Every year I always make sure to plan a visit to Alton Towers for Scarefest, and this year was no exception. You can read my 2017 review here. Scarefest is one of my favourite Halloween events out of the whole Merlin theme park portfolio (excluding Legoland). I love that as soon as you walk through the turnstiles and head forwards, the view of Towers Street is beautiful, as you gaze below with the Towers straight ahead across the lake. You don’t get a better view than that.
Each year, Towers Street is adorned with pumpkins and fantastic photo opportunities, I loved it all. Add in the mix of the music and you are taken away from reality and into the world of Scarefest. When they added in the Scarefest sign at the bottom of Towers Street, I knew this was going to become a firm favourite with the crowds, and Instagrammers alike. But the best new addition? The rollercoaster themed pumpkins! My particular faves were Thirteen, Wicker Man and Nemesis.
I could tell there was some effort for the ‘spooky theming’ within Fountain Square by Hex, with black and white bunting dotted around this area. And you had your usual Pumpkin photo spots near X-Sector and Mutiny Bay, as well as the skeletons in one of gondolas on the Skyride – if you manage to spot it! As for the rest of the park, there was little to no spooky theming at all – even if you include the lighting around the coasters after dark. Granted that Alton Towers does cover a large amount of space and it would take time to decorate all possible areas, but with a lack of Halloween atmosphere around the park, it can really feel like Scarefest starts and ends on Towers Street – which is a shame!
I have always enjoyed Alton Towers’ scare mazes, purely because they can be beautifully themed and have the added bonus of using the Towers as space to house 3 of them this year. Whilst you have to the pay for the mazes, and I honestly don’t think the main 3 scare maze ticket bundle was worth the price, it wouldn’t be Scarefest without the mazes.
Note: there may be some scare maze spoilers from this point!
ALTONVILLE MINE TOURS
Altonville Mine Tours hasn’t always been my favourite maze at Towers but this year has changed my opinion. I don’t know how I ended up at the front of the group when I started off towards the back before entering the maze but I guess that’s what makes it all the more fun. So many moments with actors coming at me in all directions, stroking my face and pulling my hair – in such a confined space, who wouldn’t feel exposed and vulnerable, I loved it!
Sub Species used to be terrifying and I always wondered whether I would come out alive. The last couple of years, it has lost its touch and become more tame than when it first opened in 2015 but this year, it seemed to be filled with dead ends and actors constantly making you go round in circles. This may not be for the faint hearted but honestly, getting lost adds to the fun, am I right? The scares might still be lacking but it was still enjoyable – definitely feel like Sub Species has run its course and could do with being replaced with another maze for next year.
Project 42, I have no words to be honest. Last year, I had a fantastic run through when I was at the back of the group – actors grabbing me from different angles and giving some good jump scares. The story didn’t really make much sense in my eyes, and it still doesn’t. The maze feels disjointed and there was no real scares coming from the actors. Whilst zombies are a common scare maze theme, Project 42 just didn’t offer anything at all – and it is still VERY loud in the finale (this is coming from a girl who has a hearing disability and I still found it deafening!) Project 42 shouldn’t come back next year, even if it is nice to walk through the Nemesis Sub Terra building.
Darkest Depths was spooky, fun and beautifully themed. You wouldn’t think this whole maze is pretty much set up in shipping containers. One thing I wish I had the chance to do was experience this maze when it was dark outside. There were a couple of moments where actors were popping in and out through the containers, and letting the light outside draw in which ruined the experience for me – but that cannot be helped! Away from that, you truly felt immersed in the story, from smell pods making you feel like you were on the Mutiny ship to the water effects of the Kraken winding its way through the holes of the ship. It’s great for a family scare maze and a fantastic new addition to the Scarefest line-up.
THE ATTIC: TERROR OF THE TOWERS
This was the surprise of the weekend. If I wasn’t pressed for time on Sunday, I would have easily bought another ticket and gone through The Attic again, it was so good. Alton Towers have returned to using the conservatory as space for The Attic queue line, which gave me nostalgic vibes of The Sanctuary back in 2012-2014. The theming of this maze was pretty grand if you ask me. Lots of Victorian vibes from the queuline and first scene. It almost felt like we were on a ghostly tour to find the Governess. And you did honestly feel like you were going up into the Attic after the 3/4 flights of stairs you take to get into the main attraction.
Jump scares came at me from all angles, especially as I was at the back of the group. Actors were running between rooms which freaked me out as you didn’t know where they would be lurking as soon as you turned the corner. The storyline was a little hard to follow within the maze but you understood the main jist with the children and the Governess. I don’t know why but scare mazes with ghostly children as a central theme can be particularly creepy. Do not miss out on this maze when you make a visit to Scarefest this year.
So if you haven’t already made plans to visit Scarefest this year, don’t wait any longer! Alton Towers Scarefest will be back from 18th October to 3rd November, so grab your maze tickets and experience this spooktacular event for yourself.
That’s all for now!