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Hey guys -

 

I went back to Dorney Park this past friday to get the full Haunt experience. In case you didn't see my last review, the night was completely ridiculous. It was pouring rain, only the indoor haunted houses were open, all of the rides were closed, and the lower part of the park started to flood from the river that travels through it.

 

Anyways, this past Friday was much better. The weather was cool and dry. The only problem I ran into the entire night was the amount of unsupervised children running around. That's not an issue for this post, though.

 

So, without any further ado, let's get down to it!

 

Psycho Circus - Yup, still pretty darn crappy. Skip it if you can.

 

Club Blood - This had a lot of potential. I went through it three times throughout the night and, unfortunately, had a worse experience each time. It seemed that the amount of actors inside was lower each time. The first time going through was the best. There weren't a LOT of actors, but it was a decent amount. They really stuck to darkness for this maze. Well, darkness and hot chicks. Overall it was fun and hopefully they can expand on the idea in the future.

 

Mansion House Hotel - Is that what it's called? Eh, its the Hotel themed one. Still the best in the park. Its nice and long with good themeing and some good scares.

 

Asylum - My second favorite. It gets pretty disorienting at the halfway point. There were some good props in this one, including a mannequin of some demonic girl crawling on the wall that always creeped me out every time I went through.

 

Now onto the outdoor haunts. These were a mix of scare zones and outdoor houses.

 

Gravewalkers - This was pretty fun. It was a combination scare zone, followed by a connected outdoor maze. With the two concepts being combined there were no lines at all. The way it worked was you walked into a graveyard and were allowed to roam anywhere you wanted. They encouraged you to leave the path, even. The entire graveyard was crawling with zombies and puppets. The walk-through section was at the opposite end from the entrance. It isn't terribly long, but it was fun. You start in a Mausoleum and work your way back to the outdoors, surrounded by coffins and hearses, then you reach the end. There were some good hiding spaces in this one and great actors.

 

Backwoods - This was a walk-through outdoor haunt. Unfortunately it was too wide open which caused a lot of the scares to be spoiled before your group would reach them. Its a long, winding walk through the woods behind Steel Force where campfire stories come to life. I enjoyed the concept, but as I said, it is too wide open to have any really effective scares. Sure, there were a few good hiding spots and they managed to get me once or twice, but it could really use a redesign to realize it's full potential. Good scenery, though.

 

Age Of Darkness - This was the worst scarezone in the park. It was small, lightly themed, and the actors were pretty bad. They mainly shuffled around slowly and moaned. They didn't try to sneak up on anyone or threaten anyone. Pretty boring.

 

Death Trap - This was an outdoor walk-through maze. Unfortunately, again, it was pretty bad. Perhaps I caught it at the wrong time, but it seemed like everyone that was supposed to be working the attraction was on their lunch break. We passed through room after room with no actor, no action, nothing. It was just boring. They actually shut down Thunderhawk to use it's queue for this haunt. Big waste, in my opinion.

 

Terror Square - Skip it. Just skip it.

 

Cutthroat Island - I had high hopes for this scarezone last time. They still had a ton of fog and actors, but they suffered the same condition as the Age Of Darkness actors. None of them seemed to know what they were doing. They just slowly wandered the area and shot the cannon every now and then.

 

Cornstalkers - Another outdoor walk-through maze with a lot of unrealized potential. There were a ton of excellent hiding spots in this one, also a bunch of really tight corridors, but it seemed underpopulated, just like Death Trap. The actors that were inside weren't focused on scaring people, either. Rather they were more focused on standing in our way and picking at their costumes. My major complaint about this one, though, is that it ended WAY too early for the location it is in. The maze ended, yet you were still required to walk a half mile back to the park. Why couldn't the extended the maze to finish closer to the park?

 

Moving on to the rollercoasters -

 

It has been way too long since I've ridden a rollercoaster at night and it was great to finally do it again. Dorney Park shut down most of the lights on the coasters to make them even darker at night.

 

Talon - Pretty dark and fun, but since the ride is centralized around the station it never got extremely dark.

 

Hydra - Its a "meh" ride during the day, but with no lights at night? One of my favorites. Since a lot of the ride takes place on the side of a hill away from the station, we were lit only by the moon. It was a funky experience every time.

 

Possessed - Unfortunately due to the location of this coaster, turning the lights off didn't have any effect. It's sandwiched between a midway and the parking lot, so there were light everywhere. Still, I love Impulse coasters to death and this ride will always make me scream with delight no matter the circumstances.

 

Steel Force - This ride was made to be ridden with the lights off. Once you go over the top of the lift, there is no light aside from the ambient lighting. It was so much fun. Airtime over every hill, the turnaround in the dark was completely disorienting, and its just a ton of fun.

 

Soooooo, in the end, the Dorney Park Halloween Haunt was fun, but not very scary. If they manage to expand on the ideas and get some actors that actually seem to care about scaring people, this place could be something special. Unfortunately, though, too many of the actors are uninterested and the haunts are grossly underpopulated. If you enjoy your rides and rollercoasters, give it a shot and leave with a smile on your face. If you're looking to get a good scare for Halloween, look elsewhere.

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I absolutely love Dorney park, despite what anyone says about it being "corporate", "lost its charm", etc. Talon is my favorite invert, Hydra is one of my favorite floorlesses, and the overall park is just awesome with tons of things to do.

 

That being said, I haven't been to their Haunt since two years ago, but I have to ask, did they do away with CarnEVIL? I went in 2008 and 2009 for Haunt, and CarnEVIL was an awesome haunted clown house set-up somewhere in the middle of the midway between the entrance to Talon and Hydra. I think it may have been a little closer to Talon.

 

It's also a shame to hear about the under-populated Haunts, as the last time we went through Corn Stalkers, we had actors jumping out of the corn or waiting behind the corners constantly, doing a great job acting their part. I know the hiring for scare actors can be difficult for parks, though, as most parks hire a TON of scare actors just for their Halloween event, just to lay them off a month later, and the turnover is bad and the quality of employee is pretty low, as they tend to hire just about anyone.

 

Great to see you reporting from Dorney, though. If you go again, please take pictures!

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I absolutely love Dorney park, despite what anyone says about it being "corporate", "lost its charm", etc. Talon is my favorite invert, Hydra is one of my favorite floorlesses, and the overall park is just awesome with tons of things to do.

 

That being said, I haven't been to their Haunt since two years ago, but I have to ask, did they do away with CarnEVIL? I went in 2008 and 2009 for Haunt, and CarnEVIL was an awesome haunted clown house set-up somewhere in the middle of the midway between the entrance to Talon and Hydra. I think it may have been a little closer to Talon.

 

It's also a shame to hear about the under-populated Haunts, as the last time we went through Corn Stalkers, we had actors jumping out of the corn or waiting behind the corners constantly, doing a great job acting their part. I know the hiring for scare actors can be difficult for parks, though, as most parks hire a TON of scare actors just for their Halloween event, just to lay them off a month later, and the turnover is bad and the quality of employee is pretty low, as they tend to hire just about anyone.

 

Great to see you reporting from Dorney, though. If you go again, please take pictures!

 

Yes, CarnEVIL has been gone since 2010.

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My group got there last Friday night and had some different experiences than you did, perhaps because we started at the bottom of the park (after eating at the feast) and break times scattered around, but with the exception of Backwoods and Club Blood, we didn't feel they were underpopulated at all. From our path around the park:

 

MHH was quite good and I liked the extra rooms built since last year. This was also the first time we got to experience the elevator part. I suspect the plans were done by someone with no experience with heavy crowds since people get backed up at that point a lot until they flush people through. But agreed, great length and good scenes. The actors also seemed to be comfortable using the hallways well to surprise people multiple times.

 

We headed over to Death Trap and two of us got to enjoy a "guided tour" with an enthusiastic Mastermind and it was well populated, though most of the group couldn't hear him because he started speaking so quickly with each room (but it was pretty awesome).

 

Age of Darkness by the bathrooms where Death Trap let out was well populated and people were really in character with a jester who tried making rhyming poems at people (credit for decent ones while going off the cuff there. She tried hard!), and they teamed up against a few people while we were there. Due to the design, though, we were surprised to be told no pictures there. The costumes are really good, and the medieval theme looked good when the knight and the queen chased after a girl near us.

 

Grave Walkers is a great concept that I liked a lot. A scarezone with a maze part once you move through with lots of neat spots and really great actors. The rains on Saturday didn't stop them from writhing around and going after people then too.

 

Backwoods was disappointing. The concept is still really good, but somehow the actors were lackluster the two times we went through. I think they need to rethink the path and hiding spots better. Agreed that the paths are just too wide. It's almost as bad as the haunts at Great Adventure where the actors have to run a half mile just to get to you. Not good for scares or the actors.

 

Asylum had the longest lines and is still very well done. Moving the electric chair here was smart, but changing the timing to go off every 30 seconds got old really fast.

 

Terror Square was much better than last year. Shorter with less dead space and good use of the scenery. The lead (I think - the big guy who looks like the sheriff) is enthusiastic. The noise from Demon Drop and the longer walk makes it kind of out of the way and less effective. A shame as the crew did a great job, but the lines just did not get very long.

 

Cornstalkers was still good despite being one of the oldest mazes. The tighter paths were fantastic, and many scarecrows/burlap covered actors did a great job of using unexpected spots.

 

Club Blood feels tired now. At least only a few actors did a good job of scaring people. The dancers and dj just were kind of there, which made the turnaround at the back of the building seem like a boring waste with the dead space and that long pathway of plastic sheets. There really was a lot of dead space this time and felt short. Needs to be rethought, especially since the vampire club theme wasn't that bad in previous years.

 

Psycho Circus was really underpopulated when we went. There are a few actors I think we remembered from last year who do a good job, but they were early in the maze or outside entertaining the line. The maze needs some refreshing here too. It would sell more 3d glasses with a better effort inside.

 

Cutthroat Island was lots of fun. I'm still curious what was used for the canon fire, but a nice mix of mermaid decoys and actors running around and scaring people. They used the fog pretty well, and the ship is truly amazing to look at in daylight as well as in fog.

 

For the shows:

 

Eternal Jamnation started off badly but got better. I've felt the crew are talented, but have had trouble in the past with doing something cohesive. The sound people also really overpowered things with the mikes so the sound felt distorted the past few years. After the first 3 songs, the show was pretty enjoyable. Perhaps moving away from the vampire theme helped too.

 

Harley Newman...nothing really out there to me, though the straitjacket bit was really good. Maybe I've just been desensitized from Jackass stunts in the past, but nothing else was really that memorable to me.

 

Cast in Bronze was a refreshing surprise. The concept is clever and unique and the musician is really talented. It was also a very nice break between lines. I hope they bring him back!

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