Written by Grant Duvall
Photos by Ellie Logan
In 2020, I got the honor of being what I believe was the first person to drive through The Haunted Road, located in Orlando. This year, fellow Creepy Kingdom contributor Ellie Logan and I attended the media night for the Haunted Road, and to our surprise, we were the first group to experience this! This time, though, we were in for a unique experience that nobody could have seen coming.
Ellie and I met up in a Publix parking lot as it made sense to ride together to the drive-through haunt. Last year, I rode alone. The general premise was clearly a byproduct of Covid, as attendees would drive through a spooky road in farmland, stopping occasionally to change the radio station so they could listen to the recorded dialogue and follow the story from scene to scene. While I appreciated the effort last year, the whole thing was kind of confusing as I wasn’t sure what the storyline was. It was a great first effort, and I recounted my adventures to Ellie. We were hoping for a sophomore improvement.
When we arrived, we sat in the car for a while and witnessed a tractor drive the road. This is on a working farm after all. Somebody then knocked on my car window. We were informed that the road was undrivable, and we would be walking instead. They supplied us with blue plastic booties to wear over our shoes. We were then led toward the event.
The amount of mud we were walking through made me glad that we were not driving. There was no way my Volkswagen Jetta could have survived this without getting stuck in the mud in many spots. Words cannot convey how muddy and slick everything was. Unfortunately, Summer and Fall are the rainy seasons for Florida, which makes an outdoor event on a dirt road challenging to say the least. Needless to say, I was happy to be wearing bright blue booties.
We arrived at the main area, which was home to fire dancers, scare actors, delicious beverages (might we suggest the Butcher’s Blood, which was sweet but wasn’t pure sugar), excellent barbeque courtesy of Brothers in Arms, and various handmade creepy items for sale. We were then led to a creepy barn.
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The Human Slaughterhouse is actually the grand finale of the affair, and it was what we wound up experiencing first. I might add that the staff put tarps and pieces of wood in several walking areas to try to salvage a very wet night. We were the first inside. This was a small, haunted barn, complete with demonic chickens, an evil pigman, and a minotaur. This part was relatively short, but it ended in an outdoor scene where it’s an actress performing a scene. This one was her getting butchered, as the theme this year was Haunted Slaughterhouse. The fact that there were real chickens on the farm helped add to the realism. The actress did a great job, and the murder scene was nicely done.
We were then led to walk part of the road to witness scene five, which is the final scene prior to the walkthrough. This was a short, very wet and muddy walk (might I add again that I am thankful that they didn’t have us drive), to a creepily lit area with actors, a spooky tree, and lots of fog. The scene played out, which was a man getting tortured. The problem though was because this was radio-based and none of us had radios on us it was impossible to get the full effect of the scene. After this, we did another walk through the village and then decided to leave as we had done everything available.
This is a very hard thing to give an actual rating to, as this version of the Haunted Road only existed for one night only. We did not get to drive it with the audio to fully experience the attraction as it was intended. While we got to experience the final scene, there wasn’t the build-up that one would expect in this kind of situation. This wasn’t the staff’s fault, and if anything, they are to be greatly commended for prioritizing safety and trying to show us what this experience would be like.
Based on what we saw, this would be a fun event to try if you live in the Central Florida area. This would be the perfect event for someone who has never done a traditional haunt to see if they would like them as they can experience this from the comfort of their own car. This would also be a great stepping stone for children who are getting over family-friendly fare, but the parents aren’t sure whether the kids could handle Halloween Horror Nights. This is a great effort, and perhaps one day The Haunted Road could be paved so weather would be less of an issue. The only way for that to happen though would be if people support local haunts like this to give them the capital they need for improvements. For those going, my only recommendation is to check the weather first as well as their social media as it is a half-hour drive from Disney and Universal, and if the event got canceled for the evening it would be a shame to drive there to be turned away. Overall, this was a great effort, and if the preview night was a good taste, the full experience should be a tasty meal.
For Tickets and more info visit: https://www.thehauntedroad.com