Jan 20, 2002

Remembering Castle Dracula

My family and I went to Wildwood every summer when I was a kid, and one of my favorite parts was Castle Dracula on Nickel's Midway Pier.  It was by far the coolest haunted house that I've ever seen to this day.  I can't believe that no one is ever going to get to experience this incredible place again; all thanks to two jerks.

This was the billboard on the old carousel building near the Medford's Phillies Franks building, which you can see on the right.

There were two parts to it: a Dungeon Boat Ride and a guided walking tour through the rooms of the castle.  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos inside the main part of Castle Dracula, but I have quite a few of the outside and the Dungeon Boat Ride.

Here are some photos from outside the castle that were taken by my and my grandfather between 1985-1989.  The ones that look crisp and reasonably well-centered are his.  The grainy, off-center ones were from my 110 film camera that I had when I was a kid.

The experience at Castle Dracula began before you even set foot in the place.  Not only was the castle itself a stunning to see, but there were loudspeakers hidden on the grounds that played creepy music, and employees who were dressed as vampires and demons walking around the area in character.

The entrance on the left hand side (between the wooden fence and the black rod iron) is a ramp that led down to the Dungeon Boat Ride.  The entrance to the left of the brown garbage can in the photo above led to the drawbridge, which you would cross to get into the walkthrough portion of the castle.

I don't remember ever going to this Castle-I-Scream window.  I suppose it's where my father or my grandfather would go to buy our tickets to get in, but the name and the picture of a hot dog, pretzel and snowcone on the sign suggests that they served food too.  If they did, I'm pretty sure we never stopped there to eat.

The balcony had an animatronic Count Dracula that could move and talk.  I don't remember exactly what it said, but he would beckon everyone who passed by to pay a visit to his castle.  The little lion face on the wall beneath Dracula's balcony spit water out into the moat, and I'm pretty sure that the black object on top of the stone statues on either side of the drawbridge was a torch that they used to light when it got dark out.