309 Port Penn Road, Middletown, DE 19709View All Details
Paid Parking, Restrooms On-Site, Handicap Accessible, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Optional Games/Midway, Special Events, You will NOT be touched, Movie Characters, Original Characters, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction
Team Hallowoosh reviewed this attraction on September 30, 2016.
Final Score: 9.3
This year marks number 20 for Frightland and they have become quite experienced in crafting frightening scenes that fit their elaborate story. This place is a haunt haven for any lover of the haunted house industry. You can easily spend three to four hours at Frightland and that’s without the benefit of their midway entertainment. Eight attractions, yes you read that right Eight, span over this huge 350 acre farm property. Four insane haunted houses packed with the craziest of the crazy, three outdoor walkthroughs all completely different in theme and style and a mile long hayride through the woods that was one of the best I have ever seen. This is a rarity to find a haunt of this size with this many actors and separate attractions all devoted to the spirit that makes Frightland a stand out attraction.
There are literally hundreds of cast members on the premises to ensure your visit is scary good. The characters at the entry points of each attraction are exceptional at setting the tone for a creepy experience. Once you make it into the attraction, if you get that far, the ghouls and zombies are lurking around every corner just waiting to mess with your mind. They seem to reset just in time to frighten all who walk through their territory. The enthusiasm and teamwork amongst the cast is phenomenal. They all played off of each other very well and you could feel the pride they have for each and every scare. My first words to the directors when I exited the last attraction were, “they are going psycho in there!” Not once did one of them break character the entire time. We asked the general manager, Debbie, how she motivates such an enormous cast to get so into their characters and she explains that each attraction has a coach to review the rules and inspire the actors for the best performance they can give. But the real good stuff comes from the actor’s creative freedom!
The costumes are all appropriate for the scenes with fine attention to detail. The characters at the entry points of each attraction were made up and dressed with the most detail. Outside the zombie prison for example, is a character whose mouth is covered in bloodied barbed wire, a cringe-worthy sight to see. The hayride is loaded with almost every scene you can think of. The rednecks, clowns, medieval castles, even Ancient Egypt plays a role in this thirty minute ride. All costumes and masks fit the bill every time no matter what the challenge may be. I cannot recall seeing any masks. The makeup department does a fantastic job on all of their actors. Everyone was dressed and painted to look exactly the part of their attraction’s theme. There was never any mistaking who was part of what. I loved the change up from the regular spooks when we entered the Ghost Town and its Wild West theme.
Customer Service: 9
General manager, Debbie “Fright Mom” Hall, is the voice behind the scenes who will bend over backwards to make sure your experience is the best it can be. You get the sense that she is very experienced at what she does and able to resolve any conflicts that may arise. She has an extensive background working with large crowds of youth volunteers and you can clearly see her talent with event management. She is the last to leave each night and makes sure the events stay open long enough for everyone to experience the fun. Announcements are made well in advance of closing each attraction so you don’t miss a beat. Ticket booths do close on the earlier side (usually by 9pm) to make sure that there is time to get everyone through, so getting there early is for the best. Annually, Frightland pushes through roughly 30,000 victims and they are open for 18 nights during the season. 30,000 divided by 18 is 1,666.666 … they did that on purpose. There is great food and rides and games all over their midway.
Frightland strikes the perfect balance of creepy and festival-like fun. Entertainment is a prime focus, and they do it well. Arguably there may even be too much to experience in just one night, but they would die to have you come back if you escape too soon. Idalia Manor was unlike any haunted house I have ever been in before. Typically a haunted house setting gives you dark colored walls with some wear and tear to the wall paper. Unlike the general haunted house Idalia Manor is actually bright in color. They did not need to hide in the darkness to give you your money’s worth. White walls with blood thrown all over the place and exceptional attention to details make you think you may actually be in a real house. The façade of the house has been redone for this year and it is the first thing that stands out when entering the park. It truly does look like an actual house. The Barn is a legitimate, once-functioning barn with real barn boards and thick heavy walls. I had to joke about the barn being one of the only haunts that doesn’t worry about actors damaging the sets. The Ravenwood cemetery is filled with authentic gravestones and ancient stone caskets for that extra bit of eeriness. The lines before the indoor attractions are housed and equipped with flat screen tvs to entertain the masses with frightening video scenes and information about the attractions as they eagerly wait to get in. When you are not in line for one of the 8 attractions, you can enjoy amusement rides, festival food trucks and special events.
Special Effects: 8.9
The owners at Frightland waste no time preparing for the season. Each year they commit themselves to try to outdo sets from years before. Rather than investing money on an abundance of advertising, they invest in talented actors and great sets. Scattered throughout the walkthrough areas are reasonable special effects to fit the scenes. The hayride is full of excitement you’ll not want to miss. To the side of the Zombie Prison there is a truck full of moving zombies that you fear will escape as the back of the truck becomes unhinged. Be prepared to enter a world of special effects in the Zombie Prison. Every turn into a new room is met with a special unique way to make you fall to your knees in fear.
The story that drives the 8 haunted attractions on the property is that of Dr. Thaddeus Idalia, a well-respected doctor in town who was driven insane after finding his daughter hanging in their barn. As a result he started conducting experiments on both human and animal subjects in hopes to bring his daughter back to life, explaining the unusual activity that exists around the property today. Hundreds of the subjects were buried on the property. Some of the most violent and dangerous experiment victims were trapped in what is now the Zombie Prison. The barn has become a haven for spirits and demons that refuse to move on. A hayride and trail extends to the fields and the woods where the experiment victims continue to escape to and do unthinkable things to the locals who come to visit. The ghost town was once home to Dr. Idalia’s mother and father Jacob. One night a band of thieves burned Thaddeus’s mother alive in her home and caused his father to poison the town water killing everyone. Now their spirits haunt the town you must travel through to get out alive. The entire attraction is connected to the single theme of Dr. Thaddeus Idalia, another rarity in the haunted attraction world.
Fright Effect: 9
The real fright comes from the uncertainty about what lurks behind the next corner, and there was plenty of that available throughout the night. The placement of actors was perfect for the biggest impact. Many of the actors were having lots of fun getting into their characters which made them that much more frightening to encounter. There is one attraction called “the attic” which boasts to be pitch black inside and has become the “playground” for Dr. Idalia’s daughter where you can hear her laughs and screams as you feel your way through. I must admit, we felt uneasy about entering this one. Pitch black has a tendency to make things scarier. And the actors in “The Attic” in particular I feared may be losing their minds jumping and running and bashing everything they could. I guess that is what happens when you are completely immersed into the darkness for an extended amount of time. Every actor and the attention to detail blew me away, but the one weird thing that sticks with me is the use of real cement coffins. Scattered all over the grounds outside the barn are old cast stone tombs that could have been used for real burials. Even the walk through garden outside of the barn is laced with actual granite tomb stones. One of the owners even made concrete benches in the shape of coffins and these are just sitting outside of the haunts, you don’t even pay to see these.
The Frightpass and variety of ticket options is the only thing not scary about this place. For $35 you get access to all 8 haunted attractions and free amusement rides! For another $15 you can be a VIP and skip the long lines. A great value for the hours of quality entertainment you receive. If you live nearby, there is even an option to buy a VIP Season Frightpass. If the weather is not so great, there are 4 indoor attractions for $20. Parking is $5 per car and all of the proceeds go directly to the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware. Just this year Frightland was nominated as the best attraction in Delaware. They were named one of the best haunts in the country by Travel Channel, Forbes Magazine, and Huffington Post. They have a college student discount night, a state employee appreciation night, a first responders appreciation night, all kinds of great ways to show respect to their community. Not to mention a great mud run in the late summer. Frightland is one of the few haunted attractions where you really can spend your entire evening. No need at all to walk through the show and get back in your car, there is always something to see and do at Frightland, the ultimate haunted experience!