Oni and I visited the Haunted Attraction “Haunting At The Waldorf Hotel” on October 20, 2012 in Palmerton PA. We were given media passes to this dual attraction event: “Waldorf Hotel”, a walk through indoor haunt, and “Terror In the Cornfield”, a haunted hayride with a maze walk through ending.
On the night we went we were racing against time–it looked very likely that it was going to rain–which obviously kills the fun on hayrides. Luckily we made it in time to be the last group sent through the cornfield on that night, with only a few drips coming down by the time we made it through the whole attraction. This “beat the rain” part (which the haunt runners were aware of and mentioned at the start of the ride–and said they’d end the ride and bring us back if it started to rain) may have unfortunately contributed to the feeling of the ride being a bit rushed–with it being a bit shorter than most hayrides we’ve experienced.
The ride itself had a few really nice things: They had a really nice costume for the first location you visit–and used recorded audio instead of the actors voice, which helped make it clearly able to be heard. I’m surprised many rides don’t use this technique, an audio system will always make for clearer understanding. The rest of the ride itself was pretty much similar to most rides we’ve been on–people running out of the corn to scare you. They had a fun bit with a scary Christmas area, but for the most part they hit the regular notes for this type of attraction. One thing that we noticed though, was they were a bit more “non sequitur” with their setups–the most bizarre being a electric chair in the middle of the cornfield. We’d suggest that they be a bit more narrative in the structure of things, and less random vignette oriented.
The ending of the ride though was very nice. After a short corn maze you enter a hillbilly homestead, with the hillbillies none to happy to have you visiting their household. This area was really nicely themed, with the actors really playing up their parts of wanting you to leave their property. I really liked the detailing, and the stringed can pathway demarcations, which looked like they were meant to detect intruders on the property, and were a really nice touch.
So, so far things were off to a good start.
We then went to the Waldorf Hotel part of the haunt. This area looks to be in a real hotel, with the scenes playing out through the kitchens, bar, rooms, and other hotel areas. Because it was in a real building, it had the atmosphere of age, which helps a great deal. One stand out, and rare, thing was the usage of children in this attraction. In one room 2 children were chasing each other around, which always makes things a bit creepy. They also had some good ideas–like at one point forcing the women and men in our group to split up to go through different bathroom doors to proceed. The only issue was there wasn’t much of a payoff to this, except seeing a different mannequin set up on a toilet on either side–we pretty much immediately came back together as a group.
The sets and rooms of the haunt were pretty good, so no problems there. The major qualm that we ended up having was it seemed light on the scares. The tour of the place was creepy though, so it’s not a case where it wasn’t fun, just a bit lower on the scare factor than it could have been (if you want to see how to go into overdrive on this, we visited a different haunt called Hotel of Horror, which went in the direction we’re hoping these guys go toward with over the top crazy scares). We’d suggest a bit more emphasis on the scare placements, which would really elevate things and make this a must do for haunt fans.
So, for the event overall, we liked it, and would recommend it as a leisurely haunted attraction–definitely good as an intro location. It fit solidly in the genre and would make a great family outing.