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Can a Drive-Through Haunt Save This Halloween?

July 28, 2020, 1:13 PM · With Universal and Disney canceling their Halloween events, an Orlando start-up is driving ahead with a new Halloween event for this fall.


A group of Orlando-area themed entertainment veterans is planning a drive-through haunt experience for this Halloween season. "The Haunted Road" will allow visitors to stay in their vehicle as they drive through "an untold story of Rapunzel as she journeys into a world of disarray, faces bloodcurdling creatures – and hundreds of shocking scares," according to the group's press release.

The Haunted Road
Concept art courtesy The Haunted Road

"With the arts and entertainment industry at a standstill, and an increasing need to find new, safe outdoor entertainment, we knew it was the perfect time to develop a unique Halloween experience so everyone can enjoy a dose of horror this upcoming Halloween season, from the comfort of their car," executive producer and creative principal Jessica Mariko said.

Mariko - who created DRIP, an immersive theatrical dance show on I-Drive - is working with a creative team that includes former Universal Orlando art director Jeremy Crawford and Walt Disney Entertainment veteran Nick Graves. In addition to the night-time haunt, the team is planning a family-friendly daytime version for select weekends.

Online auditions start August 13, with applications now open on the event's website. Dates and location will be announced but admission is planned to be $15 per vehicle, with contactless check-in using your license plate number.

Replies (6)

July 28, 2020 at 6:53 PM

As long as you can count on the general public to not run over the scareactors, then it might prove interesting. IMHO, hay ride haunts aren't that scary to begin with because the engine noise and exhaust usually detracts from the ambiance. Considering the lack of anything else for this year's Halloween season, this could prove profitable. However, during a normal Halloween season, I think this would be a bust.

July 28, 2020 at 8:04 PM

There are still ways to have fun during this pandemic, and this could be a good solution (as long as guests play by the rules, which might be a BIG "if"). But I applaud those who are looking for ways to safely entertain guests during this, and I hope it works -- both as far as safety is concerned, and as far as entertainment is concerned. By no means are we (nor SHOULD we be) "back to normal," but that doesn't mean entertainment is over.

July 29, 2020 at 12:22 AM

Does anyone know of any safe in-person entertainment options for someone who DOESN'T live in Florida? This looks really cool, but as a Washingtonian, the only option seems to be drive-in movie theatres, and would love if anyone had recommendations for immersive experiences like this (or other ways to satisfy theme park cravings safely).

July 29, 2020 at 3:33 AM

Sounds pretty cool and innovative

July 29, 2020 at 10:11 AM

While the typical, traditional walk-through haunt is out this year, I feel confident the haunt community will be coming up with more alternatives. Sure, it won't be as visceral as a walk-through, but I think they'll be some interesting creativity. Let's not forget Terror DTLA has already released an immersive online horror-themed escape room. Road Trip Mysteries also did their first test run, and I had a great time.

Knott's is very inventive, and not afraid to take risks (such as Trapped, shooter mazes, and their attempt at a VR experience)... I wouldn't be surprised if they come up with some sort of alternative experience. This would be a perfect year to do a drive through, scenery, "alone" haunts set outdoors, or an "Unfriended" type Zoom experience. I think many of the independent, creative haunts in LA will find ways to make events happen.

On a side note, I'm very curious how they will be handling the safety issues with this drive thru-event.

July 29, 2020 at 3:56 PM

The safety issue is the first thing that I thought of when I read this. I am not sure about some drivers but Florida has some interesting people driving around. I can only imagine someone gets scared and they hit the gas pedal and they go flying either into a scare actor or another car in the attraction. I think it is a quite interesting idea but there are some things that need to be worked out. Maybe they can utilize a car wash pull to make sure that everyone is safe while within the attraction.

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