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Stan.H
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:04 pm

Scarefest 2018 Review

Despite the sadness of the Halloween period (and almost Theme Park season) coming to a close, it doesn’t dampen this year’s Scarefest! Over the course of the event (and having Towers as my home park) I have managed 5 visits to Scarefest - as in my eyes it is definitely one of the times of year that really can’t be missed, especially at Alton Towers. I was going to do a brief review, however I do have a lot to say about this years Scarefest and this post WILL CONTAIN spoilers.

Arguably one of Scarefest’s main attractions are of course the infamous award-winning mazes, so where better to start my review?!

House of Monsters - 7.5/10

Again improving once again from previous years, House of Monsters seems to get better and better each year and with this maze you really do get your bang for your buck! This 40-minute experience is pretty similar to previous years with the addition of a new scene as well as improved lighting, theming and scares across the maze. Although the new scene was quite immature I can see why the attraction is vastly popular with families and those with braver children (also big kids of course!), the maze blends the structure of a maze and tones it down with the addition of storytelling throwing in some pretty good jump scares and humour (for both adults and children). This year I had 2 run-throughs of this attraction and thoroughly enjoyed it each time, and as I said earlier it is really good value (especially compared to the mazes), I really hope this attraction makes yet another welcome return next year as it is really good for pretty much anyone! 

The Welcoming: Be Chosen - 5/10 [daytime] 7.5/10 [night-time] 6.5 {overall}

Changing ever so slightly from last year The Welcoming has returned for it’s second season to celebrate the opening of the new wooden coaster, Wicker Man. The maze and the ride itself compliment each other really well and I do think it was a good move on Towers’ behalf. This year however I do feel this is the weakest maze out of them all, as out of my 3 run-throughs (1 daytime, 2 night-time) the maze is lacking scares and a general story line. The actors in this maze I must say do try their best and work the maze well, and this year the acting level in this maze especially has risen a lot as well as the removal of the hooded section (woooooo!). In terms of things that could be done to this maze to improve it (if it was to return) is to add an actual storyline to it, and add more of a finale scene. I do like that they have added the extra fire at the end, as well as the slightly different route but there is nothing at the end that gets visitors running out and ultimately leaves the attraction quite forgettable. As mentioned before by me and others, this maze would work so much better as a free-flow scare zone (much like Zombies! Scare Zone or Scary Tales). My final grudge with the maze is the £8 up-charge (excl. MAP discount) as although the maze has been changed to the 12+ restriction (with the rather brilliantly cheap edit to the announcement) I feel it should be £5 much like House of Monsters, or there should be an option with the £20 combo to ‘add-on’ The Welcoming for a few quid extra, or otherwise the cost to do all the mazes really does stack up. Overall this maze is quite a solid attraction (especially once it’s dark) and works as a great ‘starter’ maze and with a few alterations to the story and general layout and a few more scares this maze could really be quite good! And despite my fairly low rating for it, by no means do I think it’s bad (cough! Vulcan Peak cough!) but seeing what else Towers can pull off, this does just come across meh - but there is arguably some of the best scare-maze theming in this maze!

Altonville Mine Tours: The Legend of the Skin Snatchers - 8/10

“Welcome to the Altonville Mine Toursssss!” Once again returning for this years event, the highly themed maze Altonville Mine Tours is back! As I have said before, I really do love this maze as it is almost a complete package, as you are immersed into the attraction right from when you get your ticket scanned, through the queue-line and the maze itself - including the headlamps, mining lights and smell pods. I really appreciate the theming and smells within the maze and it is always healthily nourished with smoke, haze and the appropriate lighting. Over the course of the Scarefest I have done this maze 4 times and each time I have had different experiences and opinions on the maze. On the whole, this maze is still very strong and seems to still be popular too. The majority of the time I have had good scares and actor interactions as well as a good amount of actors, however on some occasions there have been hardly any actors which does come as a disappointment. I have heard from other people mixed things about this maze as well, with the main point being the lack of actors, however, I don’t relate to that as much - but with 1 run-through lacking actors I can see why people weren’t giving AMT much praise. One of the things about this maze I love is the mixture of humour and horror as it really does work, and I also really like the storyline of the maze and the amount of effort that has gone into it. The actors in this maze too are a credit to themselves and the attraction because they do make it great. I can’t see this maze returning next year, but by no means do I not like it, nor think it’s the weakest maze. I do really like this maze but if it were to return I’d love a more ‘proper’ finale (maybe a small extension after the Shop and Shotgun scene), other than that I don’t have anything against the maze and do really enjoy it, especially if you get a more ‘intense’ walkthrough.

Project 42 [New for 2018!] - 8.5/10

New for 2018 - ‘replacing’ Terror of the Towers, the entertainments team didn’t really say much and gave very little away about Project 42, and I’m glad they didn’t! Going into this maze pretty blind I was pleasantly surprised every single time (out of the 5 times). The entertainments team have done such a fantastic job on hiding the fact that this is in basically what once was Nemesis: Sub-Terra (hopefully returning at some point), I did have a rough idea where in the building we were in the maze, but that is only because I rode Sub-Terra quite a few times and as an enthusiast elements such as the lifts are quite obvious, but other than that it is all quite hidden (maybe minus the massive egg, but it does contribute to the attraction in my opinion). This maze like AMT does feature quite a few special effects which I love, including making use of the old Sub-Terra ‘bang!’ sounds (I believe they are at least). The air cannons in the maze as well do provide some good little jumps too. The pre-show is nice as well, but, it is harder for groups at the back to see, especially if you’re short and have tall people blocking your view. Like in the other mazes the smell pods are very apparent throughout the maze and add to the sense that the virus has escaped. The costumes and make-up for this maze is also some of the best I have seen, especially the contacts that some of the actors wear as it is really unnerving to see. Over Scarefest the actors have gotten better and better too, especially providing scares for those at the back end of the group. Also I really love that they have added a Big Squeeze into this maze, as it is an element Towers haven’t yet used in any of their mazes. Like The Welcoming and Altonville Mine Tours this maze has a very abrupt ending and ‘finale’ but the strobe section does in a way pay off for that, but it would be nice to see something getting you running out, however, going through with mates they do come out the mazes quite shook and laughing; which is always a good sign! In terms of storyline I’d like to see it developed a bit, but not much, if it were to return either in Nemesis: Sub-Terra or elsewhere in the park next spooky season. Overall this is my second favourite maze at Scarefest this year and I really do enjoy it, even though it is quite short but it does pack a punch, that much so, I paid for a one-shot to do it one extra time!

Sub Species: The End Games - 9/10

Easily becoming the most iconic and staple maze for Scarefest award-winning Sub Species: The End Games is back again and in very good condition! Nether-the-less this maze NEVER fails to scare the living hell out of me and genuinely terrifies me. The acting quality is back up to what it once was during it’s first season although the intensity level is toned down a bit, and by “a bit” I really mean that. The theming in places for this maze is literally just black walls, but, other areas are really well themed - especially the brilliantly created soundtrack. There isn’t much at all to fault about the maze as it is really good and a very original theme, although originally I was quite on the fence about the exterior graffiti, after the Scarefest Q+A at Scaremazing I can see why they did it, and it makes sense. The chainsaw finale is ever brilliant, from both a participant or spectators perspective and it does get running out the maze and laughing too! My only complaint really about the maze this year is that the right hand side of the bridge has seemed to be shut so I never got the alien nest route, and only the tunnels. Fingers crossed we see Sub Species 2.0 next season or just some general enhancements to the maze, but overall my favourite maze at Scarefest this year and is class as always (much better to last year).

Scare Maze Feedback

Although I have individually given my thoughts on each of the mazes I have some general feedback that could be said about all of the mazes, as well as my ranking for them! 
Group Sizes: On the whole group sizes haven’t been too much of an issue this year, however there have been periods where groups are being batched wayyyy above the ‘recommended’ batch size, to a point where you do loose scares in mazes especially in Project 42 and The Welcoming. Combo Tickets: Just annoying really, don’t understand how the combo offer ‘sells out’ for time slots despite being able to purchased one-shots for the exact same time slot?? Does seem quite greedy if I’m being honest, even if to do them all separately isn’t much more it does just come across greedy and money hungry. So I guess either pre-book to guarantee the offer or Towers are more lenient with it next year. Actors: Again, not much of an issue I’ve had this season, but I have heard lots about all of the mazes not having substantial amounts of actors within them, not sure where the fault is at? Might just be a genuine lack of actors in the area, or, if it is cost saving I’d like this removed as the mazes are paid for. 2018 Ranking: 1.) Sub Species: The End Games 2.) Project 42 3.) Altonville Mine Tours: The Legend of the Skin Snatchers 4.) The Welcoming: Be Chosen

Wicker Man in the Dark

Wicker Man in the dark is that good I felt it deserved it’s own section. Oh my god! What a ride it is in the night, Towers have really gone all out for this ride in the dark, easily making it one of the best night rides potentially in the UK, if not Europe (maybe excluding Taron over at Phantasialand). The ride feels like a totally different coaster in the night and feels so bloody quick, its insane! It is worth every minute of the wait, and seems to be very very popular with the public, with the ride often closing on 2 hour + queue times; I must say the staff are a credit too staying up so late! This ride really is the complete package and deserves all the praise and queues it has been receiving!

General Park Feedback

Wow! Towers have done a really really good job this year of adding a sinister vibe and themed lighting all across the park instead of just generator floodlights. I really love the little touches such as the new stage and the screen in the Towers window with ghosts on, as it really give the park almost a Disney type of feel. Although the scare zones aren’t featured on this years line up; the Freak Show roamers are great as always and the other roaming groups are cool - but I never saw the Pirates on any of my visits. As mentioned in the Scaremazing Q+A the scare zones will hopefully make a return next year as the park did feel as if they were missing. The Alton Ancestors are also brilliant no matter which area of the park you catch them, their refreshed routine is also always worth a watch - even though some of it is pretty cringeworthy, its still great for all ages. Towers Street is decked out for the occasion as per usual, but it is a shame there isn’t much other theming apparent in the rest of the park, even if it were just a few more smoke machines, cobwebs, more themed lighting and little touches are scattered across areas in the park. Overall Scarefest this year is much better than it has been for the past few years, and the magic and atmosphere of the park is beginning to come back again, and so are the crowds! See you in 2019 Scarefest!
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:50 pm

Might as well give my review of Scarefest, I managed to visit 3 times during Scarefest, and enjoyed each visit. This will contain spoilers.

House Of Monsters:

I only got to do house of monsters once this year and I felt it was improved upon from last year, and it was overall a really fun attraction. I didn’t really like the new scene, but I get why families would. I hope this returns next year. 8/10

Altonville Mine Tours:

I’ve never been a big fan of this maze, and this year it was honestly terrible. There seemed to be very few actors and the ones there weren’t the best as compared to actors in the other mazes. The maze did feel longer this year than last year, even though I think it is exactly the same. I did have 1 good run through of this maze, but it still didn’t compare to the other mazes. I honestly can’t see any reason to want this to come back next year, 6/10

Project 42

Going into this maze I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it was, interesting... The pre show isn’t the best and the maze isn’t the longest, but it is really enjoyable. My favourite part was the squeeze, as it was my first time ever doing one in a maze. The end seemed too strobe reliant but the rest of the maze was good. The actors were ok in this maze, definitely better than the actors in Mine Tours but not as good as the actors in Sub Species. I hope this returns next year, 7.5/10

Sub Species: The End Games

I did this maze for the first time last year and it blew me away, and this year it was even better. The actors were insane and they did anything they could to separate you from other people. On my last run through one of the hosts came into the pre show and made the pre show feel even more intense than it already is, and i’d say it’s definitely the best pre show for any maze I’ve ever done. I still get really nervous in the trap corridor and the maze is still really intense. On my run through at SMN the labyrinth was full of fog, and that’s the only run i’ve ever had where that has happened. I got the alien nest for the first time this year, and it is definitely the better of the two endings. The chainsaw at the end has never been the best, but it was the best I’ve ever seen it this year. If I had one problem, on my final run through my group all stuck together and made it really hard to get scares, and it was too hard to separate, as everyone was going through the labyrinth like it was Project 42. The other run throughs were so good it made up for this. 9.5/10

The Welcoming: Be Chosen

Oh wow, this was so much better than it ever was last year. I’m happy the hooded section was removed and the new finale is really enjoyable and can be intense. Even though the maze has been a 12+ for part of Scarefest this year the actors have still been really good. Overall this maze is a lot better than it ever could have been last year, 8.5/10

Wicker Man in the dark:

Oh wow. This is unbelievable (when you aren’t in row 2 or 3). My final ride of the year was back row and it was incredible. There was airtime everywhere and it felt so much more intense than it is in the day, which has made Wicker Man my new number 1 in the UK. 10/10

I didn’t get to see any of the roaming actors this year, so I can’t give my opinion on them.

Overall, Scarefest has been really good this year and I can’t wait for Scarefest 2019. If I had to rank the mazes, this is my order:

1: Sub Species
2: The Welcoming
3: Project 42
4: Altonville Mine Tours
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:48 pm

DeadJack5 wrote:
Stan.H wrote:
Count-Vonduel wrote:
Wait, they sell maze tickets in the smiler shop? Where else do they sell them?

I don't think nicky.borrill meant The Smiler shop, I think they meant the fastrack kiosk opposite the arcade and behind The Smiler toilets. I don't know for sure but they could potentially sell them at the Dark Forest kiosk as well, but as I said, I'm not 100% sure. 


They do sell fast tracks at the booth opposite the arcade by Smiler.

I haven't seen the fast track booth in Dark Forest open yet and I doubt it will since the screens inside have been taken away and still has the old map up (maybe wrong) from when I looked from recently. Same goes for the booth in Forbidden Valley which I haven't seen open yet.

Yes I did mean the smiler shop... They sell fast track and maze tickets in the actual smiler exit shop... been running there all season to avoid the queues in box office as nobody seems to know so there’s never a queue :) Sorry, I know it’s a bit late as I missed the reply. 
At least you know for next year :) Be careful though, they’re not that used to selling them, she nearly sold me some for the following day, I asked if there were any three maze packages left, she said yes, and got halfway through selling them before she realised the computer had automatically selected the next available ones, the following day  :lol
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:58 am

My first Scarefest and I enjoyed myself quite considerably.

I was kind of expecting more people to be in dressup while I was there but I did have some fun walking round and spending the day as a zombie covered in blood and made for some interesting encounters in the queues and especially with the staff in the Mine Tours.

After taking my mum to AT as a treat in the summer she loved the experience so much she asked to go to Scarefest so I decided to treat her and my step dad to the whole show including the mazes and a set of gold passes for them so they were able to do any of the rides at their own pace while I went the whole hog and got myself a platinum pass which ended up been very nice to just go mad on the rides all day with no limitations.

Nice early start giving us plenty of time to apply all the latex, paint and blood all over us with a nice 40 min drive to the park we got on the Monorail at around 9am got to the main gates got all the tickets and passes only to find the gates during Scarefest don't open till 9:30 but that was not that much of an issue. Got in and started on my standard anti clockwise run around the park so right over to Smiler as the 1st ride, they wanted to save there FT on there for a dark run later on in the day we all just queued up in the normal que and got on around 10am which was not too bad, we then FT oblivion together and my SD was not feeling the best so we decided to skip over Spinball for a bit and headed over to Hex which was rammed at 10 in the morning which was strange so we carried on over to Dark Forest.
We went on Th13teen first and I just flashed my platinum pass and we all walked on (bonus).

We then did Rita and did the same thing flashing my platinum band and we all walked on (that was the last time that trick worked) After that they decided to have a break as they were not feeling 100% and they decided to have a walk about change makeup and get some food so I headed out on my own for an hour. I was able to cram in a Rita, 13, Smiler, Oblivion, Smiler in around 55 minutes and then met up with them in Katanga Canyon for a quick sandwich and a nice chill ride on the Rapids.

We then walked over to Forbidden Valley for a nice ride on Air (sorry but Galacticas VR is garbage) then a nice ride on Nemesis. It was now coming up to our time slot for the mazes. Cable car station was rammed so we had a nice chill walk over to the Towers the long way round and went on the Haunted House (we skipped the dumb laser game and just went on for the ride….) It was not too bad. Just a shame some of the really old effects are still not working but with a few more tweaks this could be a perfectly fine ride for 2019.

We came out to be greeted by the Alton Ancestors doing a show so we watched that for a bit before heading to the towers.


Sub Species - The End Games:
Going into the scare mazes I was a bit you could say scaree not knowing what to expect but after about 2 mins in I was really enjoying them.
Pre show instructions, I think we picked the perfect time to go as the group we were in only had 6-7 people which i think was perfect. After getting us all lined up and one of the staff members running up and screaming take your hood down in my face (which i immediately did lol) and setting the ground rules for the mazes they ordered us into the building and split us all up dragging us into different positions which was quite exciting then having a door randomly open behind me and getting dragged backwards that was the last time I saw anyone from my party alive.
Having not been in any other scare mazes i have nothing to compare it to but i thoroughly enjoyed it and came out with a massive smile on my face when I finally got to the end passed the crazed lunatic with the chainsaw. Then a few minutes later my SD came out looking like he also had a fun time…. Then we waited… and waited.
Almost 8 minutes then my mum came running out been chased by the chainsaw guy with a massive smile on her face. Her story was a funny one.

She had got totally lost in the follow the rope section and ended up going backwards to almost the start of the maze, a couple of staff members had found her going the wrong way pushed her into a corner looked at her face with all the facepaint on and said “your a funny looking creature” and proceed to hold her there taunting her and said she could not leave till she baa baaed like a sheep, She said with a laff no, they said well you're not going and continued to scaree her till she did it (she finally did lol) and they directed her in the right direction. She made her way back thu the rope section with a staff member semmi pushing her in the right direction and then went on to the next section of the maze.. She then crawled thu one of the pipes and made her way to right at the end (were the chainsaw guy is) but before seeing him she sees a sign saying “there's no way out” so she thinks she has gone the wrong way again and turns back into the maze and then ends up back at the sign after a bit of time and some random pushing from some staff members and then gets chased out to the end…..

We all enjoyed this maze very much (my mum the most because of her random experience) and then proceeded down to…

Altonville Mine Tours - The Legend of the skin snatchers:
A nice walk round the back of the towers had our tickets scanned and was told to wait. staff members were prob waiting for more people to come but after a couple of minutes (no one else came) they showed us round to were you get your helmets.me and my SD was given a helmet each but my mum didn't… she was not happy not having a light and the staff member was super nice but it was part of the whole show we guessed so my mum just stole mine. We then were shown to the 1st of the actors and we all started laughing when he started talking in his southern redneck accent, he went thru the maze rules and then gave us some of the backstory… he also looked at me and said “you look just like my sister” which got a good laugh and he led us down into the mine… and to his sister… we were laughing so much at this point and we could tell she was having to really try not to break character but she did a good job gave us some more back story and made loads of comments about the way we looked…. And how we would fit right in down there because we were all beautiful (the costumes we had on) she then led us to the start of the maze and we proceed in. the helmet was not really the right size for my mum and when she found out the lights on the helmet were part of the show and was not really that useful i ended up with it again. With us the only people in the whole place we definitely got a top show and all in all was very enjoyable and again my mum got the brunt of a lot of the actors with her skull makeup and costume vs mine and SD’s zombie costumes.
We did not understand the end with the gun and that happens all to fast but other than that was fun.

Then we headed over to Mutiny Bay to get the cable car over to Forbidden Vally and onto

Project 42:
We got into the line and followed the staff members very random instructions before he showed us into the pre show area.
I missed half of the pre show vid as I walked right passed the point where the screen was not knowing we had to stop there but got the story about having to try to find someone in the maze or something…  
Now one of the parts near the beginning were you have to squeeze though (an air lock thing) expecting a zombie or something on the other side but we all said we were sort of disappointed there was not a scare right then. Anyway we all got split up and we all made our way through. Now I cannot comment that much on this one because I don’t remember hardly anything about it, after going through the other 2 mazes and remembering loads of elements of them the only 2 sections I really remember as memorable are the airlock at the beginning and one section near the end in a long corridor with strobes going off and a zombie in there going backwards and forwards but the sound effects going off saying “GET BACK” so I turned around thinking I had gone the wrong way only ending back there and just casually walking passed the zombie and out at the end. We all were sort of disappointed in it in the end. I think if I had of gone through again it might of been better but that was not on the cards for this year.. I do hope I find it better next year if it's still there.

So all in all the 3 scare mazes I went in only Sub Species and The Mine Tour were super good (for completely different reasons)  and I really hope there at next year's Scarefest so I can do them again.. Project 42 not so much. (such a shame)

After that we went on Nemesis again and did the extra queue for some good front row action we then all split up again to do our own things. 
I stayed around FV for some Air action, fastracked and got stuck in the left hand que that is super long and goes over the bridge. I could of/Should of just walked back out and left it and gone and done something else but I stayed on the bridge que for almost 50 mins before getting on… In the end it was semi worth it because I got on front row just as it was going dark so ended up been an ok ride but not worth it compared to what I could of done with the fastrack on other rides.
After that I did Nemesis in the dark on the very back row which was good fun.
I then had a wander through Haunted Hollow which is quite good in the dark then headed to one of the best rides in the park…. HEX
A trip is not complete with a ride on this and at whatever time it was maybe 6:00-6:15 there was no one in there and had a good ride on the left back middle… the best seat in the house. With Scarefest on, you exit out a different exit on the Cloud Cuckoo Land side so a quick stroll passed the show stage in The Towers courtyard (cannot remember the show that was on but it was rammed). I headed over to 13 for a night ride only to find they close it at night :( which ment Rita was rammed but was a nice change doing that in the dark… I think i liked rita more each time I went on it.
Then I had a walked over to Smiler for a quick ride then walked over to Pizza buffat the long way round via Towers Street where I was able to see the freek show and got chatting to one of the members on my walk over.

We met up at the pizza place and stuffed ourselves… Now a lot of people complain about the food and the prices but tbh £13.50 for all you can eat inside a theme park I think I pretty reasonable considering. And it was quite nice as well. 

We then had a nice night ride on the Choo Choo and then headed back over for another FR Nemesis ride in the dark. Then over to Wicker Man.
Now Wicker Man had been closed for the first 3-4h of the day so the queues on if were never below 90mins all day getting up to 120+mins in the dark and never dropping so we were thankful for the FT’s and it still took 25 mins before we got into the pre show…  We had a very good ride on it though. All the effects were working and the flames were on and we got the 2 back rows which was good as well. It's a good ride not the best in the park in the daytime but prob the best of all rides anywhere in the dark with everything working as it should… 10/10

By this point 8:30pm we were all tired but I was able to quickly head over to Smiler and get 2 more runs in before the 9pm line closing, the first of which I did not enjoy.. What ever carriage I was in was very much a different experience from every other rides I had had on it the rest of the day and was slightly concerned… but the last ride was very good.

All in all the day was very good, 24 rides 3 mazes good staff, good weather, good day.
I never got to go on Spinball or the tea cups but I was still satisfied.
Some things I did think were lacking were costumed staff in areas like Forbidden Valley outside Nemesis which I had seen in other reviews from previous years and I was expecting more of the ride staff to be sort of costumed up which none of them were.
I have definitely been thinking about getting a Premium Pass for next year after my trips this year…
Last edited by Justin on Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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