The Haunted World of The land of Illusion
By Noah Wullkotte
Land of Illusion is one of the most popular haunts in the state of Ohio. What started out as a haunted trail has expanded into a large haunted theme park. Today we interview Land of Illusion's woman in charge of marketing. She goes by the nick name "The Countess" and gives us a small look into The Land of Illusion.
Tell us a little about the history of Land of Illusion.
The LOI started 12 years ago in Brett Oakley's backyard in Middletown. It began as The Middletown Haunted Trail. It stayed there for about 6 seasons, adding the Temple of Terror on that site for the final year before moving to its current location. Upon moving they renamed the event The Land of Illusion which consisted of The Middletown Haunted Trail, Temple of Terror and Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate. Over the years they have added Killer Klowns and this season they've added The Voodoo Bayou Shanty and Club Zombie....along with a Vampire section of the Trail called The Nest.
How did you first get involved in the haunt industry?
Brett Oakley got involved with the industry because, like many, he liked Halloween. He just thought it would be cool to do an event in the woods behind his house.
How would you compare Land of Illusion to other attractions in Ohio?
The Land of Illusion is unique because it is the only dedicated Haunted Theme Park. Since you pay one price for 5 attractions and you can do them as many times as you like, the only place I could compare to the Land of Illusion would be Kings Island.
What are some new things people can expect from Land of Illusion in 2010?
New things for 2010 include The Nest, The Vodoo Bayou Shanty and Club Zombie. Also, we have expanded Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate and changed the layout a bit. I think people will really like what we have done.
What kind of planning goes into creating a huge event such as Land of Illusion?
It involves ear round plannig and work. The Land of Illusion is a 365 day a year event even though we are only open for 8 weeks.
How has Land of Illusion evolved over the years?
The LOI has evolved from a backyard haunt to a haunted theme park.
Tell us a little about the people who are instrumental in bringing Land of Illusion to life?
It's mainly a family business, but we hire an enourmous amount of people to do this event each year.
What do you guys look for when finding the perfect actor?
We look for somone who is as passionate about Halloween as we are.
What ways is Land of Illusion marketed every year?
Radio, TV, Billboards. This year we have really amped up our social media marketing and have added text messaging as a component.
What are some obstacles that are faced every year when trying to open an event the size of Land of Illusion?
Insurance, security, keeping wait lines minimal, but not overcrowding the haunts. At the LOI we deal with more people on a night in and night out basis than most other haunts. So crowd management is a massive challenge.
What is your favorite haunt at Land of Illusion and why?
The Middletown Haunted Trail because it has so many different elements and scenes. But I will say that all of our haunts are really good.
What is the typical demographic that visits Land of Illusion?
How many customers experience Land of Illusion every year?
Many, many people come through.
Have you guys ever thought of converting Land of Illusion into a Christmas event during the winter season?
We tried it in year one, but the ROI is not sufficient.
What is your favorite part of Land of Illusion?
Sharing the Halloween season with so many people and giving them something to look forward to each and every year.
Land of Illusion is full of impressive animatronics. How are these props repaired when they break down?
We store them internally. Most of them require minimal maintenance.
If you could improve one thing about Land of Illusion, what would that be?
Giving people even more to do. It is our mission to make the LOI a place that you can come and spend 4-6 hours. For this reason we are adding things every year. We hope to add more things next year and possibly enter into the inclusion of a self contained ride.
What is your favorite horror movie and why?
The Shining because the fear comes from your mind more than what you are seeing.
What is your fondest Halloween memory?
Trick or treating, pumpkin patching, going to haunts with friends.
What do you love most about the fall season?
Halloween, Football, campfires