Over the last months, amusement park De Waarbeek (Netherlands) worked on the brand new haunted house Huyze Pelle. The ride is themed around one of the park characters, a postman called Pelle. Guests are invited in the house of his ancestors and see what spooky things are going on there. The spooky exterior of the ride was already erceted before the start of the season, but the inside of the ride has long been a mystery for visitors. Until yesterday, when Huyze Pelle was offically opened with a grand spectacle.
Amidst many other invited attendees, the DRdb team was present at the official opening of Huyze Pelle, which was celebrated with confetti and lots of fireworks. We also spoke with Kevin Moespot, director of De Waarbeek, who was very glad to see the enthusiastic reactions from the people riding their newest ride. “It is amazing to see this. We really wanted to create something unique with this ride, a true experience that De Waarbeek has never see before.”
That idea resulted a haunted house which is not just a regular ghost trains with jump scares, but a ride with a backstory and a specific theme. The family-friendly ride takes visitors into the house of Pelle’s ancestors, which already looks a bit haunted en delipitated from the outside. Once inside, the queue winds along a couple of spooky rooms, which even include some small jokes referencing to the park’s owners. Eventually, guests pass a bookshlef which seems to have exploded, and find a mysterious room behind it. This is a laberatory where Pelle’s grandfather invented a time machine, and visitors are the guinea pigs to test the invention. After an introduction by Pelle himself, contacting riders via a video screen, the train takes off for a small ride past spooky scenes from all kinds of eras.
“I am proud of Huyze Pelle, since it is a ride that we created together with the entire Waarbeek team,” as Kevin Moespot says. “Almost everything in there was hand-made by our people; some things are bought, but most things are done in-house. Except for the exterior, we hired Petro Art Production for that. We already had some ideas about the exterior and were planning to built it ourselves out of wood, but when Petro came in the picture they made a design based on our ideas and created the current ride front.”
Huyze Pelle uses an existing ride system, which was bought from showman Bert de Jongh. The train, built by Sartori Rides in 2001, used to travel fun fairs as outdoor train ride called Space Mouse. “When I bought that train last summer,” Moespot says, “I thought about letting it ride through a freight container and create a sort-of haunted experience. Well, one container became two containers and then three containers. And we decided to cover it with a nice roof. And that is how the idea of Huyze Pelle slowly emerged. For some time, we even had the idea to make it interactive with laser shooting, but that just did not work with this ride system. The whole development of the ride was just a series of impulsive and creative decisions.”
The decorations of the ride were made by the park itself, with help of Dutch theming manufacturers such as Scare Designz and Henri Flinck. “We do have a really creative team here at Waarbeek. Everyone has his own specialty. We wanted to give each of them room to create something, which lead to idea of the time machine. In that way, we could add anything to the ride. Every team member of the park helped with decorating the ride, me and even the administration people included. We made many things up along the way, some in really short time. The decoration in the station, for example, made out of scaffolding tubes, was conceived just four weeks ago. It was tight to make it to opening day, and still the ride is not done yet: such a project is actually never done.” Bart Wieling of Scare Designz acknowledges this: “I was just involved a couple of weeks ago to produce two or three props. Things went really fast in this project.” It’s the first time that Scare Designz has produced props for a dark ride. “I run my own company now, but as a 16-year old, I had my first job here in Waarbeek. It’s like the circle is complete now,” Wieling adds.
With Huyze Pelle, Waarbeek adds a completely new type of ride to its park. Next to all rides that swing, rotate or drive, this ride is one that immerses visitors in an experience. We asked Kevin Moespot whether he had more such things in mind. “We are a creative company, we always have ideas, but eventually things also come down to what you run into. Last winter we ran into some rides from defunct De Valkenier that we bought and open this year, along with Huyze Pelle. So you never know what happens, but we do have some ideas for another dark ride, somewhere in the future. We think of something magical, fairytales maybe, but something really different from the spooky Huyze Pelle.”
Check out more pictures of the grand opening below: