Something that you might not expect is that Dorney Park Haunt in Allentown, Pennsylvania brings it. Hard. I certainly didn’t expect it. Now I know. This year Dorney Park Haunt features 7 haunted attractions with 6 of them having a secret room that is available to Fright Lane VIP customers only. When you buy this option you get a keepsake Skeleton Key:
There is also an extra haunted attraction available only to Fright Lane VIP customers bringing the total attraction count to 8. In addition to that there are 3 scarezones.
Each one is more intense and complete than you would expect from a theme park. In an era where many large theme parks have experimented with cutting scarezones down it’s remarkable that Dorney Park would have scarezones that are so complete that they could almost be mini haunted houses themselves.
This Halloween event features 7 haunted houses and 3 scarezones. Let’s break it downstarting with the returning haunted attractions.
The Haunted Houses:
Cornstalkers: This maze takes place outdoors and is much like a corn maze haunt that you may have experienced at a farm. You should wait until it is dark to do it. The difference is that they built it up in the park without having a farm and cornfield to start with. We felt that this attraction was well done and enjoyable. It seemed longer than last year. The Skeleton Key / Fright Lane VIP Room in this one is physically demanding. Make sure you wear clothes that are suitable for crawling around in the yard. If you have bad knees you may need to ask them to help you get past the secret room in this one. The music they played during this one was not bad by any means but I’m not sure how well it fit the atmosphere. All in all an enjoyable maze.
Mansion House Hotel: I believe that this one is the one they are most proud of and has been the most popular. It’s also the one that you eat dinner in if you buy the Mansion House Meal. The actors are trained on specific skits and storyline but you may miss a lot of that if you don’t get the meal package. I don’t think I’d personally do Dorney Park Haunt any other way than with Mansion house Meal – it was that good. They built up a haunted mansion of rooms furnished with spooky furniture that sometimes moves. Note that not all of this haunt is enclosed so you should wait until dark to do this one. The secret room in here was a lot of fun. We enjoyed it!
The Asylum: This one was pretty brutal in a good way. This is your standard insane asylum with patients running wild, strobes, and psychedelic imagery. At the end there is a giant psychedelic barrel – one of my favorite classic haunt tricks dating from the early 1900s. They added a significant amount of pathways to this which I felt improved the experience from last year. This maze is fully enclosed so you do not have to wait until dark to do it for the best effect.
Desolation: This partially enclosed and partially exposed to the outdoors maze is actually the weakest offering of Dorney Park Haunt. The theme is military experiments gone wrong. We rarely find military haunted houses to be very awesome. They did make improvements from last year but the true thing that made this enjoyable is the Fright Lane / VIP secret room.
Blood Shed: This is another surprisingly well-executed haunt. This is your standard hillbilly-themed walk through. They have water effects in here with is not something you would normally see in this type of haunt. They paid a surprising amount of detail to it.
Grave Walkers: This one is probably my personal favorite because of the Fright Lane VIP secret room in it. I won’t spoil why. You start out able to freely roam in a graveyard for as long as you like with zombies. Then there is a haunted house section that is more linear. I can’t say enough that you should get Fright Lane VIP for the secret rooms in each attraction.
NEW: Chamber of Horrors: This is a wax museum haunted house that is really creepy. This is possibly their best haunted attraction in the park. We were told that they got a lot of the props from an actual wax museum that was closing. There is no secret room in this attraction but it is the attraction that doesn’t need one to be great.
NEW: Blackout: This is a pitch black haunted attraction. You hold a rope and go through together .There is enough light to not have bad bottlenecks. It’s a well-known fact (to us at least) that when you go purely pitch black it;s bad for traffic flow. Dimly lit is the way to go and that’s now they did it here. The actors were pretty hilarious in here which made it a surprising win. I’d expect something far less for an attraction that only VIP folks get but they really made it worth it.
Age of Darkness: This is a medieval torture scarezone with a giant dragon.
Head Hunters: This is a tribal/islander/head shrinker=themed area.
Cut Throat Island: Pirates. of course. Dorney built some pretty large pirate ships that makes this area no slouch in the awesome department.
NEW: CarnEVIL: Clowns! You get the idea.
I found Dorney Park Haunt’s Haunted Houses and scarezones to be above par for a theme park Halloween event. The intensity level is higher than at most theme park haunts and sure to please most members of the family. Many people define “family-friendly” as meaning “just for kids”. I define it as being appropriate for most members of the family meaning Tweens and up who like scary stuff will enjoy these. Dorney Park recommends these attractions for ages 13 and up. We are over 30 and we had a blast.
Dorney Park Haunt is $30.99 in September and $35.99 from October through November 2nd. The Fright Lane VIP pass that includes a keepsake metal Skeleton Key that gets you access to the secret rooms is an additional $35.00. I recommend that if you do Dorney Park Haunt that you get this option even on slow nights. If you don’t get VIP I feel like you’d be only seeing a snippet of what they are offering and you’d be experiencing a lower intensity level.
Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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