Boy, what a difference a week can make. Last week, we paid a visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl-O-Scream event. It was beyond lame and lackluster. There were few scares and was generally a waste of time. However, I am happy to report that the park seems to have gotten the kinks worked out and it showed.
More decorations, more ‘scare-actors’, more scares and, better, they put the scare zone back in the area by the wildlife preserves. The werewolves are back and the overall atmosphere was much more macabre than last time.
Perhaps the most improved maze/haunted house was Bitten. It was our favorite last week, but it was much better this time since they managed to scare my wife multiple times as well other guests. “Deadline” was much better as well. There were more Scare-actors than last week and they were doing a much better job at scaring guests.
The two shows we got in, ‘Fiends’ and ‘Night Beats’ were fantastic. ‘Fiends’ is a more adult oriented show, featuring scantily clad nurses as well as eye candy for the ladies. Sexual innuendo abounds, there is also plenty of song and dance and comedy. The ‘story’ is a spoof of the Frankenstein story. While the singing is about what you might expect at a theme park, the choreography was pretty decent. Ditto for ‘Night Beats’. ‘Night Beats’ features a live band and it appeared that the actors were actually singing whereas the performers in ‘Fiends’ were not. Either way, the dance and comedy bits were worth putting up with the singing. Again, Ulrich the host in Night Beats was funny and his interaction with the audience was spot on.
The roaming hordes were larger and we actually saw them several times. They still do not adequately make up for the loss of the scare zones, but they were-like the rest of Howl-O-Scream-much improved.
Overall, it appears that the park took its criticism-and there was plenty-to heart, listened to customers and began to fix the issues. One employee told us that they doubled the number of Scare-actors and horde performers and ‘worked the kinks out’. Glad to see that they did. While they still are not as good as their competition in Richmond, they are vastly improved over the opening weekend and we will return for a third visit.