AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Midway Pier’s Castle Dracula
Week 2 of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week we are discussing haunted dark rides. On Monday I talked about Six Flags’ Monster Plantation. Today, we are looking at a much older attraction. It was located at Midway Pier in Wildwood, NJ; Castle Dracula.
Midway Pier amusement park was first opened in 1919. the Nickel family purchased it in the ’70s and opened the Pier’s most recognizable attraction, Castle Dracula in 1977.
This huge haunted castle attraction was built over an old mill ride that had been there since the Pier’s opening in 1919. The mill ride had been “themed” differently throughout the years (Arabian Knights, Circus, Mine Train, etc). The Nickel family decided to build the ride up as a haunted castle attraction. The upper portion of the mill ride became the walk-thru haunted dark ride known as Castle Dracula and the ride portion underneath became the Dungeon Boat Ride.
This attraction, and Wildwood, NJ in particular, may seem familiar to those of you who read X-Entertainment. Matt talks about it all the time. As a matter of fact he wrote a loving tribute to this ride back in 2005.
Sadly, the giant castle is no longer at Midway Pier as it succumbed to a fire in 2002 and much of the surviving facade was looted for souvenirs. The land was cleared a few years ago and a water park was built in its place. The “unofficial” official website, Dark in the Park, has tons of pictures (including the ones above) and a nice history of the ride. Classic dark rides like Castle Dracula are few and far between nowadays as they all succumb to their age and fall apart or get dismantled.
Stay tuned for our next haunted dark ride. You can see that update on Friday.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.