By Michael Mander
The much anticipated announcement from Alton Towers has been made, and the Scarefest plans have been unveiled.
The theme park will be open from 10am till late, with no Early Ride Time for hotel guests or annual pass holders. As is the norm, masks will be prohibited: but fancy dress and make up will be allowed.
An adult, on the day ticket will cost £46.80, though this will be reduced to £20 after 4pm. (full price list on Scaregates.co.uk)
These tickets will allow the holder entry in to the park and the Carnival of Screams. The Sanctuary and Terror of the Towers will cost an additional £10 (before 5pm).
Here’s the low-down on the three scare mazes:
Themed around the massively popular new ride, The Smiler, this horror maze has previously been open last year at Halloween and for some time during the promotion of The Smiler. The concept of the maze revolves around a twisted doctor from the Ministry of Joy, experimenting on ‘forced methods of happiness’. An iatrophic warning is included on the site. ScareTOUR gave the maze a very positive review last year, concluding that the maze “goes back to old school techniques . It provides a fascinating story, some great impact scares and long periods of tension and unease”.
Terror of the Towers
Another returning maze, it looks as though this will follow the exact plot of last years, perhaps with some minor differences. A warning on the Alton Towers site suggests the maze will contain Vampires. ScareTOUR describes the maze last year: “It is long, well themed, realistic, full of actors and most of all – scary. Every trip through elicited screams across our whole group and that was long before we even got down into that basement finale.”. While it is unknown if the finale will be present this year, it was described as ‘one of the most intense scare experiences in the UK’: so we expect there will be something good!
The Carnival of Screams
The Carnival is free to all park guests. 10 years ago, the story goes, a knife-thrower was distracted by a camera flash and killed his friend. In fury, Jack locked the carnival doors and maliciously killed the audience. But now, the circus acts have all returned (on the brink of insanity) to rejuvenate the greatest show on earth. This maze first appeared in the hotel in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, it was present in the main park. ScareTOUR described the maze as the ‘weakest of the three’ in 2012.
Zombies! Scare Zone
Unlike the other mazes, this one is rated 3/5 pumpkins, suitable for families with children over 11. In the past it’s had a mixed bag of reviews: some saying it’s a brief, pointless walk with few actors and even fewer scares; others saying it’s a great addition to the park that improves the atmosphere as a whole. Either way, it’s included with park entry so definitely worth a go.
The park is also offering other experiences. The Altonville Motel is a thrilling, overnight experience in the Alton Towers Hotel: with live actors entering your room during the night and early morning.
More information, plus pictures and prices, is available on Scaregates.co.uk