Please note: this review is for the 2014 season rather than the current season.
Submitted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Ghost Boat: Season of the Witch is a haunted attraction that is put on by the Wisconsin Dells Boat Tours company. The best way to describe this haunt is this your Dells Boat Tour, "after dark". If you want to get in on the action be aware that you have to reserve a seat with the Dells Boat Tour company in order to attend. The company offers various block times for you to arrive at the ticket office and subsequently board the boat. I reserved my seat for the 8:30PM time slot (the last tour of the night). Once I arrived at the ticket office (located right along the "main drag" of the Wisconsin Dells) and got my ticket, I was instructed to wait to board in the waiting area. The waiting area is cozy and has a Halloween themed video playing over the suspended TV screens. There was some décor but minus that, there was no other entertainment or things to do. We began to board the boat to start the adventure around 8:50PM.
Now you may be thinking, "Ah a haunted boat ride...that's unique...". Unfortunately, I have to report that the 35min boat ride (to the actual attraction location) is essentially a stripped down version of the daytime boat tours. There are no scares on the boat, actors, or other entertainment save for a pre-recorded soundtrack that details a story of a witch that used to roam the woods of the Dells. Make sure you dress for the weather. With no actors or scares and a long boat ride, you will get cold on a fall night very quickly (I know I did).
The boat will take you to one of the tourist stops on the daytime boat tour...Witch's Gulch - one of the area's legendary caverns. This is where the actual haunted attraction is located. Once you disembark the boat you walk through the cavern as a large group (i.e. everyone on the boat, which is approximately 35+ people). Laced throughout the cavern are appropriate haunted house props and of course, the actors. There are only a few actual "scenes" set-up in the cavern. As you walk through, guided only by Tiki torches, the ghouls of the night come out from all areas along the winding boardwalk. It was difficult to really enjoy the full experience due to being in a mass of people and having been an actor myself I also understand how difficult it is to scare such a large group.
After you get to the other end of cavern, you come to a clearing where you can buy refreshments and food from the tour stand. Once you buy what you want (or not) you head back through the cavern and back towards the boat. This is where the cavern attraction got fun. Now the Tiki torches have been extinguished, and you are split up into small groups. You can only navigate the path by feeling for the railings. At this point the actors excelled at their job. They used every available advantage they had to create a very harrowing experience and some quality scares. There were even scares that were done that I thought could only be accomplished with plenty of space. The walk back was the definitely the best part of the entire trip.
Once you make it back through the cavern you board the boat for another 35min cruise back to the boathouse. Here you better make sure you have some warmth because this time there is no entertainment whatsoever, not even a soundtrack (so make sure you bundle up and buy some hot cocoa at the tour stand). Once you're back a the boathouse that is it...you've experienced the Wisconsin Dells in a brand new way.