Pumpkins and Fright at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

At the end of October, my family and some friends went to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom. It was our first time going during the fall season, and it wasn’t part of my family’s plan to go at all this fall. So, how did we end up in Dorney Park if it wasn’t in our plans?

Back in early August, my family went on our annual church trip to Dorney Park. It’s been awhile since we have been, so we were very excited to go. My three older kids (Donté, Kaiya, and Mikayla) been before, but this was the first time for Ayden, my 4-year-old.  When we arrived at the park, we went to the water park, but before we knew it, everyone was told to get out of the water for their safety due to the rain in the forecast. And it did rain—like, a lot! The kids were really sad because they were looking forward to a fun-filled day with their family and friends in the amusement park. I must admit: due to my love of amusement parks, I was secretly disappointed that our day was a complete wash out. But, hey, it happens.

While it rained, we found shelter in the Planet Snoopy (the kiddie section) at their covered outdoor theatre. Fun and energetic music was playing in the theatre and all the kids that were in my group saw that as an opportunity to have fun and put on a show. Other kids joined ours on stage and, boy, did they have a good time. People actually thought it was part of Dorney Park’s live entertainment for that day! It’s amazing how kids can turn a rainy, gloomy day into a bit of sunshine.

Anyway, after about an hour, a call was made to find out if we could get tickets for our church group to return back on our own another day. Dorney Park said, “Yes, just have the church event planner contact them and they would work it out for us.” My sister-in-law had this great idea about us coming back in the fall. I went to Dorney Park’s website and was happy to find out they would be opened during the fall for their Great Pumpkin Fest and Haunt event, and I thought: “Yes, we’ll be back!”

So, about Dorney Park’s fall events…

In addition to what Dorney Park normally offers as an amusement park, which we all did enjoy that day, they had two fun Fall events for families to enjoy: The Great Pumpkin Fest and Haunted. Dorney Park did a great job utilizing the space in the closed down water park for the fest. The event was perfect for families with little ones, and there was nothing scary about it. The activities included trick-or-treating, a petting zoo, a pumpkin-picking maze, pumpkin-painting, energetic shows, pedaling mini tractors, fun houses, a foam machine, and prizes to take home. The Great Pumpkin Fest didn’t interest the older kids. It was either hang out with a bunch of little ones petting a little lamb or riding Hydra, a heart-pounding roller coaster. It was like going to the farm, without really going to the farm. I was amazed at how we were able to participate in so many activities all in one location. It was definitely more than what I expected. And, by the way, I did manage to get on one roller coaster with my kids when we first arrived in the park.



Between 6 and 7 pm, many families left the park, but we were planning to stay a few extra hours for the Haunted event that began at 7 pm. Yes, I have a little one, but I also have a 10-, 13-, and 14-year-old—they were ready to try something more mature and “scary.” (This is one of the challenges of having three older kids and one younger child, but our family has learned to make it work out so everyone is happy!) Lucky for us, we were with a few other families and friends with young and/or older children who were going to stay for a little bit. This allowed me and hubby to enjoy the haunted attractions with the older children and another dad. Around 6:45 pm, the haunted people entered the gate and ran to their posts, scaring people on their way. It was fun to watch!

There were 12 of us who braved two of the many haunted attractions! We enjoyed Cornstalkers which was an indoor attraction and, boy, did I think I was going to have a heart attack! Imagine walking through a dark tall cornfield and out of nowhere jump scary looking people. You never know where they will come from. Some of these Cornstalkers were camouflaged with the cornstalks! Eeeekkk!!! Scary, but oh so fun! It kind of reminded me of the movie “Children of the Corn.” No, thank you!

 

The other haunt we were able to accomplish was an outdoor attraction called Graveyard Walkers. It really felt like we were walking through a dark and foggy graveyard. This was even scarier than the Cornstalkers attraction! What was I thinking… Not only did I have to worry about not being scared out of this world, but keeping my 10-year-old daughter and niece close by, just in case they couldn’t handle it. I told them, “No matter what happens, don’t let go of my hand!” I felt responsible to protect them for whatever was waiting to haunt them. Who I was I kidding? I was the one needing protection! So much for the two dads protecting anyone—they ran off! Every man for themselves is how it goes at Dorney Park’s Haunt! We can’t wait to go back next year. Next time we will not go as early, so we can stay later and do more of the haunted attractions.

As for the moms who didn’t join us on our scary adventure? They stayed behind and sat on a bench nearby the attractions. Did they escape the many haunts happening throughout the park? Nope! They had their share too. While they waited, the pumpkinhead man, the walking dead, and creeps of all kinds, were roaming the parks, but no damage was done to make them regret staying at the park after 7 pm with little ones.

After our recent outing, I’ve learned to see the good in a not-so-good situation. If it hadn’t rained on August 5th, we wouldn’t have experienced Dorney Park’s Fall events, at least not this year. We were glad we did. We are still talking about how much fun we had and how we should have gone in the fall a long time ago. Well, it’s better late than never. Believe it or not, I’ve already marked my calendar to plan a family trip to Dorney Park for summer and fall 2018! This trip was definitely a true winner for us, and we are looking forward to returning.

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