What’s the best haunted house attraction at a theme park?

Unless it’s Halloween, few theme parks feature a haunted house among their attractions.

ghost figure in haunted house attractionTheme parks like Universal (Orlando, Florida) stage haunted houses and scary locations for their Halloween “Horror Nights.”

They can be great if you’re looking for “a good scare.” But, they’re usually more grisly than authentic.

That’s why Disney’s Haunted Mansion is one of the world’s most popular haunted house attractions.

I like the classic style of Gracey Mansion (the real name of the first Haunted Mansion attraction) at Disneyland.

For size and grandeur, the Haunted Mansion at Disney World (Florida) is in a class of its own.  Disney constantly improve and expand the decor, too. I’m always impressed.

If you’re a Haunted Mansion enthusiast, be sure to see the 1963 movie, The Haunting. It inspired many elements you’ll see in Disney’s Haunted Mansion attractions.

For fans of “Hidden Mickeys” at Disney theme parks, learn their locations before you visit the Haunted Mansion.

The Haunted Mansion is wall-to-wall images of ghosts and haunted places. Prepare to be overwhelmed during a first visit.

Also, don’t overlook the first-ever “Hidden Donald.” It’s also at the Haunted Mansion.

Now and then, a theme park tries to introduce a good, haunted house attraction. The balance between “fun” and “scary” is a tricky one, and few attractions can match what Disney has achieved.

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Why do some haunted houses require waivers?

haunted? monasterySome haunted sites require waivers due to dangerous areas that visitors must avoid.

The fact is, some ghost enthusiasts take risks anyway. A waiver protects the site owners from lawsuit.

Usually, waivers are designed to create a scarier atmosphere. It’s simply good theater. Consider the waiver and posted warning signs part of the set dressing. It’s performance art.

Fiona's adviceBut… whether they’re “set dressing” or not, don’t ignore those signs. They might just be legitimate.

Haunted houses can be very old, and old houses can have loose or weak floorboards, narrow corridors, and other potential hazards.

Sometimes, liability insurance requires waivers. When you are investigating in the dark, it’s easy to bump into something, trip over a loose carpet, or lose your footing on stairs.

The same thing could happen if you’re wandering around an unfamiliar not-haunted house in the dark.

Take precautions, whether you’re asked to sign a waiver or not. If you see someone stumble on uneven stairs, tread carefully. Old houses and other haunts can present risks like that. That’s expected.

However, if you’re ever hurt at a “haunted” site due to the owner’s obvious negligence, see an attorney.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve signed a waiver. There’s a big difference between an accident, and poor site maintenance.

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How much does it cost to go into real haunted houses?

Some genuinely haunted houses — especially haunted hotels, museums, and B&Bs — charge admission.

Note: This is different from commercial, theatrical “haunted houses” that are set up at Halloween.

In this article, I’m talking about sites that seem to be haunted by actual ghosts and paranormal activity.

theatre curtain - is that site really haunted?If you’re simply touring a haunted house, the admission price should be consistent with local museums.

Read online reviews before spending a cent.

Some haunted houses charge more for overnights and ghost hunting events, and similar experiences that provide extra value.

If you’re not promised extra value* as part of your visit, be sure you’re comfortable with the price of admission.

Is it a ghost hunting event?

If so, ticket prices should reflect these features:
– The quality of the guest speakers or investigators.
– Food and entertainment.
– How small or exclusive the event is. That is, will you be elbow-to-elbow with beeping EMF meters and swinging dowsing rods? Or, will you be able to conduct research, undistracted, with a small group of people?
– How much individual attention you can expect from the professional ghost hunters.

Is it a simple overnight vigil?

The price should match moderately priced hotels in that same area.

Of course, if the vigil includes a tour and a series of specific experiments — that can produce startling results — you may expect to pay more.

Fiona's adviceIn general, compare the price of any haunted house visit with any similar hotel, museum, or historical home that doesn’t have ghosts.

If admission is considerably higher, be sure you’re getting a good value. Ask ghost hunting friends and read reviews. Weigh them against other, similar haunts you can visit, and your budget.

*No genuinely haunted house can (or should) claim that you’ll have a paranormal encounter. If they are… be skeptical. It might be mere entertainment, not the real thing.

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