Apply for the 2022 Hauntathon at http://hauntathon.info/
Sept. 14, 2022

Day 13: Land of Illusion in Middletown Ohio

Day 13: Land of Illusion in Middletown Ohio

Tyler and Nora went to Land of Illusion’s opening night and spoke to CEO Brett Oakley about this year’s renovations and new safety procedures. Land of Illusion’s Haunted Scream Park offers 6 haunts, entertainment, food, and roaming characters. Tyler...


Tyler and Nora went to Land of Illusion’s opening night and spoke to CEO Brett Oakley about this year’s renovations and new safety procedures. Land of Illusion’s Haunted Scream Park offers 6 haunts, entertainment, food, and roaming characters. Tyler and Nora are from TheScareFactor.com and are one of our content partners for this year. Follow along to our Hauntathon: https://linktr.ee/hauntedattractionnetwork

Transcript

Brett Oakley: My name is Brett Oakley, CEO of Land of Illusion. I've been running the park now for 26 years, started it from ground floor about a mile and a half from here, and moved in at this location 2004. So, you know, a tough ride down. The haunted house industry, a lot of people just can't afford to quite invest in the industry the way they need to. I took the park, I think, to a different level. I think we're competing really head-to-head with just a lot of the bigger parks out here that call themselves a haunt park, but we are truly a haunt park. We've created something a little bit different than a lot of people, so we try to create 6 unique haunts. Every year we try to change one haunt now, bring a little bit of a different theme now, just really trying to give the followers something different. 

Brett Oakley: So, Middletown Haunted Trail is approximately 9/10 of a mile long, so it's going to take 28 to 35 minutes to get through it. Dysphoria, which is a new one this year, is a little bit of a maze, a little bit of a different animal than normal. So, we've got some new people running this, working with us, and I think it's going to be a fun year for them. Dr. Psycho's, which has been one of our originals here, the house was built in 1837, really have a unique standing sort of, I don't know, a monument of this property that we've tried to preserve. You never know when you come out whether the doctor is going to get you or not. The Temple of Terror is more of an Egyptian-type role, it's a little bit different spin. I think we're a competitor this year for #1 in the US.

Tyler Proffet: Nice. Sounds like it.

Brett Oakley: Yeah, we've stuck a lot of time, a lot of effort. Middle Town Haunted Trail, which is a lot of what is known here, we completely redid one of our zones, built some really cool unique buildings. With the lumber price and everything else, it's just it's really difficult now, but really overall I think we've got a homeowner.

Tyler Proffet: How many people does it take to run something like this?

Brett Oakley: It probably takes 200 to 230. With the heat and everything we try to give some people break, so I mean it's a challenge right now when it's hot, but another week and we're going to be in cold weather, we're going to come and get you.

Tyler Proffet: So, what would you say sets Land of Illusion apart from any other attractions or parks that are like it?

Brett Oakley: You know, we've got other entertainment internally. We offer our food offerings, we offer a full bar, I think that helps. A lot of people in the haunted house, they want to get trashed and then go to the haunted house. So, the haunted house has to deal with problems. We did an alcohol heist, we're trying to control the alcohol, and make a little bit safer overall for them. So, you know, overall, I think it's a unique package that we've taken and found success in.

Brett Oakley: We've got Micro Wrestling this weekend, they're out of Gatlinburg, great show. Last night was very successful here. It's fun when you get the passion going.

Tyler Proffet: Tell us about what Land of Illusion does the rest of the year.

Brett Oakley: You know what, we've got a water park that we built four years ago, it's Aqua Ventures, really unique water park, we've taken it to the next level. So, it was a very successful summer there. Then coming Christmas, this is our fifth year in Christmas, we've added some cool animation from Germany. From my understanding, we're #1 now for Christmas in the state of Ohio. So, we're bringing in different things throughout the year to try to help balance, which is helping us put a better Halloween event on. But we're trying to spread out that season so we can keep people full-time, work on set designs, and do things a little bit different.

Tyler Proffet: What are you most excited about for the haunted nights for this year?

Brett Oakley: You know, the weather is probably one of the hardest things when you've run outdoor events. I'm really hoping we get some good weather this year, I think a lot of the haunts out here need it. We run rain or shine out here, and that's a beautiful thing. So we've now got Middletown Haunted Trail with enough stuff we'll run, we're going to be here rain or shine, it doesn't matter. That's a big help this year.

Tyler Proffet: So, it's an all-weather attraction?

Brett Oakley: We're here, we're running. we got some under a roof, some out, but between the raindrops and stuff, we've got enough inside stuff going on that I think we got a good show this year.

Tyler Proffet: What should guests know before they come and see Land of Illusion?

Brett Oakley: You know the biggest thing is I would say, #1 put your Depends on. If you got some habits and you got some problems, we're going to make you pee your pants. If you don't like scary stuff stay at home. If you got a history of seizures, stay at home, we don't want to deal with the problems here. People don't understand, you know, strobe lights do things with that. But if you're into Halloween, you want a great time, you need to come to Land of Illusion. We're going to have some fun with you.

Tyler Proffet: Tell us about your unique little entry system here, very theme park-esque with your turnstiles and all that stuff. What was the motivation behind adding those?

Brett Oakley: You know one of the things that we're trying to do is, security is probably the key thing that a lot of people need to know. When you come to haunted house if you've got knives, guns, those kinds of things, leave them at home because they're not coming in the park. We're really trying to take and make people feel safe when they come in the park and take it to the next level. How do we protect our customers? That's what we're trying to do a better job at that, and I think all haunts and stuff are really trying hard to really look at that. So, we're just here to have a good season, great time, we want to see a lot of smiles, a lot of scares, and just some memories. 

Tyler Proffet: Where can folks learn more about Land of Illusion?

Brett Oakley: You know we've got LandofIllusion.com, they can buy tickets on there, it's very mobile friendly as well as the desktop, so that's the easiest way. If not, come out and see us, you can buy tickets at the door or online, either one.

Tyler Proffet Profile Photo

Tyler Proffet

Co-Owner of Scare Factor

Co-Owner of Scare Factor and Part of Team Zombillies, Tyler visits haunts around the country doing interviews and reviews.

Brett Oakley

CEO of Land of Illusion

Brett Started Land of Illusion over 20 years ago, and since 2004 has been expanding the park to create a better Halloween event, and events throughout the years, including expanding to build Aqua Ventures in 2018 as part of Land of Illusion.