Everyone loves it when a scare event becomes popular and a place where people want to visit, but from a customer point of view, there are both pro’s and cons about these events. Over two blogs we are going to look at both the positive and negative. This post will focus on the negative and the following blog post will focus on the positive. But I guess the first question is, do the most popular events have issue. The simple answer is yes and whilst popular events work well at getting people in, most seem to suffer from the same issues.
Let’s go into the first thing that the popular events struggle with, queue times. This is only relevant to the ones where you have to queue individually at each maze. At the more popular events, these can sometimes be a real issue. Realistically, anything over 30 minutes is ridiculous. Take Thorpe Park for example. During their Lionsgate team up for Fright Nights, queues could exceed an hour for many of the mazes with some queues even reaching two hours. Queue times aren’t just an issue here in the UK. One of the biggest offenders is the ever popular Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando. They also seem to struggle with them. Busy queues will usually result in two things, pissed of customers and bad batching.
I think that brings us nicely to what is another issue at the more popular events, batching. Scare mazes work best when the groups are small. This means everyone is able to experience it completely without missing any of the scares. The smaller the better but let’s be realistic, the ideal group size is about 7/8 people. At the more popular events groups can and will be batched in groups of 15+. This is mental! A prime example of this is Tulleys Shocktoberfest. It’s huge batching works well on its Horrorwood Hayride, but for its other attractions this doesn’t work well. By the time the actors have had a chance to scare the front they are then resetting by the time the people at the back get to them and therefore means the people towards the back don’t get the best experience.
As events become popular, not only will they open bigger and better attractions, they will also invest in new ways to scare people. This can ultimately lead to two things, you either get an amazing experience or you get inundated with animatronics. Whilst some animatronics are great, when a maze starts relying on them to save costs, they don’t quite have the same reaction. A lot of the more popular events have been investing in them, for example Xtreme Scream Park, who over the past few years have invested in more and more animatronics. They aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but the human interaction and human based scares are always slightly different and therefore give people a different experience even if it is a small difference.
We aren’t saying being a popular Halloween event is a bad thing, it’s not. For the most part it’s amazing and we will be looking into why the more popular events are more popular and some of the best events to visit in our next blog post.