Review of Waverly Hills Haunted House Haunted Attraction

Review of Waverly Hills Haunted House Haunted Attraction

Review of Waverly Hills Haunted House Haunted Attraction

Waverly Hills Haunted House

Waverly Hills Haunted House is a Haunted Attraction located in Louisville, KY.

4400 Paralee Drive, Louisville, KY 40258
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Paid Parking, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

Team Zombillies reviewed this Haunted Attraction on September 22, 2018.

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Final Score: 7.94

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The Waverly Hills Sanatorium (WHS) is a nationally-known attraction made famous for being one of the top actually-haunted buildings in America. The former tuberculosis hospital now hosts several fundraising events throughout the year and one of them is the annual haunted house that takes place during the Halloween months of September and October. Guests from across the country flock to Louisville, KY each season to behold the paranormal icon in all of its spooky glory’ and get scared while they’re at it!

If you’ve never been here before, you should definitely pay them a visit! The current owners bring the seasonal haunted house to life by decorating the rooms and passageways to make the place even scarier than it normally is (as if it really needs help). Costumed actors roam the passages and lie waiting for their next victim (err’ ‘customer’) to wander into their traps.

Our Team had the chance to visit Waverly Hills in late September, just before their peak season arrived. This review seeks to outline our findings so that you will know what to expect before you arrive…

Cast: 7.7

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There were quite a few monsters eagerly awaiting our presence inside of Waverly’s walls. It was obvious from the beginning that they were ready to scare and had been training for this well in advance. Because of Waverly Hills’ popularity, the haunted house tours are usually very busy and, that said, groups are allowed in without much space between them. This led to a ‘conga line’ at points, leaving the actors little time to interact with the group and some had even walked right past us to reset. In the short times that we spent in each scene, most of the actors resorted to making noises and spouting brief one-liners with us (as is typical with most haunts that are this busy). However, some of them were so energetic that they took special time to target a select few group members on a more one-to-one level.

Some of the characters were creepy as Hell, especially the contortionist with the Hannibal Lector-looking mask, as well as the doll and one of the shadow people that followed us down a hall. One minute, the figure would be whispering in our ears and, the next, it was sitting in the middle of the floor crying like a lady’ waiting to strike at the next person unlucky enough to get too close! (Pro tip: Don’t trust those things!)

Memorable performances were noted by Charley Chainsaw (Waverly’s chainsaw finale actor) as he tried to cut us in half, the quarantine worker that sprayed us with who-knows-what (we are still checking our temps, color, etc.), and the priest.

Costuming: 8.31

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There was a huge variety of costumes that included a great mixture of masks and makeup; there weren’t too many of one or the other. Each outfit was a good match for the scenes they can be found in’ save for the occasional set of street clothes. Some of the stand-outs include a few members of the Addams family, some iconic horror movie villains, a certain VERY creepy doll and the shadow figures’ namely for the creativity and detail put into their overall looks.

Customer Service: 9.44

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Waverly Hills’ spotlight shining into the overcast sky was reminiscent of a classic Batman episode (and let us know we were nearing our destination)! But beware, there are two ways to access the property and only one of them is permitted as an entrance. The entrance is located off of Dixie Highway (Hwy 31) on Pages Lane. Using our trusty GPS (Google Maps) helped us make sure we arrived from the right direction. If you’re a returning customer, but haven’t been here for a few years, don’t use the golf course entrance; that is where you will exit now.

The gates open at 7:30 pm and close at midnight. We showed up at about 7:00 pm and there was already a lot of cars lined up on the main road waiting to get in! Nevertheless, they opened the gate right on time. Parking is an additional $5.00, which goes towards a local charity donation. Flaggers made finding a temporary home for our car a breeze in their huge gravel and grass parking lot.

Navigating the grounds, and the attraction itself, was fairly easy. We needed tickets upon arrival and we were able to easily spot the ticket trailer, which had a large sign on the top of it. While ticket sales are cash only on-site, the gift shop does accept credit cards. You can also use plastic if you pre-purchase your tickets online.

It was a rainy evening on the night of our visit. Multiple large tents were set up to keep guests as dry as possible. Even the bleachers that were set up to watch the queue line show were covered! But, of course, if the lines are as long as they’re notorious for being during the peak of the season, then be sure to bring rain gear if the weather turns foul just in case.

Atmosphere: 9.63

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The haunted house takes place inside the real Waverly Hills Sanatorium. The building itself is remarkable, to say the least’ especially for haunted house junkies like us! It’s a big, creepy, 5-story-tall, gothic building that’s still (mostly) empty-looking. It’s one of those places where, as soon as we pulled in, we couldn’t wait to park and get out so we could take pictures!

Accenting the building itself were several grotesques perched on the roof; magnificent protectors that protect evil from entering (or exiting?) the building. Waverly’s hearse could also be found near the exit, as well as multiple signs and a roaming actor or two, which combined to keep the ‘haunted house’ feeling alive before we entered the building. What helped the most, though, was their special picture show that is displayed for everyone just before walking inside. A large projector casts its sinister mini-stories directly onto Waverly’s exterior features, which breathed life into the building right before our eyes! It gave but a small taste of what we were about to witness inside.

Special Effects: 7.04

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Because there’s no overlying ‘theme’ that’s used for the haunted house, there was a large variety of effects being used to create the scenes, and even some of the scares, at Waverly Hills. The assortment appeared to contain items that have been created in-house, as well as some things that were purchased from the industry’s professional prop manufacturers.

Of the things that were created by Waverly’s native crew, they had some very original ideas, including two very impressive items that we’ve never seen used before to date! We don’t want to ruin the surprises, but let’s just say they involved something that was floating in mid-air! We also witnessed some crazy-looking patient experiments, glow-in-the-dark medicine of some kind, thick fog, effective strobe lights, a cave section, and one of the most effective vortex tunnels we’ve seen in a while, so be prepared to get dizzy!

The combination of sound effects made it pretty loud in the haunt. Hardly any areas were silent for any length of time, and some of the audio matched the scenes perfectly, thus creating an even more realistic ambiance. Though, there was also some hard rock music thrown in the mix as well. Due to the structure and layout of the building, there was some sound bleeding over from neighboring scenes, which proved to be a little detrimental to their suspension of disbelief.

Theme: N/A

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It didn’t appear that Waverly Hills followed any particular theme. Instead, we went through many different areas that included a lot of different fears and phobias. Scenes would often transition from one themed area right to the next, with no apparent rhyme or reason.

Scare Factor: 7.34

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Again, Waverly Hills is a very busy haunted attraction during the Halloween season. During our visit, the large groups of people being sent through the haunt called for a lot of what we call ‘pop scares’ (times where the actors only have time to jump out for a brief startle scare before instantly ‘resetting’ into their normal hiding spots). It’s likely that you may catch up to the group in front of you, and the group behind you may catch up to yours. But for the most part, this didn’t seem to absolutely ruin the scares themselves, and this wasn’t the case for our entire tour.

During our walk-through, we were subjected to many different fright techniques ranging from pitch black areas and good hiding spots to demanding dialogue and down-right scary creatures. Some of the monsters looked big enough to eat us whole! As we made our way through, they did try their best to target as many of our group members as they could. We noted one great distraction technique that caught our group members very much off-guard. We don’t recommend trusting much of anything in Waverly; you just never know what could be waiting for you in the thick fog, or when a random body bag might decide to spring to life!

Entertainment & Value: 7.26

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Waverly charges $20.00 for general admission, and that’s cash only at the door. You can also pre-purchase tickets online if you prefer to pay with plastic. If you want to plan on skipping the long lines, a ‘VIP’ ticket option is available for $60.00, includes fast-pass access into the haunt and a short tour through the upper (vacant) floors of the building. Waverly notes that the VIP ticket option is limited and only available on a first come, first served basis. Because we showed up right at opening time, and prior to October, the VIP line was actually longer than the general admission line. We suspect the opposite will be the case in the coming weeks.

Our group spent just over 20 minutes making our way through the old hospital, bringing their MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) rating to 1.05. This is below average for what our Team normally gets at most of the other haunts in the region (which are typically closer to 1.5). Waverly Hills Haunted House’s fundraiser benefits The Waverly Hills Historical Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Their goal is to restore the building into usable space that can continue serving the community all year long, so rest assured that your ticket money is going towards a good cause. Plus, the extra cost is flat-out worth it just so you can see this legendary building in person! In addition, WHS offers a Christmas Laser Light Show, historical tours, and paranormal investigations (including private, overnight bookings for those who want the full, uncensored Waverly all to themselves).

When it comes to queue entertainment, we only saw Twisty the Clown during our visit. However, he was doing a great job of randomly scaring victims by slamming his bowling pins on nearby objects. We didn’t have to wait long to go inside so there may have been some things that are typically in place on other nights. Right before entering we were able to watch their pre-show projection, which really helped in passing the remainder of our wait in line.

Out of all the haunts in the area, we get asked about Waverly Hills most often. We can tell you it’s a very fun haunt that really grabs you as soon as you step foot on property. Everyone that we saw while we were inside the haunt seemed to be having a blast as well. We highly recommend heading out there as early as you can, though, in order to beat the wait in their line. It’s not uncommon for the wait to be upwards of 2-4 hours long. Aside from that Waverly Hills remains to be one of the most legendary haunted houses in the region, and the wait in line rarely discourages thrill-seekers abroad from making the trip to get a piece of it for themselves.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.33 out of 10

Jason – 10/10 – October 7, 2016
It’s the best haunt the actors are all very good at their job an the haunted house is a very. Well …show more designed set an the prop’s was awesome

Jason – 10/10 – October 15, 2014
It’s the best haunted house I been too

Nora – 8/10 – September 19, 2014
If you decide to visit Waverly make sure you show up early! I repeat, make sure you show up early. …show more We have waited in their seemingly never-ending line for hours and we hear that the closer it gets in the evening and to Halloween, the longer that line gets. That’s only the line to actually park in the parking lot too. Once you wait that out you still have to stand in the line to get into the attraction. We have heard of people waiting a total of 5 hours. I would say we waited around a total of 2.5 hours to get in. If you have never been to Waverly and you enjoy haunted things, go! I must say that the entertainment provided to the queue line before entering the building was phenomenal! Been to quite a few haunted attractions and have yet to see another show quite like that. I don’t want to give anything away but I will give you one clue, the building will come to life! As for the haunt itself, if felt like everything was spread out a lot and that there was a lot of empty space. The tour took 20 -25 minutes which is decent for their ticket price. Although this hospital has one heck of a background, they don’t really use it to their advantage in the haunt and instead use various themes throughout. If I get time to wait in their long line to get in, I will totally go to their attraction again!

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2019 Awards

Best Vortex Tunnel (Given by: Team Zombillies)