SCAROWINDS at Carowinds
Cedar Fair Entertainment
Review by: Lance
This is a little late in coming, but bad weather and a family incident kept me out of Scarowinds on opening day, I went back the following weekend but found it so absolutely crowded we only managed to hit two of the eight haunts. That said, I had to return the following weekend to attempt to finish seeing most of everything. If you haven’t guessed, Scarowinds is packed this year due to the fact that they finally included the event for free with your season pass and it looks like the entire population of North and South Carolina is taking advantage of this, which has got to be good news for the park. In addition to the complete review below, check out the video I put together as well as a big gallery of photos at the bottom.
The crown jewel this year would have to be The Asylum which features a nearly full scale three-dimensional building fašade that looks fantastic. The wonderful themeing continues inside as you venture through many very detailed rooms. This is probably also the goriest house in all of Scarowinds too.
The Haunt tally this year is up to eight, up from last year’s previous six. Of those previous six, five returned to scare again this year while the park created three brand new haunts from scratch. If the fact that the park built a whole new building for the second year in a row to house one of these new haunts (The Asylum) wasn’t a clue enough, it looks like the quality level and budget has been increased as well this year. Costumes and makeup effects were far effective this year, as were the scares.
The next new haunt this year is Cornstalkers, an twisted outdoor nightmare version of a cornfield maze filled with scaractors who are very good at blending into the natural scenery. My only complaint is that about half way through everything starts to look the same as you zig-zag over and over.
The final new maze this year is Last Laugh, a new version of the classic evil Clown maze concept. This new version of the maze is a huge improvement over last year’s Big Top Terror, but the new indoor maze that takes up hallways and arcade at the end of the Action FX theater building still feels a bit too short for the huge line this house was getting. The pace of people being let into this maze is too slow as well as just before you hit the door you find out that they’ve got someone trying to see cheesy 3-D glasses for a buck, slowing things down considerably. I’ve never been a fan of 3-D mazes, nor of Clown themed mazes, but as far as themes go the content in here isn’t bad. Ditch the 3-D aspect and play up the bizarre and they’ll have a winner.
As for the returning mazes, last year’s favorite Slaughter House is back, and just as gross as ever as you dodge the crazy pig butchers in search of Fresh Meat. The Dream Factory also returns and is greatly improved over last year. This time the theme of being led from horror film genre to genre is clear and works, and you can’t call this one the Yawn Factory anymore as the Scaractors were plentiful. Final Summons is also greatly improved this year, through the great scenery from last year is still intact, the voodoo zombie theme is crystal clear this year. Lots of good scares in here too… they even got me a few times which is hard to do. Dead Inn returns once again with the haunted hotel theme, with some good scenery but ranks low on the length and scare factor. Our final haunt of the night was the very long trek through Alien Annihilation. I love the very long outdoor design of this maze… but like last year the “Alien” aspect really just doesn’t come through. Spiders, Snakes, bizarre Mayan ruins… check. Aliens? Not so much. I’d like to see this area transformed into something new next year.
As for the rest of the park, there were three scare zones with The Harvest full of blood thirsty red-necks being the best and was greatly improved over last year. The Cemetery is supposed to be new this year, but seems to be lacking in the scare department through the look of the area is good. Finally we’ve got the vampire rave themed Feeding Frenzy, which was a good way to take advantage of the huge empty pathway around the new coaster’s construction site. While it looked good… it just needed more stuff to fill it in. Everything was a little too ‘open’ which took away from the fear aspect. Plus it reminded me of the clubs I used to visit when I was in College more than a Scare Zone. Good music selection here through… I’d love to see this idea expanded and “enclosed” to become a Club Blood style haunt next year as well.