Screech At The Beach Gillian's Haunted House
First off, you’ll never get startled in this dark ride, provided you have eyes in the back, on top, and on both sides of your head.
For those of you with the standard-issue two eyes over your nose, keep them peeled! The two-year old Haunted House Dark Ride at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey is a masterpiece of deception. Designed by Wayne Seddon, the park’s director of creativity and design, this Dark Ride will keep you guessing, but guessing wrong, from entrance to exit. The Dark Ride made a soft opening late in 2013 season, as highlighted in our Laff Track article, but took in some new inhabitants for a rockin’ haunted house party in 2014.

“For Wayne and I, we’re never happy, but for (park patrons) we hit it out of the park and we continue to make it better,” says Jay Gillian, owner and CEO of Gillian’s Wonderland Pier. “It’s been amazing since we opened it.
We bought some tricks but I wanted it be “Wayne-ized” because I like what Wayne does better. His craft has character and personality, as opposed to those standard-mold skeletons you see elsewhere.”

According to both Wayne and Jay, the park’s former workshop was an outstanding choice to install a dark ride because it was already equipped with a fire suppression system. “We extended the sprinkler system out to the loading area and to the second level where we house some displays,” said Wayne. “It worked out well for us.”


The park acquired eight used ride cars and 273-feet of track from Italy’s Bertazzon. A close look at the cars reveals a buccaneer theme, suggesting the fleet may have operated in one of the “Den of Lost Thieves” dark rides that are designed by the Sally Corporation of Jacksonville, Florida.

Sally often turned to Bertazzon to provide vehicles equipped with mounted light guns for its “interactive” attractions. Generally, these cars travelled a slower speed so that riders could take aim at targets inside the ride. This repurposed fleet moves at a snail’s pace…but there’s a method to that madness.

While Gillian’s ride cars look and travel as if they were designed for interactivity, they arrived there sans the handguns. In the Haunted House Dark Ride the stunts have the upper hand…or claws as the case may be!


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