It’s another year and another year of Halloween! So let’s take a look at one of the UK’s biggest Halloween events, Scarefest at Alton Towers.
With the recent opening of the Wickerman rollercoaster, 2018 has been a positive season for Alton Towers with clearly increased visitor numbers, so how did the annual Scarefest event compare this year?
Scarefest has seen the removal of its free scare zones, as such there is not a prominent free attraction for those wishing to experience the actual scares at the event, however a variety of roaming actors has been advertised as well as a 4th scare maze, Project 42 which replaces Terror of the Towers.
Of course the previous offerings of The Welcoming, Sub: Species and Altonville Mine Tours have also returned with minor changes throughout.
Beginning with Sub Species the maze has seen several aesthetic changes including a mixture of graffiti Easter eggs on the container sides, featuring ride logos and story attached to the maze throughout.
Inside the maze the labyrinth layout has been changed slightly, with actors scattered throughout, although there was noticeably more in doors 2 and 3. The cast in the maze proved lovely throughout and with the return of the alien finale (with removal of the animatronic) to the maze provided a unique and thrilling ending to the maze for all.
Following this Altonville Mine Tours is easily located towards the exit of Sub Species making for an easy route between the 2 mazes. The maze remains mostly the same with a lively cast once again, although on the first run through we appeared to lose actors in the 2nd half. There was no highly notable changes in the mazes, which has kept a very similar form for 3 years now.
Over to Project 42, an impressive setup within the former Nemesis: Sub Terra building. The maze features a story about an infection, which is clearly shown by the cast, while it was not the most intense maze I’ve experienced, it was certainly done in a creative way, utilising all the available space inside the ride area – and with an impressive multi level finale that tied into the original theme of the ride. The use of claustrophobic elements in this maze was very apparent and worked very well. My main criticism comes from actor paths, as if a group run off in front you find that you see all the actors reset within the maze, ruining any scares ahead. This is something I’m sure will be worked on for next year’s event.
The welcoming provided its usual theatrical experience, by far the tamest of the mazes in the event but certainly the most impressive visually. This maze is best left to the dark hours. This year has seen the removal of the hooded section, improving the experience dramatically. The new finale for the maze is very good if you catch the timings right, however we couldn’t help but miss the chanting of last year’s ending! Hopefully there will be a way to combine the 2 in the future.
A huge variety of shows feature on the new stage located in Fountain Square, and provide an excellent opportunity to chill out while still making the most of your day for all. This was also our favourite place to watch the Alton Ancestors due to the lighting and stage setup around – although they do roam around the park at various times, including a very fun and spooky period near Duel.
The street entertainment on offering was refreshing to see, encountering both the ancestors and freak show clowns on both visits to the event however we never did encounter the Galactica crew or pirates sadly on either of our visits.
One last little addition that made the event was the addition of a spooky skeleton set in the towers window complete with music and several “shows” this played on a loop all night and really helped to create such a brilliant atmosphere by the towers.
Of course night riding at Scarefest is a key highlight for many, and while every ride looks great, it is worth saying just how incredible Wickerman looked! The ride is spectacular at night and a personal favourite night ride at the resort.
Overall Scarefest offered a fun, thrilling atmosphere for all, however the lack of a free scare attraction was noticeable this year – with some minor inconsistencies in mazes too. The event was well worth a visit and still felt like an improvement in many respects on previous years.