Location: Dorney Park, 3830 Dorney Park Road, South Whitehall
Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt is a mainstream attraction which over the past two years has begun to add more adult themed/mature aspects to its several haunted mazes. Dorney Park is completely transformed into a Halloween scare-park featuring a multitude of Scarezones, dense fog, dark lighting and atmospheric Halloween music as guests move from attraction to attraction. While Dorney Park does cater to haunt fans of all ages, and we encountered an endless number of teenagers running throughout the park, they have added several “Skeleton Key Rooms” which incorporate scenes and interactions with actors that are shockingly on par with more mature haunted attractions. Furthermore, the haunted attractions and massive Scarezones feature massive sets, gory props, talented character actors and special effects which are some of the most impressive you will see this Halloween season. Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt provides quality entertainment for all ages, interests and maturity levels.
Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt is typically crowded and we suggest you purchase a Frightlane Pass. The Frightlane Pass also allows guests to participate in the unique “Skeleton Key Room” experiences, and includes an exclusive attraction “Blackout”. Frightlane guests not only avoid the massive lines, but include experiences which cater to the more mature, adult themed haunt fan. This year the park has vastly improved its line management, reducing the long lines we experienced last year in the Frightlane lines. The creativity and interactive nature of the “Skeleton Key Rooms” continues to improve and we look forward to what they have planned for future haunt seasons.
Mansion House Hotel
The first attraction visited was the “Mansion House Hotel”. The attraction is a classical haunted maze featuring interactive props and sets which effectively hide scare actors. The attraction is an abandoned mansion/hotel theme featuring demented bellhops, dead guests, workers and newlywed couple. When we went through this maze it was rather bright out, which may have hindered the overall experience. Furthermore, several actors were out of place and we ran into management discussing plans as we walked through the attraction. The Victorian set designs and actor interactions are entertaining and the “Mansion House Hotel” features interactive rooms such as an “elevator”. This attraction while visually impressive could be longer and would likely be better experienced in the dark. The “Skeleton Key Room”, an escape room experience is also the weakest of the “Skeleton Key Rooms” at the Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt.
“Blackout” is a pitch-black style maze in which guests must navigate the darkness following dimly lit arrows and by holding onto a rope. The attraction is highly effective at generating scares and utilizing creepy actors who get uncomfortably close in the darkness. Actors are hidden along the dark maze, are almost impossible to see and make this one of the best attractions at the park. “Blackout” is a Frightlane pass exclusive, for mature haunt fans. The effective use of darkness and genuinely disturbing actors.
Chamber of Horrors
The “Chamber of Horrors” is a wax-museum themed attraction which has some of the goriest, and creepiest props of any haunted attraction. From mutilated bodies, and life-like serial killer wax figures, the attractions design is impressive. Props are almost undistinguishable from live actors which provides for effective jump scares. Disturbing imagery of actors being melted in “wax” make for a creepy experience as guests attempt to escape this maze. The “Chamber of Horrors” is one of the best detailed haunted mazes you can visit for the 2015 season. The quality of props and artistic direction is mature and we hope they find a way to expand this excellent maze.
Desolation is a military-post apocalyptic themed maze which was our favorite haunted attraction at Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt this year. The attraction’s “Skeleton Room Key” places guests in a unique storyline in which they must rescue victims by getting an “antidote” to an evil doctor. The set design, and use of militaristic soundtrack creates an incredible atmosphere which makes guests believe they are trying to survive a fallout. The actors are aggressive, they do not let up on guests who are trying to escape this maze and the maze features realistic and bloody set designs.
“Cornstalkers” is an outdoor corn maze which has added several new scenes this year which take guests through a gory butcher shop, featuring actors who try to make guests become their next victims. The “Cornstalkers” attraction features a new “Skeleton Key Room” experience in which guests must eat some of mother’s “home cooking”. While not a maze, actors such as scarecrows are effectively hidden amongst the cornstalks. “Cornstalkers” set designs incorporate some mature themes found in last year’s “Bloodshed” attraction, and also incorporate interactive props (watch out for the urinating scarecrow!).
The “Asylum” haunted maze has been at Dorney Park for several years and has undergone little changes. The actors of this attraction do a phenomenal job of acting “insane”. From demented doctors to escaped patients the quality of acting is some of the best at Dorney Park. The “Asylum” features disturbing rooms, experiments gone wrong and a mirror maze straight out a twisted carnival. The attraction has not undergone significant change from previous years, and does not have a “Skeleton Room Key” option. Hopefully next year they decide to make some new additions to this classic attraction and add an interactive experience.
Trick or Treat
“Trick or Treat” is the newest maze for the 2015 haunt season at Dorney Park. The attraction is “witch” themed in which guests move through rooms featuring victims of witches who have been placed under various spells. While this attraction is not particularly scary, the design of each room and make-up of each actor is impressive. Furthermore, the “Skeleton Room Key” features a shockingly real search for a witch’s potion, that’s not for the squeamish.
Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt again features several “Scare Zones” which are large-scale outdoor walk-through attractions. The scenery and design of each attraction is impressive in its scope, featuring impressive animatronic props, and insane actors. From relentless clowns in the “CarnEvil” Scare Zone to pirates at “Cutthroat Island”, each set provides entertainment between the main haunted mazes. This year Dorney Park has added “Skeleton Key Room” experiences to the “Age of Darkness and Grave Walkers “Scare Zone”. These experiences are a must visit, as we took a “coffin ride” through hell and were sent to the gallows by medieval executioners.
The Final Word
Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt proves that amusement parks can operate incredible haunted attractions that cater to Halloween fans of all age and maturity levels. The level of detail and quality of set designs found in each maze/ Scare Zone is of the highest quality and the actors work tirelessly to engage the number of guests who attend this attraction. In order to avoid long lines, upgrade to the Frightlane pass, which includes “Skeleton Key Room” access and an additional pitch-black style maze. Dorney Park continues to improve each year at adding in mature themes and unique interactive experiences via the “Skeleton Key Room” options.
Pros: Skeleton Key Rooms, Frightlane Pass benefits, incredible FX and prop design found throughout Dorney Park, endless number of talent scare actors
Cons: Long Regular Lines, Some of the Mazes are too short, not all attractions cater to mature haunt fans, and the new attraction “Trick or Treat” fell flat after intense “Skeleton Key Room”
Should you visit in 2015? Yes- Dorney Park has made several changes and improvements to its mainstream haunted attraction. They continue to incorporate aspects of more mature/ adult themed haunts in a surprising manner for an amusement park. Haunt fans upgrade to the Frightlane pass to get the full experience and avoid the long lines.