Terror on Church Street Remembered

The Orlando, Florida Haunted House Attraction From The Old Days

October 25 2011 Categorized Under: Horror History 8 Commented

Back in the day, before Disney and the other theme parks started up their own adult-centered attractions, Church Street in Orlando, Florida was a very popular destination. One of the establishments on Church Street was a haunted house attraction called Terror on Church Street.

Terror on Church Street - Orlando, Florida

A ghoulish monk peers from a cobwebbed doorway, ushering visitors into a nightmare journey of fear. Down dark, winding passageways, you enter a terrifying world where hi-tech special effects, live actors and multiple sound tracks accompany your passage through 23 individual theatrical sets and scenes, creating the ultimate experiance in horror. Beyond panic, beyond the limits of fear, there is Terror on Church Street. For the first time on American soil, this European terror attraction that has thrilled millions is striking fear in the heart of Orlando.

Entrance to Terror on Church Street

Terror on Church Street was a detailed haunted house operation located downtown at 135 S. Orange Avenue (the historic Woolworth’s Building). According to Haunted House Online, the attraction inspired haunted house operators across the nation:

I’m quite certain it was Terror on Church Street that inspired the multi-billion dollar theme parks to build haunted attractions inside their own parks. This haunt was quite simply the perfect template for how to build a professional indoor haunted house.

Church Street Station was built by the South Florida Railroad back in 1889. (Today, the old Railroad Depot is on the National Register of Historic Places). The entertainment district surrounding the station was started by a man named Bob Snow. Snow created popular clubs/restaurants like Rosie O’ Grady’s and Cheyenne Saloon. At one time, in the mid 80s, Church Street Station pulled in 1.7 million visitors.

Visitors to Orlando's Terror on Church St

Terror on Church Street opened on November 8th 1991. The haunted house was actually based on Pasaje Del Terror, an interactive walk-through horror attraction that still operates today, in 30 different cities around the world. The original Pasaje Del Terror (in Mar del Plata, Argentina) was started by Fernando Quenard. It evolved from a stage production featuring local actors. Soon the stage production turned into a tour show. Quenard took the act to America, and started Terror on Church Street with the help of producers Monsters & Monsters (“Orlando Monster’s Incorporated”), creative consultant Ignacio Brieva, Ed Marzola (he helped setup the venues), Maria de la Roza (daily operations), David Clevinger (creative director), Jack Neiberlein (assistant director), Gerry Chavez (general manager), Stephanie Nelson (marketing), and Alan Ostrander (makeup).

The haunted attraction operated year round. Visitors entered in groups of eight. There were exits for the faint of heart, of course. The place was famous enough to attract popular horror celebrities like Anthony Perkins (who went to Rollins College in nearby Winter Park).

Terror on Church Street - Outside Photo

Of course, all good things must come to an end. Universal started City Walk, Disney started Pleasure Island/West Side, and tourists started leaving Church St. Soon, Terror on Church St., Rosie O’ Grady’s, and Cheyenne Saloon were no more. Terror on Church Street closed in 1999; the reasons cited were high rent, high operating costs, and decreasing number of downtown visitors.

Since then, people have tried to revitalize the area. Lou Pearlman (manager of N’Sync/Backstreet Boys) was a majority owner in 2002 but by 2007 his properties went belly up (and he got arrested). Developer Cameron Kuhn came in but he ran into financial troubles as well. Perhaps the new Amway Arena will help revitalize Church Street and one day the terror will return.

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If you want more details about the history of Terror on Church Street, try The Magic Eye. More photos? Check out the Facebook Group. Hat tip to Glossolalia Black!

8 Responses to “Terror on Church Street Remembered”

  1. allison maynard says:

    i used to go there every weekend with my friends back in the day how is it noow

  2. allison maynard says:

    i love it there so much


    what time are you opening and closing daily?

  4. Mark Dark says:

    I was an actor at Terror on Church Street after it moved from it’s original locaton to Church St. Station. I have worked in many Haunted Attractions for over 20 years. I have to say that Terror was one of the best. Please go and see Nightmares at the Majestic if you want to see the best since Terror!

  5. […] remembers Terror on Church Street?! I’m takin’ it waaaaay back right now. I recall visiting Orlando when I was younger […]

  6. naya says:

    I went there twice when i visited orlando and i’ve never been more terrified!Downtown was great back then.

  7. Will B says:

    Me and the family went to Florida and decided to go to downtown Orlando for the day just to break up going to the theme parks. We got there and naively went into the first place we saw forma bite to eat. Sexy women on roller skates wearing hotpants. The first time we had ever come across Hooters being from England. Being 15 at the time this was a perfect lunch stop.

    After that my older brother and my mum webt off shopping and me, my dad and my younger brother had stumbled across Terror on Church Street. We thought we would go in and paid little attention to the then photos on the wall outside of people crouching in terror. So we went in.

    Well this was not what we expected at all! If you have ever been to the London Dungeon in England you would know that it is creepy but mainly historical i.e more about history than being scary. This is what we thought Terror would be.

    I can safely say this is maybe the greatest thing we have been on/in. We still talk abounit to this day and the fact that it is no longer there makes it seem like it was all a nightmarish dream. Just like the terror experience. When trying to describe it to people the best thing i can say is that imagine being in several horror movies yourself. So clever and a travsesty it is no longer there.

    So glad we stumbled across it and went in. Viva Terror on Church Street

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