Ride Review: Haunted House Monster Party
Photo by legolandholidays.co.uk
As far as party invites from a dark, boarded-up mansion go, this one isn’t half bad.
It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for a Ride Review- today, we’re looking at Legoland Windsor’s modern classic Haunted House Monster Party. As ever, we’re judging the ride on our five criteria, which include:
– Queue and facade
– Physical ride experience
– Theming (including audio and atmosphere)
– Operations (reliability, capacity and throughput)
– Suitability (sense of belonging in the area and park as a whole)
We’ve never featured a ride like this one on Ride Review, so hopefully it will be well-suited to our rating system and come out with the good mark it deserves. Let’s get into it!
Haunted House Monster Party emerged as one of the biggest newcomers of the 2019 UK theme park season, surprising park-goers with one of the most high-cost and smoothly executed new LEGO rides in years. It’s one of three Vekoma Madhouses in the country, opening almost two decades after the second-most recent (Alton Towers’ Hex- The Legend of the Towers).
Queue and Facade
There’s plenty of competition at Legoland Windsor for best facade, but Haunted House Monster Party certainly stakes a claim to be the winner. Like The Dragon, LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure and LEGO Ninjago The Ride, a huge amount of time and detail has gone into making the front-of-house building look enticing here. In this case, it’s an intimidatingly big manor crafted in a cartoonishly spooky style, complete with gargoyles and boarded windows.
While the queue line is a cattle-pen (and an unshaded one at that), the catchy soundtrack and views of the house itself make up for it, as well as some great subtle humour on wall posters and faux gravestones. My only major criticism is that the show building itself is poorly hidden and a bit of an eyesore, but that can be forgiven when the facade catches the eye so easily. 8/10
Physical Ride Experience
All you can really ask a Madhouse to be is convincing- and this one is. Even going in to the ride understanding what will happen (usually as one of the few people in the room who knows what to expect), it’s still all too easy for me to be caught up in the rotating effect. If you allow yourself to forget for a few minutes that you’ve seen YouTube videos explaining how a Madhouse works (or better still, if you haven’t seen those videos at all), then you can enjoy the same feeling as everyone else: the feeling that you’re genuinely going upside-down and somehow haven’t fallen out yet.
We will talk here briefly about the visuals of the ride, because they are what allow the illusion to work. The use of lighting is important, but if you don’t pay too much attention they double as an exciting sensory element. On top of that you have the patterns on the walls, which all serve to make it very difficult to distinguish between when you’re moving- and when the room is… 7/10
Theming has always been Legoland’s key strength and this ride is one of several that pretty much nail it. The pre-show is a good way to kick off the ride, introducing you to a host of characters (almost all of which aren’t important to the story and are only there as an extra bit of effort by the design team to immerse guests). However, the experience actually starts before you reach the pre-boarding room- it starts when the heavy double doors creak open and invite you to walk into the dark hallway.
Inside of the ride itself, my only complaint is that the central table could have a bit more variety on top, but that hardly matters much after the lights dim and Lord Vampyre begins his introduction speech. The wallpaper can’t be helped without interfering with the illusion, and we’ve already mentioned the soundtrack that will be stuck in your head for days without actually being annoying. All in all, Haunted House Monster Party offers layered theming that works together to create an experience immersive enough to leave you hooked. 8/10
This will certainly be the shortest section of the review, because there’s not much to say here. The queue system, which splits each boarding group into two sections to allow for easier entry, makes the line feel extremely fast-moving. Personally, we’ve never waited longer than twenty minutes for Haunted House Monster Party– although we’ve never been on a peak summer day since the attraction opened. After some initial teething problems, maintenance also seems to be fairly smooth inside the manor. Operations are certainly helped by a large capacity inside the Madhouse. 8/10
Haunted House Monster Party is technically considered a part of LEGO City, but it’s more of a self-contained, standalone attraction. There’s no theming relating to the ride anywhere else in the area, leaving it looking slightly out of place.
Is the ride suitable for the park audience? I’d say mostly yes- despite the spooky, Scooby-Doo style theme, it’s far from a scary ride. With that said, in the queue line it’s not uncommon to hear parents asking each other what the ride actually… is. That’s completely understandable, given that a Madhouse is a bit of an unknown entity for most of the target audience of a LEGO park and many guests assume the ride is some sort of ghost train. I’ve also heard of or seen a couple of instances of kids freaking out on the ride due to the darkness and the total unfamiliarity of what, to them, is a nature-defying experience. The other two Vekoma Madhouses in the UK are both horror-themed, so to plop one in a kids park was a risky contrast. We enjoy it very much, but it was perhaps an odd choice for this area, and this park. 4/10.
Haunted House Monster Party is a genuinely strong addition to Legoland Windsor’s ride line-up, and we score it 7/10. While it’s true that it may be a little out of place in LEGO City, it more than makes up for any shortcomings with an excellent soundtrack, immersive Madhouse effects and impressive theming. Not everyone bothers with a trip to Legoland Windsor, but those who do wouldn’t have a complete day without trying out their latest big ride.