During our trip to visit HellsGate we did decide to pre-purchase tickets online, I was able to locate a discount code on their Facebook page since we were attending early in the season. It is worth it to check their various social media pages to see if they post additional discount codes, this will probably be less likely late in the season. When we received our tickets, we were given the exact address of where we would need to go, which was the Lockport Metra parking.
Upon driving out to the attraction and reaching its vicinity we did see signs directing us to the Metra parking lot. This location was easy to find and google maps did accurately lead me to the correct location without issue.
The parking lot is well lit and there are police present in the lot, over all I would say this parking experience was good.
After parking we walked over to the waiting area where a large group of busses waited to take everyone over to the show. We were able to board the bus after about a 5-minute wait. The bus took us over to the attraction down a very narrow road, overall the ride took around 10 minutes. There were no actors on the bus, and this was a pure and simple in and out transportation to and from the show. This was an excellent example of how shows that are using a shuttle system should handle it. The ride was quick, there were ample busses and we did not have to wait a long time to get to the attraction.
Once we finally arrived at the attraction a costumed actor boarded the bus and explained how ticketing works. You can buy tickets on site, however if you bought tickets online you will need to visit the will call window to get physical tickets. You do not need to print your online tickets, just have them available to be scanned on your phone.
Since we opted to buy our tickets in advance, we went into the will call line, this experience wasn't the fastest experience, however I would not consider it excessively long. They had one window open for onsite purchase and one window for will call, they do have the ability to expand this on busy nights it appears.
After being given our tickets we were directed over to a large tent where we could see a line forming fast. It appears that they will be able to accommodate a large amount of people under this tent to keep people out of any rain. We purchased general admission tickets and were directed by another costumed actor to the correct line. Under the tent we did see a variety of costumed actors interacting with people in various ways, they did also have music playing to keep the wait entertaining. Be prepared for a wait if you visit this show, especially late in the season. We attended their opening weekend on a Sunday night and encountered a 40-minute wait. I can easily see this being well over one to two hours on busy nights. Arrive early if you can and save yourself the hassle. I can assume part of this wait was waiting on the house to actually open as no groups were entering.
It can be noted that this is a show where VIP can be beneficial, they were moving 2-3 VIP groups to every 1 general admission group. Granted this may vary late in the season, but if you don't want to risk a long line, this may be worth the cost to you.
When we finally reached the front of the line we were greeted by another costumed actor who chatted with us briefly and then called us to officially begin.
We were directed over to a gate where another actor stood guard silently building some anticipation until we were welcome to begin our journey down the trail and into the graveyard
On our way down to the graveyard we encountered several costumed actors popping out at us, some with great dialogue and others using animal calls to create some unsettling sounds. There was a great deal more actors in this section that in years past, I would say this was a great improvement as opposed to previous years where this area was quite scarce with actors.
The scenery in this section is naturally themed using the woods with a lot of great graveyard theming including a great laser swamp, tool shed, mausoleum and tons of natural rock face that really added a nice element to bring you more into the attraction. We particularly loved the felled and hollowed out tree that we were directed through.
Actors in this section were energetic and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were consistently themed and had a great variety of dialogue and noises verses just screaming. You can tell they put a great deal of effort into acting as Zombie Army generally tends to do.
It should be noted that this section is entirely outdoors, you may be subject to mud or rain, however it is noted on the ticket that this section may closed due to weather. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes since you will be on a trail. It is easily traversed; however, it is not paved or anything like that.
When we reached the end of our adventure in the graveyard, we were greeted with the grand presentation of finding the mansion in the woods. This was a fantastic focal point and really helped to bring us into the element of the show. The house is lit up on the outside with a simulated storm effect across the windows and you walk up through some actual old cemetery gates where we were greeted by hooded actor and an actress whom I was not all too sure who she was or what kind of character she was, she felt quite out of place, but overall this was a small bump when we were greeted by such a grand presentation.
After getting through the gate we were directed into another line, this one was quite short, and it was again covered from the elements. We only had a short wait in this line, close to 6 Minutes. Again, please be aware these waits will likely dramatically increase later in the season. We were all gathered into smaller groups and brought to the front of the house, we were greeted by more costumed actors who were interacting with everyone while we were waiting to go inside. After our short wait we were brought into the house and into a large room which was more of an introduction to the house. Briefly adding a bit of story to what is going on in a very grand way. This first scene looks fantastic, it is well planned and looks great. I will not reveal too much as it is worth seeing in person. This room is themed accordingly to match the Victorian mansion theme as seen outside. The sets in this show really are something to be seen and for those people who appreciate detail, you will appreciate this.
Once we were given the grand introduction to the show, we were tucked through a secret passage into the Rules room. This is a fairly typical rules room. Groups were all brought in, lined up, we had some actors greet us, explain the rules of the house and have a bit of fun along the way. There was a puppet used to interact with the actors and guests. This room was consistently themed and again, something worth seeing. Our wait in the rules room was only around 4 minutes. Others did have a bit of a longer wait then us, but again this is fairly typical allowing groups to be spaced before entering.
When we were finally allowed into the house we again were presented with a great range of excellent scenery as we weaved through the secret passages of the house, down the halls cluttered with stacked chairs, over turned carts and got the feeling of all the chaos going on all around us. The kitchen scene and the following pig shrine of sorts room, which we really loved, set a nice quirkiness that we enjoyed.
Continuing through the show we saw a large number of great rooms from a trophy room to the what we assumed was servant's quarters and wonderfully creepy bedroom. The theming was consistent throughout the house and we loved the fact that there was little to no blood and gore in this show. While that absolutely has its time and place in certain shows, this one makes it work without the need for it with the release of the impending darkness and dread as told in the story at the beginning and mentioned by the actors throughout the show.
As we went on we saw that this show does indeed go up to a second floor and back down again via slide, this too added a great touch to the show that is truly unique.
From here we were brought into what we assumed was the money back game that is promised with this show, If you find the key you can win back your money. Nice touch, we are not too sure how many win this game, but it was fun. The explanation in this part seemed a little lacking as it was difficult to hear the actors who was explaining it to us. Honestly it felt really rushed in explanation.
Moving through the rest of the haunt we saw some really excellent mad doctor type scenes and of course ended with an epic but from what we felt slightly out of place dragon scene. I am unsure how it plays into their story that is maintained throughout the show; however, it works and is indeed a fun scene.
Overall, we can say you can absolutely see the effort that has went into this show, the cast and crew has put a ton of work in. The acting was spot on, well trained and even the costumes were on point. Everyone was in costume that we saw and each one fit into their prospective rooms.
Makeup in this show again goes without the need for blood and gore, but rather incorporate the darkness. Actors did have prosthetics and fairly extensive makeup at times. You can tell some jobs were a little rushed and sloppy, however that is to be expected in haunt makeup.
I can say that I would absolute visit this show again and would love to see how this develops as time goes on.
To find out more about this