Hayride of Horror:
We started with the rules after our ticket was taken, then we all shuffled into a tent and all gathered around Ole Mags. She would let us know the rules of the ride, while there there were a few guest creatures of the hayride lurking about. Mind your hats!!!
We walked to the hayride trailer. All of us were guided by our host and walked through a scene depicting the turn of the century, with maidens staring at us in period costumes as we walked past them. We boarded our transport. The benches lined all around so everyone was comfortable. There was no hay to sit on as the namesake would state but that's fine. You also have no hay sticking you from all directions so it's all good.
As the tractor starts up and heading out to the vast open field, the gals we had just seen are now slowly following us... possibly a bad omen? So as it stands, The Hayride of Horror is a large field with certain scenes placed far enough apart where it's the tractor and your surroundings. Nothing else around you to distract you unless you're easily distracted and can focus on objects on the horizon. As you enter and leave each scene matching audio is being played to set an ambiance.
Our next scene featured the redneck cannibals. A girl strapped to the side of one shack was screaming for help. A few hungry backwoods families are looking here, ready for the attack at the other shed on the opposite side of the trailer.
Next we came to the land of the weird orphan children. Kids came from inside a sort of house wanting to play with the guests. As the trailer made its way through, the children were slowly following the trailer like the maidens earlier. And this will happen often, at some point the trailer will be followed or "chased" and on other instances you will be bordered by its inhabitants, and that happened while going through the cornstalks. Only thinking what's going to happen now, as you are surrounded by the towering cornstalks. Waiting for something to jump at you, but you will encounter scarecrows that have come alive that jumped on your tram, some bearing gifts.
Now on to a post-apocalyptic UV powered vision. This was most unique for a hayride. The first part of this scene was hidden and shrouded in an enclosure. The trailer drove through strips of hanging fabric showing us the inside, with actors running around the sides with a few special surprises waiting for us. The actors were in funky makeup and battle armor, but when bathed in the ultraviolet lights it made the scene pop. Then we exited under another set of strips showing us outside the area of wrecked vehicles and bedlam.
We had made a wide U-turn and came across a witches' coven who already had their victims captured. They were calling out to us for help but it was too late. Just ahead a brotherhood of what seemed to be of the dark arts were starting a ritual of their own. They had a glowing mystery box and were following the trailer closely. Luckily they were not able to embark.
We then made our journey into the cemetery. Unearthed caskets and mausoleums were all around and well, zombies. Yes, the undead wanted to take their revenge on us and had gone for the attack as our trailer had desecrated their ground. Other than the next scene, this was the most detailed and vast compared to all the others. Each scene had lots of detail, but this had more potential and gave the actors freedom to move around.
This brings us to the Freakshow. Here we were boarded by the ringmaster. Her dialogue was engaging as she had introduced the talent around us on pedestals, each standing in front of a scene designed for them. It was very interactive between the Ringmaster and the show's "talent" as we ended our tour we made it to the final stop... the circus. And what's a circus without clowns? And there were clowns, many clowns, giggling and jumping around. They had surrounded our transport and had bordered us as we stopped. Our guide had let us know it's time to leave this place. We all got off and made our way past the gauntlet of clowns to the exit.
Curse of the Bayou:
Here at the Bayou, a new attraction for this year, this was a haunted trail. We were the only group going in, so the line queue entertainment was a large vine creature, If Groot had an evil cousin this would be him. He checked us out for a bit and interacted with us until it was our turn. Earlier as we walked to the attraction, there was a group going in and no other group was waiting in line with us. So when it was our turn to go, it felt like we were the only ones on the path. We were warned there is a creek to the right and a fence to the left, so stay on the path. and we did. It's very wide as you go in . The path becomes more defined with props and other obstructions as we walked further. We were greeted with very needy child "trick or treaters". Their masks were morbid or messy. They might have been homemade or made by the children (which is a good thing). It was very dark but also very effective. There was a surprising scare hidden in plain sight. At one point, we were instructed to crawl through a car where the banging and horn blowing started to create more confusion and through a squeeze wall.
We met the voo-doo witch of the woods and her two zombie pets. She introduced herself and set the mood for what we were about to encounter. We had to choose one of three doors. the path we chose was tight and winding. The structure seemed to be made of dismantled wood pallets, which is standard for haunt construction. The pathway was done really well. There was bits of cloth and plastic dividing up your path from the other two doorways we did not select. There were mannequin parts, mostly arms strewn around on the sides of the path. As we twisted around this maze, we entered the graveyard. Here there were plenty of specters and zombies and this may be likely the most populated scene on property. This was done very well and the actors had a lot of energy here. Leaving the graveyard and moving to the path to the exit there were a few other actors around with one or two last scares in them. Some of these I saw while out in the common area and while in line, so these random creatures do double duty and simply just roam a vast area here and not just line scares.
I have visited this location before a few years back and they have raised the bar. I don't know if it was gradual progression or if they did a revamp. But what ever they did it was certainly for the best. The common area has expanded too, instead of a simple concession stand and ticket booth it seems they have added an extra bonfire pit, plus a zombie containment booth (with live actor) for photo ops and quick scares. A tent with palm readers / tarot card readers were present and there was even a ten minute Escape Room to check out for $5.
The best upgrade of all... porta johns with LED lights overhead inside that automatically turn on when you go in. Great customer relations with this.
Overall I would like to see what they do next year.
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