Scarefest is probably the one highlight of visiting Alton Towers in October. I really love the atmosphere on park and I find the scare attractions are just a fraction better than Thorpe Park – sorry Thorpe Park fans!
I think with the scare mazes being inside the actual Towers, there is a natural darkness and the cold air really adds to suspense inside. And you don’t need to wait for it to get dark to visit the mazes unlike at Thorpe Park. Alton Towers are lucky they can use the Towers to their advantage when it comes to having scare attractions.
This year, Alton Towers have added a new addition to their maze line-up with The Welcoming: Be Chosen. I was looking forward to experiencing this new attraction alongside the 3 mazes: Sub Species, Altonville Mine Tours: Skin Snatchers and Terror of the Towers.
I remember two years ago being so scared of doing this maze, especially when you’re told ‘you MAY get split up’. There is no may to it, you WILL be split up. Now it is up there as my favourite maze at Scarefest. I enjoyed being split up from a group and having a chance to wind through the maze on your own. Yes, there are many times I have been lost or walked into actor corridors. It is disorientating but I think in a way it’s nice to do some exploring. I didn’t get lost this time round, in fairness, I found the route easy to follow. Either I took all the right turns or I just wasn’t getting lost right! The actors still had plenty of time to give me a few jump scares, and one wanted to get very close for comfort and touch up my whole body. I didn’t really find the finale that scary, but I think I got caught up with a bunch of scaredy-cats so the actor left me to it to get out of the maze. There was the addition of a photographer at the end of the maze, who was very disappointed that I wasn’t running out of the finale screaming. Sorry mate, maybe next time?
(Photo courtesy of Alton Towers Resort)
Altonville Mine Tours: Legend of the Skin Snatchers
This was the new addition to the maze line up last year, and received a lot of positive reviews. It is easy to see why. The amount of theming in this maze is brilliant and dare I say, it is a lot more tight and darker than Sub Species. If you are fortunate enough to be at the front, middle or back of the group, you will be given a hard hat with a light to guide you through the maze. The only slight trick with this is, it may not stay on whilst in the maze – so you are not always safe wearing it. Again, as with Sub Species, you may be split up from the group. I wasn’t split up until about half way through the maze when an actor, wearing just pants may I add, wanted my skin, touched my face all over and told me to go down a certain route. I didn’t get lost or feel like the maze has changed up from last year except for the finale scene. Even then, it wasn’t really a scary finale and I wasn’t running out. It was a weak run-through in my opinion, and I would have loved to have given it another go!
Terror of the Towers
This maze has been around for several years! I started visiting Scarefest in 2012 and each year, I have found it has got weaker and weaker. Obviously, the route is a lot shorter with the same old scenes from last year. I don’t know why but I really feel this maze needs to go as it is getting boring and the only maze that isn’t free-flow at Alton Towers. Some of the actors did make good use of giving me some jump scares, so kudos to them. The strobe finale is always my favourite for this maze, and this year the strobes seemed really disorientating. Unfortunately, Terror of the Towers did suffer from technical difficulties on Saturday which meant it was delayed opening. Fair play to the Ents team for getting it up and running, and for allowing it to be open for longer after park close so everyone could have the chance to experience the maze. Well done Alton Towers!
The Welcoming: Be Chosen
The newest addition to the line-up this year. A free flow maze which has an indoor and outdoor section, located in the area where the Courtyard Tavern outdoor seating area used to be. The only downside is if you don’t want to have spoilers as to how the maze works and all the theming elements, avoid the Sky Ride from Towers Street to Forbidden Valley and vice-versa. It is very much a theatrical experience, with a lot of theming elements. This maze is connected to SW8 – the new wooden rollercoaster coming to Alton Towers next year! Personally, I didn’t quite understand the ‘story’, if there was one, and I didn’t find it scary or jumpy. I left feeling a bit disappointed by the whole attraction, maybe I prefer mazes with a bit of structure rather than absolute chaos. Oh, I didn’t mention but there is a hooded section to the maze which certainly added to the whole effect. The whole feeling of being blinded and having to follow a rope is great in my eyes to add the suspense but again, unless the actors are really going for you, I got next to no interaction in this section.
I didn’t get a chance to experience House of Monsters this year. Last year I went through and really enjoyed it for a family maze, and I have heard there are changes to it such as the finale being longer and the actors providing some good jump scares. Due to money constraints, I wasn’t keen on spending £5 for it as I had already spent £24 for the other 4 mazes. Plus I did experience House of Monsters last year so I didn’t feel there was a big incentive for me to return.
I would love for the Freedom Pass to return which I had the chance of owning in 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately this won’t be coming back anytime soon. The Freedom Pass gave users the chance to visit the mazes as many times as they want, all you needed to do was present your Freedom Pass card at the entrance to the mazes. Most of the time when I visit Scarefest, all I want to do is enjoy the mazes more.
(Photo courtesy of Alton Towers Resort Twitter)
I also had the opportunity to walk through the Freak Show Scare Zone which has returned for this year. Bright colours, crazy clowns, impressive set pieces. If I feared clowns, I would find this truly terrifying. Thankfully I don’t! I loved seeing all the bright colours, and maybe a clown or two pop right into my face. The bearded lady had a very impressive beard this year! As with every Scarefest event, you can’t beat enjoying a few night rides when the park shuts at 9pm. I always find the feeling of riding rollercoasters in the dark makes them more intimidating and faster at night. I enjoyed my visit to Scarefest this year and will be back next year, especially to try out SW8 at night!
That’s all for now!