ORLANDO, Fla. – The Haunted Road is different from the average haunted house. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, visitors will experience the thrills from their cars.
“As artists and performers, we were sitting at home for several months not being able to do what we loved,” said Jessica Mariko. “We didn’t want to wait and sit around for a vaccine for it to be safe again. I started thinking about ‘what can we do that’s safe now?’”
Mariko has been producing theatrical events for about 20 years, even working on attractions at Orlando theme parks. She helped create the concept as the executive producer for The Haunted Road, a drive-through Halloween-themed theatrical experience off Lake Pickett Road in East Orlando.
“We wanted to tell the story of what happens when you have cabin fever. It starts with Rapunzel in the tower and then you get to see what happens when she leaves the tower and goes into the world of disarray,” said Mariko.
Mariko said the production is six months in the making employing about 200 people.
“A lot of the core people are furloughed artists, a lot of people working at amusement parks and just didn’t have work right now ... We are just thankful to do what we love and be able to make a little bit of money,” said Mariko.
She said The Haunted Road gives them an opportunity to think outside the box, providing a safe way to offer entertainment during a pandemic. The performers all wear masks and remain socially distant from guests.
“We had to do a lot of testing with FM radio transmitters. We had to learn how to build roads and how to direct traffic. We’ve learned so much so we want to bring what we’ve learned forward into new experiences possibly for other holidays or other special events,” said Mariko.
Corn Maze Orlando and Painted Oaks Academy partnered with The Haunted Road to offer up farmland for the attraction.
For those who aren’t into the Halloween frights, The Haunted Road also offers family-friendly productions during the day with a different storyline. Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes in the car and yes, there will be candy and treats given out.
The Haunted Road runs through Nov. 8 with daytime and nighttime shows on select days. Click or tap here, to purchase tickets.