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Howl-O-Scream 2019

On September 14, Howl-O-Scream opened once again. Members and media got a sneak peek on Friday the 13th. Lucky for us, we also had a full moon to help bring on the scares.

 

 

Dan, Matt, Cody, and myself got the chance to check out all of the mazes and enjoy the sneak preview of the new(ish) show, Jack is Back. Sadly, long time running fan favorite Fiends is gone this year (Bring back the nurses!!) but another fan favorite has returned. If you’re familiar with the Jack is Back show from years ago, you’ll remember the Ireland section of the park turns into a dance party, complete with fog and streamers, and our favorite pumpkin himself, Jack. It was hard for me to have high hopes for this show as it is nothing new, but it’s still a fun show the entire family can enjoy together.

On to the mazes….

Unfortunately t he park hasn’t introduced a new maze this year, BUT, there’s a few small additions and tweaks to the current lineup.

 

 

Circo Sinistro, while still one of my favorites, still lacks in the scares. Nothing has changed about this maze over the years except the amount of scares is still lacking (even though I will admit, they got me a few times). It’s a struggle trying to justify standing in line for longer than 30 minutes for this maze. While I enjoy it, this is one that I can pass up if the line is too long.

Demented Dimensions….We left this one disappointed. It was a favorite of mine last year. The sets are still well done, but lacked any scare actors inside. I hope it improves of the season as they can do so much with this one and they just….didn’t.

Dystopia….well done last year, well done this year. We enjoyed this even though nothing stood out to us as being great.

Lumberhack…again, a well done maze. Being outdoors they make great use of fog to help hide the scare actors. It’s also another maze I can take or leave. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun, but not stand in line longer than 30 minutes fun.

Vault: Overtaken….back for its second year, Jack has been released from the vault to take over Ireland, but replacing him is our second favorite Howl-O-Scream characters….the cast of FIENDS. They join the other characters of Howl-O-Screams this year. If you didn’t go through the Vault last year, here’s a simple synopsis….favorite characters from past years and favorite sets. I loved this maze last year, and enjoyed it again this year.

Frostbite…..here’s my surprise favorite for this year. I loved it the first year and hated it last year. Too much dark tunnels with nothing to see. Too few scares. Just plain boring overall last year. In fact, I couldn’t even get myself to go through it more than once. So when we were notified that we would be doing a walkthrough with reverse POV (more on that later) I honestly was disappointed. But, I still agreed to give it a chance, and I have to say I was so wrong. THEY SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!! Again, the guys had way too much fun at my expense with this maze. And we have the video to prove it. This is a maze I would go through with each visit this year. Well worth it!

Scare Zones

As with the mazes, there are no new scare zones this year.

Sideshow Square has received MAJOR improvements this year, even on opening night. Last year there were so many changes, including characters, that the whole area was just lacking. I love to people watch and this area is one that I can sit for hours and just watch everyone. Last year it was boring and lacked any sort of scares or entertainment, but this year, familiar favorites ARE BACK! I don’t usually get scared in the zones, but the guys and I took a break to watch the action and unfortunately I fell victim to being scared on more than one occasion. But I loved every second and will look forward to hanging out in this section with each visit.

Garden of Souls…another favorite from last year. Themed to Dios de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, this is another scare zone that I would actually love to see improved on or even a maze designed to its theme. While there’s not much for decorations, the scare actors do a good job of creeping up to and scaring guests passing through the area.

While walking through the park, we somehow missed Axe Alley and Fool’s Court, but if Axe Alley is typically overrun with fog and Fool’s Court last year wasn’t much about scares as it was more just watching the jesters interacting with guests. I can take it or leave it honestly.

And then there’s guest favorite Ripper Row. The headless ladies and Scotland Yard are back once again, on the search for Jack the Ripper.

The biggest disappointment for us of the night was there was no Monster Stomp. As of this writing, the show finally opened this weekend, however, opening Howl-O-Scream without a major show for the first two weeks was a tough blow for us as we were looking forward to seeing it. Another night.

Want more than just haunted mazes and shows? The park has also introduced two new No Escape Rooms, Jack’s Twisted Terror and Grave Obsession, for a separate fee.

Howl-O-Scream is open weekends and limited week day nights now through November 3.

https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/events/howl-o-scream/

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