When planning our Florida trip, ‘Scream-A-Geddon’ kept popping up as the recommended Halloween event to attend beyond the two main theme park attractions in the area. It’s a dedicated scream park about an hour and a half from where we were staying in International Drive, consisting of four haunts and a hayride.
Blackpool Prison: Themed around a prison where a riot was underway; the first haunt that we went through was without a doubt our favourite. Before entering, you had the option to ‘mark’ yourself by wearing a glowing necklace handed to you by the staff at the door. By wearing this necklace, you signalled permission for the actors inside to touch and split you up from your group. We ended up being locked in a cell with some people from the previous group and later, one of us was held against a wall with a knife raised to our face! This level of interaction really added to the experience and it seemed as though there were quite a few routes (or opportunities for the actors!) through the house.
Bedlam 3D: We’d say that ‘Bedlam 3D’ is probably the best 3D clown themed maze that we’ve been through. The actors were incredibly lively, spending lots of time with us and the environment was generally more interactive than we’ve seen in similar haunts. In particular, the moving floor panels were a neat touch, something that we hadn’t seen before that point. Ultimately though, it is yet another clown maze and that theme is getting incredibly tired for us! Don’t get us wrong, it was a very good haunt but we’d be very happy to see this theme finally put to rest!
Cursed Hayride: The only other hayride that we have experience with is the one at ‘Shocktoberfest’ in the U.K. so this was something that we were keen to check out. It’s very different to that ride, even before it starts moving! The trailer here had no seats, with the bottom being lined with hay – making it a more literal hayride! Proceedings were taken more seriously here too, very little of the humour used at ‘Shocktoberfest’ could be found on this ride. Highlights were the chainsaw-wielding actor on a zip wire and a massive alligator animatronic that was residing in a hillbilly house. There was also a cool scene early on where someone was mutilated with a buzz saw, they squirted water into the group to simulate the blood spray which was way more effective than it sounds.
Dead Woods: The concept of this was great, going through the actual woods guided only by candlelight and a glow stick (one stick per two people). The reality of the walk sunk in when all the different types of wildlife we’d encounter if we strayed from the path were reeled off for us in the safety speech! The haunt itself wasn’t particularly scary with each stop in the cabins along the trail being near identical. And, as fun as the outdoor parts were, we never encountered anyone in these stretches which would have elevated the haunt for us.
Infected: Sadly, we didn’t get to this one. Long story short, a few mishaps with taxis (one cancelling on us fifteen minutes after accepting our fare) meant that we arrived at ‘Scream-A-Geddon’ later than expected. ‘Infected’ had literally closed up as we approached – a minute or so earlier and we would’ve been fine! The real frustrating thing about this was that we elected to leave it until last as it was another full contact maze, we wanted to end the night on a high!
Without a doubt, their inclusion of full contact mazes. You don’t encounter them too often and these were the only ones that we came across in Florida. Sadly, we only got to experience one of the two there but that had nothing to do with the event!
We also appreciated that each attraction was radically different from one another, from a hayride through to a haunt that was partially outdoors, it never felt as though we were going through the same maze reskinned.
To be honest, there isn’t really much that we can say here. The event ran really smoothly and the haunts that we managed to experience were of a very high quality. Our only grumbles about the night stem from our lack of time there! As always, we can always be greedy and say that we wouldn’t have minded seeing another haunt or two there but this was a very solid event overall.
Okay, if you're out in International Drive where we were, it was a bit of a trek to get to but we'd still say that it was worth making the effort. Though it was obviously smaller with a lower budget, we had a better time here than at the two big theme park events. The operations are very different and if you're more familiar with the theme park haunts, you really owe it to yourself to check out something more ‘genuine’ – you won't regret it!