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The Castle, open for business, one final time,  and  Just for You!

The legendary Castle Dracula of Wildwood was aesthetically the best dark ride ever built. The exterior of this castle was carefully constructed to give it an ominous and terrifying appearance. Towering three stories over the Midway boardwalk, the Castle Dracula's outward appearance was fashioned with grey faux stone which was carved to look like bricks in a century old castle. Two grand Turrets connected by a barrier wall and occupied by two dark knights holding the family crest flags served as the castle's imperial guards. In the front of the castle standing side by side, two grey griffins served as the castle's watchdogs eagerly waiting for a hapless victim. Protecting the castle from the ground level was a moat which also served as a dungeon boat ride that ventured beneath the castle.

Dangling 60 feet above the boardwalk from the highest tower was a cast iron skeleton, warning any approaching patrons of imminent danger. During the early years, waiting guests were welcomed by Dracula himself who would appear on the balcony and recite a chilling speech.

Nighttime brought about an even more incredible image from the exterior which included torches atop of the griffins at the entrance blazing with fire, glowing red windows and the haunting sounds of Toccata and Fugue echoing into the night. This was the most incredible facade a dark ride ever had. Walking up to the castle was equally impressive because before you got to the main doors you walked across the drawbridge and up several flights of wide stairs to reach the giant double doors. Walking inside the castle you were struck with the musty smell that was similar to the basement of a grand old church. Once inside, you were guided into the main room, probably the most memorable room of the entire castle. This room was two stories high inside although it was always hard to tell because once the door closed darkness surrounded the entire room except for the lights directed towards the fireplace.

In the center of the mantle there sat a giant picture frame which displayed a bizarre picture of Dracula that will always be etched into my mind due to its unique portrayal of Dracula as an odd creepy looking creature. The picture frame, after a careful examination by my brother and me, was discovered to be identical to the picture frame used in the Brigantine Castle Walk-thru. There is a possibility that this could be a shared prop or possibly purchased from the same company. The lights would go out and then be flashed back on to reveal a person who would be yelling about your doom from atop the mantle. This always proved to be a great scare tactic for young children and anyone not expecting this event. Once you left the main room, there were numerous hallways and corridors that were extremely dark and confusing. I always remember not being able to see anything not even stairways as I was always tripping on the people in front of me. It produced  a great atmosphere for actors to jump out but was definitely not safe. Several lighted hallways contained traditional creatures of classic horror which included Frankenstein's monster, werewolves and skeletons. In the later years, they put in horror tricks that truly didn't belong in the castle such as pinhead and a popular stunt of a man being executed in the electric chair which had not even been invented during the days of Dracula.


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