Kennywood’s Old Mill Will Return This Year
The historic dark ride will lose its "Garfield's Nightmare" theme and return to its roots with an updated western-themed experience.
A beloved Kennywood favorite will make its return this summer.
The Old Mill, a historic dark ride near the park’s entrance, will this year return to its longtime theme with some new touches. Since 2004, the ride had been a 3-D attraction, “Garfield’s Nightmare,” featuring the comic-strip cat.
Park fans had long called for a re-theming of the boat ride, which has existed in several iterations since its 1901 debut. Kennywood director of public relations and social media Nick Paradise says the ride’s 1980s and ’90s theme seems to be a source of great nostalgia for Millennial and Gen-X guests — and the new version will hearken back to that experience.
The new Old Mill will have “a retro, western theme,” Paradise says, with “modern updates.”
“We want to create a new experience that’s going to be astonishing and engaging,” while also appealing to the memories adult visitors formed as children, he says. “Honoring the history,” he says, is key for all of Kennywood’s decisions.
Opening in 1901 — under the Old Mill name — the ride is the oldest Kennywood Park attraction still standing. It has been re-themed several times over its 12-decade lifespan; long before Garfield arrived, the ride was rebranded Fairyland Floats, the Panama Canal, and Hardheaded Harold’s Horrendously Humorous Haunted Hideaway.
A video posted to Kennywood’s Facebook page promises “plenty of new twists for a whole new generation to enjoy.”
Paradise says the Old Mill will re-open “as close to opening day as possible.”
Kennywood will open for weekends beginning May 2; daily operation begins May 21.