Scarywood opened for 2019 this past weekend, marking the official 10th anniversary of the inaugural year back in 2009. We visited the park on both Friday and
Saturday evening, and spent plenty of time enjoying all aspects of the event. In this post, we'll share our thoughts on the various attractions, haunts,
shows, and food. Plus, we've got a ton of pictures to include. So, let's get to it!
We arrived Friday evening, early as usual. Crowds seemed relatively lighter than what we're used to; likely the rain in the forecast was a factor there. After
browsing the coffee shop and enjoying the Halloween decorations sprinkled throughout, we headed out to grab a spot in line. It was only 15-20 minutes before
opening, yet we were hardly that far back from the gates. Despite some light rain, we were glad to see that the park didn't look like it would be terribly
When the park opened, and we made our way back to Timber Terror, as per our usual strategy. On the way, we breezed through all the various scare zones. The
Crypts, Clown Town, the Nest, and Scarecrow Alley were all unavoidable for anyone wanting to make their way back to the south end of the park. And although
we were rushing to beat the crowds to the coasters, we did take note that all the scare zones were firing on all cylinders. Each was long, fully staffed
with scareactors, and as immersive as we've ever seen at Scarywood. This really set things off on the right note for us!
We were especially glad to see that The Nest was back to its former glory as a fully-engulfed spider-web tunnel that seems to go on forever. It's got a
new location - along the pathway in between Pharaoh's Curse and the Elephant Ride. It's a good spot for it, although the lack of anything themed scare
zone back by Thunder Canyon made that area of the park feel a lot more quiet than usual.
We eventually got back to Timber Terror. There really isn't much more we can say that hasn't already been said before: this truly is a remarkable part
of the event, and such a highlight for us as coaster enthusiasts. If you haven't ridden this coaster when it is running backwards, you NEED to get
out to the park this month and give it a shot!
After a thoroughly satisfying lap around Timber Terror, we decided to hit up the new haunt for 2019: Dr. Delirium's 3D Rockhouse. If you read our
earlier article, you'll know we were pretty skeptical that it would basically be a new skin on the former 3Dementia. Not so much.
this is no longer located in the Picnic Pavilion area, but rather completely tucked away behind Aftershock. It's a slight walk back towards the
now-permanent building that houses Dr. Delirium. We were greeted with no line whatsoever in the queue, and had a chance to watch all of the crazy
and psychedelic imagery projected onto several screens outside. The music was already blaring in our ears, setting the mood for what was to
Inside, as we suspected, many of the props and sets came directly from 3Dementia. However, in addition to that were several new scenes and effects
(we won't give them away!), plus a slew of carefully placed scareactors that were nearly impossible to predict. All of the hiding places were in
such perfect locations as to completely catch you off guard - which they did to us every time we went through the maze. This was truly the most
welcomed change for us, as 3Dementia always felt lacking in that area.
Make no mistake - there wasn't anything groundbreaking here; but we can confidently say that Dr. Delirium is a solid step up from 3Dementia. It
took all the best parts of 3Dementia, increased the length of the maze, and added several improvements on top. Although the building is permanent,
we're hopeful to see even more changes and additions in future years.
Oh yeah, and kudos to whoever came up with the idea to throw in that "Back to the Future" Easter Egg!
Next up we headed over to Total Darkness, which is returning for its 7th year now. Over time, this has become our least favorite attraction, simply
because there is only so much you can do in a pitch black maze to change it up. The whole "feel your way through the maze" bit is creepy the first
time you go through it, as you are forced to touch several things along the walls that are supposed to feel gross and/or disgusting. But after this
many years, it's really starting to feel stale to us.
That said, there were a few improvements to this year's incarnation. First of all, as you approach the building you have your choice of going
through one of two mazes. This increases overall capacity, which is a very good thing. This maze can tend to get very crowded inside, resulting
in a very slow queue. So that was a great move. Both mazes seemed longer than any previous year we can recall as well; although about 2/3 of
the way through we found ourselves wondering how much longer we had left.
And although the props and sets inside were basically the same as always, we did like the addition of the interactive scaractors inside. They
would catch on to who you were calling out for in your group, and totally make fun of you - by name - as you wandered around aimlessly in the
dark. A great addition for sure!
We then made our way over to Planet Zombie, which would end up having the longest line we encountered on Friday - only about 20 minutes. This
was just enough time to watch the pre-show and check out the exterior fašade. Everything here was exactly the same as the previous two
years...including the "New for 2017" title that still shows up occasionally on the screens. We missed seeing actors using the fašade and
set, as well as the "explosions" that used to go off every so often. But it is just the queue after all.
Inside the maze, we didn't notice any sets being all that different, but there were more scareactors than we can ever remember. So that was a
huge plus. The theming throughout this attraction is top-notch, and the maze goes on for a very long time. One small touch that seemed new
this year was the train cars as you exit the maze. The lighting is very dim here, but if you looked closely, you could see all of the old
fencing and boards that used to go on the Zombiewood Express. Perhaps this has always been there and we just didn't notice it until now?
In any case, this was a great homage to the original attraction, and rounded out the storyline quite well.
Next up we hit up the Log Flume, which was a walk on (probably due to the temperature and rain outside!). After being sorely disappointed in
this last year, we were curious to see if anything would be different in 2019. Alas, it was exactly the same. Just a casual ride through
the dark, with a few strobe lights and fog machines in the tunnel. This hardly counts as an attraction overlay for Halloween, and we think
the park should probably drop the teaser that "there's more to be afraid of than the drop" until something more substantial is added.
The one bright spot is that, same as 2018, the water cannons are disabled, so you don't have to worry about getting wet. We rode twice - once each
evening - and didn't have so much as a drop on us either time.
Who knows - maybe (hopefully???) we'll see this get plussed up in the future, but for now it's simply a fun chance to ride the log flume
in the dark.
Since we were in this area of the park, we decided to hit up Pharaoh's Curse, which was our favorite maze from 2018. As with Planet Zombie, this
remained largely unchanged; it's basically a permanent structure now.
Everything was just as good as we remembered it - the ambient music was
cranked up, the theming and decorations inside were elaborate, and the whole maze was just PACKED with scareactors.
The abundance of fog and
dimly flickering lights make this an espeically disorienting and frightening experience. The attraction was a walk on, so we went through it
twice; both times were incredible.
We had a few minutes to spare before the 10pm showing of Nick Norton's Dillusion, so we lingered around the scare zones in Roller Coaster Alley
for a bit. Scarecrow Alley was particularly well done this year, even incorporating a bit of an actual "maze" into the mix.
All of the actors were great as well - very interactive, creative, and fun. They even snuck up on Chris several times as he was
attempting to take photos! Truly, the actors took every chance they could to scare the park guests.
Finally it was time to head over to the Theater of Illusion. We got there about 10 minutes early and snagged a front row seat. Dillusion was
essentially the same show as 2018, with the "demon" host character storyline. As we have all come to expect, Nick and Amanda Nortons' showmanship
was top notch throughout.
There are one or two "Scarywood-specific" acts, but most of the main acts are the same as what we see during the summer
show. That said, since this is Scarywood, they add little sprinkles of adult humor and language to each one. It's a very fun show to watch -
and that should come as no surprise to anyone.
Both nights the show runs every hour on the hour, starting one hour after park opening, and ending one hour before closing. So you have four
opportunities to catch the show during your evening at Scarywood, and we highly recommend making time for it. Nick and Amanda truly are
world-class entertainers. Do. Not. Miss!!!
Last but certainly not least, we headed over to Blood Bayou, and we were greeted with yet another walk-on. We had the same experience last
year, and it's very surprising to us to see this maze getting so little attention compared with prior years. It used to be the longest or
second-longest line at Scarywood, so we have to wonder - why is it not drawing the crowds anymore?
Perhaps with the removal of the train ride, most park-goers simply spend their time in the rest of the park. Indeed, the majority of the other
haunts are south of Country Carnival now. Or, perhaps, the park has simply gotten better at crowd disbursement; although even on Saturday when
the other haunts had queues upwards of an hour, Blood Bayou was still empty. It is the longest-running haunt at Scarywood, so maybe it's not
much of a stretch to say it just isn't as popular as it used to be?
Despite this, when we went inside, we were thoroughly impressed as always. The theming is incredible, and we particularly noticed all of the
props were in full working order this time. As with the other haunts, the amount of scareactors seemed dramatically increased compared to
last year. They even brought back the scares on the exit path, just when you think you are safe!
We have to take a moment to pause here in remembrance of a true Scarywood legend. For those who aren't aware, the actress who played "ma" in the Blood Bayou
cannibal room, passed away a few months ago. She had been a part of this attraction every single year. We noticed that the park put
up a photograph of her in the very room that she used to always be in. We thought this was a very cool way for the park to honor her legacy as someone
who really made this haunt special
over the years. We will miss you, ma!
All in all, our first night was great. The park felt jam packed with actors, all the haunts were as good as if not better than previous
years, and lines were short. Weather and rain was an issue on and off all night, which might have contributed to the low crowds. We didn't
mind at all, aside from the fact of not being able to photograph as much during the rain.
We returned Saturday and followed roughly the same pattern of hitting up the attractions. Crowds were much larger on this day, but that's to
be expected. Weather was better, and...it was Saturday. As such, the lines were definitely longer on everything, with the longest wait being
Planet Zombie at about an hour. The only attraction that was still a walk on was Blood Bayou (well...and the Log Flume...but...you know :)).
Despite the crowds, we easily managed to get everything in again. Compared to Friday the amount of scareactors seemed much lower, resulting in the
event feeling a bit less solid that day. Particularly in Pharaoh's Curse, which seemed almost empty. Heck, the volume of the music was even turned
down! We still had a great evening, but it just goes to show that the scareactors truly make this event what it is. When they're seemingly MIA,
it does not go unnoticed.
Switching gears for a moment, let's talk food. The park doesn't offer
much in terms of seasonal foods during October; most of the menus are essentially limited versions of what you can get during the regular season.
But we managed to find a couple of new things to try: first was a brownie with some "ghost" marshmallows on top. This tasted great; a very rich, thick,
and dense brownie that is sure to hit the spot if you're a chocolate lover.
Second was a Caramel Apple topped with what we thought were simply fall-colored orange, yellow, and brown mini-M&M's. We'd previously had the regular
mini-M&M caramel apple that the park sells during the summer, so we thought this was just a "fall color" version of that. However, we were delightfully
surprised to find that these weren't mini-M&M's but rather mini-Reese's Pieces. (In hindsight, we're not sure why we didn't realize this before; but we
digress.) The use of Reese's Pieces made for an exceptionally delicious snack; so much so that this could very well be our new favorite sweet treat
at the park. It's literally an apple coated with caramel and peanut butter...could you possibly ask for more?? Suffice it to say, we HIGHLY recommend
this treat as a great way to end your evening at Scarywood.
One final observation on the event as a whole: we're somewhat concerned with the fact that most of the haunts are in permanent buildings now. This could
make things less flexible in terms of replacing/upgrading attractions in future years. While the permanent structures have made the quality and
theming truly top-notch, we hope that doesn't mean we won't still see substantial changes each year. Indeed, that's a challenge when it comes to
Halloween events - they can quickly start to feel like the "same old, same old" if attractions and haunts stay around too long.
But that's not an issue for 2019; so we won't dwell on that just yet. Overall, the event really is feeling like a solid, well-rounded line up of
attractions. Each one is high-quality, adequate in length, and well themed. The 10-year anniversary definitely surpassed our expectations, so we
will look to the future of Scarywood with plenty of hope for even more good things to come.
Are you planning to go to Scarywood this year? What are you most looking forward to? Any questions we can help answer for you? If you've already
attended, let us know what you thought! Did you like Dr. Delirium, or do you miss 3Dementia? Did you think this felt like a good 10th year line-up
of attractions? We love hearing from all of you - whether you agree or disagree with our take - so leave us a comment!