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Dark Ride Paradise - Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center

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The Haunted House is looking good. And I want some of that fried cheese.


I wonder if that autographed poster from the old 1960s Batman flick is still there?

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All looks great, including the cheese. I'm booked for a trip back East in July and Wild Bill's is a guaranteed visit. So psyched.


C'mon, people:


Also, Larry, thanks again for these amazing updates. Very much appreciated.

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Thanks for the tip on Shady Glen. I stopped there on the way down to Hersheypark and had the amazing cheeseburger. I plan on stopping at Wild Bill's on the drive back to New England (if he's open on Memorial Day).

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  • 4 weeks later...

I spent an hour at Wild Bills this afternoon and will be returning after some rides on Boulder Dash to see the place at night and have a beer with the crew. Chuck and Wild Bill let me know the opening date that I'll share here within the next two days.


Of course I'll have pictures of the progress also.

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I'm working on sorting through my photos but I'll post the BIG news here first.


This is an exclusive and the first time Wild Bill and Chuck have told anyone the opening date and they want it shared with the Theme Park Review Community.


The opening date for the Haunted House will be Saturday, September 15th and the attraction will run through Halloween. One thing Chuck wanted me to reiterate is that although the name is "Haunted House", this is not the typical haunted house you see at seasonal Halloween events. This is an old school Bill Tracy inspired Fun House with a haunted theme. For this year, they are considering adding scare actors to compete for attention during the highly competitve Halloween season, but the attraction will speak for itself in years to come.


This will be the largest permanent walk-through in the United States and Chuck is planning to add rooms over time, possibly a new room every year. There will be seven instances when the patrons walking through the house can be seen be those outside the house. Along with many recreated Bill Tracy stunts, Chuck is building some of his own. This is not simply a dark building that you'll be walking through with cheap cut-outs and day-glo paint. There will be forced perpective stunts, a vortex tunnel, black light effects, a topple room, timed stunts and excellent craftmanship. One element Chuck will be bringing back to the states is an 80 foot cakewalk. In layman's terms, a cakewalk is an inclined conveyer belt and this one will transport people from the lower to upper level. Chuck has spoken with gentlemen that worked with Bill Tracy and these folks are "not unimpressed" with Chuck's work, knowledge and ideas. And knowing the high esteem these men have for Bill Tracy, that guarded endorsement means a lot.


For this season the plan is to have a small midway set-up serving food and there will be rides for the small kids.


But I also have news about 2013 plans and beyond. Chuck is very optimistic that two of the Pretzel dark rides will be operational once Spring comes around. The typical Pretzel dark rides were only 380 feet of track. Chuck is planning layouts of 550-600 feet and since he is bending his own track there will be a lot more turns than people have experienced previously. Each dark ride will have a duration of over four minutes. The glass house could also be opening in 2013.


But that's not all the exciting news. Wild Bill has rethought his initial feelings about rides. The original plan was for only kiddie rides. Now Wild Bill and Chuck are on the lookout for traditional flat rides to place on a bigger midway for beyond 2013. They have even been in discussions to purchase and move a SBNO wooden coaster. But before you get excited about lending your tools and pick-up trucks leave it to the people with the knowledge.


However, if you really are interested in helping, I will be organizing a volunteer day during a Saturday or Sunday in July for anyone over 21 years of age living in the area that wants to help out for a day. This will be real dirty and potential strenous grunt work (light construction, painting, carrying heavy bags of Quickrete). Send me a PM if you are seriously interested.


One other thing, if anyone has any serious leads about a dark ride in storage that the owner is serious about selling Chuck and Wild Bill are interested and bringing it to their Dark Ride Paradise.


I also briefly ran into Joe McCarthy, the documentary filmaker, and wanted me to remind everyone that he'll be updating his site http://darkrideparadise.com/ at minimum once and week and also he'll be sending me photos. Here's one with the night time floodlights on.


Edited by larrygator
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That's very exciting news indeed, Larry! The Haunted House looks great all lit up, and I like the idea of possibly adding one new room per year--it'll be Wild Bill's version of the Winchester Mystery House.

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Awesome Larry! I wish I lived so much closer to Wild Bill's...err no I wish Wild Bill's was here. I'm sure they've thought of building their own custom dark ride, but I wonder what it would be. Love these updates and news tidbits...thanks so much!

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So I just got through the photos I took on Thursday. I sandwiched a visit in between a trip to SFNE and Lake Compounce. I arrived at Wild Bill's around 2PM and talked to Wild Bill and Chuck for about an hour. Chuck mentioned that he would be working late that night so I agreed that I would come after Lake Compounce with some beer.


I brought a case of Budweiser, hung out and shot the bull with Chuck and another worker (Chris) for about 90 minutes as the sun set, as I wanted to see the transformation as darkness arose. Chris, like most of Chuck crew are Jack-of-all-trades but his specialty is plumbing and he'll be working on the fire suppression system and water effects. My camera doesn't work well with night shots, but I can tell you as the sun sets you see little nuances that are not apparent in day light.


When I arrived Chuck was painting shingles.


Chuck led me around, here he squeezes through a door going into what will be a tight dark section with many switchbacks.


He pointed out some "bricks" made out of resin that will be attached later. I think he mentioned that his crew goes through 15 gallons of resin a week, Bill Tracy went through about 55 gallons a week when working at full capacity.


Here a view of the Empire style turret from the backside. Chuck been practicing with the torch and created the iron work atop the turret himself (usually one of his crew mans the torch) In previous picture you will see a similar white colored piece atop the turret, but it was a placeholder made of wood. Eventually a working weather vane will be added.


At the left side of the building and still being onstructed is a 16th Century Gothic Turret. To the right of the turret you side a walkway (right above the ladder), this will be when of the areas where those outside the ride can see those walking through.


The left side of this mural Chuck painted gives you an idea of what the final product will be.


Inside the workshop is an elegantly designed cage.


The cage is home to Chuck's anaconda, Sofia. Sofia loves 30 pound raccoons for dinner.


Work continues, inside the two story building behind the 16th century gothic turret. The piece of plywood on the upper level will serve as the doorway into these area.


Chuck takes a look at his work from the throne. He constantly takes breaks in this seat staring at the facade to determine imperfections. They recently raised the Widow's Peak 38 inches, this is the section where the words "Haunted House" appear.


Here's a view from the seat.


Chuck thought it would be a good idea if I climbed on to the roof, so I did.


There will be a narrow walkway behind the Widow's Peak.


and down below is that 1947 King Trailer that was purchased in 2003 when this whole project started.


You can see the currently existing gap under the Widow's Peak left from the raising of it.


Since Thursday night was the longest day of the year, I had to stay a little (and drink another beer) in order the get a shot with the flood lights on, you effects of the lights on the chimney are easily noticeable in this picture. I hope you all enjoyed the update.

Edited by larrygator
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Thanks for keeping us up to date on this project, Larry. I've enjoyed watching it unfold and seeing the palns evolve and take shape. Hard to believe that it all started with an old carnival trailer.

Edited by cfc
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I will definitely try and make it out here this year. It's more of a funhouse than a haunt, correct?


Correct, a funhouse with a haunted theme. There will be stunts that may scare you.


However, they may employ scare actors this year only since the opening is near Halloween and there is a need to compete with the seasonal haunts. As we get closer to the opening, I'll confirm if scare actors will be present. This is not being built like a "haunt" in that it will not have hidden passageways for the scare actors.

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Four-minute-long classic dark rides?


The news coming out of this project keeps getting better and better. Fantastic. Thanks to everyone involved, from the bottom of my heart, and to you again, Larry, for these updates.

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Outstanding! Just completely outstanding!


Just hearing the news about Wild Bill's plans just cause me to take a safety break lest the excitement would cause me to poop my pants my joy. I wish I could help him but I don't know of any dark ride or midway ride that is up for sell, but I can offer an idea, and I'll do it for FREE!


Purchase a small family roller coaster and turn it into a dark ride. Think about it! Take your plain old Galaxy Coaster, build it inside of a building, add the effects, and make it a space-themed coaster ride. Or you could make it a haunted coaster, or maybe even a crazy coaster? Anyway, that's my idea and you can use for FREE!


"Do you know what else you can use for FREE? ME!!!

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for not keeping you all updated on this project. I've spent much of the past 4 weeks out of town traveling.


Here is some the latest info from: www.darkrideparadise.com


It seems that no new business/construction project is ever met with anonymous community support and The Fun House is no exception. While all building permits are in place the last step is the actual "business" being approved.


SAVE THE DATE! On Wednesday, August 8th, Wild Bill will be attending the planning and zoning commission Public Hearing in Middletown CT. On roster is a Special Exception to construct a Fun house and Family Fun Center behind his store on Newfield Street.


This is a public hearing, which means the public has a chance to speak up. We would love to pack the room full of supporters, Bill needs this item to be approved in order to get the Fun house open this year!


Come and show your support! A great project in a great City!


August 8th 7:000pm

Council Chambers

245 Dekoven Drive

Middletown, CT


As this is a public hearing anyone is allowed to attend, if you are in the area and approve of this project feel free to attend and show your support. If you do attend, introduce yourself to Wild Bill and let him know you follow the project on Theme Park Review. If I wasn't on TPR's New Hotness, I'd be there.

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