Before you scroll down to the first set of pics, take a moment to read my very brief overview, if you will.
Howl O Scream 2011 is themed as The Dark Side of the Gardens and there is a general theme of roses with eyeballs and some creepy zombie woman. Last year the theme was "The Scare Is Everywhere" and it certainly was. Once the sun went down (or after 6 PM generally) the cast comes out in costumes rattling noise makers, jumping out from behind bushes and even dressing up as bushes in camo netting. Nowhere was safe. Definitely not a place for kid or easily frightened adults. I loved it. This year Busch Gardens has installed so-called scare zones which can be avoided as there is a safe path for each one. The scare zones are short paths, usually bridges and choke points, throughout which the cast monsters stand and scare the passersby. That's not bad and it certainly allows parents to bring the kids without too much worry. The park is still decorated throughout and the lands are again themed for the season with classic and modern monsters. Even with the scare zones, the park is safe throughout until 6 PM, after which the scare zones become active. You can compare these photos to the pre-season post here.
Our Journey Begins...
Williamsburg...RAHR!!! We set out from Chesapeake with a car of 4, Frau Punkinstein at the wheel, Theo and Rob in the backseat and myself in the position so commonly called "shotgun" by people who have never actually had the pleasure of riding on a stagecoach. The traffic was easy but as it was after 4 PM the parking traffic was thick and there was no preferred parking available. We parked somewhere in North Carolina and rode a tram over to Guest Services where we queued to pick up our lanyards and the guys picked up their annual passes. We then set out for the front gate.
|This is the mass of humanity that pressed forward to bag check|
|Closer to the gate now. This year's mascot...very nasty.|
|Clock in Banbury Cross (England)|
|Display at the entrance, normally a fountain. The creepy lady.|
|Look at the size of that pumpkin!|
|One of several helpful placards sprinkled throughout the park, this one underneath the big pumpkin.|
|Much less goofy|
|The Scavengers scare zone in the daylight|
|Grrrr (like a werewolf on speed)|
|Of all the trees to hide behind, this genius picks a twig?|
|This werewolf needs a helmet|
|Maybe, if you enlarge it, you could read this plaque.|
|I don't know any of these people|
|I do know some of these people|
|Not my best shot|
In our next installment we will press on into France, ever closer to our Festhaus meal.
Until next time, keep your pumpkins lit.