Hey guys! So Saturday I went to the Eastern State Penitentiary, no big deal. I just had to serve my time for a petty crime I did way back. Guys I am just joking! I went to the Eastern State Penitentiary’s annual haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls.
My three friends and I set out on a two hour drive from New York City to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surprisingly the car ride did not seem that long. I do not know if it was because we were watching a film about where we were going (the penitentiary, its history, and how scary it was) or because the traffic was not that bad.
Our plan was to buy the tickets online because at first glance it looked cheaper to buy online. Since we were going October 15th the tickets were going to be $45 online and $50 in person. While we were in the car we all went on our phones to buy the tickets. We wanted to go to the 9:30pm show but those were already sold out and it was only 7pm! The next available show was 11:30pm so we chose that showing. We put the tickets in our shopping carts and then saw there was a $5 service charge. Instead of it being cheaper to buy online it was actually the same price. So we all just decided to wait until we got there to purchase the tickets. We got there around 9pm, and found out that now the 11:30pm tickets had been sold out. So we had to purchase the 12am tickets.
We purchased the 12am tickets and got into the line to get into the haunted house. Yes, there was a line after you purchased your tickets. There was actually no line to purchase the tickets but there was a line to get in after you purchased the tickets. The penitentiary took up the whole the street and the end of the line wrapped around it. While we were standing on line we heard that we could move up in the line if we upgraded our tickets. The upgraded or VIP tickets were $70 so it would have been 20 more extra dollars. My other friends were willing to pay for it so they got off of the line to see if we could trade in the tickets. They went to the information desk and they said that we could exchange our tickets. So they called us off of the line to go back to the ticket booth to upgrade our tickets. My other friend and I got off the line, walked around the building, and back to the ticket booth. Once I finally met my friends who went to see about the upgraded tickets they were told by the ticket booth that NO we could not upgrade or exchange our tickets to the VIP $70 tickets. I then went to the ticket both and explained we had gotten off the line (that had nearly DOUBLED as we were standing there) and lost our spots. I told them that the information desk said that we could exchange our tickets to move up in the line. Zachary from window six (shoutout to him) then walked back with us to the information desk and told the guy who was working the desk that no they were not exchanging tickets any longer. Zachary then escorted us to the line that was letting people in at 10pm. We were no longer around the corner. We were now in front, going in immediately! This was AMAZING customer service. It would suck if someone who had already been waiting in line got off just to find out that they cannot upgrade their tickets to move further up in the line. Thank you Zachary!
More lines! Yes once we got in there was another line to go through metal detectors and bag checks. You CANNOT bring in food or drink. I learned that the hard way because I had a full bottle of coke and I was carrying one of my friend’s drinks both of them had to be thrown away. After the security check you move on to a line where you sign a waiver to participate. After you sign the waiver and hand it in you get on to another line to actually go into a room with a lady pretending to be a zombie nurse. They lined us up in that room and the lady told us the rules and regulations of the haunted house. One of them which you do not hear very often was no CURSING! They also said at the next stop you will decide whether or not you want to be touched. You wear a pink glow stick necklace around your neck if you want to be touched. We moved on from the room and into another line to get the necklaces. I chose not to be touched so I did not get a necklace but I got fake blood put on my cheek. Something else you can opt into or not. Since I opted out of being touched I opted into getting a blood “X” put on my cheek. After you get your blood and necklace you then go with your group to take a picture right before going on to the first attraction.
There are six attractions in between the first three you get a break where you walk outside. You can take a bathroom break in the three porter potties they have set up. I did not use them but according to my friends they were very messy. The fourth attraction was Quarantine 4D. They give you 3D glasses which you end up giving back at the end of the attraction. This one was my favorite cause you were not being scared it was almost like you had been drugged. This part put you in a trance the floors moved the walls looked as if they were coming in on you. Some of the actors had on camouflage suits so it looked like they were coming directly out of the walls. After this one the last two went by really fast. Next thing you know you are outside where they have a gift shop, a food vendor, and a vendor to purchase the picture you took at the beginning of the experience. I purchased a pen from the gift shop to give my mother while two of friends purchased the picture we took in the beginning.
It was the best haunted house I had ever been to, then again I do not go to haunted houses very often. I cannot fix my imagination to be spooked out by actors. If I know I am going to a scary house then I will know people are attempting to initially scare me. With that in the back of my mind I am not going to be scared. I know the place is not actually haunted. Basically what I am saying is that I am a non-believer in haunted places. So I am probably the harshest critic of haunted houses and this haunted house was INCREDIBLE! Well worth the 50 dollars. If you opted to be touched you were scared out of your mind. I watched one of my friends get chased by one of the “prisoners” with a chainsaw. The actors try extremely hard to scare the visitors and they go all out with extreme dramatic makeup and costumes.
After the haunted house we then went to Geno’s Steaks for Philly cheese steaks. It was about a five to ten minute drive away from the penitentiary. I got the Steak Milano ($10.75) which was basically a cheese steak with fried tomatoes. Which I learned the fried tomatoes are not like the fried tomatoes my aunt makes. Hers were like fries which is what I was expecting when I saw fried tomatoes on the menu. But hey actually put it on the sandwich and it had no batter on it. So basically the sandwich was sauteed tomatoes with oregano, steak and provolone cheese. It was DELICIOUS! I understand why this place is a classic. I usually do not opt for a Philly cheese steak because I think they are overrated but it was really good.
After Geno’s we headed out on the road back to New York City. We made a pit stop at 2AM, and went to the Vince Lombardi Service Area in Ridgefield, New Jersey. It had Sunoco gas station, Burger King, Cinnabon, Popeye’s, Nathan’s, and a Starbucks which I had to get something from. I got a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte of course! It was the best one I had ever had. I did not think certain drinks would taste better at different branches of Starbucks but apparently they do. After our pit stop we arrived in New York City within 20 minutes. This was definitely a night to remember. I will be going back to the penitentiary for a day time tour. Until next time Kaytures!