Alton Towers Scarefest 2016
Alton Towers really do set the benchmark for UK Halloween entertainment. I cannot recommend it enough.
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As it’s become clear, I’m a big fan of Halloween events. This weekend, Miss A and I took a trip to the Alton Towers Scarefest 2016 to see what’s on offer. I haven’t been to Alton Towers at Halloween for many years now – my only memory was ‘Terror of the Towers’ and that was it. I was keen to see what they’d be offering this year. Alton Towers has a difficult job for Halloween, because the age range of guests is so vast, it’s hard to create experiences to suit this.
Sub Species – The End Games
At the ‘Hardcore’ end of scale is Sub Species – The End Games. Not recommended for those under 15. I’d heard good things about this when it arrived last year. Set inside the Towers, the whole experience is wonderfully themed and feels extremely claustrophobic and intense. It’s ‘free flowing’ so you’re not holding the shoulder of the person in front. You will find yourself split up from your group, and potentially alone. The ‘sewer’ crawl finale isn’t for the feint of heart or the claustrophobic. Be under no illusion, this is pretty hardcore – it’s massive fun if you enjoy scare mazes, but even then – it’s terrifying.
Altonville Mine Tours – Legend of the Skin Snatchers
This maze is new for 2016 and again, uses the Towers to house it. It tells the story of a secluded family who run the mine with a VERY dark secret. I think this is the favourite of all the mazes. I’ve never seen such wonderful theming for what is, essentially, a temporary attraction. From the queueline music and sound effects, down to the highly detailed props – you feel stuck in a old mine, not Alton Towers. Again it’s free-flowing you might find yourself on your own – so be prepared. I won’t give anything away, but the Altonville Mine Tours is a treat. It’s not overly intense, but it’s wonderfully executed. Don’t miss this!
Terror of the Towers
This classic maze is still masses of fun, using the dark corridors of the Towers wonderfully. This is a linear maze, where you walk through holding the shoulders of the person in front. I enjoyed how well themed and thought out it was. There are quieter areas that build the tension, and some crazy patches where the scares come hard and fast. It’s great fun and not as intense as Sub Species or the Altonville Mine Tours, but will still make you jump and squeal. As with the other mazes, the theming is fantastic and a credit to the set and prop designers. It’s great to see the Towers being used to good effect.
The 3 Scare Mazes are an additional cost to the entrance charge, you can try all three for £20. The benefit of charging extra means that those who really want to try them will pay for it. This results in shorter queues – I think the longest queue was about 20 minutes. Years ago when you didn’t need to buy a ticket, the queues could easily top several hours.
House of Monsters
This is a ‘family’ scare attraction new for 2016, aimed at those 8 and over. You’re locked in the ‘House of Monters’ for around 20 minutes. Making your way around different rooms and meeting new monsters. There’s an ‘escape room’ element to this where you have to partake in (simple) challenges to move on. It’s all a bit camp and frothy, but perfect for the family market. It’s a great ‘starter’ scare attraction. I think my only criticism is that I found some of the background music a bit too loud and it drowned out the actors voices. That said – it’s a great addition to the Alton Towers Scarefest 2016 line up.
But that’s not the end of it…
Alton Tower Scarefest 2016 isn’t JUST about mazes, they’ve gone all out throughout the park with great theming and some shows suitable for younger guests. The ‘Alton Ancestors’ roam the park, greeting guests, and randomly breaking into a slick dance routine.
There are also two ‘Scare Zones’ that guests can walk through, one located on the path to X-Sector, and the other in Forbidden Valley. These run in the evening. They have roaming actors interacting with guests – it’s not completely ‘family friendly’ so there are alternative routes missing them. They aren’t as intense as the mazes, but might make those who are easily scared, jump. I really enjoyed walking through the Scare Zones – they really add to the atmosphere.
Alton Towers Scarefest 2016 is outstanding. There is so much to see, do, and experience, with all the mazes, scare zones, and a chance to ride the attractions in the dark until 9pm. Thankfully we stayed at Alton Towers Hotel (or the Witches Haunt-Inn as it’s known over Scarefest), so our fun was split over two days. The overall cost, especially if you don’t book online in advance, is high, especially when you factor the cost of the mazes. BUT you’re paying for quality mazes, a lot of money has been spent getting them right. The £20 cost to try all three (or £50 including a theme park ticket), is very good value. House of Monsters has a cost of £5 per guest, and is recommended if you’ve got Tweens.
Alton Towers really do set the benchmark for UK Halloween entertainment. I cannot recommend it enough – the Scarefest 2016 runs on 15th – 16th October, 21st – 31st October – get your butt down there!
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