Waldorf Estate of Fear features two “core” haunted attractions this season, “The City of Horrors” and “Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel,” along with escape rooms and a small midway area. A more “regional” haunted attraction, the Waldorf Estate of Fear relies heavily on classical “scare tactics” and emphasis on quality acting over large budget animatronics and special effects. A more authentic approach to scaring, each of the two attractions is engaging and allows each actor and actress to shine. Small-scale haunted attractions that embrace creativity and display a passion for the season are few and far between, and the Waldorf Estate of Fear clearly establishes itself as an authentic experience that is designed to scare. Staff and management have enacted numerous pandemic mitigation and sanitary strategies to ensure guests, staff, and performer safety.
Furthermore, due to the pandemic, the “haunted hayride” attraction was incorporated into an outdoor trail, “The City of Horrors.” Despite these changes and safety precautions, the show itself is enjoyable, and times create genuine fear. Featuring some of the strongest “acting” in ANY haunted attraction, the Waldorf Estate of Fear is an authentic, realistic haunted attraction that focuses on the human element an in creating its scares. We enjoyed our visit to this “smaller” attraction that displays a passion for the performance art associated with the Halloween season and love for iconic Horror cinema!
The City of Horrors
“The City of Horrors” is an outdoor walking trail replacing a zombie attraction and hayride from past seasons. The first half of this extensive walk-through outdoor trail is essentially a junkyard that does have some creative set designs (numerous crushed cars, abandoned shacks, RVs, etc.) but to be blunt starts off quite dull and serves as an extension to the core of the attraction rather than anything worth noting. Initially, we thought that this “junkyard/zombie infestation” experience was going to be the entire attraction, as maybe three or four “zombies” growled, stumbled, shook objects, rustled with a cage of empty cans, and even would “fall” from time to time in bizarre fashion. It was a confusing start, and while the zombies “tried” to act their part, it was hard not to laugh at times at this initial section of the outdoor trail.
However, once we approached a large field of corn, the attraction completely changed. We have always appreciated those attractions that incorporate cornfields, as it brings a “traditional” sense that embraces the Halloween season. What was once the “hayride” attraction has been transformed into a unique walk-through event that brings to life iconic “movie scenes” and characters. Starting off with an impressive recreation of “Freddy Kruger’s” basement dungeon, each scene does a stable job at immersing the visitor into each scene. Transforming a hayride into a large-scale outdoor walk-through attraction is a challenge due to the size and scope of each set design, and Waldorf Estate of Fear did a great job at making each scene come to life on a smaller scale. Do not expect a “big-budget” experience, as every scene is custom made, making the attraction unique in presentation. Some of the sets/scenes are stronger than others, which is the case practically at any attraction, and we found that the recreation of the iconic “dinner scene” from 1974’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and tribute to “Stephen King’s “It”” to be incredibly authentic to their source material. Quality acting by all performers was a strong point, and some of the scenes are absolutely insane. For example, in a somewhat surreal scene, after following “Georgie” into a sewer lead us to the den of “It” who exploded on the scene, “Freddy Krueger” slashed a helpless “Nancy,,” “Jason” stalked campers at “Crystal Lake” and a hulking “Leatherface” danced with his “saw” as we escaped his barn of terror. Leaving thoroughly impressed, “The City of Horrors” is a solid outdoor walk-through attraction that relies heavily on the performances of each scare actor and is an enjoyable tribute to the icons of horror cinema
Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel
The “Waldorf Hotel” is an authentic, classical haunted house that is one of the most interactive, story-driven attractions that utilize fantastic actors, diversity in scenes, and a constant build-up to a “finale” that really surprised us in many ways. The attraction itself is an old-hotel, with numerous floors of unique scenes generally expected in haunted attractions. What stands out in this attraction, however, is the performance quality of the scare actors/actresses that build tension and create genuine scares inside an attraction that should not be overlooked. A creepy “bellhop” violently attacks a helpless bartender, a “maid” ensures the grounds of the hotel are “clean.” A psychotic, massive “cook” with multiple personalities fights with the inner demons driving him to serve his “master” or allow guests to “escape” as this attraction features some of the most entertaining “acting” of any haunted attraction.
The characters you will encounter are strange, unusual, and masterful at creating a cohesive, engaging story within the haunt. “Waldorf Hotel” is designed to build from scene to scene, increasing tension and terror from start to spectacular finish. As one makes their way through a mini-psychedelic funhouse nightmare, the insane clowns chased after groups as they ascended the stairs, shouting “Oliver” is going to get you,“Oliver” is going to kill you, etc. After encountering a possessed child, a “nun” led us into a demonic room of sacrifice, and we discovered “Oliver” in the attic. “Oliver” is a demented, scarred “child” who has abducted a helpless victim and thrashes at guests and creating absolute chaos. Just when you think escape from the “hotel” is over, a hulking chainsaw-yielding butcher awaits in frozen meat shed, ready to carve his next victim.
The entire experience is well refined, carefully planned, and constant action. Each room reveals new secrets, and actor performances shine as dark humor is intertwined with a disturbing level of creepiness. A classical, vintage haunted attraction, the “Waldorf Hotel” is interactive; it is designed to scare and is an authentic nightmare set inside a “real” environment. The “Waldorf Hotel” doesn’t feature cutting edge special effects, massive animatronics; it relies on a creepy, disturbing atmosphere, a “realness” that is custom-designed, and rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways that build tension, create misdirection and allow for the “actors” to breathe life and energy into the entire attraction.
Waldorf Estate of Fear is not your typical haunted attraction; it is a genuine experience that is driven by quality (sometimes insane) scare-acting and custom-built to embrace and celebrate the season. Not enough can be stressed about the quality of performances in this relatively regional attraction, from the diseased “bellhop,” to movie-quality renditions of iconic horror villains such as “Jason and Freddy,” there is a distinct passion for performance and commitment to creating fear that sometimes is forgotten by larger-scale “big-budget” attractions. We recommend you visit this unique attraction, as very few have such a sense of reality juxtaposed with nonstop action and horror entertainment!