I really LOVE halloween…mostly because it is the hallmark of all things Fall in my mind. I love the cooler weather, the chunky sweaters, boots and anything made from a butternut squash. I also happen to love scary movies and haunted houses…oh, and carving pumpkins!
So, I was thrilled when I received the invitation to the media event for Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. And, as usual, Busch Gardens did not disappoint. The park was transformed into a semi-spooky fall wonderland by day and an all out terror fest by sundown.
Igor’s Fright Feast
2 out of 5 stars
We started the day at Igor’s Fright Feast, which I would deem dinner theater. The decor was amazing with the utmost attention paid to every detail. Quite impressive. And that remained true throughout every inch of the park. The show itself was very well done, although not my particular taste and I would not recommend it for young children. Musical and comedic in style; but ripe with innuendo and scantily clad women. I was disappointed with the food at the feast; mostly because the food options at Busch Gardens are typically quite good and hence the expectations are always high. I would choose to eat elsewhere in the park and I’ll give you a few other choices below.
Monster Stomp on Ripper Row
5 out of 5 stars
Next stop was Monster Stomp – this show was amazing! And I’m not typically the show-watching kinda gal. I like the thrill rides :-) But I loved this show and would go back to watch it again. Darkly entertaining, packed with rockin’ rhythm and just enough gore. I think this show would be fine for slightly older children. It is really popular, so get in line early, but definitely don’t miss it! Here’s a little clip from Monster Stomp:
13: Your Number’s Up – Haunted House
5 out of 5 stars
Here you’ll encounter 13 of your darkest fears and phobias. I was genuinely frightened – not an easy feat. You’ll find dark spaces to squeeze through, a surprising and well executed fear of heights experience, a room full of scary clowns and several more. The scare actors in this house knew what they were doing and the theme was spot-on through out the entire experience. Highly recommend it!
Deadline – Haunted House
3.5 out of 5 stars
The decor / costuming is great and the overall experience is better than average, but mostly your standard fare for a haunted house. The theme is an underground subway that was shut down due to a gas leak. It’s dark and spooky with your typical players jumping out to frighten passers-by. I only had time to visit 2 haunted houses on this trip and kinda wish I had chosen Cut Throat Cove as my 2nd. Ahh, next time….
Ports of Skull – Terror-tories
5 out of 5 stars
There are 5 separate ‘terror-tories’ – sections of the park with themed characters, dining options, and decor. I was really impressed with the pirate themed Ports of Skull. I can’t even imagine the effort and planning that went into building some of the temporary structures in this section. It’s a shipwreck graveyard, where the souls of lost pirates roam in the form of scare actors that are quite amazing. Costuming, make-up and acting are all terror-ific! They even have a pirate on a bungee that jumps out at passers-by from the top on an old ship. Just phenomenal. There are several pirate themed food options here that I will opt for on my next trip. One of the kiosks lists a “spiced, rum-infused candied bacon” skewer, which was a thick cut slice of bacon as long as my forearm. Yum!
Ripper Row – Terror-tories
5 out of 5 stars
Jack the Ripper is on the loose in England. This is near the front gates and a wonderful way to kick off a spooky night of fun. Again, the Busch Gardens team has done an amazing job setting the stage and the actors are engaging the crowd non-stop. I really loved the head-less women in black roaming the streets.
I didn’t have time to visit all of the things I wanted to experience during this trip…which just means that I’ll have to go back! I am excited to check out the entire Vampire Point terror-tory, with the Bitten Haunted House and the Blood Banquet. I heard lots of people raving about Blood Banquet as the best dining experience!
Several people have asked me if it’s appropriate for the little ones and that is going to be very kid-dependent after dark. Busch Gardens cautions parents:
“Be warned: at 6 p.m. Busch Gardens® becomes a seriously scary place and may not be suitable for little ones. Please use discretion when bringing children into the park at this time.”
Howl-O-Scream is open Fridays – Sundays now through October 26th. You can pick up a 1 day ticket or a Fall Fun Card, which is the same price as a 1 Day ticket, but allows unlimited access through the end of Oct. Season Passes are also available now and remain valid for 1 year, so you can enjoy the park all through out next summer too! Get more info about ticket options on the Busch Gardens Site.