All-American Thrills Visits Dorney Park’s BOO!Blast, and Halloween Haunt
Scroll down to read the article from All-American Thrills' AWESOME day at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom!
On Sunday, Oct 7, 2012, All-American Thrills traveled to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, meeting Ms. Carrie Basta, Communications Manager. This is my first blog report for All-American Thrills and the first time I've met a theme park executive. I was very impressed with her professionalism, passion for her role, and the amazing operations at the park, even though the weather was less than ideal.
Our day started with experiencing the park.
We rode Stinger, Possessed, Hydra, Talon, Steel Force, Thunderhawk, Wild Mouse, Demon Drop, Meteor, and Dominator. Typical of a Cedar Fair property, the cleanliness of the park was impeccable, with numerous Dorney Park logoed trash cans throughout the park in consumer convenient locations. Ride operations were very impressive, efficient, and friendly, with practically nonexistent wait times. From what I’ve heard, usually, prior to 5pm there are no wait times, but once Haunt starts, the wait times increase drastically. Clearly arriving before 5 will give you the best value. Since the weather was slightly rainy, there were no lines for any attractions, even when Haunt began.
Of course I had my personal favorites. Their floorless coaster Hydra, with the jojo roll (aka heartline roll) exiting the station and before the lift was very unique. It really surprised me how fun this one element is, and a good preparation for the thrills after the first drop. Talon, the park’s inverted coaster is one of the smoothest and quietest I’ve ever been on, with the tight low to the ground helixes providing an extra thrill. Of course the classic hyper coaster Steel Force, which stands 205 feet tall and built in 1997, is a must ride. The ride provides amazing airtime, travels close to the entire length of the park, and should be on every coaster enthusiasts' bucket list. On a smaller scale, but just as thrilling, is the classic wooden coaster Thunderhawk, which offers some surprising airtime given its size. Our ride was smooth and fast, and well worth experiencing first hand. Dorney also has a classic Wild Mouse featuring sharp, tight turns, camelback hills, and 4-person cars. The variety of coaster thrills Dorney offers is broad and thrilling, appealing to every member of the family.
At 5:45 PM, Carrie gave us a 45 minute personal interview within one of the park’s conference rooms. We greatly appreciate the time she took out of her busy day to educate us and provide insight on how the park puts together their Haunt.
The insight Carrie provided was enlightening. We learned during our discussion that the park goes through about 49 gallons of “fog juice” in one night !! When hiring actors for the Haunt, they look for people with a theatrical interest as well as those that like to scare people. Makeup is done from 3PM to 7PM. Since the park doesn’t want all the actors to look the same, they rotate makeup artist for each Haunt. During this time the actors are allowed a break, and rehearse their role to “get into character.” Obviously the actors all need to be in place before 7, and are allowed a break before their shift ends at Midnight. NOW, one thing you might not know,
that the MOST USED item during Haunt, is surprisingly, BABY WIPES! That's right, baby wipes. Those are used to clean the make up off the over 400 actors! WOW!
Regarding operations, we learned that originally Boo Blast and Haunt ran consecutively, but having “adult” monsters walking around with the kids wasn't working well . Dorney smartly decided to separate the two events, having Boo Blast from 12 Noon to 5 PM.
If you have kids, Boo Blast is a MUST ! What a great event for the “younger” members of your family. It features a Howl-O-Fest Cove, with bale mazes, pumpkin painting, mask making, and new for 2012- a Petting Zoo! During our time in the park, we saw many happy smiling faces and it’s an ideal event for families with kids of all ages. Dorney Park really sets themselves apart from all the local competition with this wonderful event.
I know many of you are most interested in the “major” thrill haunts for the more daring members of your family, and Dorney certainly delivers. As an aside, we did learn that Dorney does have bag checks available because it’s late, dark, not well lit, and their overriding priority is to make their guests feel safe. Some of the Haunts do have mature content, so they are very well labeled. The park knows its guests all mature differently and pass the responsibility on to the adults in the group to best decide what’s best for each individual family member. There are no restrictions with the Haunts below, so parents and guardians should act responsibly. Dorney Park advises that children under 13 do not go through the Haunts, however, that is just a general recommendation.
The park does have a Haunt Committee of 6 to 8 people which decides on the ideas and creative elements for each Haunt, and constantly review the attractions based on their first hand experiences. They are most pleased with “The Asylum”, followed by “Cornstalkers”, with “Desolation being very impactful, and “Mansion House Hotel” being detailed oriented and “creepy”.
Spoiler Alert - Below is a detailed description of the horrifying Haunts we experienced. All-American Thrills highly recommends the entire family experience of Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. If you want to be completely surprised - you may just want to go and experience everything the first chance you get.
This was my first time at a Halloween attraction, and I was very scared by everything, even though I love horror movies. Actors will scream in your ears, jump out at you from hidden corners, follow you around the attraction, and try to talk to you. As I mentioned above, before 5PM you can get your kid’s face painted, trick-or-treat, pet animals, and much more at Boo Blast, which closes at 5.
The Haunts listed below start at 7PM and here are general overviews of each:
Cornstalkers’ theme is passing through a cornfield that happens to be full of ghosts. It’s very dark, foggy, and narrow, with actors hiding in the cornstalks. One thing we learned from Carrie was that the cornstalks are sprayed with flame-retardant so they won't catch on fire. If you have claustrophobia, proceed with caution, because one scare element of this attraction was the uncertainty of who exactly was with you in that narrow path. If you really want to get scared, check out Cornstalkers. Two Thumbs Up !!
Death Trap’s theme is that of a serial killer’s house, where he tortures his innocent victims. Dorney Park has marked this attraction as having mature content due to the nature of the scenario, with some of the props and acts not being suitable for younger kids. Going through the attraction, you witness murders! Actors are dressed as both murderers, and their victims. Check out Death Trap if you’re into horror that isn’t necessarily supernatural.
Desolation’s setup is that a nuclear accident took place in a small town. The government has covered it up and taken control of the town, which of course affects the townspeople in various ways. The government is also performing experiments on the townspeople too, so look out for the different experiments! Desolation is Dorney’s new event for 2012, and is a Haunt that was scary partly because the situation isn’t all that implausible.
Mansion House Hotel:
The theme of Mansion House Hotel is that you’re staying at a haunted hotel. They don’t have your room ready yet, so while you're waiting, you’re invited to explore the area, which is overrun with all sorts of creatures. The hotel plays on Solomon Dorney’s Mansion House Hotel & Restaurant, which used to be in the park’s center. In Mansion House Hotel, there isn’t a set path, and you can explore each room longer than in other Haunts. The attention to the detail in each room is amazing, and you should definitely check out this attraction.
Psycho Circus was the first Haunt that we experienced, and was a good start to our Haunt tour. The premise is that you’re visiting a circus, which turns out to be terrifying, and not just because of the clowns. I love carnival music, and music is a great part of this attraction. The colors were a really cool element of Psycho Circus, because unlike the dark greys and reds of other Haunts, this attraction has neon rainbow colors everywhere. If you want to intensify your fear of clowns, go to the Psycho Circus!!
The Asylum is Dorney’s oldest Haunt, and its most popular. The Asylum’s premise, obviously, is that you are going to an asylum. The inmates are on the loose, and terrorizing the asylum. When you enter, you will be debriefed on the rules of the Asylum: don’t make eye contact with any of the patients, and do not smile under any circumstances. Some inmates may even follow you around. The Asylum was one of the best Haunts at Dorney Park, so definitely check this out when you visit the park.
We did not get to experience Grave Walkers, or Blood Shed. Grave Walkers was closed due to the rain, and, because the park closed early due to the rain and low crowd, we didn't have time to go through Blood Shed. From what we've heard, both are GREAT Haunts that are, like all the others, worth checking out at Dorney Park!
We cannot thank Carrie enough for her time last week and allowing All-American Thrills to share our experience with our readers. Learning some of the behind the scenes activity was very educational and we recommend families of all ages checking out this world-class park and experience firsthand The Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom.
Thanks again, Carrie!!
If YOU want more information on this AMAZING event (and I'm sure you do!!), go to http://Dorneypark.com/Haunt2012
Written by McKenzie Richards, Brandon Strouphauer, and Thomas Grady.