Zeitgeist Design & Production Adds the Dark to Hersheypark Dark Nights

Zeitgeist Design & Production Adds the Dark to Hersheypark Dark Nights
Experience Zeitgeist’s Work Through October 30

PASADENA, CA – October 5, 2022 – When Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark committed to launching a world-class Halloween event this year, it turned to Pasadena-based Zeitgeist Design & Production to develop three immersive and story-rich haunted houses inspired by local Pennsylvania legends: “Haunted Coal Mine,” “Creature Chaos,” and “Twisted Darkness.”

Led by location-based entertainment industry veterans Ryan Harmon and Joe Lanzisero, the Zeitgeist team tapped into its nearly four decades of worldwide theme park and attraction design and production experience to take modern Halloween walk-through attractions to the next level.

“The Zeitgeist team instilled each of its three haunted houses with believable backstories, unique characters, clever techniques, and surprising physical situations,” said Brewer Lister, Hersheypark’s managing director of marketing. “As a result of this fresh approach, each of Zeitgeist’s designs seamlessly integrates immersive theatrical scenics with special effects and costumed ‘scare actors’ to bring each original and spine-tingling tale to life.”

“Haunted Coal Mine” invites guests deep inside an abandoned Pennsylvania mineshaft where mischief-making gnome-like men of lore have discovered gold and will do whatever it takes to horde their treasure!

“Creature Chaos” is inspired by the legends of mythical creatures said to inhabit Pennsylvania’s forests. This bespoke house introduces a nefarious cryptozoologist named Professor Stanley Darkstone — the impresario of a traveling sideshow whose hungry and captive creatures ultimately break free from their cages and prey on guests!

And audience favorite “Twisted Darkness” introduces a grotesque carnival of nightmares that exists in another dimension — accessible only through the psychic visions of fortuneteller Madame Zola. Here, a funhouse becomes a madhouse as guests attempt to escape an evil netherworld before becoming trapped in this “tragic kingdom” forever!

“We approached each haunted house like a dark ride,” said Zeitgeist president and chief creative officer and former Disney Imagineer Ryan Harmon, who wrote the narrative for each house. “Your ride vehicle is your feet as you trepidatiously traverse a series of fantastic environments as a compelling multimedia story unfolds around you, culminating in a spectacular finale every time! Our goal was not just the physical scare, but an emotional scare that will haunt you in your dreams.”

“We wanted to create thrilling experiences that are unique to Pennsylvania,” said Zeitgeist executive vice president and chief art director and Disney icon Joe Lanzisero. “We spent a lot of time researching local lore, as well as visual vocabularies we didn’t see in existing Halloween attractions. Of course, Hersheypark’s natural forested and creekside setting – especially in the autumn – provided an already dark palate on which to paint on.”

Zeitgeist’s work at Hersheypark’s Dark Nights can be experienced through October 30, 2022. Visit www.hersheypark.com/darknights for more information.


Located in the epicenter of the world’s location-based entertainment community in Pasadena, California, Zeitgeist Design & Production creates UX-IRL – User Experiences In Real Life. The Zeitgeist team is primarily comprised of former executive-level Disney Imagineers who have spent an average of 40 years conceiving, designing, producing, and building well over $12 billion in successful and beloved rides, shows, attractions, museums, brand centers, and other engaging experiences for Disney, Universal, Warner Bros., Sea World, Chimelong (China), and dozens of developers and owner/operators worldwide.

For more information, visit Zeitgeist-USA.com


Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) is a world-class entertainment and hospitality company dedicated to preserving the legacy of Milton S. Hershey. Founded in 1927 by Hershey, HE&R and its subsidiaries own and/or operate the Hersheypark Entertainment Complex, Hersheypark Arena & Stadium, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, Hershey Bears AHL Hockey Club, GIANT Center arena, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, Hersheypark Camping Resort, The Spa at The Hotel Hershey, MeltSpa by Hershey, Hershey Country Club, and Hershey Golf Collection.

For additional information about HE&R, visit www.HersheyPA.com.

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