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September 06, 2016

For Halloween thrill seekers looking for the next big scare, amusement parks are offering a new virtual reality experience for the autumnal holiday.

Fear VR: 5150, an attraction set to debut at several of Cedar Fair amusement parks’ locations, creates a story of being put away in a mental hospital, taking the tradition of haunted houses to a whole new level.

Following a pre-show with live actors, visitors to the experience are strapped into a wheelchair fitted with a virtual reality headset that leads them through the story of Katie, a patient who wreaks havoc on the facility using her supernatural powers.

Simi Valley's Hollow Studios created the story line for the 10-minute attraction that will debut at several locations in California and Toronto on select dates in September and October.

A photo rendering of the character bears a resemblance to the main character in the 2002 movie “The Ring.” Representatives from the company have compared her to the character Eleven from the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

A press photo shows Katie, the main character in Cedar Fair's virtual reality Halloween attraction.

 Courtesy of Cedar Fair

Cedar Fair parks have long been known for their haunted Halloween mazes and attractions, and this project was an extension of a burgeoning interest in incorporating virtual reality into their locations. The added dimension of using virtual reality allows visitors to experience the parks in a whole new way, according to Cedar Fair.

“You become a character in one of the mazes,” Brad Jahinsky, a digital marketing representative for the location at Knott’s Berry Farm, told Travel + Leisure. “You’re not just watching something happen, you’re actually participating in it.”

Cedar Fair isn’t the only amusement park looking to incorporate this new technology. Universal Studios is set to debut a haunted maze, and dozens of rollercoasters are also making use of VR headsets, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jess McHugh is a digital reporter for Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @MchughJess.

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