UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
O_Butler
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:22 pm

Wow. Attic looks very very impressive. Think Towers have done it again with creating a quality attraction
 
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Morgan
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:15 pm

I'll do a proper review of the mazes tomorrow- but The Attic is different to anything the Resort have done, whilst still feeling traditional and retaining that "Terror" vibe. As a theatrical based maze, it feels right as a separate ticket. It's great, and the sets and lighting are very good.
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:47 pm

As I’m not attending this year, I need some spoiler reviews!
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:35 am

Hi all,
Is anyone able to tell me when the annual scarefest traveller day or days are at alton towers?
Thank you
 
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Morgan
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:46 pm

Once again, Scarefest goes from strength to strength. I seem to say this every year, but based off my first impressions- 2019 is the best that Scarefest has ever been!

Towers Street is decorated in it's traditional fleet of bunting and pumpkins, including a new set of ride-based ones. There's also some spooky bunting up in Fountain Square and some really cute ghost-projections by Mutiny Bay, but unfortunately that's all we really get in terms of park-wide theming. As night falls, however, there's some nice lighting throughout the park (including a deliciously eerie green light in the chapel), and a lot of the audio across the park changes to some suitably spooky numbers.

Our first maze of the year was Darkest Depths, which seems to be garnering some controversy over the age rating and intensity, but I personally feel that at 10+, it's right.
Spoiler: show
You enter the attraction via Welcoming's entrance into this lovely bar, where a sailor tells the tale of "The Mutiny", a ship that went out to find treasure, but was lost at sea after encountering the Kraken and other creatures. He then informs you of a secret cellar in the bar that will lead you to the ship, and thus begins the maze itself.
Unlike House of Monsters, which was a more theatrical/show based attraction, Darkest Depths is a more traditional walkthrough. Despite mostly being in shipping containers, the phenomenal lighting design means you wouldn't know that. The story wasn't really continued as such as you walked through all sorts of shippy bits, but in a few places the theming felt sparse. Actors are very "in your face", which is probably why people fear it's too extreme for a younger audience.

It's a great family maze clocking in at around 5mins. It's very different to House of Monsters, but great nonetheless.

Our first "adult" maze of the season was Project 42, which is far stronger than last year.
Spoiler: show
Sets have generally been improved with things such as an extra screen in the preshow, an extended animal testing facility, and the complete hiding of the Sub Terra Egg. The lighting is also incredibly well done here (which is a common theme at Scarefest) and there were a few more actors than last year, and they finally used contact in it as well. One small nitpick is the finale is significantly quieter this year, but that's probably just me being sentimental over the original.

After a bit of a rocky start last year, Project 42 is probably my favourite this year due to the strong atmosphere and lighting. 

Next up was Altonville Mine Tours, which I was a bit nervous about as in the past few seasons there seemed to be no energy within the maze, and the separation aspect had been removed. But thankfully, these issues have been rectified.
Spoiler: show
The scares came in much quicker than last year, and around the shower scene, I found myself totally alone, and it took me a while to realise this. It was so creepy that after the duck down scene, I briefly stopped and felt hesitant to carry on. This shows how effective the separation can be! Actors were also touchier than before, meaning the experience was much more comparable to 2016 (but with the much improved gift shop finale). Exiting the attraction- I found that some of our group and already escaped, whilst for others, we were waiting for another minute or so!

With lots of new shops and shacks in the queue that really sells the world of Altonville and the return of what made it great in the first place, the maze is back to it's best.

Then came Sub-Species, which has always been my favourite maze, and has seen a number of subtle changes throughout. 
Spoiler: show
The safety briefing has been moved back to the corridor before the preshow, and being in this setting really improves it, and the atmosphere builds so much better with this added minute. 
Unfortunately, the traps were being run weirdly, which means the vast majority of our group wasn't separated, meaning that the labyrinth wasn't as intense or scary as before. After (intentionally) looping back on ourselves a few times, I managed to find myself on my own, and headed into the blackout, where the maze really picked up.
Everyone in the room was ordered to stand still as we were interrogated by the underworlder who asked us if we were saviours from the Phalanx- but after he realised we weren't, we were once again seperated and forced across the bridge. This extra bit of character led narrative really improved our run, and really helped immerse us in the sewers.
You can now choose which tunnel you get, so I decided to choose the duck-down (which no longer leads to the nest). 
The container finale was much more intense than before, and the set-up of the chainsaw chase remains the strongest version of the scare I have seen.

I think we got unlucky in the traps, but the second half of the attraction (which is usually the weaker) saved it. But I really feel as if Subs time is up. Whilst it is an incredible attraction that is still very scary after all these years, and I would miss it, it feels as if it's served its time.

We had another few hours before our time-slot for The Attic but as all the coasters were busy, we decided to have an impromptu run of what is easily the most anticipated maze of all eternity.
Spoiler: show
After waltzing through the conservatory, you enter the long gallery and into a nicely themed queue. Whilst the set is sparse and simple, this doesn't matter as the lighting in here really brings a great atmosphere into the wide space. We weren't expecting a themed queue for it either, so our jaws literally dropped as we entered!
As we were the only guests around, we were batched in a group of two, meaning that the attraction that followed felt much more personal.
After the usual briefing, you turn into what was once the Glass Corridor/Small Dining Room back whan the House was occupied- and it's entirely unrecognisable. The preshow is simple as we are told the story of the tragic story of the Governess, but the set and effects are so well produced that it's arguably the best preshow in the country. What's even better is the advancement buttons are all so well placed, that you wouldn't know that the actor had pressed them when required. Everything in this room is of such a high quality, and really stays with you.
You then ascend into the maze itself, and it really feels like an attic. The ceiling is low and curved, and the floorboards creak as you pass over them.
Passing through several storage rooms, bedrooms and workshops, you come across the ghosts of the children and the Governess herself, which brings a lovely conflict within the narrative as to whether the Governess is evil, or whether the children are just being silly.
The ending is a bit of a mixed bag. There is a lovely effect with the change of the ambient temperature and a great costume, but it feels like a build-up rather than an ending unfortunately.

Overall, The Attic is the "different" maze that we've been asking for for years now, and it's so great that something so theatrical and story based exists within Scarefest now. It's not an "action" maze like the others, but more of a slow-burning ghost story that feels very true to the time period it's set in. There's a point to be made about the ticketing too, as it isn't included in any bundles, meaning you'll require a seperate £8 ticket to experience The Attic. But if I'm entirely honest, this feels like a wise choice. If it was included with the other mazes- which do retain theatricality but are far "scarier"- it would run the risk of being seen as very weak in comparison. The Attic is a different style of scare that doesn't really compare to the other "action" mazes. It retains the traditional feel of previous Terror attractions, and it feels like an evolution of the story and concepts that briefly appeared in Molly Crowe. I enjoyed it, and expect it to grow on me as the event continues.

Whilst the offering is strong, I do feel as if we are still lacking roaming characters, scare-zones, and park-wide theming. Until we did the mazes and night fell, it didn't really feel like Halloween. This could easily be rectified with pumpkins and extra gags across the park to maintain that spooky atmosphere (with that said though- there are two lovely projections that come on at night that are really funny, and fun to watch). Whilst the decorations on Towers Street are great- they are contained to just that one area. I'm hoping that we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time with regards to roamers, but I haven't heard any reports of any characters walking about. And then there's scare-zones. These help add atmosphere to the park, and also offer an alternative for those who can't/won't go in the mazes. It was a shame to see they were absent this year.

Scarefest 2019 is easily the best year of the event. The mazes are all expertly crafted- the sets are all highly detailed, the acting quality is better than ever, and the lighting is simply to die for. It's genuinely insane that Entertainments find ways to make the event better every year! As always, improvements could be made- but Scarefest is such a crazily good event as is. It's days like this that remind me why Alton Towers is good. I'm itching to get back!
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O_Butler
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:16 pm

What happens in the Attic finale?
 
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Harry347
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:06 am

I won't post any spoilers as I'm not sure how to hide them but I went to my first scarefest this weekend!
The mazes were really fun and much better than I expected! (it was my first scare event in years). Our first maze was Altonville Mine tours, this was super fun! The scares were good, our group was completely split up which made it way more scarier as we couldn't rely on each other.
Next up was sub species, This was by far our favourite maze! From the complexity of the labyrinth and the fact you are just left to get lost due the scares and costumes. I don't think the beginning scene for us worked as it should've from what I've seen but once again we were all split up and left at some points on our own! We all came out the maze at different times with my friend being in there for an extra 5-10mins as he seem to get the full tour haha.
Project 42 was next up, I'm torn with this maze as it seemed really fun but we just didn't get any good scares, it seems we just had a really bad run which was unfortunate, because of this it was the weakest maze for us.

We did the first 3 mazes from 2PM, now ofcourse it wasn't dark but the longest we queued was for sub species - 10mins, so for us it was worth as it meant more time for night rides. 
We went to terror of the towers last at about 6pm, what made this maze extra interesting to us was during our previous trip to towers in May we went up to the area were this was held so we were amazed at the transformation and use of the space. The sets in this maze were much more spacious and the maze had a cohesive story, however unfortunately we did get a great run through this one either, we ended up catching up to the group infront due to being shoved by the group of young ladies behind us screaming their heads off haha. Overall a really good and different maze, due to the wider sets I found this less scary than the others which could be a good or bad thing depending on what your looking for.

We got quite a few night rides in! We joined the queue for wickerman at around 6.30, it was about an hour so it was dark when we got on, then due to the queues only being 5mins we headed straight to Forbidden Valley, got a ride on Nemesis and Galatica.
I heard the thirteen gives a great night ride so we headed straight there, by the time we got there it was about 8.30 due to all the walking around, the queue was showing at 40mins but due the boat ride in the dungeons not working we got given a free fast pass (for use on any ride but wickerman) so we used this and skipped the queue. 
We were dead at this point as I had driven 4.5 hours to get to the Alton towers so we headed to our hotel - Splash Landings. Splash landings bar currently serves burgers until 11 so if you need a late snack/dinner this is probably your best bet after 9. 
We did get a fastpass for staying onsite when there's not ERT. The fast pass was good for 1 ride each on Nemesis, Oblivion, Runaway Mine Train and Duel.

overall we had a great weekend and are sad to be back haha
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:56 pm

I have also been at the event this year and have some thoughts on the overall event and the experiences throughout. I've always held some very strong opinions on Scarefest and it's mazes, some of which being quite controversial, and this year is no different! 

I feel that an important distinction needs to be made between the mazes and Scarefest first. I personally view Scarefest as the overall experience at the event as opposed to how I feel the mazes were - the mazes are attractions that come as a part of Scarefest and Scarefest is the event that they're a part of - in short, whilst they have an effect, they're not what makes the event for me. It's for this reason that I honestly feel as though this year's event is the worst Scarefest I have attended (that being said I've only attended a handful of years) and I feel that the previous few years especially have been far stronger events. My opinions on mazes aside, the lack of atmosphere this year was such a let down, and considering I am able to count the amount of theming elements park wide on one hand it's concerning. I think the overall event is lacking in some much needed scare zones NOT two roaming flight attendants and also some more spooky theming. Along with this I have to say I did not enjoy the atmospheric music used for the event this year at all. Whether it be the unfitting metal tinged Dark Forest music or the dreadful screeching violin-esk note that seems to be played consistently across Towers Street it just didn't sit well with me this time around. Along with this, I'm slightly unsure what has happened with lighting this year outside of mazes as this is an aspect Towers usually do quite well in, yet this year you'll be lucky to even see where you're walking down some quite major pathways. Thankfully though, whilst the park wide event seemed almost an afterthought this year (unsurprisingly based on factors discussed later on) the mazes do some seriously heavy lifting for the event this year. Below I will discuss each maze based on how much I enjoyed each one, spoilers hidden where necessary.

SUB-SPECIES: THE END GAMES - 3/5

Remember when I was talking about controversial opinions? Well this is the maze that always seems to get that opinion from me. Sub-Species and I have never really gotten on, to the point that before this year I'd just say this maze is a dull and, quite bluntly, bad experience. Having done it a few times in previous years and being let down by the maze every single time, I was highly reluctant to even bother buying a ticket for it again, and so in the end I ended up buying the combi ticket as it just worked out to be more cost effective. I decided to head into the maze and suddenly I was sent into the maze with only the two others in my group, and my hopes (and nerves) began to rise...

Spoiler: show
The experience started off on a low note as the pre-show didn't seem to be working and so confusion set in. In the end we just moved on and when it came to the first room my heart sank. I was in-front of a door. This didn't matter in the end, as due to there only being three of us inside the maze at this point we ended up having an almost custom start, where all three of us were pulled away and all at unexpected times. The whole "being dragged backwards into the maze" thing is highly exaggerated by enthusiasts I think as I was merely grabbed by the arms and rotated into the maze.I don't tend to enjoy this maze purely because the theming is very minimal. Thankfully this time the actors did a great job of getting a few jumps, albeit small ones from me. One girl in particular was great in the labyrinth with sending me back on myself and eventually getting me into the dark room. THis room was lacking any actors and so was kind of dull by all accounts, and I would argue the maze as a whole was pretty tame from here minus the best scare of the maze after the bridge. I was heading toward the silver box tunnel where an actor popped out into my face - brilliant. After here I saw an alien just kind of, standing there, and the chainsaw was waiting at the end - just in plain view meaning there was no scare at all with it. Oh and yes, I was alone the entire time!

As a whole it was the best run through I have had in this maze, even if I still think it lacks the theming and scares that the others do. I'd say I get why people love it now, and I can even say if it remains at least to this standard for the rest of the year that I like this maze. One other thing, I really don't get the whole 'alone' thing as for me mazes are always more fun in preferably a small group (even a pair), as on my own I tend to be startled and spend the rest of the time looking at the theming, or lack there of in Sub-Species!


DARKEST DEPTHS - 3/5

A surprise to me, this maze was actually far more exciting that Sub-Species in my opinion, albeit with some flaws. The theming here is really quite wonderful, even with it not being my first choice of theme. It's interesting to see Towers playing with theming that actually alters the physical feeling of the maze here rather than just for cosmetic purposes. I'm very glad I ended up booking this maze as again, due to no queue I was sent in with only two other offering a very good amount of interaction.

Spoiler: show
This maze was wonderfully detailed and had some very intense scares for me. The use of sand on the floor and water effects was fantastic as well as a pretty great ending that honestly makes this a worth Welcoming successor. There's not really much more I can say here as it's really a fairly standard maze as whole!

I do have to say, safety is a concern in this maze for me. I tripped and stumbled quite an alarming amount in here, with ramps being hard to see and steps being easy to miss so be aware of this. I'm not sure based on my run that I agree with this having the same restriction as The Dungeons as I honestly found this one to be scarier than Sub-Species. Initially I considered that being down to actors knowing we were a group of three adults, however an actor clearly attempted to carry on scaring a non-existent person behind me at one point in the maze and so from that I can assume this is just how the maze is. Personally I would say a 13+ limit would make more sense, and for parents to try this out first!


PROJECT 42 - 4/5

Weirdly, I didn't realise people disliked this maze last year until I was at the event! I personally really enjoyed this maze both last year and this year. I still stand by this being the only 'zombie' maze to have scared me, and for good reason. The changes made this year also really help the maze feel even more intense with more tight passage ways and opportunities for actors to scare. 

Spoiler: show
Once again, this proves to be a high intensity maze that really delivers. The maze was crawling with actors during my run and this really made some of the more intimate scenes far more intense. Along with this, my group ended up getting separated from the rest of the group just due to the speed that we moved through the initial section of the maze. The changes really added to the maze and the way that actors each had slightly varying scare tactics was really interesting as it made the maze unpredictable. The 'new' egg room was fantastic and featured what looked to be a new separation door similar to what Sub-Species used to have in order to split the groups up. The only bug bear I have with this attraction is the finale which remains to be loud, confusion and a little nauseating with how intense the strobe is.

I really liked this maze this year. The only area in which it fell short was the finale, where although I disagree that it's quieter I personally wish it was! I really don't enjoy the mix of the audio, relentless strobe and confusing layout as it truthfully makes me feel quite sick...


THE ATTIC: TERROR OF THE TOWERS - 4.5/5

The brand new maze for 2019 is simply wonderful. Having not enjoyed the last rendition of the "Terror of The Towers" line, I was concerned that this would feel similar. In short I don't really think it does besides it's location, however I think that Towers knows this and have purposefully bigged up "The Attic" and not the "Terror of The Towers" name. Something that I found fantastic about the maze was how I could identify the inspirations for it from the experience alone, having not watched anything relating to the maze prior (looking at you The Sun). The theming and blend of clear storytelling (the clearest in any modern Towers maze ever) combine to make this an incredibly special experience in my opinion.

Spoiler: show
The way that this experience pulls together lighting, performance, sound and theming is phenomenal. Whilst not the scariest it's certainly the most theatrical maze I have ever experienced. I don't really want to go too in-depth however the way that the maze builds up to going into the fireplace where the corridors are so warm to eventually death and entering hell where it's freezing cold is absolutely astonishing and I honestly can't wait to get back and do this again.

If you appreciate story telling and a good use of effects and performance I'd definitely recommend this maze. Whilst it isn't the scariest it's certainly one of the best mazes that the resort have ever done in my opinion as absolutely everything in the maze has a purpose which adds to it unlikely other mazes past and present that include things just because they can.


ALTONVILLE MINE TOURS: LEGEND OF THE SKINSNATCHERS - 5/5

So of course, that means that Mine Tours was my favourite of the event. Now, you could write this off as bias as it has been my favourite Scarefest maze since it's introduction, however this time Mine Tours has solidified itself as one of the Resorts strongest ever mazes in my opinion...

Spoiler: show
Not only was Mine Tours the most intense maze of the event, it also has had cosmetic improvements too. The new theming in the queue and new headlamp sequence really adds to the maze and build the anticipation, whilst the actors inside are now back on top form. With new scare locations within the 'yellow suit' corridor they have finally made the maze feel scary and claustrophobic at the same time rather than as separate sections and the way the bedroom scene is now being used is far superior. Not only this, but there is now a very clear distinction in behaviour between the family who are luring you into the mines and the Skinsnatchers themselves, with the Snatchers being far more aggressive - one ever grabbed my arm tightly and went in to try and eat it causing me to yelp! Meanwhile the family characters are far creepier and are using all levels of the maze to scare you including crawling along the floor again.

I love this maze, I really do. It combines the best parts of Sub-Species and The Attic to create what I feel is the best maze I have ever experienced at Alton Towers. Whilst Sub-Species feels as though it's gotten stale a year or so ago I feel like the Skinsnatchers are only just getting started. Absolutely fantastic. 

One other thing, don't waste your time with The Dungeons, the queues seem to be ridiculous and there aren't any changes inside the attraction itself. Wait until they quieten down and then definitely give it a go if you haven't already!

As a whole the mazes are probably the strongest set I have seen at the Resort ever, which is surprising considering there's five adult-friendly ones this year! Whilst the Scarefest event is overall somewhat lukewarm this year, the mazes are seriously good. Next year I'd love to see a new maze replace Sub-Species, and the return of the much needed scare zone. I feel like then this event could genuinely be near on perfect. 
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Dan
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:38 pm

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As reported by TowersTimes News; Scarefest 2019 got underway at Alton Towers this weekend with the theme park putting on a whole range of spooks, frights and thrills.

TowersTimes was invited to experience all that Scarefest has to offer, as well as being given exclusive and unrivalled access inside the scare mazes.

Please be aware that the article does contain some spoilers.

Are you excited to experience Scarefest 2019?
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:45 pm

Project 42 is presumably having some issues with its preshow today. The maze opened an hour later than usual- the preshow video has been moved elsewhere, and the walk from preshow through to decontamination isn't being used.
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:31 pm

Does anyone know what the best time to experience The Attic is? Such as if there is a difference between day or night?
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:54 pm

raging_coasters wrote:
Does anyone know what the best time to experience The Attic is? Such as if there is a difference between day or night?

As it’s completely enclosed inside the Towers, the time of day doesn’t make any difference to the maze experience itself. When you’re queuing outside it may be slightly spookier to be doing that in the dark, but that shouldn’t make any significant difference overall.
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:50 pm

I’m sure it’s already been asked, what is the direct link for the Altonville Mine Tour tickets?

I know P42 is altontowers.com/42
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:59 pm

Phild94 wrote:
I’m sure it’s already been asked, what is the direct link for the Altonville Mine Tour tickets?

I know P42 is altontowers.com/42


https://www.altontowers.com/mine/
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:01 pm

Dan wrote:
Phild94 wrote:
I’m sure it’s already been asked, what is the direct link for the Altonville Mine Tour tickets?

I know P42 is altontowers.com/42


https://www.altontowers.com/mine/


Fantastic! Thought I’d tried everything!

Are there no fixed time slots for this? it won’t let me select a date/time like the other 2 mazes?
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:12 pm

Phild94 wrote:

Fantastic! Thought I’d tried everything!

Are there no fixed time slots for this? it won’t let me select a date/time like the other 2 mazes?


It should ask you to select a date but there’s no need to book a time slot.

Some of us booked one shot tickets for Mine Tours yesterday and didn’t have to book a time slot, they just checked the date was correct when we got to the maze.
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:14 pm

Dan wrote:

It should ask you to select a date but there’s no need to book a time slot.

Some of us booked one shot tickets for Mine Tours yesterday and didn’t have to book a time slot, they just checked the date was correct when we got to the maze.


Doesn’t let me select a date or time! How very odd
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:48 pm

About a month ago I bought tickets for Darkest Depths for the whole family. Our youngest is eight years old, and as Darkest Depths was recommended for those 8+ I booked tickets for all of the family.

However, since then the maze changed recommendations to those aged 10+ instead of 8+, meaning it would be probably too scary for our youngest. I've also heard people mentioning that it is actually quite intense.

There are five of us, and as our youngest is no longer entering the maze, only three of us will be going in the maze (one person will have to care for the child) - meaning there is two wasted tickets. Would it be possible to mention the recommendation change to the Towers and change the time of two of the tickets, so two of us could go in Darkest Depths again at a different time?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Re: Scarefest - General Discussion

Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:35 pm

Scarecoaster wrote:
About a month ago I bought tickets for Darkest Depths for the whole family. Our youngest is eight years old, and as Darkest Depths was recommended for those 8+ I booked tickets for all of the family.

However, since then the maze changed recommendations to those aged 10+ instead of 8+, meaning it would be probably too scary for our youngest. I've also heard people mentioning that it is actually quite intense.

There are five of us, and as our youngest is no longer entering the maze, only three of us will be going in the maze (one person will have to care for the child) - meaning there is two wasted tickets. Would it be possible to mention the recommendation change to the Towers and change the time of two of the tickets, so two of us could go in Darkest Depths again at a different time?

Thanks in advance.


I would recommend you contact Towers directly regarding changing the time slot on your tickets. In my experience they have been more than accommodating when it comes to maze tickets, and I’m sure if you explain the reasoning why you want to alter your time slot, you shouldn’t have any issues.
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