Oh Busch Gardens, I am just not a fan // Howl-o-Scream 2016
I have been to Halloween Horror Nights a few times but it has been a good while since I have gone and I have never been to Howl-o-Scream....until this year.
I will preface this a little by saying that honestly I am not a huge fan of Busch Gardens. We have gone as a family a few times but it has never been my park of choice. Let me also preface this by saying I do love SeaWorld though and love going there, which seems odd considering they are owned by the same company. I suppose you will find out my dislike as you read on.
Anyways, my oldest daughter was turning 13 on Halloween so we wanted to take her to do something haunted and scary. I went online and looked up dates, times, pricing, info. I went back and forth between the 2 parks over and over. I also looked into a few other local events but none seemed as good as Busch Gardens and Universal Studios. I really wanted to go to HHN but in the end decided on Busch Gardens. It is closer to home and since it was a fairly late night event I didn't want to leave the 2 youngest home with the older boys and be too far away.
I ended up buying the 4+ ticket deal they were offering, which was $35 per person on select nights for purchasing 4 or more tickets. Sounded like a great deal so that's what we went for. I was able to get tickets for the 30th so we were able to be there before and on her birthday because hours were 7:30pm - 1 am.
When we got there parking was simple, we just paid and parked. It didn't seem to crowded and busy. I guess because it was Sunday night and most people have school and work on Monday. Getting through the check in was also pretty seamless and quick. I usually make it a point to not take any bags in when we go to theme parks because I dont want to be stuck in the bag check line.
We made it through 4 of the themed attractions. Overall our favorite was Unearthed, which we walked though first. It was very authentic to what a haunted house should be. Motel Hell was a new haunt and it was very authentic to the name. It came in close 2nd to Unearthed. Zombie Containment Unit was also fun because it was something different. When you enter you are given instructions on how to eliminate the zombies roaming, given a laser gun, and sent in to eliminate zombies. We liked how interactive this was. It was not just walking through but getting to partake in the haunt. We also ventured through Carnival of Superstitions. This was a 3D fun house full of clowns and all kinds of colorful creations. It was ok but it was the least favorite of the night.
We all had a fairly good time at the event. It was more so the lack of cleanliness and the atmosphere that keeps pushing me away from really liking Busch Gardens. And it is little things, but they are noticeable things like trash lining the wait lines up to the haunted houses and the diapers and trash in the parking areas. As we were leaving, we were waiting for the tram and people were so impatient. 1 family in the line next to us had to take separate trams because the father had the stroller and it would not fit in the seat he was in, his wife and son daughter grabbed the seat ahead but he had to get off and wait. At other parks I have seen passengers give up their seats for others, that doesn't see to happen at Busch Gardens. Just basic common courtesy that does not seem to exist too much at Busch Gardens and it is very unfortunate. I wish I could say I like the park because my kids love theme parks and roller coasters, and BG is less than an hour away but I would rather drive the additional 30/45 minutes and pay more for a better quality of fun.
If you are going to Busch Gardens, go for the experience, not for the atmosphere.