It’s back – and still screaming! Scream-A-Geddon has returned to unleash another season of horror in Dade City. Their 2016 marketing angle really does sum it up best. There’s not much that can be scarier than our upcoming election, but Scream-A-Geddon somehow pulls it off.
As is the norm for our Halloween series, we don’t have a plethora of photos to share with you from this event. Such is the nature of haunts and horrors – we would hate to give it all away and ruin your chance for an on-site anxiety attack, after all.
Scream-A-Geddon is sprawled out across 60 acres of pure Florida woodland, in an area occupied by the year-round attraction, Tree Hoppers Aerial Adventure Park. This extreme horror park features three outdoor attractions, two indoor attractions, and the “Monster Midway”. Did I mention that two of those attractions also offer a unique interactive option? The interactive element is an optional inclusion that is completely up to the guest’s discretion at all times. You are offered a glow necklace to wear in the attraction that identifies your choice to opt in. At any time, you can remove the necklace from your neck to signify that you no longer wish to take advantage of the interactive nature of the attraction. Interactive participation truly puts you directly into the action of the attraction. You may be grabbed and removed from the “safety” of your group for a one-on-one encounter with the attraction’s monsters and ghouls for a more personal experience at various points on your path. This absolutely enhances the fear factor, and the realism of the scene. You must be 18 or older to take advantage of the interactive option.
Cursed Hayride – Enjoy a nice, relaxing ride on a flatbed trailer covered in hay as a tractor pulls you through a Wild West town. Okay, “relaxing” may not be the best description for it. You see, the residents of this raucous town have been cursed with immortality, and their only hope for escape is in replacing their souls with yours. Along the way, you’ll appreciate a few stopping points, giving you the opportunity to take in some unsettling sights and fast-paced gunslinger action. Startles and surprises lurk in some very unassuming locations, and you may even encounter some residents ready to give chase. Remember, you can’t possibly observe the entirety of your surroundings at all times. This attraction has been redesigned for 2016, featuring revamped effects and intense new scenes.
Dead Woods – Five generations of the Tate family have called these woods home for many years, with little to no contact with the outside world. With nothing but a glow stick to light your way, try to meander the path through the dense forest as you attempt to avoid becoming a permanent resident. During your hike, you’re bound to encounter the Tates in their cabins and workshops… and they are very hungry – for flesh. They’re also fiercely defensive of their land, and you are not a welcome guest. Be forewarned – The Tate family seems to have increased their population since 2015.
Bedlam 3D – A dizzying maze of terror, Bedlam 3D features vibrant color, and jarring sounds – as well as plenty of disturbing inhabitants. As if clowns weren’t scary enough… here, they want to consume you. Their trickery, cleverly blended appearances, and shrewd tools of confusion will throw you off-course regularly, and they don’t back down easily. 3D glasses enhance the depth of fear brilliantly hidden among these walls. This funhouse of evil will leave you with nightmares for weeks… IF you can find your way out!
Infected – On a remote farm, military bio-hazard tents are scattered throughout a cornfield due to the aftermath of a meteorite strike. Government containment efforts have failed, and you find yourself surrounded by zombified farmers and military units as you struggle to find an escape before you become infected yourself! The intricate set design includes a rustic farmhouse that has been overtaken and a bus full of unfortunate victims. Redesigned for 2016, Infected now features an interactive aspect.
Blackpool Prison – An all-new attraction for 2016, Blackpool Prison has been taken over by the most hardened criminals imaginable. A riot has led to anarchy and a blackout, and if you choose to accept the interactive challenge, you may find yourself holed up in a cell with brutal inmates, and no one to help when you scream. Chaos ensues as prisoners run a muck, seeking new victims to satisfy their gruesome urges. Be prepared to find inventive escapes and arm yourself with witty banter to outwit the blood-thirsty convicts.
The CSO crew was almost in agreement on our favorite Scream-A-Geddon attraction this year, with two of us voting for Blackpool Prison, and one choosing Infected. Two of us went for the interactive inclusion on both, while one opted out. The youngest of our crew (Tony, 17) noted that even without the physical contact option, he enjoyed the invitation to thoroughly explore Blackpool Prison and interact with the “prisoners”. Personally, I was highly impressed with Blackpool. Being one of the first in the media group to enter – I was also the last to exit (with many wondering if I even would). The length of time spent in the attraction was phenomenal, and the sheer number of actors inside was surprising. I’d be willing to bet that I barely passed any of them without being “detained”, and each interaction was unique. One actor did a notably good job of delivering the heebie-jeebies – cornering me in his cell for an intense interrogation.
Overall, the attractions delivered a diverse selection of fearful elements. Each experience was very different and well-themed. There was fire, chainsaws, flashing lights, crashing sounds, detailed sets, and plenty of things that went bump in the night. Groups are limited and well spaced upon entry, allowing you to absorb and navigate your surroundings without being pushed through at a rapid pace… although there’s no guarantee you won’t feel a spontaneous urge to run on occasion. I may have demonstrated a few Bambi-styled leaps in my efforts to escape the Tate clan in Dead Woods, and I performed a sort of Red Rover maneuver to dodge some of the Infected representatives as well.
The Monster Midway is located in the center of the attraction space, creating a (semi) safe haven to spend some time between exploration of the houses. Here, you can purchase reasonably priced food, drinks, and souvenirs, or partake in some carnival-style games. Food servings are more than ample for the cost. You can even purchase s’mores kits and plant yourself beside a fire pit for a sweet treat under the stars. BUT… stay vigilant, because there may very well be a monster standing behind you. Strolling creatures are a fixture on the midway!
Scream-A-Geddon is a spectacular value for horror-seekers, and there are plenty of advantages to this location. Scream-A-Geddon is currently open seven days per week through Halloween (a rarity for local haunts), and they are open for the weekend following Halloween as well. Ticket prices are fantastically fair. They range, depending on the day, going as low as $19.95. This price includes admission to all attractions. For a slightly higher price, VIP Fastpass is available to decrease line wait times. Purchase tickets online in advance to save money. Guests can also opt for a “Super VIP Tour”, which includes no-wait access to attractions, a personal tour guide, and a $20 souvenir credit (priced from $119-$149). Do plan for the $10 parking fee prior to arrival (also available to purchase in advance).
Unlike some high-cost horror events, it is certainly easy to experience all of the Scream-A-Geddon attractions in one evening, without spending ridiculous amounts of time in long lines. In fact, you could easily revisit the attractions that you most enjoyed during your stay. The one drawback is that it is a bit of a trek from the Orlando area, but it’s well worth the drive. Coming from the Osceola-Polk border, we spent just over an hour on the road to Scream-A-Geddon. I have to admit though… the rather desolate location only adds to the creepy factor. For the second year in a row, we are naming this one a “don’t miss” event!