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Dark Ride Paradise - Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center

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^ That's actually a very smart idea. If I had to guess, I'd say most people would think a "Haunted House" would either be, like you said, a walk-through with scare actors or a dark ride.


Making sure people know what they are buying a ticket for is probably the most important thing of being successful!

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I'll say: walking through a passageway and suddenly an air jet shoots a loud stream of air at you is pretty scary to me! And how about riding through a dark tunnel and suddenly a pair of headlights beamed their high beams at you and a car horn is blasting in your ear?


I think the fun part about an attraction like this would be riding with your girlfriend and she ends up hugging you to death because she is so scared. That has happened to me before: at Disney Studios, Florida riding the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. During the elevator free fall, a woman next to me grabbed my hand thinking that I was her husband ( her husband was sitting on her left while I was on her right) so you can imagine how embarrassed she was when she realized that she grabbed the wrong hand during her fright. I haven't had that much fun since I rode King's Dominion's apple turnover ride with a female and she had her hands around my waist (and I could feel her chest pressed against my back - an exciting time for me as a young kid)


I think I should end this by saying to Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center: "Keep up the good work; I know I visit you one of these days!"


I'm not perfect; I just love to ride!

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It took me a little later than expected to get home but here's the latest from Wild Bill's.


Chuck was in the final stages of securing the Haunted Fun House in preparation of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sally. Earlier this year the area was subjected to 65MPH wind gusts and Chuck is certain that damage will be minimal even if the area is hit hard.


The soft opening couldn't happen as there were issues with the fire suppression system. Apparently the city and state were undecided which office should have final oversight/approval on the system and until that was settled it did not make sense to install the system.


Every time I visit there are new things to see and more to learn. Strangers continue to stop by and are constantly amazed that the whole facade is a recreation and not the original Laff in the Dark facade. Speaking of which, 15 new flood lights have been installed outside, but I did not stay late enough to snap a photo.


More animatronics are showing up outside and the plan is to have 14 working animatronics outside the Haunted Fun House. The bat above the entrance now has appendages and eventually its head will tilt and wing will raise.


Does everyone remember when TPR went to Octoberfest and Robb posted videos of the long conveyor belt? It's called a cakewalk, and one of them will be incorporated into the fun house and it's going to move at a quick clip. Another unique feature of the funhouse will be two alternate endings. You'll have to make a decision at the end or you can always pay a second time to walk through again to see the second ending.


While I was standing outside, Chuck snuck inside and turned on the mood music that will play outside, a 15 minute continuous loop that onlookers will hear as their friends/family walk through the attraction. The soundtrack will not be audible to those inside, they get their own ambient sounds piped in based on the room they are in.


I also had the pleasure of meeting Chuck's dad who stopped by while I was visiting and heard stories of a 13 year old Chuck riding his bike 26 miles from Glastonbury to Bristol to take pictures of the Laff in the Dark from all angles.


When I arrived there were still ladders that needed to be removed. The turrets on the left have been completely constructed since my last visit. There is also a new black Castle Gate to the left of the house to hide the back of the property.


Close-up of the aformentioned turret.


Over to the right a new room has appeared. This area will eventually contain three sets of vertical moving stairs that participants will need to navigate. These stairs will need to be built by scratch.


Here you can see the castle gate.


One of the speakers that will blare spooky sounds to the midway.


You can see one of the bat's "hands". The bats head will move as will a wing.


It's hard to tell from this view, but those beams are 4 x 16 and 20 feet in length. Cranes had to lift them in place. That is why Chuck is confident that this structure is probably the sturdiest structure in town and built to last.


Work in this interior area had halted as the team focused on finalizing the construction of the facade.


Another animatronic in progress.


Let's look at some of the finer details, like this coffin.


and its inhabitant.


And details in other windows include this ghostly figure.


A lantern and some cobwebs


Angles coming at you in every direction, a common Bill Tracy tactic.


Details on one of the walls


This 1938 Studebaker flatbed truck was found abandoned on the property. It will be turned into themeing in the form of a vehicle for "Ziegler's Casket Company" and reside in front of the Haunted Fun House.


This is Chuck's prized possession. It is the toolbox that his mentor Pete Rasulo used during all his years at Lake Compounce. Chuck and Wild Bill also shared some other interesting stories and possible additions to the midway, but I'll leave that for another post.

Edited by larrygator
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I really love this thread, I patiently await the updates as soon as the new ones come out. This place is going to just be incredibly unique and apparently over-the-top awesome fun.


I know earlier in the thread and on the website and stuff it lists a certain number of planned attractions, etc, etc. When Bill does open this place, will only some of them be open? How many? I'm sorry if this has been answered already. Thanks!

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^ and ^^ Good questions


Management has been non-commital about the opening because there have been unforeseen issues (like the fire suppression system). Even complicated tasks become ultra-complicated, like insurance. Rates are negotiated based on building occupancy. Chuck's rule is to have 4 people enter the fun house in 400 foot intervals creating a max capacity of 180 people at any time. However, the fire marshall needs to assess if this is realistic/measurable. What if bills are tight that month and the operators decide to let 6 people in a time every 250 feet? What safeguards are in place to make sure safety isn't compromised for profit. For the record, a video surveillance system is installed with the capability to store footage for 3 months to ensure the safety of the customer and the property.


It doesn't really make sense to open after the Halloween season and before the milder weather returns to the Northeast. Also, I think I remember Will Bill saying that they currently have a permit to operate seasonally, which I believe only means 6 continuous months (But I could be misremembering). Since, May - November is a 6 month interval that is my best guess when putting all the pieces together.


The plan is still have one dark ride and the Haunted Fun House operational in the Spring. They are confident this will happen. Other exhibits may be in place or come online as time passes. Not sure when the kiddie rides will be up and running. At one time they were considering having outside showmen bring in some the rides, but that is no longer the case. Wild Bill and Chuck want to control all the rides at this Fun Grove.


I'll make a post soon about some of the potential ride/exhibit ideas still under consideration along the potential for Wild Bill and Chuck to appear on Cable TV in the futue.

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^I know it's hard to picture, the best way to view the entire project is as a old time Fun Grove. Filled with rides and attractions that were in their hey day before many of us were born. It might not be well received by pure adrenaline seekers but should provide fun in a family friendly environment.


While many places for family fun exist, they tend to be sterile cookie cutter places. This will be unique. These guys have already invested a lot of time and money and they are not slowing down.

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Thank you, Larry! I will be driving to this place whenever it all gets up and running in a few years. I've always loved dark rides, as they are all completely unqiue in their ride experience. A good dark ride can give a park character. To have an entire place dedicated to them is just incredible. I hope they keep up the work and get this place open.

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FYI - I got a text from Chuck Burnham yesterday and since my power is back I can share:


The funhouse at Wild Bill's, although it looks like a wreck, sustained absolutely no damage during Hurricane Sandy thanks to the work of Scuba Steve (the carpenter).

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^LOL, that is AWESOME. How can I license use of this photo for my own Christmas cards?


Robert - The picture came from the store's Facebook page. You've met Wild Bill, I'm sure you know he would sell you the rights for a fee.

Edited by larrygator
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I hope I took accurate notes on my visit to Wild Bill's three weeks as I'm ready to share a later more info. Wild Bill is certainly a fan of promotion, as PT Barnum is an idol of his. A few cable networks have caught wind of the Dark Rides and Fun House and want in on the action.


One producer proposed a reality show. Wild Bill surprised me by turning down the offer, but after further questioning Wild Bill I understand why. Reality shows thrive on the drama created between the participants and there was a genuine fear that the filming crew would only cause tension and delay the building schedule. However, this project can't afford any more delays/tension so free promotion is not worth the potential pratfalls.


A&E's Shipping Wars has aso been in contact about delivering a classic ride to Middletown, CT. And here is the good news. Wild Bill and Chuck are in discussions to purchase two classic rides. The first is the SBNO Cyclone at Williams Grove. The second is a Tumble Bug. Conneaut and Kennywood have the only two permanent Tumble Bug installations, but there is a 3rd that maybe coming to Wild Bill's. Personally, I wouldn't want any of those bozo drivers from Shipping Wars delivering any of my property (even though Jen is very cute). If any of them deliver damaged materials to Wild Bill's I could see Chuck beating the crap out of them.


Other potential additions to the Midway.

Chuck has found an individual with working knowledge of how to build an Old Mill (which will never be themed to Garfield)

Chuck has been speaking with a reknowned carousel horse carver who along with his son could build a handmade carousel.

In news that should make Robb happy, Chuck revealed that the completed Midway will include a Tortoise exhibit.


Tortoises are already on site.


As are some of the kiddie rides


Continuing work

Edited by larrygator
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