When it comes to the month of October/Halloween season, I tend to go all out with haunted attractions. I try and visit several every year. Some are hit and miss, but they are always a good time. On top of my list has to be Dorney Park's Halloween Haunt. I've visited the park a handful of times in my life (generally during the Haunt season) and every year it gets bigger and better. This year is no different, with the addition of two brand new haunts, as well as the usual roller coaster and rides that run during their normal season. They are also running a special addition to the haunts called "Skeleton Keys." Within certain haunts are special rooms that you are only allowed to enter if you have the pass. I didn't shell out the extra cash for this, but definitely will next year. I'll run through my favorites and least favorites of the bunch and give a quick review of the individual haunts. (These aren't in any real order; besides maybe the first two)
Trick Or Treat
I'll start with my favorite of the haunts simply because of how traditionally Halloweenie it felt. Littered throughout the haunt were carved Jack O' Lanterns and vintage Halloween decorations. The main "Narrative" (if you want to call it that) is pretty simple. You're a trick-or-treater and a coven of witches are trying to catch and eat you. Every corner you turn, another lurking witch pops out and offers candy and treats. I didn't think this haunt was terrifying or scary , but it had a very eerie atmosphere (reminded me a lot of the film Trick r Treat). One of the coolest things visually had to be a staircase full Jack O' Lanterns leading to a (non-existent) second floor. I really wish I could have snapped a picture of that display (I totally could have, but probably would have been thrown out the park.)
Chamber of Horrors
This haunt would have to be my second favorite. Chamber of Horrors starts off recreating a typical horror-themed wax museum and slowly turns into a terrifying nightmare. The attention to detail in this haunt was on point. The first half feels like a real wax museum. Characters like Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and Dracula stood tall on display. Long velvet red drapes hung behind them. As you head deeper into the haunt, you begin to notice the drapes and wax figures disappear. The feeling of dread takes over. Gross, half melted mannequins and figures jump out at you around every corner. I honestly couldn't tell which were actors or just another dummy. Creepy Stuff!
I remember when I visited the park a few years ago, this haunt already existed. From what I remember they moved it from its original location; which was in the front of the park to an area towards the back (It seemed a lot bigger this time around.) It wasn't one of my favorites then and I felt the same way this year. It's a pretty basic Corn maze haunt, but has a backwoods/Hick Family vibe to it. I honestly don't remember much about it, so I can't really be too detailed.
MANSION HOUSE HOTEL
This haunt had an impressive exterior. The building it was set up in actually looked like a mansion/hotel. The inside was just as impressive. You'd tour the different areas of the hotel--the lobby, dining room, etc. Throughout the haunt different ghosts (decked out in maid/bellhop gear) would warn you to flee the building. As you walked deeper into the hotel, more malevolent ghosts would attack you. This was a pretty gory haunt. I remember seeing a lot of corpses and gruesome images (disemboweled bodies) throughout. The funny thing is of all the haunted attractions, this is the only one open before 7 PM. I'm guessing it’s a good way for parents to test out their kids and see if they can handle walking through the haunts in the evening. All the ghost are friendly and all of the gruesome images are covered up. Thumbs up, Dorney.
Walking through this haunt was probably the most atmospheric. You walk down a dirt road to a gate that reads "Greymatters Cemetery" Once you enter, you are led through the cemetery. You walk past a woman mourning over a casket (this was more depressing then scary) As you continue your journey, corpses begin to rise from behind the tombstones and slowly walk towards you. You're then led into a mausoleum. Once inside, an array of zombies begin to jump at you. It gets pretty intense, but is definitely a hoot.
Just like "Mansion House Hotel," this haunt has a pretty impressive exterior. The words "The Asylum" are lit up and the facade leading into the attraction is all kinds of spooky. You're led into what I assume is a security room. On the walls hang uniforms and a single surveillance camera fills the room with light. An orderly warns you of the patients lurking within the asylum, and also gives you the basic rules; don't touch the actors and they won't touch you. You're then led through different areas of the asylum. Deranged patience wander the halls; some warning you to leave and some telling you to stay with them forever!
The final Haunt/Maze is Desolation. The story goes that in 1952 a "disastrous event" caused a town to be locked down. The residents of this town were infected with some sort of virus and the government quarantined them. Were they the one really responsible? More than likely, yes. A lot of detail went into this haunt. For starters, while you're on line waiting to enter a spot light is high above looking for escaped towns people. I even recall either seeing or hearing sirens. Before you enter the haunt, they had a little both set up so your group can take a zombified photo together. when inside, mutated (zombie) towns folk approach you begging to leave. Other attack you simply because they insane from infection. Soldiers stand guard claiming that your group is also infected and that they can't let you escape alive. Destroyed cars and junk are aplenty. They litter the entire haunt, which gives it a very post-apocalyptic feel. A++
In addition to the mazes, there are also areas of the park called "Scare Zones." The best way to describe them are mini haunts you walk through while venturing the park. Most were pretty forgettable, but still worth passing through. The park is also decked out in decor (Spiderwebs, Jack O' Lanterns, Etc..) and spooky music plays throughout, which really sets the mood. Overall, Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt is tons of fun for the whole family and honestly one of the best when it comes to Halloween entertainment.
For more information check out their official website: info: https://www.dorneypark.com/haunt/