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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (SCBB) Discussion Thread

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I was luckily able to get 2 rides on the new haunted castle. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, after 5:00 PM, you can buy an unlimited rides wristband for only $9.95 if you turn in an empty Pepsi can, so the wife and I decided to take them up on the offer. When we got to the ticket booth at about 7:00 the haunted castle and ferris wheel were listed as not operating, but there was activity going on in and around the haunted castle. We asked if they would possibly be opening it later that evening, and they told us there was a good chance they might and just to check back every once in a while. Around 8:45 they were cycling ride vehicles and at about 9:00 they did open the ride.


Having already seen a few videos, and somewhat knowing what to expect, I was still very happy with the ride overall. It's certainly not super scary, but more like fun, slightly-cartoonish, semi-scary. The scenes in the ride were very well done for the most part, although a couple weren't working when we rode. Most noticeable, to me at least, were the second king bust that's supposed to have a projection effect and the skeleton holding his skull in his hand right before you turn to go uphill and pass under the guillotine. Everything else seemed to be working as I'd seen it in the ride videos I've watched. The guillotine scene actually did scare my wife both times we rode. While I thought it was a neat enough effect, it honestly didn't scare me. However, the executioner animatronic for that scene is by far the best in the ride, in my opinion.


As far as the rest of the scenes, I'd have to say I liked the swamp the best. They did a nice job of creating the atmosphere of a swamp when considering the relativley small scale of the ride when compared to something like Pirates of the Caribbean. (not that I'm remotely suggesting that comparing the 2 rides would be fair, it's just that I did think of POTC when we entered the swamp area) The effect they did with the walking bridge as you enter the swamp was something I'd failed to notice in any reports I'd read or videos I'd seen, so it was neat surprise. I will agree with wumwip that the random dinosaur is... Well... "random", but still a nice little scare when it pops up. The creature from the black lagoon-ish swamp monster just before the dinosaur definitely seems to fit the theme of that particular area much better, but the dinosaur is still fun.


The rotating ride vehicles do a good job of keeping you focused on the scenes in the ride without much in the way of distraction from your periphery. Entering the ride backwards, down the spiral track in near darkness, also adds a slightly disorienting element that adds to the fun factor. The actual movement of the vehicles, and the spinning to keep you focused on scenes, is quite smooth and nearly seamless. The vehicles themselves look great as well.


I hope they do sort out whatever issues are causing the downtime and get all the effects working on consistent basis. Being a brand new ride, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they will. One other issue that is certainly in need of attention is queue jumping. The way the queue is arranged, it is VERY easy for people to hop over the small walls and short decorative iron railings on the front side of the building to join friends in line. I imagine that easy access may be the unintended byproduct of needing equally easy egress in case the queue needed to be quickly emptied in case of an emergency, but it really makes line jumping very enticing to those that have no qualms about doing it. I believe the solution to the problem could be bold signs attached to the decorative railings warning of the consequences of line jumping and a security guard enforcing the policy. While there were security guards within a stone's throw of where I witnessed at least half a dozen line jumpers, they didn't seem to pay any attention to it at all.


In closing, I've got to say that any little nitpicking that any of us may do about the ride still doesn't take away from the fact that this is a very welcome addition/replacement for the park. The quality of this ride far surpasses what it replaced. I would love to see more parks get new dark rides along the lines of this one.

Edited by Mechanic
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Nice review, John.


By reading your review, you’ve urged me to touch up on a few other subjects on the ride.


Okay, over all, it’s not a scary ride... at all. The old Haunted Castle strictly tried to scare guests, and was successful in a few ways. The old one was much darker, and came off to be more threatening despite the movie themes played outside and Phantom of the Opera overture played inside.


In regards to music, the new ride does the same thing as well—only using music from Alton Towers’ Colossus Area, Kings Island’s Phantom Theater, and the theme from the film Phantasm—but even that doesn’t help the scare factor of the ride.

As far as the cars go, the old ones (while being a very simple design) seemed to have more of a creepy vibe about them. The fact that they were two-seaters, but yet guests had the option on squeezing a third person in if they had to. Bottom line, very few people wanted to ride the old Haunted Castle alone.

Let’s face it, the ride is for families. It’s an underground adventure that parents can take the kiddies on. The ride is practically G-rated.


But some of my questions are: Why make it “family orientated”? Couldn’t they have merely upgraded Ghost Blasters to be a four-seater family-friendly ride?


Another thing is that the ride tries to cover too much ground. Its family orientated, but it tried to cover other family orientated attractions from other parks. One can’t help but notice the Haunted Mansion take on the new ride (changing portraits, spinning cars that turn according to scenes, and a talking statue and whatnot), as well as the squeeze in of random pirate pictures on the walls throughout the castle (throwing out a Pirates of the Caribbean vibe into the mix), and the “random dinosaur” covers that Universal Studios “Jurassic Park The Ride” feel that makes the swamp scene so… complete?


So the big, huge question is: Is this ride just a rip-off of other major theme park rides which have clashed together under one roof known as the “New Haunted Castle”?

I know that’s going out on a limb, but it seems that way.


But don’t get me wrong, it is a good audition to the Boardwalk in regards of being totally different and not something one would expect from the park, but it does seem to lack its own unique originality and elements that could’ve been explored even more so. A Haunted Mansion is one thing, but when you have a castle themed ride, you have so many options as to the contents and directions it can go, just within that theme. I’ll admit that they gave focus to some good castle elements that were true to the theme, but when riding this, I feel that I’m riding a not-scary version of Ghost Blasters.


The bottom line about this New Haunted Castle:


Parents will cope with it.

Teens will be dissatisfied.

And kids will eat it up.


Please keep in mind that these are my thoughts on the ride at the moment. But who knows? Maybe after a while they’ll start to add more to the scare factor of this new ride, and see what needs to be improved.

I advise people ride this new Haunted Castle with an open mind.


Right now, the biggest problems seem to be the down time and queue cutting, but hopefully those issues can be resolved soon.

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My son and I were also there on Wednesday. We loved the new Haunted Castle with it's lighthearted take. The effects and animatronics far surpassed the expected tacky factor. The ride should appeal to a broad audience. For scares, there's another attraction just down the midway.

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Just went on the New Haunted Castle yesterday for the first time during Pepsi nights at the Boardwalk. I rode it twice, once at around 5:30 PM and at 11:00 PM. I knew from videos and reviews that it wasn't a scary ride so I kind of knew what to expect. The first time I rode it the second encounter of the king wasn't working so it ruined the ride aspect a bit, and the fireplace wasn't as hot. The second time EVERYTHING was working and that even surprised people who have been on it many times already. I didn't see it breakdown once or see a "Haunted Castle is not operating now" card on the ticket window. Now for the ride:


*SPOILER ALERT* Stop reading now if you don't want to ruin the experience.


First off in the queue, I think the somewhat scary music in the queue and the people screaming out the exit from the guillotine scene makes it seem like it's scarier than it actually is. I think they need to improve that so you should know that it's not going to be really scary. Nobody was cutting the line which was nice, but there was already graffiti on the wall. I can't believe someone would do that already, and I hope that this trend doesn't continue or else people would think that the Boardwalk isn't a safe or secure park.


For the ride itself, I like it for what it is, fun not scary. Yes, I do agree that a touch of startling features would make the ride better, but they did a good job for what they intended it to be (a fun attraction). It's fun, has great animatronics, and features that make you laugh. I loved going backwards because it's disorienting and gives a fun "Weeeeeeeeeeee" opportunity. The first scenes almost seemed rushed because I would like to hear more of what the king says at the beginning since you can't really hear him for more than two seconds. The pictures are in random places as well and you can't really see them as the car kind of moves quickly throughout the first scenes. After the dinner table the speed of the ride seemed to balance out and give you time to see all the features that are in there. The heat in the fireplace was a nice touch, and after that came my favorite scene; the swamp. The bridge part was really cool in that you think something is going to get you, but then the car turns at the last second. The swamp monster there was kind of boring to me. It just popped out and did nothing. To me, the swamp monster should pop out and move his arms around resembling a "I'm going to strike you" feature. I also agree that the dinosaur was random, but I thought it was better than the swamp monster since it was hiding more in the bushes. Near the end of the swamp, there is a hill that also gives another "Weeeeeeeeeeee" opportunity as well as a put your hands up opportunity, which is always fun to do. For the graveyard, I love the Santa Cruz tourist stuck there saying "You again!?" It was funny, which is also a nice touch for the fun factor rather than the scare factor. Then came the guillotine scene. When you are going up the hill, you can see the outside light (which makes the Haunted Castle a better ride at night so you don't see as much light) so it is either a ruining ride effect OR they made it like that so think "Oh, it's over. Phew!". Then the headless skeleton comes on and you think "Ah! It's not over!" Then the executioner comes on and "drops" the guillotine on you. I LOVE that part because it made me laughing out into the station and I was clapping on a job well done on the ride. The second time I went on this, the unloaders were too slow so we had to stop before the guillotine hits us and it ruined the ride a bit. Oh well! Still a great ride anyways!




Overall, it's a great ride for what it is! Not because it is scary, but because it is fun. Same goes with the Giant Dipper. It isn't huge, twisty, full of forces, it is FUN. I think that is what the Boardwalk is aiming for. They want it fun, not scare the crap out of everyone's pants. That is why this ride is a great addition to the Boardwalk, and I recommend kids, teens, and adults to do it at least once while visiting the Boardwalk. The ride does need some improvements and hiding more of the electronics, projectors, lights, and what not, but I am sure they will do it when the time comes. I give the Haunted Castle an 8.5/10! And that was my experience of the Haunted Castle.

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^Great review - thanks!




It's.... UPDATE TIME! On June 26th, I was lucky enough to get a Boardwalk GRAND TOUR of all the underground nooks and crannies of the entire park. Under, around, and everywhere inbetween, I got to see. I saw under Neptune's Kingdom, under the whole walk including many working facilites. The far turn around of the Giant Dipper, under Logger's, and by the Cave Train... BUT, I could not take any photos of these places. Don't worry, because I also got a tour of the New Haunted Castle, with the lights on. And yes, I CAN post these photos. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.


This update would not be possible without the gratitude and kindness from the Boardwalk's Vice President, Mr. Ted Whiting III. His hospitality could not be thanked enough. Also, many thanks to the following Boardwalk employees: Kris Reyes, Ted Whiting III, Carl Arnett, Carl Henn, Marq Lipton, and Charles Canfield for the amazing Legends Lunch the day before (June 25th) that was auctioned off as a prize at the 2009 ACE Norcal Holiday Party, hosted by Richard Tuck at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach in El Cerrito, CA. Many thanks guys!


For those not wanting to spoil the ride, I suggest you do not view these photos. All else, dig right in! Oh, and happy 200th post in this thread!




The beginning of the ride. SPIRAL ACTION!


The first King encounter - not so scary in the light. :p


Dungeon guard. One of the coolest figures in the ride.


This shows you how the trick works for the Dungeon Guard's transformation. It's called a "Pepper's ghost" illusion.


Skeletons - Ooooh, SPOOKY!


Looking back ... into the HAUNT(ed Castle - had to do it?)


The Royal Wine Cellar - WHAT A MESS!


A figure inside one of the barrels in the Wine Cellar. This one looked really spooky.


More of the Wine Cellar.


The King's Kitchen sign. Yup, just a sign.


Rabbit stew!


Looking back at the rabbit stew. One of my personal favorites, if I do say myself. ;)


The 'evil' painting, just before moving into one of my favorite scenes - the Banquet Hall!


Royal Banquet Hall sign.


Right side of the hall, home to the infamous animatronic saying "DINNER TIME!"


Left side of the Banquet Hall. The FARTHER man in the room is Ted Whiting. The closer one is my Dad.


...running out of caption ideas? You bet!


The SWAMP scene. My all time favorite scene in the entire ride.


Other side of the Swamp scene.... yup. Jeff Johnson would count this as a credit. See, A HILL!


The infamous "Santa Cruz" tourist, being buried alive by.....




Looking back.. and if you look closely, you can see the transfer track .. that goes off to the left into the maintenence bay.


The entrance into the maintenence bay. EXCITING PIC COMING UP!


The sexy underside of a NEW Haunted Castle car. (WARNING: Picture not suitable for people under the age of 18)


Hey what 'ya know. We're looking back, AGAIN! (yea, I'm out of captions, again...)


Towards the Royal Kennels.


Back up the hill, to the guillotine, where you'll lose your mind. GUARANTEED! (Sorry, no refunds)




NEXT UPDATE: The next update, will be a video of that beach side construction photo progress thingy, that I've been promissing for a while. Once again, THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR COMMENTS IN THIS TOPIC. :)

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Wow, that update was awesome! I have to say that this is probably the best construction/ride coverage I've ever seen. You're really lucky to be able to do all of these back stage tours and everything, I never even realized that it spirals down that much at the beginning! Once again, great coverage man, can't wait to see that video!

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LOVE the pictures, Nicholas!!! Very cool! I had no idea of all of the detail hidden in all of the scenes! Thanks for sharing these with us!

I'm also looking forward to the video! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Thanks everybody for your generous comments... but, the topic for this ride won't end yet, and it hopefully never will! (well, at least not soon. ) I just realized that I have not posted a photo of the concept art I recieved on the opening day, signed by Charles Canfield. Will do that very soon.


Once again, THANK YOU very much.



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I have to agree. Those carnival haunted house rides (which sometimes go by the names "Cemetery" or "Terror House") are totally not worth the 4 tickets (or $4.00). And even though the old Haunted Castle was a bit along those lines, it was still better than anything a carnival had to offer.


There will always be ONE true Haunted Castle and Haunted Mansion... although, now some people are having a bit of trouble distinguishing the difference between the two... meaning I've heard people around the Boardwalk say: "Ooh! Let's go on the Haunted Mansion!" ... making that sort of a face-palm moment for me every time I hear that since the building is only shaped like a huge friggin' CASTLE...


But what's not to love? (major boingage to that NHC car underside... very sexy...)


Okay, Okay... I'll admit I was being a little bipolar bear about the New Haunted Castle before, ... but I guess I've learned to love it now... even though it's not scary in the slightest... the point is that the ride is ENJOYABLE, and I think that's what counts the most with any amusement park ride. And I believe that over time, the boardwalk will do whatever they need to do to the ride to spruce it up accordingly... But the ride has only been open for about a month and a half, so we have to cut them some slack... $9 million dollars is sort of costly for a new dark ride anyway, but it was totally worth it over all.


BTW To Nick (I'm gonna say this in my fake Brittish accent):

Thou must post the concept drawing AND the video soon, or else... the guillotine awaits you.... and the guillotine is no way to get ahead!... Hhhhhheaaahhhhheeeeehhhhheeeeeehheeeeeeheeeeeehheeeeeeeeehhh....

Ah, yes... the guillotine... Heads will roll! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

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^LOL, wumwip. Concept art below!





I've kept my promise.... below is 2 photos of the concept art piece I recieved of the Haunted Castle on opening day, presented and signed by Charles Canfield. Also below, is the official commercial for the NEW Haunted Castle - the next update will feature that long-awaited video!


Thanks again so much everyone.





Tadahh - as you can see, this was an EARLY version of the ride. It's quite different than now.


Close up of the autograph from Mr. Charles Canfield - the park's president!

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I know, I'm double-posting, but I want to keep this topic alive even more with links to the ride soundtrack songs from the NEW Haunted Castle!!!

If you don't know, now you know!!! If you already knew, then go buy me some chinese food!!!


I have four of the songs from the ride on my youtube channel, but direct links to the videos/songs are below! Enjoy!


NHC Queue Song 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0A5e4xiLUo


NHC Queue Song 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGs1sNkT_Sk


NHC On-ride Main Castle Scenes Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Hq5PsfwdU


NHC Ending Scene Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J26mOzUzss


If you've heard the songs, we can discuss our thoughts on the songs used for this ride.

Tallyho! What-what!

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I like the 2nd queue music too! ... I like it so much..... I added LYRICS to it!!!


Btw..... DANGGIT! Everyone gets to go to the Boardwalk today, but ME!!!

I must have fun today somehow..... *looks around* .... I KNOW!!! Let's see if I bounce!!!!


*jumps out of the 6th floor window*


*hits the ground and flies back up in to the room*


Meh... that wasn't fun.

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I liked all the music they had for the ride, but I honestly feel the ending music captures the fun/slightly scary theme of the ride the best. The queue music would lead you to believe the attraction is far more scary than it really is. I realize that's a point that's already been beaten to death. It's just that it is what is, and personally I have no problem with it.


If there was an area that I felt could use improvement inside the ride itself it would be that some of the scenes could use more "stuff" to look at. There's quite a bit of empty floor space that could be taken up with different props, or even just some sort of floor covering. The exceptions to that were the swamp area and the buried-alive Santa Cruz tourist scene. Both of those areas, particularly the swamp, had to plenty to look at. It could certainly reach a point where the ride seemed excessively cluttered if that idea were taken too far, but as it stands now there's something of a feeling that the ride isn't quite "complete" yet. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if some more themeing elements were added over time.


It will also be interesting to see if they have any sort of plans to do Holiday themed overlays to spice up the attraction a bit for the Halloween and Christmas holiday seasons. The new ride has a lot more room inside than the old one did and I think they could really do a lot with ideas along those lines if they chose to. A little holiday bunting, some different music, and maybe a slightly different spiel for the King projections, could very well be marketable and help the park's attendance through the slower fall and winter months.

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Just came back from the Boardwalk. Unfortunately, the lines were LONG! I got in 11 rides in 5 hours, which isn't many for the Boardwalk. Went on the Haunted Castle once. Another spot of graffiti has been added to the queue unfortunately.


Some scenes and props were broken though. The collapsing bridge wasn't working, and the end scene was all messed up. First, the headless skeleton went on very early. Second, the guillotine part was screwed up. The executioner looked like he was having a seizure (and not talking), the lights were flickering the whole time, the guillotine didn't drop down, and no air was blown on you. It seemed as though the ride was a bit ruined. Other than that, it was still great fun!


Also, LOL at the video wumwip. That was funny, and interesting lyrics

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Little boy tights and lyrics, what? wha--what-WHAAAAAT????

Don't confuse my brain!!!


Btw, the song's up... yes, the song I wrote for the NHC... yes, I sing, and yes, realize I'm obsessed...

If you don't know, now, you know... And if you already knew, buy me some chinese food! No, really, I've been craving chinese food for about 2 months now...




ENJOY!!!!! Mwahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!!!!

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