1835 Middletown Rd, Glen Mills, PA 19342
The famous Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. For its anniversary, Bates Motel has expanded and enhanced its “Haunted Hayride” and “Haunted Corn Maze” attractions. The attraction has also brought back several formal scenes/themes which were previously featured, such as the return of the “Headless Horseman”. The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is one of the most popular Halloween attraction on the East Coast, which operates every evening from September 25 to November 1.
We had the opportunity to attend the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayrides’ Preview Night and quickly discovered that they have made some major changes and improvements for the 2015 season. The “Haunted Hayride”, which already is one of the most impressive attractions you can visit this season has added several new massive scenes, movie-quality animatronics and aggressive actors who pop out from all corners in an action packed experience. The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is a world class attraction and a must visit this year. Please be advised that your experience may depend on the size of the crowd. We were able to go through the two walk-through attractions in small groups which allowed for us to see each scene in its entirety. In previous years, due to massive crowds this was a minor issue, and it is advised you attend the attraction on a weekday night or upgrade to a VIP pass. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride has improved greatly over the past two years, and in our opinion this has been their strongest effort in the past three years. The attraction is one of the most popular in the country and crowds will continue to grow as the haunt season progresses
The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride features three major haunted attractions, the “Haunted Hayride”, the “Haunted Corn Maze” and “Bates Motel” indoor walk-through. While waiting for each attraction guests can visit concession stands, a “coffin” ride, and purchase merchandise.
The “Haunted Hayride” is the center piece of the Bates Motel attraction and is an action packed experience featuring some of the most impressive set designs, and large-scale animatronic props in the industry. The mood is set as the wagon enters a familiar “Dragon’s mouth” to the opening theme from Batman 1989, but the attraction has added a multitude of new scenes, and enhanced details this year. From animatronic giant dinosaurs, to dragons, the life-like movie quality animatronics are a sight to see. The Haunted Hayride has little downtime, as each scene follows another and this constantly adds to the suspense and surprises found in each scene. Guests have limited time to adjust to an onslaught of intense actors. The 75 plus actors of the Haunted Hayride aggressively touch, grab and are hidden effectively throughout the trail. The scenes and sets themselves are of the highest quality, featuring pyrotechnic displays, and diverse themes which captivate guests. From a brand new “toxic waste dump scene” to a trip down an abandoned “mine shaft”, it is hard not to be impressed by the design of this attraction.
What makes the Bates Motel Haunted Hayride so effective is that it incorporates large-scale set designs which misdirect guests from the talented actors who really upped their game this year. From insane chainsaw yielding maniacs to monsters who blend in with the massive animatronic monsters this hayride attraction has again taken its place as one of, if not the best you can visit this year. This year the “Haunted Hayride” has brought back some familiar scenes/actors from previous years, including flying actors and the infamous headless horseman. The “Haunted Hayride” was our favorite attraction at Bates Motel and hopefully they continue their trend of improving and changing the attraction each year! Please be advised however, that the attraction does pack the hayride and place guests in the middle of the wagon. This practice does prevent actors from interacting with guests, and we believe hurts the overall experience if you are unlucky to be placed in the middle. Hopefully the attraction takes this into consideration and only allows individuals who want to sit in the center to do so.
Haunted Corn Maze
The “Haunted Corn Maze”, which in reality is a trail through cornstalks featuring different scenes, buildings and sets has also undergone several changes for the 2015 haunt season. While not particularly scary, the trail incorporates quality set designs, featuring gory imagery, and actors who are quick to interact and utilizing improvisation to entertain guests. Last year we were unable to get a feel for this attraction as line back-up issues hurt several scenes. However, this year the staff did a far better job at managing lines and we were able to interact with the insane actors found throughout the diverse scenes along the trail. From a carnival theme, to a butcher’s workshop, the actors are well hidden and utilize the impressive props/designs to generate scares and a few laughs. Animatronic creatures, evil clowns, and a visit to a Wild West era saloon are featured along this haunted trail. While the attraction has added several new scenes this year, we still think it would be best to hide some more actors in the actual corn maze. Some actors are hidden throughout the cornstalks but a few more surprises in between sets would add to the experience.
The “Bates Motel” indoor haunted attraction is a classical haunted walk-through which incorporates tight spaces, use of darkness, fog and lighting to effectively hide actors who have taken on a new level of intensity this year. Actors reach down and grasp at unsuspecting guests from all angles, gory animatronics distract and the use of tight spaces prevent any sense of downtime. Each corridor of this haunted hotel features interactive animatronic props some of which are rather gruesome. From a room filled with hanging body bags, to a person smashing their head against glass, the design of the motel is taking on a more mature theme. The use of animatronics and detailed scenery again effectively hides actors who are aggressive in their approach at scaring guests. The Bates Motel indoor walk-through, while in some instances showing its age, is unique in its design and ability to hide actors and scares in the most unexpected of places. Hopefully in the future this attraction will find a way to become longer, and continue to add mature scenes and details.
The Final Word
The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is celebrating its 25th anniversary by enhancing all aspects of their three attractions. Each attraction is extremely detailed, features some of the best actors, and massive props to provide for a must see spectacle. The quality of the attraction has undergone a renewed focus on providing a scary yet entertaining show, adding in new sets, additional actors and a level of maturity not witnessed in our previous visits. We recommend you make the trip to visit this attraction during the 2015 haunt season and again strongly suggest you visit on a weekday or Sunday night to get the up close and personal experience which may not be possible on a more crowded evening.
Pros: Incredible Hayride, Massive set pieces, animatronics and aggressive actors, attraction caters to haunt fans of diverse interests and maturity levels,
Cons: Potentially long lines, walk-through attractions at times more entertaining than “scary”
Should you attend in 2015? Yes! This is the best the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride has been in several years. They have upped their game for the 2015 season and we suggest you visit early!
Categories: Haunted Attraction Reviews