Ninety Seconds of Chaos
By Mike Van Dorpe
For most guests who wander through A Night in Sleepy Hollow, they start their show at 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm and so on, then about an hour later you end up back at the starting gate to head back to village talking about with their friends about the revamped Hollow scene. For most of the cast, they masterfully perform the same scene eight to ten times per night. For me, the logistics coordinator, I’m tracking the movement of every group and every part of the story constantly, all night long.
Throughout most of the night, the various cues that I’m tracking happen every couple of minutes without much interference. 8:05 pm, Show 2 is getting dropped off at the gate. 8:07 pm, Show 4 is at the campfire. 8:12 pm, Show 3 is starting to hear ghost stories at the Van Tassel Barn.
This all comes to a head every thirty minutes when six guides are moving 120 people in three locations within a ninety second span. A show is starting at the gate, another show is wrapping up at the White Horse Tavern, and a third show is entering the Hollow. Things are moving so rapidly, I wear two radios. One for my deputy logistician and wife, Jillian, who helps me track every group, and the other for listening to cues for all other parts of the show.
The exact timing of shows is always different. Show 5 may be forty-five seconds ahead, Show 6 is two minutes slow, etc. But it’s up to me to work with Jillian, the Guides, and other cast members to slow down and speed up groups as best we can so that every guests’ trip through Sleepy Hollow runs smoothly. The ninety seconds of chaos each half hour is an adrenaline filed test communication and number crunching to make sure that we all deliver a night for guests to remember.
Here are some statistics from our shows on Friday the 13th!
Average Total Show Time: 1 hour, 4 minutes, 5 seconds
Average Campfire Storytelling: 8 minutes, 20 seconds
Average White Horse Tavern Stop: 9 minutes, 5 seconds
Average Van Tassel Barn Dance: 19 minutes, 45 seconds
Average Journey through the Hollow: 10 minutes, 5 seconds
See you in the Hollow!