REVIEW: Opening Night of Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa
Of course, because of COVID-19 concerns, Halloween is looking a little bit different this year! However, Busch Gardens Tampa has still decided to bring back their scariest event of the year, Howl-O-Scream, with modifications so that guests can stay safe while enjoying some of Busch Gardens’ most fearsome attractions.
The Tampa Bay Busch Gardens’ website lets guests know that: “Tampa Bay’s premier Halloween event is preparing to return in a whole new way this fall with the 21st annual Howl-O-Scream. This year’s modified production will be unlike any other, including significantly enhanced safety and health measures at the core of the event. The event will be modified to feature open-air scare zones, limited-capacity admission with reservations required, and physical distancing. Howl-O-Scream is a separately ticketed event, available during 18 horrifying nights at Busch Gardens beginning Sept. 25 – Nov. 1, 2020, every Friday through Sunday. To help maintain physical distancing during the event, advance online reservations will be required. Guests are strongly encouraged to make reservations early, as space is limited. Protective face coverings will be required.”
Guests will also have to go through a temperature screening when first entering the park.
There were social distancing markers in lines for scare zones as well as rides and helped guests to remember to properly social distance. Employees were definitely on the lookout for guests who were not complying and would ask them to stay six feet away from other parties.
There are 10 outdoor scare attractions, including Dia de Los Muertos, Hell on Wheels, Deadly Toys, Maniac Midway, Little Nightmares, First Fear, and four new scare zones as well– Lycan Landing, The Shortcut, The Escape, and The Junkyard! I was worried that there would be less scare actors this year, however, there were plenty and they got lots of jumps and screams out of me!
The monsters did a really great job of staying six feet away from guests as well as each other, while still scaring.
All of the monsters wore protective facial coverings, though the costuming department did really well with pairing them to match their character.
The scare zones are located all throughout the park, so you’re sure to hit a couple on your way to get food, go on rides, or even just while exploring!
The event starts at 7 p.m. (though guests can enter the park as soon as 5 p.m.) so the sun is still out for the first part of the night, but once it goes down…the scare zones get a lot freakier!
In scare zones that were a bit narrower inside, such as The Junkyard and The Shortcut, ushers would have each party go through separately, giving enough time for the party in front to get a ways ahead.
The popular show, Fiends, has two showtimes each night- 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., with plenty of time to enjoy all of the scares the park has to offer.
The show was at an outdoor amphitheater located where the haunted house, ‘Simon’s Slaughterhouse,’ was last year. There were benches for guests to sit with markers to make sure that each party was sitting six feet apart.
The show even featured a live guitarist!
I would recommend going at least 30 minutes before the start of the show to get good seating since the benches fill up fast with everyone spread out.
There was also live entertainment at the Dragon Fire Grill, showcasing some of the best Halloween hits- including Ghostbusters, Thriller, and more!
The event also included Howl-O-Scream exclusive food and drink offerings, though not as many as the previous years.
Merchandise, however, was certainly not limited this year! There are tank tops, t-shirts, hats, shot glasses, and so much more available in select gift shops!
I really enjoyed everything that Howl-O-Scream had to offer this year! The monsters were amazing despite the many modifications that they had to work with this year, it wasn’t too crowded, and I felt very safe with all of the safety procedures in place. I would highly recommend going to Howl-O-Scream at least once this Halloween season!
Reserve your ticket to go to Howl-O-Scream now on the Busch Gardens Tampa website before tickets sell out! Will you be going to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay? Let us know in the comments below!
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Source: Busch Gardens Tampa website.