Ensuring a perfect night at Scarywood may seem like an impossible task at first glance. Perahps you've read our Scarywood
, and looked over our
Haunted Attractions Guide
, but you're still left wondering "how can I get
the most out of my night?" or "surely there's no way I can fit it all into just 5 short hours??" Indeed, it's a daunting task, especially
if you know you'll only have one shot at experiencing
everything. Unfortunately, many people don't give this much thought, and their night ends up being sub-par as a result.
Every year, we see guest reviews online of people who go to Scarywood, only get in 2-3 attractions, and leave feeling completely ripped off. We'd
feel the same way too, if that were our experience. Indeed, even on the nights we visit the park, we hear and see first-hand the people
complaining about the lines, and how much they "missed out on". But yet, on those exact same nights, we get everything in, sometimes more
than once, plus a little extra.
In this post, we'll explain our strategy for getting it all done. In a way, it's our "perfect evening" at Scarywood. From our perspective,
we're aiming to hit up the 8 "signature" attractions at Scarywood: the 5 haunted walkthroughs, the magic show, the log flume, and Timber
Terror backwards. This is the stuff that you won't get to do during the regular season, so this should be your focus. Getting all this
done in one night is very doable and is what we would consider a successful evening. While we can't make any guarantees, we do hope you
find this helpful as you make your way through the event.
PRE-HAUNT FUEL: THE POT STICKER GRILLED CHEESE
Okay, so this isn't directly related to Scarywood, but we have to throw out a plug for our favorite restaurant in CDA. Situated in a strip-mall
next to a gas station, Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese
doesn't look like much. But looks are VERY deceiving in this case. Meltz is an absolute
must-do while in the area, and Scarywood Haunted Nights makes for the perfect opportunity.
We head over here at around 5:00pm, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the best cheese sandwich you'll ever taste. Our go-to on the menu is always
the Pot Sticker, but we've tried several other items and haven't found a single one we didn't like. After you've sufficiently stuffed
yourself with cheesy goodness, start driving out to the park, aiming to arrive no later than 6:00pm. Get in line as close to the gate
as you can, and don't lose your spot!
GO BACKWARDS TO START, LITERALLY
Once the gates open, go straight back to coaster alley. Skip over everything you pass by along the way, even if there are no lines.
Trust us on this one. Most folks work their way from the front of the park back, and if you want to get everything in, you need to work
against traffic. The only thing to take note of on your way, is to see what times the Magic Show will be on for the night, since no
posted schedule exists elsewhere. Check to see if there's a showtime around the 10pm time, as that's what you'll be aiming for later
on. Also note when the final showing will be, so you can adjust your plans accordingly if it starts to creep up on you.
Timber Terror Backwards is, as we've already noted, our favorite attraction at the park, and it will be a walk-on when the park opens. Ride
it once (or thrice) as your first attraction, and then you can get back to the Halloween stuff. If you don't do this first, you may find
yourself waiting for an hour or more later in the night.
So, we've ridden a coaster backwards, and we're now working our way through the park backwards compared to everyone else. Now that you've
got this one out of the way, heed our advice: no more rides!! (well...maybe)
PICNIC PAVILION PAIR
The park has conveniently put two haunts in the Picnic Pavilion (Chuckwagon John's) area, which makes your next stop nice and productive.
You should aim to be heading this way no later than 7:20. Luckily, both 3Dementia and Total Darkness are pretty high-capacity haunts,
especially early on. We usually can walk onto both at this time of the night, since everyone else is filling up the queues for Planet
Zombie and Blood Bayou. If you're feeling extra lucky, you could even squeeze in a second round on one, or both. But only if there
are no lines. If there's even a 5 minute wait, don't try and do either one twice.
By this point, you should be approaching 8:00pm, and you've already knocked out 3 of the 8 key attractions. That's better than some people get
in an entire night, so you should be feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, you won't be walking on anything else from here on out, but
MID-PARK HAUNTS: ZOMBIES, CURSES, AND FLUMES
Now is the time to start hitting up some of the more popular haunts, before the lines get too crazy long. You have two options from the picnic
pavilion: head left over to Planet Zombie, or head right to go back to Pharaoh's Curse. Pharaoh's Curse, if it's anything like its
predecessors, is likely to have a consistently shorter line due to its location and slightly lower popularity. That's just been our
experience. So, we'd say go get the busier one (i.e. Planet Zombie) out of the way first.
On your way to Planet Zombie, take a moment to marvel at the pure visual gem that is "The Nest", one of our favorite scare zones. Just a
short walk past that you'll arrive at the Planet Zombie queue, in between the Scrambler and Super Round-Up. Don't be surprised if you have
to wait a bit, even upwards of an hour or more. Just do it now, before the line gets even longer...because it can and it will.
Once out of this haunt, head through Clowntown and around to Pharaoh's Curse. Again, you're likely to encounter a line, but most of the
time this one doesn't get much longer than 30 mins for us.
Lastly in this area is the Log Flume, and for this one we'll say "it's gonna depend". For one thing, the park has noted that this will
only operate if the weather cooperates. So you might not even have to make a decision here. If it's open, and the line isn't too long,
now would be a good time to check it out. Otherwise we'd suggest saving this until later on. The ride has pretty low capacity, and if
the outside switchback queue is full, you could be looking at a 45+ minute wait. That's likely to die down later at night as it gets colder.
Final note: If at any point during this "mid-park" section, the final Magic Show time creeps up, we would suggest going over and knocking
that out first. You can always come back later and get in line for any haunts you missed towards the end of the day.
BREAK TIME CIDER & SNACK
At this point in your evening, you have two attractions to go, and you're probably getting a bit hungry and/or thirsty. Start heading
back towards the front of the park, and you'll find a couple places to get something nice and warm. We usually go for the apple cider...something
about that always seems to hit the spot at around 10:00pm. If you're hungry, this would also be a great time to grab a sweet treat to add
to your sugar rush. Anything from a churro, to a funnel cake, to a caramel apple always does the trick for us.
Depending on the show times for the Magic Show, this should be the perfect time to try and squeeze this in. Again, with this, timing will
be everything, since you will have to be sure to get there at a designated time rather than just hopping in a queue. So, if the timing
works, grab your drink and snack, and head to the theater to get a seat. You can enjoy your food while you watch the show.
Otherwise, take your snack and head to the queue for Blood Bayou. As with Planet Zombie, you'll likely have upwards of an hour wait (or more) for this, but your patience
will be rewarded. This is always our favorite one to end on, as it's usually the best in terms of theming.
Now that you've officially knocked all the "elite eight" off your list, take a look at the clock and see how much time you've got left. We
tend to hit this point at around 11:00 or so, with a good hour to spare before closing. If you skipped something earlier, this is obviously
the time to go hit that up first. But assuming you're done, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and decide on how to
finish the night.
It's completely up to you: Do you want to go hit up one of the haunts a second (or third) time? Are you itching to get some rides in? The
(night) sky is truly the limit, and it all depends on what you enjoy most. Crowds and queues tend to die down during this final hour,
which can make for some additional productivity in your itinerary.
TREMORS MIDNIGHT RUN
Our final recommendation is to hop in the line for Tremors just as you approach park closing. To us, this is the quintessentially
perfect way to end an evening at Scarywood: riding up that lift hill in sometimes 30- or 40-degree temps, staring up into the starry sky, right as
the clock strikes 12:00am.
Then, enjoy your stroll back through the park one more time as you make your way to the park entrance, and grab another snack or two from
the coffee shop before heading home.
If you liked this post and found it helpful, let us know and share it with your friends! Let us know how you'd plan your Scarywood trip differently. Feel
free to share what tips you'd suggest to first-timers, and long-time visitors alike! Also, if you have a trip planning question that we didn't
cover, leave a comment and we'll be sure to answer! Last but certainly not least, let us know what other topics you'd like to see covered.