By: S.L. Stoddart
HalloWeekends at Cedar Point is one of the amusement park’s busiest times of the year. Believe it or not, creative minds at the park spend all year thinking of different ways to scare thrill seekers both young and old.
This year, Cedar Point has outdone itself with the grand opening of their latest haunted attraction: the Eden Musee Wax Museum & Chamber of Horrors.
A sign on the outside of the museum warns guests “Portions of this collection contain mortifying depictions of the most heinous and reviled crimes and atrocities. These tableaus are presented as an opportunity for instruction, amusement and recreation… So life-like in their appearance and character that it is difficult to believe they are not endowed with life!”
The coolest thing about this “fright zone” is that it’s a recreation of an actual wax museum that used to be at Cedar Point. The historic attraction operated at the Sandusky park from 1918 to 1966 out of what is now the Jack Aldrich Theatre (located near the front of the park, next to the Midway Market buffet just before the entrance to the Raptor).
Back then, the Eden Musee featured wax figures of famous personalities, historical figures and well-known folklore in innocent surroundings – think presidents, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and the like. But more curiously, the museum also featured famous murder scenes and wax figures of the mysterious and just plain weird in its Chamber of Horrors. In fact, the area of the museum that held the most figures was ”Murder Row,” which had 38 of the museum’s 69 different scenes.
But now, things at the Eden Musee have become sinister and nightmarish. In a forlorn corner of Frontiertown (it’s actually located in the old, rarely ever used, overload queue area for the Mean Streak), the museum’s longtime owner has died and left his children to run the family business their way, with disastrous results.
Once you walk into the Eden Musee, things seem as normal as they could for a wax museum. But the further you get, the more you start to realize the museum’s new owners are using their own haphazard methods for creating wax figures that don’t always stand still. Guests will see the nightmarish assembly in the boiler room and hear cries for help in the revealing Chamber of Horrors.
Also in the boiler room, longtime fans of Cedar Point will notice some familiar objects. John Taylor, the mastermind behind the Eden Musee reboot and manager of graphic services for the park, said props from the recently retired (and now dismantled) Disaster Transport were repurposed, repainted and reconfigured to make the boiler room look frighteningly realistic.
And what would a haunted house be without the park’s “Screamsters” – actors who undergo hours of makeup application to be transformed into the horrific creatures that nightmares are made of. Taylor said about 25 Screamsters are thoughtfully placed throughout the Eden Musee, ready and waiting for unsuspecting guests to walk through their paths before frightening them or delivering a blood-curdling scream.
One thing about the Eden Musee is that it doesn’t take things too far, graphically that is. Taylor pointed out that the park isn’t focused on the gore of the scenes, rather they tried to amp up the shock value while still keeping the attraction family friendly.
Oh, and the building that houses the Eden Musee was constructed specifically for this purpose. Park officials say it will probably be used for storage in the off-season and during the summer – but come Halloween time, you can expect to see the Eden Musee ”alive” and well every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during HalloWeekends.
During HalloWeekends, Cedar Point is open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Fridays; 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays, through Oct. 28. For more information about Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends or to purchase tickets, visit www.cedarpoint.com/halloweekends.