Last night the When It Was Cool family made the substantial trip to possibly our last Halloween Haunted House attraction of the 2016 season and it was the big one. Often voted the best haunted attraction in America, Netherworld is one of the largest, most popular, and intense haunted attractions you will find.
I was surprised when I went to purchase my tickets online at FearWorld.com, the Netherworld website, that prices were very much in line with most haunted attractions we have been to before. At just $28 per ticket for the main "Monsters" attraction, I thought the price was in line with other smaller attractions which are usually in the $18-$25 range.
Atlanta, GA is not a short drive for us. It's about a four hour one way trip under the best of circumstances and on a Saturday during college football season it could be tricky but the travel went off without a hitch.
Netherworld is actually located east of Atlanta, Georgia in a town called Norcross, GA. When we arrived we were hit with our first "hidden fee"- $10 for parking. This is the first time we have been charged for parking at any haunted attraction so that was a big negative right off the bat and in our cashless society now- wouldn't you know it- they only took cash so we had to scrape together the ten bucks to get parked so your true ticket cost is actually $38. Now it's not such a bargain.
Update/Clarification: Netherworld contacted us via Twitter with this response: "For clarity... netherworld has never charged a penny for parking we do have free parking, but on peak nights it fills up very quickly" Apparently, Netherworld itself does not charge for parking, however, traffic was being flagged by people with vests off the roadway into parking lots charging $10 for parking. This was happening in both directions. Apparently, this is done by owners of nearby parking areas as a way to make money. It should be pointed out, however, that whether sanctioned by Netherworld or not it did not seem to be a choice. We thank Netherworld for this clarification.
We walked a short distance to the waiting line. Here's a big tip- buy your tickets online. I couldn't imagine waiting in line to buy tickets at the event and then waiting in the actual attraction line. The line was enormous and we literally waited HOURS. Yes, hours.
There was virtually no entertainment in line other than a "scary songs greatest hits" playing a variety of Halloween themed music (thankfully, I only heard Monster Mash once). At other haunted attractions, actors would come out and mingle with the crowd and take photos or a scary movie would be playing but Netherworld didn't seem to care about this in the least. I saw two actors doing half hearted photo ops for a few minutes during the HOURS we waited in line. This was far and away our biggest criticism of the event- be prepared to wait for an extraordinarily excessive time with nothing to do. Charge up those smart phones folks. (and hashtag #WhenItWasCool please)
When we finally got to the entrance, business picked up. While the excessive wait with nothing to do was inexcusable and exhausting there is absolutely nothing negative I can say about the actual attraction.
You enter and stage in another small waiting area that is designed as a museum of curiosities with a lot of really interesting exhibits. It was exceptionally well done and began conditioning you for the attraction to come.
When you finally enter the Netherworld haunted attraction it is... well... absolutely amazing. It is a constant assault to your senses. Animatronics and actors come at you from every angle. From your feet to above your head there is always something going on. And I've said before on our podcasts that one of my criticisms of haunted attractions is over reliance on animatronics... well I stand corrected. Over reliance on bad animatronics is what I meant. The ones at Netherworld were amazing and realistic. Easily movie quality. It was often hard to distinguish the difference between the actors and the animatronics.
I am a set enthusiast. I am far more impressed by a great set or scene design than I am jump scaring actors. This is where Netherworld far surpassed any haunted attraction I have ever seen. The set itself was a character. There were constantly moving floors, moving walls, shaking walkways, an assault on your senses to keep you disoriented and distracted at the just the right times. Every new scene you walked into was so superbly designed that it required virtually no suspension of disbelief to enjoy. The set design of Netherworld so far exceeded any other haunted attraction we have seen that I don't know if I'll ever be able to really enjoy another one!
"The set design of Netherworld so far exceeded any other haunted attraction we have seen that I don't know if I'll ever be able to really enjoy another one!"
And Netherworld was a constant assault on your senses. There was always something going on. There were literally no moments to catch your breath. Something was always right there to get you or unnerve you or disorient you.
They also wonderfully strayed away from cliche Zombies, Clowns, and poor actor driven jump scares.
As soon as we exited the attraction into the cool October night air, our reaction was simply "wow". Despite the inexcusable wait and deceptive ticket price I came away from Netherworld thinking it was, in fact, the best Halloween attraction I have ever experienced.
What to know about Netherworld:
- Top notch quality animatronics and actors.
- No over reliance on jump scares.
- Absolutely amazing set design.
- Constant assault on your senses.
- Friendly staff and actors.
- Lack of sufficient free parking. Nearby properties were charging $10 to park and were flagging vehicles off the roadway into those properties.
- Exhausting multi-hour wait with virtually no entertainment options.
- Very poor bathroom facilities.