DATE OF VISIT
November 04, 2016
LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA - Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying those haunts who remain open through the first week of November. Considering we had to cancel some locations due to inclement weather we added Jason’s Woods of Lancaster, Pennsylvania to our tour. Over three years ago, Joe and I had attempted to review Jason’s Woods during our first visit to the Lancaster area. However, due to an altercation where I was escorted off the property because the owner was unprofessional in my inquiry about complimentary tickets. We never demand, we simply ask and in the world of haunted attractions it is so easy for review sites to have their review bought and FrightTour is not one of those sites! So at that time I could have written a totally bogus review, but just decided to remove it from the 2012 Tour and from our site. However, after some thought, I came to the conclusion that it is unprofessional of me to remove Jason’s Woods from the site because I can simply go back, pay for the attractions and review as I always do and that is exactly what we did.
Of course the first thought that will run through your head, especially if you are a fan of Jason’s Woods is that I am going to let the past experience with the owner influence my review and that is not the case. I am a grown adult and can separate what happened three years ago from now. If Jason’s Woods turns out to be a stellar attraction, I would state it. There is no reason to stop or change what we do...
Jason’s Woods is currently celebrating over thirty years in operation, offering five attractions including a “Horrifying Hayride” which is where we began our night. The hayride wasn’t that bad, simply put, it was your typical hayride through a dark winding trail with scattered animatronic props and sets. However, Jason’s Woods hayride twisted it up a bit. Normally now a days throughout most hayride journeys the wagon sits on hydraulic floors that lift up and down creating a 4D effect. This wagon moved and vibrated on its own accord. Which was something neither of us have ever seen. The actors would push or grab the side of the wagon and it would respond either moving to one side or vibrating intensely. Ok… interesting and new but that was there was to it. The amount of animatronic props and propane flame shoots was a little overkill. Some of the props were broken, the audio was inaudible and there weren’t that many actors. The trail itself looped around itself once allowing the actors to scare you more than once. Smart but ineffective when I have seen the cable guy and Jason Voorhees himself a few times already. Oh yeah, if you don’t like any of your big name slasher villains like Michael Myers, Jason, Leather Face, HellRaiser or even movies like Jurassic Park then this hayride will give you nightmares. Unfortunately slasher films scared me when I was a kid, but as an adult… eh, not so much. Overall the hayride was decent, wasn’t scary but entertaining which is usually the norm.
Immediately leaving the hayride we made a right for our next attraction. Now while I would love to dissect each attraction I feel that I can just sum up the remaining four attractions easily. Personally I was really hoping Jason’s Woods would deliver… I was hoping the attraction delivered a terrifying experience considering this was our second attempt at experiencing the infamous Jason’s Woods. But my hopes were dashed when we went from the Horrifying Hayride to the four walk through attractions in this order; Lost in Jason’s Woods, Zombie Apocalypse, Carnival of Fear and Chamber of Horrors. All four on foot attractions were different but followed the same aesthetic and suffered from the same critiques. Throughout all four there there was no elaborate detailed storyline, theme or sets. I found everything about each to be basic. Whether it was a simple stroll through dark woods or a forever turning walk through a supposed “circus tent” none of them had anything special to differ from the rest. Haunted attractions now a days have moved on from your traditional “carnival” style houses to more immersive/interactive experiences. The attractions at Jason’s Woods felt like the haunted house I used to walk through when I was a kid on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights… And even that place had more detailed sets.
Chamber of Horrors and Zombie Apocalypse were nothing more than a dark maze, with black painted plywood walls and unlit animatronic props scattered throughout. In total I don’t think we encountered more than thirty-five actors within five attractions. The attractions weaved and wound within and around themselves so the actors could follow you throughout, attempting to scare you more than a few times. It got a little boring and repetitive to see the same actors over and over again. Some were totally unenthusiastic, to the point they were on their phones… And I know it was after Halloween, they’re most likely “burnt out” from the season. But if that is the case, should you really charge $40 per person? As much as I didn’t want to say this because these attractions are peoples livelihood I unfortunately can’t leave it out. In all honesty, throwing in the towel and being one hundred percent real with all of you as I always am… Jason’s Woods as a whole, excluding the haunted hayride felt thrown together and just, “there”! To me there was no emphasis on the quality of the attractions, the emphasis was on the all mighty dollar. And if that wasn’t true, if I was completely wrong in making that statement… Then don’t you think the attractions would be a little more elaborate, thought out and better designed?
As I stated earlier, Jason’s Woods is currently celebrating more than thirty years of fear but I am struggling to see the progression from year one to year five. Currently for the 2016 season, the “Five Show Grand Slam” admission ticket is $40 per person and $50 for a skip the line pass. Honestly I felt like Jason’s Woods had just started out in the haunt world before eventually finding their niche and becoming more intense. It felt cheap. in fact there was not one fog machine throughout the entire place… NOT ONE! To me the Carnival of Fear attraction would have been scary as hell if it was fogged out. But nope, there was not one ounce of fog! I felt like the money gained is not used to enhance the attracitons each year and maybe I am being a little ruthless now but it is the honest truth. Thirty years should blow me out of the water, should be so elaborate with so much to offer. But it was far from it. Was I bitter that I had spent a total of $80, not at all. This is what Joe and I do every October and there are times we have to pay and times we don’t but that never influences what we think and write about that respected attraction. Have never done it, and I won’t start now, no matter my past history with the owner of Jason’s Woods! Sadly, Jason’s Woods was a complete bust and that was mainly thanks to the hayride. I would have paid for that on its own, but the four “on foot” attractions need major re-working. Maybe get rid of two of them and focus on building up two before offering a total of five. Again quantity is not better than quality and Jason’s Woods is definitely suffering. If in the Lancaster area we recommend you check out one of the other two attractions within twenty minutes from Jason’s Woods. For those just check out our Haunt Database!