Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 | Review

Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 | Review

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Every year I always make sure to plan a visit to Alton Towers for Scarefest. This year was no exception. You can read my 2017 review here. Scarefest is one of my favourite Halloween events from the Merlin theme parks (excluding Legoland). I love that as soon as you walk through the turnstiles, 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. Read on for my full Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 review.

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Alton Towers Scarefest as a whole…

Each year, Towers Street is adorned with pumpkins and fantastic photo opportunities. I loved it all. Add in the mix of music and you’re 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 an ideal spot for photos. But the best new addition? The rollercoaster themed pumpkin heads. 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. There was black and white bunting dotted around this area. Plus you had your usual Pumpkin photo spots near X-Sector and Mutiny Bay – ideal for kids. And the famous 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. Okay, 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. This is a shame!

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I’ve 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. You’ve got to the pay for the mazes which is a bit of a bummer. Honestly, I don’t think the main 3 scare maze ticket bundle was worth the price. Yes, it wouldn’t be Scarefest without the mazes but the price is expensive – not great if you’re on a budget. Even then, you don’t want to fork out more money to have a re-run in your favourite maze. Hopefully, they can work on this for next season!

Note: there may be some scare maze spoilers from this point.

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ALTONVILLE MINE TOURS

Altonville Mine Tours hasn’t always been my favourite maze at Towers. This year has changed my opinion. I don’t know how I ended up at the front of the group when I exited the maze. During the batching process, I started off towards the back of the group. I guess that’s what makes it more fun. There were so many moments with actors coming at me in all directions. I was stroked and they enjoyed pulling my hair. In such a confined space, who wouldn’t feel exposed and vulnerable. I loved it!

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SUB SPECIES

Sub Species used to be terrifying and I’ve always wondered whether I would come out alive. The last couple of years, it has lost its touch and become tamer than when it first opened in 2015. This year, it seemed to be filled with more 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.

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PROJECT 42

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 me some good jump scares. The story didn’t really make much sense in my eyes. It still doesn’t to be fair. The maze felt disjointed and there were no real scares coming from the actors. Whilst zombies are a common scare maze theme, Project 42 just didn’t offer anything at all. Plus 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.

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DARKEST DEPTHS

Darkest Depths was spooky, fun and beautifully themed. You wouldn’t think this whole maze is pretty much set up in shipping containers. I wish I had the chance to experience this maze when it was dark outside. There were a couple of moments where actors popped in and out through the containers, in turn letting the light outside draw in. This ruined the experience for me. I know that couldn’t 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 ship. It’s great for a family scare maze and a fantastic new addition to the Scarefest line-up.

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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. It was so good. Alton Towers have returned to using the conservatory as space for The Attic queue line. This 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 queue 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.

Jump scares came at me from all angles. Especially considering I was at the back of the group. Actors were running between rooms which freaked me out. 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. However, you understood the main jist with the children and the Governess. I don’t know why but scare mazes with ghostly children can be particularly creepy. Do not miss out on this maze when you make a visit to Scarefest this year.

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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.

What is your favourite maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2019?

Do you think more could be done for Alton Towers Scarefest?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

Creek Freak Massacre | Best maze at Thorpe Park?

Creek Freak Massacre | Best maze at Thorpe Park?
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Disclaimer: There will be spoilers in this blog post.

Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2019 looks set to to be packed with scary lumberjacks, spooky vampires and terrifying walkers. After visiting on Saturday 28th September for the first day of the event, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with excitement. It felt like one of my first ever visits to Fright Night back in 2004/2005. However I’m not here to talk about the whole event. I’m here to talk about the one standout attraction. The one that has set the bar high for how frigging GOOD scare mazes are. It’s all about Creek Freak Massacre at Thorpe Park.

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Creek Freak Massacre. You beauty. You beast. Everyone’s been talking about it since the media event. Even when it was first announced, I knew I had to experience this. I live an hour away so couldn’t resist. There was a lot of hype surrounding this attraction. I wasn’t expecting it to exceed my expectations. Creek Freak Massacre at Thorpe Park has a lot of highlights. Be warned. If you haven’t been inside, there will be some spoilers in this post! I can still smell the chainsaws now…

CREEK WOOD SAWMILL BUILDING

You don’t quite realise how big the Loggers Leap station building is until you take a good look at it from all angles. This was an ingenious use of space. You can tell there has been a lot of thought and planning into the story. From the main sign on the front of the building to the posters and warning signs at the entrance. Welcome to the Creek Wood Saw Mill. You’re all new recruits to join the family in their business. Only… you might not just be chopping up wood. Or so I’ve heard.

Before you enter the building, you get a sense for the general atmosphere of the area. With the awesome soundtrack booming away, composed by Serena Cherry, I was already eager to get inside! There is a lot of detail within the maze itself. From saws hanging on the walls to missing people posters dotted around. Body bags hanging from the ceiling to blood splatters on the walls and floor. It is almost impossible on your first run to take everything in. Even after 4 goes, there’s still so much for me to see!

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CHAINSAWS, SO MANY CHAINSAWS…

If you have a fear of chainsaws, you’ll need to get over that pretty damn fast. In here, you’ll be inundated with them. They may not scare me but having one launched right up towards your face is truly terrifying. Whilst scare mazes don’t have to have chainsaws in them, for Creek Freak Massacre, it works so well. Plus you know for a fact, it ramps up the intensity. I love walking past a scare maze and you hear the faint sound of the chainsaw whirring away. Even better when you see people running out of the exit.

You may believe that the chainsaw is only in the finale corridor… you’re very much mistaken. Last year, Dead Creek Woods and TWD: Do or Die had chainsaws within the maze but more focused towards the middle. Creek Freak Massacre has taken this idea and made it into a more terrifying experience. Imagine a standard corridor that is pretty narrow. Before you reach the middle, a crazy lumberjack appears around the corner and lunges towards you. Chainsaw in tow and you’ve nowhere to hide. And it doesn’t stop there. Enter the strobe maze and you’ll find yourself face to face with yet another bloodthirsty lumberjack with a chainsaw. Only this time the strobes make your route even more disorientating. Finding the way out is even harder.

Oh, and there are dead ends too – all part of the fun right?

THE LUNATIC LUMBERJACK’S

The team for this maze were on fire! I have never known a Thorpe Park scare maze to have contained that many actors. They maintained the energy and enthusiasm throughout the evening. I loved the way the cast interacted with all guests. When you do so many re-runs within the maze, they’ll soon get to know who you are. Towards the final section of the strobe maze on my last run-through of the night, I was forced in the corner. Asked to get on my knees and bark like a dog. I honestly felt like I was doing an EXTREME version of this maze. The team deserve all the credit they can get. I bloody loved them all, and I’ll be back for more.

BRAVING THE MAZE ALONE

In a similar style to Sub Species, you will get split up. Even at the very beginning, the first inhabitant you meet will pick and choose the ‘rotten wood’ of your group. There’s no hiding in the back either! If you are chosen, you’ll face your first challenge, a crawl tunnel. Everyone else in the ‘good wood’ gets to walk through the first corridor. I find splitting up from your group is a perfect opportunity to really enhance your experience in a scare maze. Simply because there’s nowhere to hide. You feel more exposed and have to trust your own instincts when it comes to working through the maze.

If you think you got lucky and are still with your friends, think again. There’s plenty of opportunities to be split up from your friends. Whether that is during the strobe maze section where you are either ‘good wood’ or ‘bad wood’. Every time I was ‘good wood’ so I wonder what it would take for me to be ‘bad wood’? There’s also a secret platform area just after the first section of the maze. Only one person in your group gets chosen. After having 4 run-throughs, I was only chosen once and it doesn’t matter whether you are at the front or back of the group. This platform is a dead end and whilst I didn’t know what was going to happen. I honestly didn’t expect 3/4 actors to get right in my face. You have nowhere to run and escape.

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THORPE’S BEST EVER MAZE: VERDICT?

It’s almost like Sub Species, Chop Shop and Asylum had a baby and Creek Freak Massacre was born. All the best features from the 3 mazes are conjoined into one and fit nicely in Loggers Leap station. So, what’s my verdict? I LOVED IT. It gets a 6 pumpkin rating from me. Each time I went through, it got better and better. I’ve never experienced anything like it. From chainsaws in my face to actors forcing me to bark like a dog. The theming and music inside this attraction worked so well together. The scare factor is off the charts. I wouldn’t deem it Thorpe’s most intense maze. However, if you don’t like being split up from your friends or chased by chainsaws, you’ll find this maze incredibly scary. It gets a 10/10 from me and I look forward to getting back inside the Creek Wood Saw Mill soon.

You can visit Thorpe Park Fright Nights on 3rd to 6th Oct/10th to 13th Oct/17th Oct to 3rd Nov. For more information or to book tickets, please visit their website.

Whilst I would highly recommend this maze if you are planning to visit Fright Nights, still hesitant to try out scare mazes in general or this very maze, feel free to check out my top tips on how to tackle scare mazes.

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

2018 Halloween Season Roundup | Part Two

2018 Halloween Season Roundup | Part Two

Congrats! You’ve made it this far after reading Part One of my Halloween season roundup. Part Two has plenty more to discuss with a wide selection of scare attractions from around the UK. Some were fab, some were mediocre and others were downright awful. It goes to show that everyone has a completely different experience when visiting, from how the scare mazes are portrayed to whether the amount of actors makes a difference to increasing the intensity. I’ll let you decide if you agree with my reviews. Let’s get on with this!

Continue reading “2018 Halloween Season Roundup | Part Two”

2018 Halloween Season Roundup | Part One

2018 Halloween Season Roundup | Part One

Can you believe it? 2018 season is coming to an end this weekend. Halloween is over for another year and now I have to entertain myself for the closed season. It has been one hell of a season and for October, I have done a wide range of scare attractions and mazes – 51 to be exact. There have been highs and lows but it’s been a truly wonderful way to finish off the season (yes, I will be at the Alton Towers Fireworks but you know what I mean!)

Continue reading “2018 Halloween Season Roundup | Part One”

Xtreme Scream Park 2018 | Review

Xtreme Scream Park 2018 | Review

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Last year was a disappointment, just going to put that out there. I feel like I went on an off night as there were barely any actors about and the atmosphere at the park wasn’t great. So to come back this year, I was nervous as I find that everyone raves about Xtreme Scream Park and all I wanted was to experience that for myself.

Overall, it was a much better event than last year, by a long shot. However, the atmosphere on park was still missing, very similar to last year. It wasn’t buzzing compared to the likes of The Howl and Tulley’s, a lot of dead spots here and there. It was very much segregated to each of the mazes. The middle plaza area with the food vans and bar just felt empty and lifeless. It’s a shame as I really wanted it to be better, considering it was a Friday night so was expecting a lot more people to be around this area. Another bugbear of mine were the lack of photo opportunities around the park, especially near the entrance where it is very dark!

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The main reason for the visit is the scare mazes, of course! Xtreme Scream Park have some very beautifully themed mazes and is what made the evening so enjoyable. Whether I will make this an annual visit is still yet to be decided. You cannot fault the detail and each maze is unique. So, let’s crack on with the maze reviews.

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TheVillageXtreme

First maze of the night was The Village – mainly because we wanted to beat the crowds and start with the mazes at the back end of the park. The theming here in incredible. Essentially, you are walking through the village and might meet a few inhabitants along the way, including scarecrows. The actors were on fire and really chose the best spots to get guests. The one thing lacking for me were the lack of scares. It almost felt like a nice wander through a maze than a scary maze. It’s such a shame as it’s so beautifully themed and I wanted this to be one of the best mazes of the night.

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PieFactoryXtreme

Next stop was Pie Factory. For a maze that was sadly short-staffed, it did not disappoint. There were some changes within the maze that made it very disorientating, including pitch black corridors! The smell in this attraction is putrefying and creepy. Pig people following your every move and why not start a maze with a stamp on your hand – I was ‘fresh meat’.  This could give a hint as to whether the actors really wanted to go for you. There were plenty of tight spaces which can be enough to scare anybody. And no factory tour is complete without a chainsaw ending. For me, one chainsaw isn’t terrifying but seeing people run out of the exit makes it all worthwhile. It’s a solid maze at Xtreme Scream Park.

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AshHellXtreme

OH MY GOD! This maze was creepy, intimidating and bloody terrifying. It is a long maze so expect a good 10 mins or so of scares. The best part about this maze is the lighting. Yes, it is dark in places for this maze, but the strobe effect lights mean there are plenty of moments for actors to creep up on you and scare you shitless. It’s intimidating when inmates call you ‘my bitch’, ‘sweetcheeks’ or ‘will you my baby?’, it is a mix of psychological scares and physical touches – I can’t even tell you how many times I was poked, prodded, stroked during the maze. Not only that, there were animatronics that created loud noises echoing through the attraction – a real attack on the senses. It was fantastic and is certainly one of my favourite mazes of the night.

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StiltonHotelSpaXtreme

This wasn’t as strong of a maze as it was last year. Potentially due to the amount of people being sent through at one time meant there were moments we were still, waiting for people to keep on moving. This made the experience less enjoyable and the actors couldn’t really give us the jump scares with an impact. As you wander through, you can’t deny that the theming once again is fantastic. Each room is beautifully themed and tells the story of Stilton really well. Not as strong as other mazes I have been in but a good maze to the line-up at Xtreme Scream Park.

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FinalCurtainXtreme

The weakest maze of the night for me. As with any clown maze, it’s become a cliché at any scream park, to the point that I have become immune to them. Clowns don’t scare me, in fact, they make me chuckle more than anything. This maze can be disorientating but there wasn’t much going for it the whole way round. Compared with other clown mazes I have done, this was one of the weakest. Maybe it is time for this maze to go and a new one to take its place?

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HoodooVoodooXtreme

Now, when it comes to bag style mazes, they can either be a massive hit or a big fat flop. Hoodoo Voodoo did not disappoint at all. The actors in here were working the room non-stop and getting very up close and personal. So much so that I have couldn’t count how many times my face was stroked, leg was grabbed, arm was prodded. It was an attack on the senses, especially when you only have a rope to guide you in this fun-house. But it doesn’t stop there! Your bag mask is forcefully pulled from your face which is enough to make you jump. Then you walk through the Hoodoo Voodoo ritual areas – death is upon you! – and one of the greatest scares I have ever witnessed, a massive Voodoo doll actor. I screamed, a lot! After this experience, this has become one, if not, my all-time favourite maze.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Tulley’s Shocktober Fest 2018 | 5 Not to Miss Mazes

Tulley’s Shocktober Fest 2018 | 5 Not to Miss Mazes

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I was kindly invited by Tulley’s Shocktober Fest to their press event last Friday, boy was I excited to be returning. I visited for the first time last year and it did not disappoint! I couldn’t wait to get back and revisit all my favourite mazes, including Chop Shop and The Colony. What a way to start off my Halloween season, especially as I visited Thorpe Park for their press event last Thursday, I couldn’t wait to explore more scare mazes!

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THE CELLAR IMPRISONED

Okay. I went into this maze expecting it to be lacklustre like it was last year. Boy was I proven wrong! This mazes has seriously upped the ante when it comes to scares. At one point I thought I was walking through some material/netting and it ended up being an actor’s hair on my face… yes, she was quite literally right above me. There have been some changes to the layout of the maze which were very much welcome but some of the strobe style sections of the mazes really got me good – the actors knew just how to work the room and get me good! Possibly my second favourite maze of the night!

Located near the main entrance to Tulleys, it can be easy to be missed. Simply look to your left as you walk in to the park and you will see it in the marquee. Don’t miss this off your list of mazes to go into, you will regret it!

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THE CHOP SHOP

Probably the classic at Tulley’s. Everyone who mentions Tulley’s will refer to Chop Shop and how you cannot miss this, and believe me, I know why. I didn’t have a great run through when I went on Friday – actors didn’t seem to make use of the space to give us some scares and it seemed a bit bland – but based on last year’s experience, I know how good this maze is. If you have a significant fear of chainsaws, this may not be the maze for you. I didn’t like them last year and now I can’t get enough of them in mazes, no fear whatsoever – even when there’s like 4/5 actors in one maze with them. 😉

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THE COLONY

Ever wondered what it’s like when you go through a maze that last for over 10 minutes? Go through The Colony and you will find out. Honestly, this was by far the best maze I went through last Friday. It is pretty much a must do maze – do not miss out on this maze. The actors have plenty of space to scare you, and they really do make use of the space. Plus, they can target you multiple times in such a short space – there’s a ‘chicken-coop’ style section where you could get scared a good 4/5 times. The theming in this maze is insane… except for one very blank and bright shipping container… not overly impressed with that. I’d like to hope that will be themed and be dark as it really spoilt the immersion of the maze. Otherwise, it was still one of the best mazes at Tulley’s.

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HORRORWOOD HAUNTED HAYRIDE

Horrorwood, get it? Hollywood but more creepy and horrifying… Think of this attraction as a Hollywood movie set tour gone wrong where you are transported with the help of a tractor and trailer. Not only is this the perfect way to enjoy a sit down attraction to give your feet some rest, you can get really up, close and personal with the inhabitants. Last year was the first time I tried a scare attraction of this kind and I wasn’t disappointed. This year? Even better. One of the highlights had to be the bloke in a jeep that decided he was going to chase us down the track whilst belting out his horn at us! That made me jump plus it was so unexpected, that is what made me love it. Word of caution, if you aren’t a particular fan of Chop Shop, you might find the finale one step too far – although I would say fight your fear and do it just once. 😉

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TWISTED CLOWNS 3D

Clowns. Check. 3D Glasses. Check. Disorientating walls and figures. Check. I do not have a clown phobia nor do I find clowns scary, so this maze isn’t really scary in my eyes. It is so much fun though. The intricate detail with the UV and 3D style paint – sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is a wall, a manniquin or an actual clown. It’s disorientating and pretty damn hilarious. You might be thinking, why is this a top 5 maze if it isn’t scary? Purely for the experience in itself, it is incredibly unique. Come on, there’s a clown on a bungee swing that literally leaps out at you and a trommel with 3D paint so you never quite know which way is up… or down. It’s fun!

It can be easy to miss, simply head down from the main entrance towards Colony and Chop Shop, and to your left is a victorian style house with a balcony and clock. Just underneath and tucked into a corner is the entrance to the maze. 

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DODGEMS

I wanted to make a special mention for the Dodgems. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from these and as we were kindly gifted our VIP wristbands, the rides were included. Boy, were we in absolute awe of this ride. The smoke effects literally caught us all off guard and made this a bloody hilarious experience. I don’t think I have cried laughing so much on a dodgems. There were 6 of us in our group and we had no limits to how much we were going to bump into eachother, it was lethal at times! The bruises on my legs show how much fun we had. Honestly one of the highlights of the night!

You can do all the 8 mazes in one night however, if you are heading towards peak time i.e. October Half Term, the fastrack option will be perfect for you! Besides, I may have had a hard time choosing just 5 mazes (and 1 ride!) that you must do, just do them all! Each maze is unique in its own way and you’d be a fool to miss out on any of them plus don’t forget to experience the Circus of Horrors whilst you’re at it – located right next to The Coven of 13 maze.  Thanks Tulley’s for a truly fantastic night!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS