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Screams Halloween Theme Park Review

06.10.2019 (2:31 am) – Filed under: Haunted House Listings,Reviews,Screams,Screams Review

October 5, 2019

Score-10

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Phone-972-938-3247

Location-2511 FM 66 Waxahachie, TX 75167

Directions-from Dallas: Take I-35E South to Exit 399A, Go west on FM66 1.6 miles

From Ft Worth: Take Hwy 287 South to I-35E South, Take I-35E South to Exit 399A, Go west on FM66 1.6 miles

From Waco:Due to I-35E construction, the exit for Screams has temporarily changed to exit 397 on northbound I-35E. Proceed to FM66, go west 1.6 miles

Attractions-Five major haunted attractions, plus a cemetery trail, food court, multiple taverns, a great full service bar and cafe (Full Moon Cafe) games of skill, a climbing tower, live music, Scaryoke, Halloween related merchants, a psychic, Henna tattoos, wax hands, palm readings, and more!

Full Moon Cafe is the full bar and full service cafe at Screams, on the west end of the Food Court area.¬†Cheltsea and Michael are excellent bartenders, and Rachael looks after the dining area. This is the only place in Screams where you can eat, drink and pay with a credit card. Full Moon has plenty of seating and is well decorated. It’s dimly lit, with a cozy Halloween feel to it, and the bartenders and servers dress up in Halloween costumes. I spoke with a few people who said that this is their favorite place to go in Screams. The food was excellent on our visit (we had bacon and cheese fries, plus cheeseburgers) and I love the Dracula’s Kiss drink. It’s refreshing, and has a kick since it’s vodka based. Cheltsea has come up with a peanut butter and banana flavored drink that tastes like ice cream, that was very welcome on the incredibly hot night of our review. Other Halloween specialty drinks are available, and Michael and Cheltsea can take requests. Full Moon is a great place to begin, or end your night at Screams.

Dates open-Fridays and Saturdays in October, from 7:30pm-1:30am. Ticket sales end at midnight.

Tickets-General admission is $35 at the box office, $32 online (plus a $1 service fee) while group tickets are $30 for groups of 15 or more. Group tickets have to be purchased in advance and are not available at the gate. Fast passes are $20 each, and are highly advisable later in the season. $4 off coupons are available at participating T-Mobile stores.

Parking -Parking is free

Miscellaneous info-Always wear comfortable shoes or boots at Screams. You will have problems in high heels. This is a park, and the terrain is natural. On warm nights, dress in your coolest clothing, but on colder nights, remember that Screams is in the country, so it’s going to be several degrees cooler than DFW or Austin. Remember to not wear costumes or masks. For security reasons, guests can’t wear either at Screams.

Walk through time-Around an hour for all of the attractions combined. Please keep in mind that this is a haunted park, not just a haunted house. A great deal of the fun at Screams is being able to walk around, checking out merchants, music, and eating and drinking. It’s best to allow a good part of the night to spend at Screams. You can go through the attractions as many times as you want, although having a fast pass really helps if you want to see the attractions multiple times. On our review, we arrived before the park opened, and left around midnight. We could easily have spent more time in the park. This is a place to take your time, have fun, and relax.

Review:

Screams is the largest Halloween park I’ve been to, and it helps to have a plan for seeing the main attractions. I always advise people to see the attractions first, and eat and drink afterward. I save checking out the games and merchants for after dinner and drinks. It’s also fun to mix it up and alternate between roaming around the park and visiting the food court and Full Moon Cafe, but see the attractions first. On busy nights, Screams can be kind of hectic, so below is the schedule that I follow when I review Screams. It’s worked well for me for many years. If you need to orient yourself, a map of the park is located next to the entrance to the cemetery trail, in front of the park entrance. A signpost pointing out the direction of the attractions and services is in front of the souvenir shop, also close to the park entrance. Reviews of the individual attractions follow my guide.

As tempting as it is to go through the cemetery trail in front of the park entrance, it’s always best to start with the Witches of Terra Mythica Castle. The line for the Castle becomes long early in the evening, and even the fast pass wait can eat heavily into your evening. See the Castle first, then go to your right after exiting the Castle, walk uphill to the trail from the food court to the park entrance, and take a right. That will take you to Hotel D’Feers, which will be on your right. After the Hotel, head straight across the park to Blood Harbour, the 3D pirate themed funhouse. When you exit Blood Harbour, take a right and go to Carnival of Chaos, a clown themed maze. Zombie Wasteland is the main trail at Screams and is located behind the food court. From the Carnival exit, head straight across the park to the food court, wrap around the food court, and you will find Zombie Wasteland. The lines at Zombie Wasteland are usually not as long as at the other big attractions, so I save it for last.

Once you have been through the main attractions, you’ll have worked up an appetite, and the food court is next to the exit for Zombie Wasteland. For food, you have a choice of the full service Full Moon Cafe, located on the west side of the food court, or a wide variety of carnival food at the court itself. Fajitas, pizza, turkey legs, barbecue sandwiches, chicken or sausage on a stick are some of the offerings at the food court. 21 and over can find alcohol at Taboo Tavern, Spider Web Bar, and the Morgue Tavern. All are located in the food court area. Full Moon Cafe is the only place in Screams with a full bar.

After you’ve eaten and visited the taverns, you can turn your attention to playing and shopping. Across from the food court, by the exit for the Castle, are the games, and a well decorated kettle corn stand. Henna Tattoos is now located catty-corner from the food court. Nightly Scaryoke is held at the stage under the pavilion by Taboo Tavern (it’s the King’s Pub Stage during Scarborough) and the main stage (at the back of the park, Crown Meadow Stage during Scarborough) features live musical acts. If you want to rock climb, or just watch people climb, a climbing tower is located close to the Carnival of Chaos.

For shopping, head to Merchant’s Row, located close to the park entrance. Waxed hands, Glo items, jewelry, tombstones, glass pipes, feather extensions, a psychic, tarot card readings, and palm readings are all on Merchant’s Row. Screams also has a souvenir shop located between Merchant’s Row and the park entrance. Before you leave, don’t forget the cemetery trail, with some of the coolest lighting and props in the park. It’s located directly across from the park entrance. There is no line for this trail, you just walk in. It’s a nice way to wind up the evening, and you can get some good pictures without using a flash.

Main Attractions:

Cursed: The Witches of Terra Mythica Castle

The Castle has a great setting. You can see pictures taken from the trail leading to the castle in the gallery below. I love the lighting of the Castle walls and the flames shooting out, near the Castle entrance. You walk over a little bridge to get into the Castle, passing under a gate. Action comes as soon as you are inside, with actors all around you while you’re surrounded by undead armored knights. Dark hallways lead into the dungeon, illuminated by dim lighting, alternating between red, blue, and green. A swampy area follows after a bridge, with heavy fog and orange lighting. Look for the library in this area, it has some of the best decor in Screams. The sound effects are creepy, with werewolves and bats seemingly around you as you descend into the catacombs. This is my favorite part of the Castle. It could be my imagination, but the walkway seems to narrow in this area, and the lighting is perfectly adjusted to unnerve you. An extra long vibrating bridge frightened the group in front of us, and actors kept popping in and out of the hall. A group of angry witches follow the catacombs, giving you a proper send off, although there is more to be seen just outside the Castle.

Throughout the Castle, halls are narrow and well decorated, with actors blending in with the scenery. There are two actors who are so well camouflaged that they can’t be detected until they jump out at you. If you want to try to look for them, they are in the swamp and catacombs. I thought that the one in the catacombs was part of the wall. This is the largest and best decorated attraction at Screams, and it’s probably the most intense, though Hotel D’Feers gives it strong competition in that department. I’ve mentioned this before, but be sure to see the Castle first.

Hotel D’Feers

Actors in the Hotel waste no time. Two or three are there to “greet” guests just past the entrance, with quite a bit of movement and screaming. The screaming girl must use a bag of lozenges a night because she didn’t stop until we were well past the front room. Playing elevator music after the front room was an interesting choice, it made for a sharp contrast with the chaos at the entrance to the Hotel. Heavy fog follows and guests move very slowly in this area, due to limited visibility, so slow down too and avoid forming a conga line for the rest of the Hotel. In addition to heavy fog, there are lots of twists and turns in the hallway, plus animatronic props popping out. The actors interact with you, asking for a donation of body parts from time to time. A foggy swamp changed the mood of the Hotel, apparently the place has fallen into such disrepair that heavy vegetation has taken over. Try to find the camouflaged actor in the swamp. You won’t be able to, but you’ll have fun trying. White strobes and more fog are disorienting just past the swamp, with wooden fencing keeping you from wandering off the path. The residential part of the Hotel that follows has a run down, Texas Chainsaw look and feel to it, with energetic actors making almost as much noise as the screaming girl at the front.

The Hotel is loud, foggy, and designed to keep you on edge. It’s not as long as the Castle, but it’s close to being as intense. The actors are the main attraction of this haunt. I’m not sure how many there were, but they didn’t let up on the guests at any point.

Capt’n Barbarossa’s Blood Harbour

This year all of Blood Harbour is 3D. The outside of the haunt is dark, with the exception of the area around the sign, but the inside is covered in bright neon paint, with props appropriate for a pirate ship.¬† The vortex tunnel and the hallway of crabs are my favorites, but the shaking hallway is fun too. 3D glasses make it difficult to see the doors the actors use to pop in and out, so they nearly always surprised me. The laser and smoke effect that makes it look like you’re waist deep in water worked much better this year. All animatronics were in good working order, sound effects were loud enough to be distracting, which helped the actors sneak up on our group. This is one of the last dedicated 3D houses around, so be sure to check it out after the Hotel. Everyone in Blood Harbour seemed to have a good time, including the actors.

PT Harmum’s Carnival of Chaos

This is a clown heavy maze, with chain link fencing, and lots of strobes to disorient you. The clowns give terrible directions and harass throughout the maze. Loud carnival music also makes it difficult to concentrate. For the first time ever, my group found the exit quickly, and with no outside help. Randell, a member of the review team, has a freakish ability to navigate mazes. He heads for the middle of the maze, somehow pictures the layout from there, and finds the exit quickly. We did see an interesting circus scene made of dinosaur bones and clowns, and a four clown animatronic with Pennywise that moved like a train. If not for Randell, the strobes and clowns would have kept me in the maze for a long time and would have forced me to do what I usually do, which is to use an emergency exit to get out. Try Randell’s strategy and get to middle of the maze, then try to go straight ahead from there.

Zombie Wasteland…Apocalypse

The location of the zombie trail is important. Being at the back of Screams allows the trail to seem isolated once you enter, and the surrounding Scarborough buildings add to the eerie atmosphere. The terrain does look like a wasteland, with overturned cars, burnt out electronics, and ruined buildings around the trail. Creepy sound effects block out sound from the rest of the park, and set the mood for the entire trail. Props are perfectly lit, and the zombie computer room is probably the first of it’s kind. Strobes are well placed, and alternating between red, blue and orange lighting in different areas works well. I love this part of Scarborough (Holly Field) and I had thought that it would make a great haunted trail during Screams. I would like for the trail to go deeper into Holly Field, but it’s winding layout does give actors plenty of opportunities to scare guests. Speaking of the actors, they really get into their roles. They deserve a lot of credit for going all out on an incredibly hot and humid night. Their level of intensity makes me wonder how great they will be on colder nights, when people and makeup aren’t melting. I heard more screams from guests in Zombie Wasteland than in any other attraction at Screams. The actors were so in character that the guests were freaked out by the end. This is an attraction to go through more than once, especially if you have a fast pass.

2018 was a season that featured major upgrades at Screams. 2019 continues the park wide upgrades. New props and decorations by the ticket booth and front gate get people in the mood to be scared, the main attractions have all improved, and the cemetery trail is a full length trail again. New merchants and games have been added, while the park is even better decorated than before, with great attention to detail from the outside of the park, all the way back to Zombie Wasteland. Screams has never looked better, and it’s still the best overall value in North Texas. It is possible to see the attractions pretty quickly, if you arrive early or get a fast pass, but Screams is so much more fun if you take your time and make a night of it. This is the greatest Halloween festival close to DFW, and the weather is finally going to feel like Fall this coming weekend, so see Screams while the cool weather lasts!