FOLEY - When The Park at OWA opened its gates in July 2017, it’s safe to say no one expected that within two years’ time guests would be invited inside to battle ghosts within a large haunted mansion. In June 2019, that’s exactly what OWA’s given us with their latest attraction, Mystic Mansion, now open to the public. It marks OWA’s first interactive dark ride (giving guests some welcomed AC and a fun, competitive ride all at once), and features a full story to plunge guests into the world of the mansion.
When entering the front doors of the large, purple manor, you find yourself transported into a world of blacklights and ghouls (parents of younger children do not fear, the ride is family-friendly and welcomes all ages). Along the path leading to the start of the journey you encounter Professor Phearstruck, who gives riders the rundown on what they need to do: save OWA from the wrath of Boocifer before it’s too late. No worries, Phearstruck doesn’t send you into the unknown empty-handed.
A Doom Buggie awaits at the gates, where four fearless (or maybe slightly anxious, depending on the person) guests load up and embark into the heart of Boocifer’s world. The four seats are equipped with a ghost-blaster, and suddenly guests find themselves twisting through the mansion’s corridors and rooms, encountering ghosts, suits of armor, and living-portraits fitted with target lights. Together as a team or competing for the crown, guests shoot at the targets as the points rack up before their eyes, all leading to the final encounter with Boocifer.
OWA prides itself on being family-friendly, and Mystic Mansion is no different. It is a dark ride and filled with neon and blacklights throughout, but is designed in a way that is not gruesome or frightening to younger ages. There are a couple of surprises that will lead to some shrieks and jumps, but nothing too intense or terrifying is encountered along the way. The jump-scares are few and mild, adding to the overall fun and experience of the ride. The ghost-blasters are easy to use and designed so even younger guests can join in on the action, and the Doom Buggies move smoothly, without any jerks or high-speeds, giving enough time to take in the different rooms and scenes of the mansion as well as compete for the high-score.
A neat feature of the ride is each time a target is hit it triggers an action, meaning you can ride again and again and experience new things each time (and new high-scores as you compete against your friends and family). They always say practice makes perfect, so this summer take a trip to OWA and try your hand against Boocifer and his specters at Mystic Mansion, before enjoying the rest of what OWA has to offer.
To learn more about The Park at OWA and Downtown OWA, check out their website at www.visitowa.com.