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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride - 2020 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride

Location of Attraction: Glen Mills PA

Date of Review: 10/18/2020

Total Number of Attractions Available: 3

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 8/10

Entertainment & Food Rating: 7/10

Atmosphere Rating: 8/10

Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 9/10

Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9.5/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Overall Feedback: Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride is back for their 30th year of FEAR! Located on a massive farm in Glen Mills Pennsylvania is one of Pennsylvania’s largest and longest running Haunted Attractions. Featuring three full sized attractions, guests should expect to spend the better part of an hour, or longer, when visiting Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride! Although these folks may not be the scariest Haunted Attraction in our eyes, they sure know how to entertain and provide an aesthetically pleasing experience!

Randy Bates and his crew worked hard over the offseason to brainstorm ways to operate a spooky fun and safe haunted attraction! An immediate change for these folks was the switch to online timed ticketing and limiting ticket sales to help control the crowd size. All guests were required to wear a face covering and received a temperature check prior to entering the queue lines. Hand sanitizer was located throughout the property and guests were encouraged to utilize it frequently. Queue lines were staggered to help guests social distance from one another. In terms of the attractions themselves, the most notable change was the conversion of the Haunted Hayride to a lengthy walking trail. The cast and crew did their best to social distance from the patrons, so don’t expect the typical in your face experience this season.

We arrived at Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride shortly after 7pm on a warm Sunday evening. The parking lot was quickly filling up and guests were funneling towards the safety and ticket redemption checkpoint. For 2020 Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride is still offering three attractions; Bates Motel, Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Trail, and Bates Psycho Path (Haunted Hayride). General admission ticket prices are $40 with VIP upgrade available for an additional $35. Our squad took advantage of a preseason discount and snagged ½ off VIP tickets. In order to keep guests from congregating on the property you’ll experience the three attractions in a back to back fashion, flowing from one attraction to another. You’ll begin your journey with the Bates Psycho Path, then venture to the Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Trail, and lastly finish things up with the Bates Motel. Your initial wait for the Bates Psycho Path will most likely be lengthy, but you’ll then only encounter a minimal wait in between attractions.

Due to Covid-19 safety protocols it was deemed best to avoid packing dozens of guests onto hay wagons with one another. Instead of closing the attraction entirely, the Bates Motel team converted this lengthy, thrilling, and eye candy galore of a hayride into a haunted trail. Guests now no longer have the comfort of the hay wagon to protect them, leaving running as your only option to hide from the terror that lurks in the dark woods. The opening scene delivers and sets the tone for the rest of the way. The combination of thrilling audio and several pyrotechnic fire blasts definitely qualifies as a great way to start our hayride experience. We can’t even put into words how incredible EVERY scene on this path is. By far the best usage of pyrotechnics we’ve ever seen can be found on this journey - boy does Randy Bates love him some fire! From the first scene to the last scene you are immersed into a whole different world. You quickly forget you’re in the woods as they do an excellent job immersing you into what feels like a Hollywood movie set. The scale of each scene is huge, the sets and animatronics are elaborate and you can tell that Randy and his team pour their hearts into creating this experience. For example, guests venture through a passageway with large volcanoes and dinosaurs hovering easily 40 feet or more above you. So by “large scale sets” we truly mean MASSIVE! Another unique touch was noted during the Mineshaft scene; the set is built on a hill so patrons truly feel as if you are descending into a dark and decrepit Mineshaft! You’ll encounter a slew of other world-class scenes such as the Insane Asylum, Slaughterhouse, Cemetery, and many more! We were pleased to see the Headless Horseman still lurking in the final scene of the Bates Psycho Path. Be prepared for a 25 minute, exhilarating, and visually stunning experience during Bates Psycho Path!

Next up we headed for Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Trail. In years past we felt this attraction lacked energy and had too much dead space in between scenes. Last season there was a noticeable improvement in this attraction's experience; a much more lively and thrilling one! The facade and opening scene to this attraction truly set the tone for a blood-curdling journey. As you walk down the darkened tunnel your heart begins to race as you can’t help but worry about what's ahead. At just the right moment BAM, a perfectly placed actor delivers the first of many scares to come during this attraction. You’ll encounter all sorts of ghouls and creatures along your journey. The zombie graveyard scene literally had zombies rising from the dead and coming up from underground. The spider and bee house certainly makes you itchy and has your skin crawling for the rest of the evening. The slithery snake house is still to this day one of our favorite scenes, featuring one of the coolest costumes we’ve ever encountered in our spooky travels! The clown scene received a massive overhaul in 2019 and has quickly become one of our favorite scenes here at Bates Motel. The clowns encountered were amped up and delivered a great mix of scares and laughs. Beware the alligator as you venture through the swamp and past the “Bate” Shop. If you’re lucky you might just make it through the slaughter barn with all your limbs intact. In between scenes you’ll travel through the cornfield, fearing what lurks ahead. As suspense builds a perfectly placed actor/scarecrow delivers a solid fright. Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Trail is loaded with intense special effects which fully immerse the guests into each and every scene. Be prepared for 10 frightfully fun minutes on this Haunted Trail.

To finish off our evening we headed for the Bates Motel. The opening scene of this attraction definitely set the tone - a creepy ghoul came out of practically nowhere and startled our entire group before sending us forth into the madness that is called Bates Motel! As we exited the opening room the hallways filled with smoke which made it incredibly difficult to see. This definitely made us feel vulnerable to what awaited us in the darkness. As we ventured further through the Bates Motel we encountered impressive set designs, scene after scene! Copious amounts of intense special effects were utilized to engage the guests and immerse you deeply into each scene. We couldn’t help but drool over the incredible set designs we encountered. They utilized a combination of live actors and animatronics to deliver a thrilling experience. The actors were relentless and continued to terrorize the guests until they fled in terror. Scares came from all different angles, leaving us on high alert and uncertain of where the next spook would be coming from. There were several jaw dropping animatronics throughout this attraction, especially in the greenhouse! Kudos to the actor in the grass suit as you certainly gave one of our members a good startle. As you approach the final scene you are intensely greeted by a ghoul who delivers one last fright and has the guests running out of the Bates Motel doors. All sorts of surprises lurk throughout the Bates Motel hallways, creating a 10 minute spooky fun adventure.

After exiting the Bates Motel attraction guests are spewed back into the midway area. Due to covid-19 safety protocols the midway area was nowhere near as lively and action packed as in years past. Gone are the mobile escape rooms, axe throwing, large merchandise shop, and coffin rides. A few food stands still remain so folks can grab some munchies after their experience. Our squad is used to partaking in the extra festivities that these folks usually offer, so it was odd for our evening to end so quickly.

Across the board at Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride we definitely noticed a decreased amount of scare actors, which left some holes and dead space in each of the attractions. We’re sure this is in large part due to Covid-19 safety protocols so we can’t fault the Bates Motel team. For the most part, the scare actors were lively and engaged with our squad. One of our favorite actors is the older lady who reads insulting jokes to guests as you pass by; she’s a hoot! The chick on the zipline in the Bates Psycho Path was also phenomenal, providing a horrifying performance from 20 feet in the air. Each of the attractions certainly had a few stand out scare actors who went above and beyond to provide a spooky fun experience!

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride did an excellent job at providing a safe and spooky fun experience for 2020. Given the large scale nature of their Haunted Attraction, we felt they executed their Covid-19 safety protocols phenomenally. The Covid-19 safety protocols undoubtedly impacted the show slightly, making it less intense and thrilling than in previous years, but we have no doubt that they’ll be back to full intensity once Covid-19 protocols have been lifted. Despite all the Covid-19 shenanigans, Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride still possesses a spooky fun atmosphere and an overall enjoyable experience. If you’ve yet to visit Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride then you’re in luck, as they are open daily until Sunday November 1st when they close up shop for the 2020 season! Do you have what it takes to survive the FEAR of Bates Motel?

Individual Attraction Ratings:

Attraction Name: Bates Psycho Path

Overall Attraction Rating: 8.5/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 10/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Attraction Name: Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Trail

Overall Attraction Rating: 8/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 7.5/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Attraction Name: Bates Motel

Overall Attraction Rating: 8.5/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9.5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

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