Here at the Disney Downlow, we’re huge fans of the annual haunted houses and theme attractions that pop up every Fall. On Friday night we kicked off the 2016 haunt season with a trip to Terror Behind the Walls, a great event housed at the very real Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia!
We decided to hit Terror Behind the Walls on opening night and brought along the camera to show you what is in store if you visit. TBtW features 6 different attractions spread across and within the actual cell blocks of the Eastern State Pen. (FYI – the prison itself was abandoned in 1971 and it is totally worth your time to scroll through the prison’s timeline):
- Machine Shop
- Quarantine 4D
We found that generally each attractions takes about 5-7 to walk through which means overall, TBtW is a relatively quick experience. Some will find it too quick for the cost, which ranges from $19 to $45 for general admission depending on when you visit. We usually spring for the Quick Pass ($6 to $20 per person depending on the night) in order to skip the initial throng of people entering Terror Behind the Walls. But as we were reminded on Friday night, the Quick Pass only helps you skip the entry line; it does not allow you to jump in front of people at each of the 6 attractions. That seems like a minor misstep and one that will hopefully be corrected in the future.
So was it any good? In short, definitely! While there were plenty of opening night kinds to work through – primarily the spacing out of guests and long stretches with no scares – TBtW has put together another great event this year. The scareactors (a fun Halloween play on the “characters”) were really into it and delivered the scares. The special effects, both practical and in a few places computer-aided, were very well done and the timing seemed to be on point. We especially enjoyed the haunted greenhouse themed Detritus and Quarantine 4D where guests are given special glasses to help enhance the thrills. There’s no doubt about it, though – TBtW’s drawback is its brevity. Yes, 6 attractions is no small offering, and maybe once the guest pacing issues are worked out, it won’t feel so short. But we were amazed when we walked out of the last attraction on Friday night, looked at our watches, and saw that only 30 minutes had passed since we entered the first attraction.
For those who really enjoy these kinds of events, there are some interesting add-in/VIP options. The after-dark VIP tour gives guests a one-hour guided tour of the cellblocks with flashlights. Afterwards, guests also have access to all 6 attractions. New this year is the HEX Challenge which allows up to 6 guests at a time to enter into a secret room at the start of each of the attractions for a more in-depth game. We didn’t get a chance to try out the HEX Challenge this time around but hope to in the future.
Finally, after you’re finished with the attractions and before you leave the penitentiary grounds, it might be worth your time to visit The Speakeasy at Al Capone’s Cell. This add-on allows guests to enter Capone’s cell block, experience some themed entertainment and enjoy one adult beverage (or soda). We spent some time at the Speakeasy and found it to be a fun little addition to the Terror tour. Guests can check out some of the oldest cell blocks in the prison and maybe even enjoy a ghostly card trick or be serenaded by some of the inmates left behind. Trust us, it’s pretty cool.
Check out some of our photos of Terror Behind the Walls below! Do you like haunted attractions? Ever been to Terror Behind the Walls? If so, comment and let us know!
Thanks for stopping by to read the first of what we hope is a fun series of posts. In a few weeks, we’re headed to our favorite haunt: Halloween Horror Nights 26 at Universal Studios Florida! We can’t wait to report back with pictures!