which aren't, adding to the fun.

The props also give a lot of great places for monsters to hide, as if the thick fog wasn't enough of a cloak.  The attraction has really hit its stride now that it has been changed so dramatically, and really stands on par with the park's other haunts.

Since Witches' Brew took over Center Stage that means that Blood Drums had to move.  It found a great new home along the main midway, next to the Coasters diner.  The smaller stage allows guests to sit closer to the performance, and also made the show more interactive.  I think more people come across the show by accident as well, being drawn in by the pulsating drums since the midway is a busy place at night.

The second attraction to have a major addition is Age of Darkness.  I believe this is actually the second time that this walk through scare zone has been plussed since it first opened.  This year marked the retirement of Death Trap, a maze that was located adjacent to Thunderhawk and next to Age of Darkness.  The park took advantage of the space and added a new Torture Chamber section of Age of Darkness.

The entrance and exit to the new section is marked by high castle walls, and inside fog covers the area completely.  The Torture Chamber name is fitting, as the area is filled with elaborate props and animatronics that fit that theme.  From hangings to decapitations, there's plenty packed in here.  There's also tons of live actors as well, all in fitting costumes and personas.

I know this photo is particularly bad, but I wanted to snatch one of the finished dragon that I saw being worked on back before Haunt started.  As the park had planned the dragon - which started its life as a dinosaur - was moving, blowing smoke, and had glowing eyes.  It looks awesome!

With so many haunted attractions to check out, it is almost easy to forget that all of the park's rides and coasters are open, too!  Here we see Dominator decked out in its finest Halloween orange.

There's still time to visit Dorney Park's Haunt VI before the park closes for the year, check out their website for hours and more information.