Alton Towers Scarefest 2019
Rides in the Dark
I love Alton Towers Scarefest – I can’t lie. It is something that I enjoy immensely. They have some wonderful mazes and a fabulous atmosphere. It definitely feels like Alton Towers have really worked hard to tweak and improve things for Alton Towers Scarefest 2019.
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I was overjoyed when the cool kids at my favourite Staffordshire based theme park invited us down for the opening day of Alton Towers Scarefest 2019. I’ve been going there for many years, and loved seeing how it changes each year. Alton Towers put lots of effort into getting the whole resort look as spooky and cute as possible. Because there are a wide range of ages catered for, Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 has to be family-friendly as you wander around the resort. Don’t let this make you think the mazes are PG – they aren’t – at all!
I’ve already written in detail about the ins and outs of Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 in this post. So that’s a really good starting point. There was a little hitch on the day – as we got arrived at Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 it became clear that my car was poorly. The exhaust had dropped, and it needed a mechanic, so I wasn’t able to have the full experience I wanted to. We had to miss The Alton Towers Dungeons, which I’m gutted about – but we also had to get home at the end of the day!
We were however to sample all the mazes, and some rides in the dark – so I feel able to give you a full overview of my thoughts and feelings of Alton Towers Scarefest 2019.
Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 Atmosphere
There’s a real frisson in the air at Alton Towers during Scarefest. I love Alton Towers at the best of times, but the atmosphere at Scarefest is just electric. They spend a lot of time and money lighting up and decorating the park to build up a spooky vibe. They also use projection in the windows of the Towers, and after dark, you can see skeletons dancing the night away. They also had some talking ghosts using clever projection. They aren’t intense scares – just nice little touches.
Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 does look great. Towers Street looks fabulous, with lots of bunting and pumpkins, and the iconic Alton Towers Scarefest hearse on the lawn. Also this year they have pumpkins ‘themed’ around Alton Towers rides, it’s so smart – have a little look at them and try and work out which is which –
As well as this, the Alton Towers Ancestors are back, and there are more than ever. As well as roaming the park, they perform the flash-mob dances too. Despite the creepy appearance they aren’t there to terrify guests – the greet you with a smile rather than a scare. Perfect for younger scare fans! They have a stage set up on the lawn at the end of Towers Street for family-friendly shows featuring Franklyn, Skelvin, Patch, Phil and Gretyl. In CBeebies Land, there is also a CBeebies themed ‘Monsters Ball’ too.
It’s lovely just walking around the park after dark to soak up the atmosphere. It’s so cool. In 2017 (and previously) they’ve had ‘Scare Zones’ around the park where they’ve had actors scaring, and chasing you. I do miss these. They were the icing on the Scarefest cake and just ramped up the atmosphere. Hopefully, they are on a hiatus, rather than gone forever.
Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 Mazes
Alton Towers Scarefest always has a solid selection of Mazes. This year there have been some changes to the lineup, so let’s dive in, and take a look at the mazes!
This year, The Welcoming has gone, and Darkest Depths have arrived in the courtyard area. This is the only ‘family-friendly’ maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2019; it’s aimed at those aged 10+. I wasn’t sure how a nautical themed maze would work. My goodness, Alton Towers have nailed it with Darkest Depths. It’s SO good. The courtyard has been wonderfully themed to take you aboard ‘The Mutiny’ as the Kraken attacks. The word ‘immersive’ is bandied about for lots of Halloween attractions; however Darkest Depths is VERY immersive. You forget where you are, and the level of theming is insane for a temporary attraction.
There were so many impressive scenes; I loved the ‘Boneyard’ scene at the end, the actor in there gave Vicki and me a stellar performance. We did Darkest Depths twice because it was that good. Plus on the second run, it gave us a chance to take in some of the details we missed first time around. Darkest Depths is a triumph. I’m not convinced it would be suitable for sensitive 10-year-olds, but I think if they aren’t – you’ll be fine. It’s not the scariest maze you’ll ever do. However, the theming, is spot-on.
The Attic : Terror of the Towers
The Terror of the Towers namesake is synonymous with Alton Towers Scarefest. They are often the shiniest jewel in the Scarefest crown. There wasn’t a ‘Terror of the Towers’ branded maze last year, and my goodness, I missed it! The Attic : Terror of the Towers brings it back with a vengeance! The maze is set in ‘The Attic’ of the Towers, and before the maze starts properly you find yourself ascending several flights of stairs to get deep in the roof of the Towers. I won’t give too much of the storyline away, but it all works really well.
You really feel like you’re creeping around in the attic of the Towers, it’s themed really well, there are plenty of scares. One particularly original scene sends you ducking through a secret passage in a fireplace. The light and intense heat hits you. So much so it actually gave Vicki (who’s scared of fire) a panic attack. It’s very cleverly done – but if you’re not a fan of tight spaces and fire it might be worth avoiding.
I loved The Attic : Terror of the Towers – my only complaint could be that it was a little short, however, Attic spaces aren’t particularly big, so the length can be forgiven!
Sub Species – The End Games
I’ve reviewed this maze several times before, and whilst there have been a few changes to the layouts for Alton Towers Scarefest 2019, it’s largely the same. However – this is a maze where there is a chance you’d be split up – it’s happened a bit in previous years – in 2019 though, they are HELL BENT on splitting you up. The actors work the maze cleverly to send you off on separate paths. It really feels like a maze, there’s a real feeling you could become lost in there.
If you are scared of doing a maze alone, I wouldn’t even think about going in here – even if you find someone else (who you weren’t with originally), the actors will split you up regardless. The idea of the maze is that you’re racing through, and trying to get out like your life depends on it. I was particularly creeped out when I was grabbed by an actor who snarled “You’re not Kip Hakes any more, you’re number 7 now and I’ve bet on you!” – they must like my blog!
Sub Species is louder, scarier and as intense as it’s ever been. I love it!
The Altonville Mine Tours
Again, I’ve reviewed this before, and it’s not changed massively this year – however, that’s not a bad thing. The Altonville Mine Tours is a lot of fun – we had a really great run through it, and the actors were spot on. It’s a great maze, but it might need a reboot or switch up in 2020 to keep it fresh.
New in 2018 – Project 42 is back for Alton Towers Scarefest 2019. It’s very loud and intense, to the point it’s a full-on sensory overload. There’s been a few tweaks and changes this year. Vicki and I were actually lucky enough to do this on our own so the actors gave us both barrels – it was so much fun. I think it could benefit from a few more actors to really keep the intensity up.
I feel like Alton Towers have really raised the bar for the mazes at Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 – as well as having great actors, and well-themed mazes, they’ve utilised different scents from Aroma Prime to really immerse you into the experiences. It’s great having mazes that look the part, but if they smell of fresh paint, it really throws you back to reality. Having these extra scents really build up the scene in your mind.
Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 Rides in the Dark
One of the highlights for me of the Scarefest event is being able to enjoy Alton Towers world-class rides in the dark. Unfortunately, because we were waiting for the RAC, we couldn’t really go back too far into the park to do all the rides in the dark. We managed to head into the Dark Forest for a VERY dark ride on Th13teen, going into the crypt scene is fun, however, it adds a little something doing it at night.
Alton Towers take a lot of time and care in illuminating the rides for Scarefest (Th13teen isn’t – but I think that’s a good thing!). It was a great having a fierce rid on Wicker Man after dark, as well as being super fast, diving into ‘Bob’ is just a little more thrilling at night. We ended the evening on the Runaway Mine Train which had some fab, subtle lighting around the track and in the ride area.
Because of the reduced operating hours in the season, Scarefest and the Fireworks are one of the few times you can enjoy rides in the dark at Alton Towers. It’s a fab experience either time, but Scarefest slightly pips it for me.
Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 Overall
I love Alton Towers Scarefest – I can’t lie. It is something that I enjoy immensely. They have some wonderful mazes and a fabulous atmosphere. It definitely feels like Alton Towers have really worked hard to tweak and improve things for Alton Towers Scarefest 2019. Darkest Depths is a triumph, and The Attic is amazing too. I feel like they’ve worked on tweaks to keep the older mazes interesting, the Altonville Mine Tours will need a bit more attention next year perhaps?
Critics do moan that the mazes are an additional cost, but I think it’s a good thing. The fact you get a time-slot with your ticket means that the queues are controlled, and not horrendously long (although they can grow if there has been a temporary stop). I do feel like the mazes at Alton Towers are themed and finished well, so I’d guess the money can be invested in them (although probably only a small fraction knowing Merlin).
If you want the BEST experience at Halloween in a UK theme park, then I think Alton Towers just about beats all the competition (JUST!) with Alton Towers Scarefest 2019. Thorpe is excellent for older guests, Chessington better for younger families, but Alton Towers satisfies beautifully across the board.
We were gifted Fastrack and tickets for the mazes by Alton Towers Resort – All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own
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Review - Alton Towers Scarefest 2019
I was overjoyed when the cool kids at my favourite Staffordshire based theme park invited us down for the opening day of Alton Towers Scarefest 2019. I've been going there for many years, and loved seeing how it changes each year. Alton Towers put lots of effort into getting the whole resort look as spooky and cute as possible. Because there are a wide range of ages catered for, Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 has to be family-friendly as you wander around the resort. Don't let this make you think the mazes are PG - they aren't - at all!