Halloween Haunt returns to Dorney Park with new steel-themed maze
- Dorney Park's Halloween Haunt has a new maze called The Ghost In The Machine
- It features the backstory of the upcoming Iron Menace roller coaster, which is scheduled to open for Dorney's 2024 season
- Dorney's Halloween Haunt will run until Oct. 28.
SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. — Long lines haunted the new maze of Dorney Park's Halloween Haunt on Friday night, as people left the attraction both joyous and terrified.
Dorney held a media night Friday to show off the attraction.
The maze, called The Ghost In The Machine, resembles an abandoned steel mill that is haunted by its past workers.
It presents the backstory of the upcoming Iron Menace roller coaster, which pays homage to the Lehigh Valley's industrial heritage. The coaster is scheduled to open for Dorney's 2024 season.
Dorney's Halloween Haunt features seven themed mazes, live entertainment and four “scare zones” in which ghoulishly costumed actors try to frighten visitors.
Returning this year are mazes Roadside Stop & Chop, Necropolis, Tourist Trap, Blackout, Trick or Treat and Blood on the Bayou.
The Haunt also has a new show, “Conjure the Night,” with performers singing and dancing along to pop hits while acting out a conflict between different forces of evil.
Dorney's Halloween Haunt will run from 6 to 11 p.m. on select nights until Oct. 28.
The Ghost in the Machine
The backstory behind Iron Menace features a fictional greedy steel baron from the 1900s, Hiram S. McTavish.
The story goes that he mistreated his workers, and then mysteriously disappeared, leaving the steel mill to rust and crumble.
In the new maze, visitors explore what is left of the building, which has since been haunted by its past workers.
Each part of the maze showcases a different part of a steel mill, from the administration to the production of steel.
Dorney Public Relations and Communications Manager Ryan Eldredge said the design was based on steel mills in the 1930s.
Hiram McTavish shows up at several parts of the maze, admonishing guests to work harder. The ghostly former steelworkers jump out at visitors and say they won't be able to leave.
"The idea is they were so unsettled by the experience that once they had passed on, they really have never let go of that negative experience. And so their negative energy kind of resides here, so it's sort of like a residual haunting."Dorney Public Relations and Communications Manager Ryan Eldredge
Eldredge said the former workers don't necessarily represent people who died at the steel mill.
"The idea is they were so unsettled by the experience that once they had passed on, they really have never let go of that negative experience," Eldredge said.
"And so their negative energy kind of resides here, so it's sort of like a residual haunting."
Representing Iron Menace
Cindy Wood of New Jersey was among the people who went through the maze Friday. She said she preferred Enigma, the maze that was previously at that location, but liked that the maze continued outside of the building.
"I thought it was actually over, but it kept going," Wood said. "So that part was neat."
Wood said she didn't know the maze was based on the upcoming roller coaster, but liked that it was steel-themed.
"I think that makes by the fact that it's called Iron Menace, especially that menace part, even a much better name."YouTuber Taylor Hale
Taylor Hale runs a YouTube channel that deals with her visiting parks, such as Dorney, owned by Cedar Fair. She said this was her favorite maze out of the ones she's visited.
Hale said she likes that Iron Menace will be story-driven, which is a first for the park, and that the maze fleshes out the backstory.
The maze "definitely homes in on that, like, paranormal vibe, especially with all the actors having some kind of gore going on with them, so McTavish was not doing good things," Hale said.
"I think that makes by the fact that it's called Iron Menace, especially that menace part, even a much better name."
Iron Menace is meant to represent a massive steel halter, and the 95-degree drop at the beginning simulates getting dumped into a blast furnace.
The new ride will be the park's first story-driven roller coaster. Eldredge said the area surrounding it will be decorated to make visitors as if they are urban explorers walking through a steel yard, and the façade of the maze will be part of the ride's entrance.