Castle Dracula Was My Jam

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eQG_J2yQ5s]

Growing up, a lot of my friends would brag about exotic vacations lasting several weeks that they went on every summer. I was never jealous of them because my family went to the Jersey Shore every summer, more specifically, Wildwood. If you remember the Santa Cruz scenes in The Lost Boys, the type of vibe happening on the Wildwood Boardwalk wasn’t too much different, and of course…all the damn vampires!

Although I enjoyed going to Wildwood immensely, I think I took many aspects of it for granted since the majority of my attention span was spent on daydreaming about Castle Dracula. Then, once I was actually on the boardwalk and in close proximity of the sinister fortress, I’d spend the next few minutes walking slowly toward the ornate Castle, spending every moment in awe of the dread it beamed up and down the boardwalk. For me, Castle Dracula was a mecca.

Aside from some funny stories at the local restaurant The Captain’s Table with my sister and my cousins, my main memories are of anticipating, and finally getting to go into Castle Dracula. When my sister was younger and more brave, she would come with me as we both had a blast getting the bejesus scared out of us. Of course there was boardwalk games, prizes, ice cream, and boogie boarding, but none of it was ever high on my priority list.

Once inside that Castle, my mind was in utter disbelief that I was actually about to experience my favorite haunted attraction again, and it was all located right in Jersey. Although I loved Disneyland and Disney World, I didn’t need to, nor did I get the opportunity to go to Disney every year like some of my friends. A lot of them seemed like they didn’t truly appreciate how grandiose their trips seemed to other kids who weren’t as lucky. Now, I’m so not implying that I was “less fortunate,” because that would be ri-f*cking-diculous. I was overjoyed to walk the boardwalk, fantasizing about one of the greatest dark rides the Jersey Shore has ever offered. It felt like it was there for me, and it was…for a long time.

Castle Dracula burned down in 2002.

Check out Matt’s amazing tribute from the X-E days:
And Dark in the Park’s got cool stuff about it as well:
  • I remember when this burnt down 🙁 I never got experience it myself, but a friend of mine who LOVES Wildwood has told me all about it. Always sad to hear about a fire taking a classic.

  • Never got to go there, but glad you had the experiences! Thanks for sharing.

  • JZ

    Alas, I never experienced the scares of Castle Dracula (Seaside was more in my neck of the woods). Every boardwalk haunted house-type attraction I've done has been disappointing. This looks like it would've broke that cycle – what a gem! So sad to have missed it. But, thanks for sharing. That YouTube vid is a time-capsule in itself.