2014, Attractions, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Reviews, Theme Parks

Williamsburg, Virginia Haunted Attractions: Busch Gardens Howl O Scream 2014 Review: Cursed

I was invited by Busch Gardens Williamsburg to review Howl O Scream on the evening of Sept. 12, 2014.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl O Scream is a slightly different event from Busch Gardens Tampa’s incarnation. BGT’s event is a hard ticketed event that is aimed at teens and adults looking for big scares. Today we are talking about Williamsburg.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl O Scream is an event that is included with daily admission and has something for the whole family. During the day at BGW you have the opportunity to see shows like Monster Stomp, Fiends, and Night Beats. You can also partake in the rides and shops that are all festively decorated for the season.

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After 6PM the haunted houses and scare zones start operating.

You can read my past reviews of both of these events in the haunted attraction review section.

Igor’s Fright Feast:

We started out enjoying Igor’s Fright Feast which is a buffet dinner and a show. Igor, the Naughty Nurses, and Swampy cracked jokes, danced, and sang in a musical show.

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I found Fright Feast’s food to be good and the show to be amusing.

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The food offered at this dining event is slightly less fancy than their other dining event, Blood Banquet. This was more kid-friendly than Blood Banquet. I think that timing-wise I would have liked a bit more time to eat before the show – but it could have just been me being very slow and talking too much to other people. I do that. :) We had a great time at Fright Feast but if I were to return my personal choice would be Blood Banquet. I have always personally been more of a fan of Ren Faire-like folks in character (which is what Blood Banquet is – read my review from last year here) than musicals. Both dining events are great quality! I actually feel that Howl O Scream’s strength is it’s great dining experiences and wonderful park atmosphere. The reason I was drawn to BGW in the first place was how nice it is to simply be inside this park.

You can get info on their dining experiences including the ones I mention in this post over here.

Monster Stomp on Ripper Row:

Monster Stomp is one of the most impressive theme park shows I have ever seen. BOOM. Yeah I said it.

They built an elaborate stage in the Globe Theater (the London Rocks theater) and there are projections that allow the actors to go in front of and behind a curtain. Fun special effects are achieved when the actors interact with these projections. The actors dressed in spooky outfits hit drums and other things in a wild percussion dance show.

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I am not a big musical fan but I loved it a lot. They totally knocked it out of the park with this one. No pun intended.

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Families with easily frightened small children should note that there are simulated killings by Jack the Ripper in the show.

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I personally found this to be wonderful that Busch went for it. This is Monster Stomp on Ripper Row – it’s Halloween and so I am expecting fake blood somewhere.

More like this, please!

My only issues with Monster Stomp on Ripper Row was that in the beginning some characters come out to interact with the audience. They need to get them some microphones because it was impossible to hear them. Other than this minor issue the show was fabulous! My favorite part was the Skeleton Dance, which reminded me of my favorite Ub Iwerks animation from when I was little!

YEAH:

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The Haunted Houses:

The haunted houses are mostly unchanged from past years. I believe there were some small changes but if you liked them in past years you will like them this year. You can read my reviews of each house here. My favorites are Catacombs and 13. I did feel that they used a bit too much hanging stuff in face this year. I think that they need to cut that back by 40% because I ended up concentrating on getting things out of my face instead of the house itself. I am sure that they will evolve this as the season goes since I only saw this on opening weekend. I also would like to see more improv/tag team work from their actors and less simple screaming. There was one woman in Cutthroat Cove stationed right before The Armory who was a phenomenal example of scare acting. I went to her manager and let them know after I left the attraction.

Terror-tories:

The Terror-tories are Demon Street, Ports of Skull, Ripper Row, Vampire Point, and new for 2014 is Wendigo Woods. Demon Street is the most impressive because there’s a winged demon DJing on a giant freakin’ skull.

I hope that they evolve Wendigo Woods a bit over this season. We were all expecting to be attacked by Wendigos but there were instead just a lot of military guys walking around yelling at people and one Wendigo prop.

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This is an opportunity to plan out some mock fights with the Wendigos vs. the military. You could even get some laughs in here as well as scares. I think that they need some time to refine this. I heard the day after I went that there was a monster of some type wandering around but I hadn’t seen him. Please send in your reports of how this Terror-tory evolves!

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Conclusion

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Busch Gardens Howl O Scream is by far one of the more pleasant Halloween events you can go to. BGW has been named the Most Beautiful Theme Park for over 20 years straight for a good reason. The haunted houses are more accessible to more types of people than many other events that have haunted houses.

I feel that what really sets BGW apart from the other theme parks is their dining experiences and amazing attention to detail. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a top tier park that is not located in Florida and surely worth a drive. I personally drive 7.5 hours to come here 3 or 4x a year. I do not get paid to do this. I choose to do this.

I am not a big show person but Monster Stomp is phenomenal. Blood Banquet continues to be an inspired dining experience that suits even the most discerning palettes with food that you would not expect to come out of a theme park. Fright Feast is also worth your time. If you like what I am describing…

Do This One!



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

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6 Comments on “Williamsburg, Virginia Haunted Attractions: Busch Gardens Howl O Scream 2014 Review: Cursed

  1. Wendigo Woods was a HUGE letdown, you couldn’t stop to look around without some guy yelling at you with a bullhorn. It wasn’t scary at all just annoying. I really wish the Daemon DJ was actually playing the music and that it was more like the Mad T Party at Disneyland. That same beat over and over all season…it got old fast. Monster Stomp is great, the skeletons were the hit of the show all the way back to when Howl O Scream started and the show was back where the Catapult is now. The show then was great because it was outside and was immersive of the whole area. I do wish we could have kept Dig it Up over in Italy, the show wasn’t scary but was entertaining.

  2. When I went this past Friday there was a creature of some sort that was sitting behind the entrance to Wendigo woods on the bridge side and scraping the ground but that was about it. I agree that Wendigo Woods needs to be evolved. I loved the fake electric fence but that was about all.

    1. I suspect they will. Last year it changed a lot from week to week. If you go back please let me know what you see! :) If I lived closer I’d go a few times myself. :D

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