1835 Middletown Rd, Glen Mills, PA 19342
The famous Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is celebrating its 26th year of haunting, and has added additional scenes to its famous “Haunted Hayride”, and “West World Haunted Trail” walk-through attractions. Last year, the attraction brought back several famous scenes from its 26-year history including a return of the popular “Headless Horseman”. The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is one of the most popular Halloween attraction on the East Coast, and operates every evening from September 25 to November 1.
The “Haunted Hayride”, which already is one of the most technically impressive, animatronic heavy attractions you can visit this season has added several new massive scenes, movie-quality props and aggressive actors who pop out from all corners, jump on the wagon and create an action packed experience. The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is a world class attraction, especially for those haunt fans who are interested in amazing animatronic props, and special effects that stand out amongst many attractions. 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 by ourselves as we attended the attraction on a Sunday evening, 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.
The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride features three major haunted attractions, the “Haunted Hayride”, the “Westworld Haunted Trail” 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 centerpiece 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”, featuring an encounter with a massive fire-breathing dragon, to the opening theme from Batman 1989, and the attraction has added a multitude new scenes, and changes to its classic set pieces. From animatronic giant dinosaurs to dragons, the life-like movie quality animatronics are a sight to see, but we would like to see the attraction try to hide more of the robotic aspects of each large animatronic. At certain vantage points, it is easy to see the controls of each impressive animatronic. Despite this issue, each creature is magnificent in scope and unique to this attraction.
The “Haunted Hayride” has minimal 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 abandoned industrial scene to a revamped trip through the “Darkwood’s State Hospital”, the scenes are creatively designed, feature intricate details and soundtracks that are specific to each story told by the attraction.
The “Haunted Hayride” features iconic scenes such as a large-scale “toxic wasteland”, a recreation of the famous movie “Bates Motel” featuring Norman and his Mother, a trip down an abandoned “mineshaft”, an explosive “gas station”, an odd “tribal/dinosaur” themed scene and gritty trip through a “pig butcher shop/slaughter” among others are all memorable. We do miss some of the scenes/sets that have been removed including a vicious chainsaw scene set to the song “House of 1000 Corpses” by Rob Zombie. Also, the attraction once had an impressive medieval themed scene which we hope returns in future years. The set designs and nonstop action in each scene keep the thirty minute plus ride a constant treat for those who admire large-scale, interactive set designs and an onslaught of talented scare actors!
What makes the Bates Motel Haunted Hayride effective is that it incorporates large-scale set designs which misdirect guests from the talented actors who are more than capable of using aggressive scare tactics including touching, and grabbing guests. 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 the best hayrides you can visit this year. Be advised that this attraction relies heavily upon the use of massive animatronic creatures and the special FX enhanced show is a high budget event. The design of the hayride overall has not changed much from last year but the additions and enhancements made to the attraction continue to make it a must visit experience.
This year the “Haunted Hayride” has brought back some familiar scenes/actors from previous years, including flying actors in the asylum scene and a climax featuring the infamous headless horseman. Please be advised however, that the attraction does pack the hayride and depending on the evening 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
Westworld Haunted Trail
The “Westworld Haunted Trail/Corn Maze”, is a trail through cornstalks featuring different scenes, buildings and sets have also undergone several changes for the haunt season. The opening trip through a lengthy “tunnel” built fear and effectively hid scare actors who appeared from the pitch black. While not particularly scary, the trail incorporates quality set designs, featuring, and actors who are quick to interact and utilizing improvisation to entertain guests. From a dark mature burial scene, a twisted carnival, disgusting insect/spider house, to an almost demonic 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 buildings and scenes found along the trail are entertaining, detailed and feature talented scare actors we still wish they would add additional jump scares and actors throughout the cornstalks. Additional scares to these walking portions 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. We have never witnessed such a gory use of animatronics, from smashing heads spewing blood to the creative use of computer generated images the technology implemented into the “Bates Motel” enhances the vintage experience. We were lucky to walk-through this attraction alone and got a chance to see the incredible level of detail placed in each corridor and each room. The automated scenes and animatronics induce effective startle scares, along with talented scare actors which again are far more hands-on and interactive than previous years. Some of the scenes are downright gruesome. From blood-soaked bathrooms to a hanging body scene the “Bates Motel” attraction is brutal and artistically impressive. In previous seasons, we walked through the attraction in large groups which hindered the overall experience. In a small group environment, the scares and details generated are heightened and we were truly able to appreciate the quality of this attraction.
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 man-eating Venus flytraps in the “greenhouse” to a creepy climax featuring scare actors who made us quite uncomfortable the design of the motel continues to take 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 even longer and continue to add mature scenes and details.
The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride continues to provide a familiar but entertaining show, adding in new sets, additional actors and a level of brutality not seen in many haunted attractions. The overall quality and level of design of the three attractions create a memorable experience that has made the attraction one of our yearly visits. We recommend you make the trip to visit this attraction during the 2016 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. “Bates Motel” attraction features interactive animatronic props, full contact actors, and brutal scenes.
Cons: Potentially long lines, walk-through attractions at times more entertaining than “scary”. We hope the attraction makes more large-scale additions next season and continues to up its aggression level. Some scenes in walk-through attractions could use more actors to coincide with interactive animatronics