Santa Cruz Boardwalk Debuts New Haunted Castle Dark Ride
Spectacular attraction replaces 36 year-old original with state-of-the-art animatronics
One of the most eagerly anticipated newly-constructed dark rides in recent (or not-so-recent) memory was launched over the Memorial Day holiday at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California's popular and picturesque seaside resort amusement park.
The term "Modern Classic" can be applied equally to both the elaborate new fortress of fear and to the park itself, which celebrated 100 years of continuous operation in 2007. The Boardwalk has a well-earned reputation for taking a perfectionist approach to its well-groomed and finely-tuned image, and has few industry equals in its skillful blending of the up-to-the-minute with the nostalgic. Our appreciation of their obtaining and restoring the original Whitney's Playland Laffing Sal illustrates the point and is but one example. The Haunted Castle, while ranking favorably with the best of the new theme park "experiences", has its roots firmly planted in the days of yore, eerily and cheerily recalling the spook-filled  

pioneering ride-throughs of Pretzel and Traver. But make no mistake - they've carried it well into the 21st century, bringing to bear all the latest technologies in lighting, sound effects and life-like (if not actually living) creatures.

Raising the dead, and a castle big enough to hold them, was a task assigned to a consortium of top design and development firms, each chosen for their specialized expertise and industry reputations. R&R Creative Amusement Designs of Anaheim, CA., headed by Rick Bastrup and Richard Ferrin, did the conceptual designs, show, graphics, set and animation designs, building theme design, audio design, scripts and audio production, show lighting design and art direction throughout the project. Rick Bastrup relates: "We designed this as a traditional dark ride updated with effects and technology. It is meant to be fun and spooky at the same time with a lot of humor and surprises along the way. It is more of a family ride rather than a straight scare experience."

Above left: Rick Bastrup and Richard Ferrin of R&R Creative Amusement Designs.
Above right: The new Haunted Castle building under construction as viewed from the beach.

Several other firms were involved in the creation of the Haunted Castle:
Duncan Design Inc. built and installed all the sets.
Fox Productions Inc. built the "King" projected image effect.
Bagnall Architects provided all architectural, engineering and code related design.
I.E. Park of Italy provided the car system and ride engineering.

For the Haunted Castle's animatronic creatures and special effects, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk chose Sally Corporation of Jacksonville, Florida. Sally assembled a seasoned team of artists, designers, electronics and mechanical engineers, sculptors, painters and mold makers who went to work bringing R&R's concepts to life.