Thirteen Evils Take Over Howl-O-Scream 2013

Thirteen Evils Take Over Howl-O-Scream 2013

With More Sinister Surprises Around Every Corner.

 Busch Gardens Howl O Scream Logo 2013

Tampa’s No. 1 Haunt Attraction Returns with All-New Houses and Scare Zones

 Howl-O-Scream is intended for a mature audience. This year’s event contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood.

Once every century, on precisely the thirteenth year, evil comes out to play…

This fall, for 14 select nights,Howl-O-Scream® 2013 returns to Busch Gardens® Tampa with tormenting surprises around every corner and unexpected terrors.

Opening weekend for Howl-O-Scream 2013 is Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28.  The event then runs Thursday through Saturday nights,Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26.  Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on all event nights.

Busch Gardens’ 335 acres will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, a thrilling live stage show and the chance to ride adrenaline-fueled coasters in the dark, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt. Even the streets themselves aren’t safe with all-new scare zones, led by the 13 evils that have been waiting a century to come out and play for the most horrifying Howl-O-Scream ever. It will leave you begging for mercy… and screaming for more.

From the depths of a basement to the eerie bogs of the Bayou, Howl-O-Scream 2013’s new haunted houses are designed to prey on every element of your deepest fears:

  • NEW! The BASEMENT—From Momma’s secret ingredient to Granny’s bone-ground flour, Momma’s Meats’ award-winning recipe has always been a family affair that’s only created in the BASEMENT. Escape the depths of the BASEMENT before she and #4 The Butcher turn you in to the secret sauce! She always said it took blood, sweat and tears!
  • NEW! Death Water Bayou—Deep in the bayou the #6 Voodoo Queen mystically transforms lost wanderers into her minions of evil with black magic. Here, her night servants roam with a zombie-like hunger and seek to grow her collection. The darkest evils lurk in shadows. Get out before you fall victim to her spell.
  • NEW! The Experiment—Researchers challenge your fear tolerance and mental endurance in this never-been-done-before Experiment. In this exclusive study, “test subjects” endure psychological tests and must face top fear-inducing elements, from roaches and snakes to needles and darkness. How far is too far in the study of fear? Will you survive The Experiment?

Note: The Experiment is a unique, interactive experience that challenges your threshold for fear for an additional fee. Reservations are required, and each reservation can accommodate you and up to three additional “test subjects.” Pass member discount does not apply.  Not included with any other VIP tour or upgrade product.  Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included.  The Experiment admission is $50 for the first test subject and $10 for each additional test subject in the same reservation.

Some of the most demented houses ever are back by popular demand with some horrifying new twists:

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens
Blood Asylum
  • Circus of Superstition 3-D—You’ve tried to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, but all those years of bad luck caught up with you! The #13 Clown challenges you to survive 13 superstitions in their 3-D Tent of Terror, but it will take more than luck to escape this whole new dimension of fear.
  • Blood Asylum—As lightning rages and thunder crashes outside, “The Creature” escapes from his holding cell in a high-security asylum for the criminally insane. Now this sadistic deviant is running rampant, skinning his former cellmates and turning the mental hospital into his own torture chamber. This serial killer’s bloody playground will drive you out of your mind with fear.
  • Zombie Mortuary—No one remembers how the epidemic started, but now, the #9 Zombie and his undead friends live here. They infest this small town funeral home and feed on the fresh flesh and brains of mortuary mourners to satisfy their insatiable hunger. Avoid the walking dead or you may find yourself deeper than six feet under.
  • Ultimate Gamble: Reversal of Fortune—Under sleek Vampire reign, the once-vibrant Ultimate Gamble casino glowed. Now werewolves have overthrown their mortal enemies and are running rampant in the casino. The carnivorous beasts have caught on to the scent of fresh blood inside the closed casino. Will you make it out alive before your luck runs out?
  • Nevermore—Beating hearts, swinging pendulums and a raven’s cries haunt the manor of Lenore, creating a demented and twisted nightmare. Step inside to experience the gothic terror that maddens the lord of the house and feel delusion overcome reality. Find your way out of this horror story before paranoia authors your final chapter.

At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night.

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens
Circus of Superstition 3-D

ALL-NEW scare zones will keep guests watching their backs as they explore 335 acres of fright:

  • The 13—Once every century, on precisely the thirteenth year, evil comes out to play. Thirteen evils, to be exact. The #7 Surgeon, #4 Butcher, #11 Psychopath, #13 Clown, #6 Voodoo Queen and their demented friends will torment and terrorize you the moment you enter the gates. This your chance to find out: Who are the 13?
  • Harvester’s Haunt—An unnerving soundtrack of banjos, fiddles and harmonicas fill the fields with haunting bluegrass music. Something just doesn’t feel right. You realize you’re not alone when you discover a hoard of sadistic scarecrows. They’re looking to harvest a few lost souls. Will you escape their reach or be theirs forever?
  • Pain Lane—Torture, torment and pain line this sinister street as the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman stalk their prey in the shadows of this dark and disturbing alley. Here, pain-inducing devices are the toys of the twisted and screams are surrounded by haunting silence. Will you escape this playground of pain before the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman find you?
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens
Nevermore

After braving bone-chilling coasters in the dark, such as Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba, you can catch your breath atHowl-O-Scream’s signature show, Fiends, or keep the party going all night in Howl-O-Scream’s signature club and shops.

  • Fiends—The classic monster mash-up Fiends will be performing nightly at the Desert Grill in Timbuktu. Captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party. But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”
  • Club 13—Escape the hordes and head to the transformed Marrakesh Theater to drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s dance club.  This nighttime dance playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with non-stop music, premium signature cocktails, drink specials and Taco Bus food.
  • Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors— This year, the Howl-O-Scream shop of Horrors has been transformed into The Butcher Shop. Find GOREgeous apparel and trendy tees featuring Howl-O-Scream favorites, including the 13 and the infamous Naughty Nurses.  You can also purchase or pick up your Front-Line Fear Passes here. Visit this year’s new Voodoo Village Market, located next to The Experiment in the Egypt area of the park by Montu for even more Howl-O-Scream gifts.
  • Howl-O-Scream Photo Ops— Snap the perfect party pics at exclusive photo opportunities with our Pin-Up Scream Girls in Moroccan Village and the Naughty Nurses in the Desert Grill.
  • Darkhearts’ Games of Skill—Test your luck in this unlucky thirteenth year in Darkheart’s Games of Skill.

General admission is $89 plus tax. Reduced advance-purchase rates and special offers are available for Busch Gardens pass members at HowlOScream.com. Guests can save $39 on general admission tickets in advance at participating Publix Supermarkets and AAA locations or with promotional codes found at participating Taco Bell, Applebee’s locations in Central Florida and on Fanta products in participating Walgreens.

Take advantage of the best way to see Howl-O-Scream with all-inclusive VIP Packages, which include event admission, a tour guide and your choice of three levels of terrifying special treatment: The Super experience is a three-hour group tour of haunted houses that includes front-of-the-line access. The five-hour Mega experience adds reserved show seating, front-of-the-line access to several roller coasters and preferred parking, and the Ultimate experience adds the Fright Feast dinner buffet and an exclusive tour guide for your private group. All tours include commemorative photos, merchandise discounts and complimentary beverages. Packages start at $65, and pass member discounts are available.

For those who prefer to self-guide themselves through the event but want the front-of-the-line perks, there’s the Front Line Fear pass for $40, which grants no-wait access to seven houses, excluding The Experiment. The Front Line Fear Extreme pass ups the access and also lets guests skip the line at five freaky coasters for $50.

The Thrills & Chills Weekend Pass lets true Halloween fans face their fears over and over again with a long weekend (Thursday throughSunday) of unlimited access to Busch Gardens’ thrills by day and Howl-O-Scream’s chills by night – all for just $89! Or, if you need to keep your adrenaline pumping all month long, the Recurring Nightmare Pass offers unlimited Howl-O-Scream visits on Thursday and Friday nights for just $89 (available only at the ticket windows.)

For out-of-town guests, Wicked Weekend Vacation Packages include Howl-O-Scream admission for two, plus one-night accommodations at one of Busch Gardens’ preferred partner hotels. Prices start at $89 per adult, tax inclusive, based on double occupancy. Stay two nights as part of the Thrills and Chills Weekend Package, and get in to Busch Gardens day and night, and enjoy two nights of accommodations. Prices start at $175 per adult, tax inclusive.

And if there’s one thing worse than being terrified, it’s being terrified on an empty stomach. Fright Feast is the most deranged dinner show in town, featuring a buffet of monstrous main courses and devilish desserts, plus an exclusive performance of Fiends. Fright Feast guests are also the first to brave the dark with a half-hour of early access to the all-new haunted houses and front-of-line privileges until 8:30 p.m. Fright Feast is $26 per person, with group rates and discounts for pass and Fun Card members available.

Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event. No costumes are allowed. For guest information, visit HowlOScream.com or call 1-888-800-5447.

Follow Howl-O-Scream on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn about promotions and insider information first.                                                                                                                                                        

 

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Running My First Non-Disney Race

Beach to Beacon 10K
Beach to Beacon 10K

Recently I participated in my first race outside of Walt Disney World. I don’t consider myself a serious runner, but have done eight 5Ks previously, so this wasn’t my first race either. My running adventures started after I had major knee surgery five years ago. I set a goal for myself to do a race two years after I was up on two good legs again. I completed this goal by participating in my first runDisney race in October of 2010, doing the Mickey’s Halloween 5K through the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Since that first race, I have completed several more 5Ks, all at Disney, and even did all of the 5Ks that they offered in 2011. This secondary goal was challenging, especially since I ended up running a couple not knowing I had bronchitis at the time. I thought at some point I should continue to test myself by increasing my distance and that I should do a 10K. When I lived in Cape Elizabeth, Maine there was a race that was founded there by Olympic marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson who was from the town. In the back of my mind I planted the seed that I wanted to do this race sometime as my first 10K. I had cheered before and seen friends from high school return home to participate in the race as it passed just blocks from my dad’s house.

Fast forward to 2013 and I decided to follow through with this goal and registered for the Beach to Beacon 10K. I have subsequently registered for the inaugural Minnie 10K at Disney during marathon weekend of January 2014. I knew Beach to Beacon was the biggest race in the state of Maine, but didn’t know exactly what I was getting in to. I tried asking friends who had run the race before or knew someone who had. I tweeted at the race account on Twitter and wrote on their Facebook wall to find out things I couldn’t see on their website. I verified that they do not sweep runners and that there was no required pace to participate. This helped assuage my fears a bit.

The race registration is rather insane, even more so than Disney races from what I’ve experienced. It filled up in 4 minutes for the over 4,000 slots that were available and then another 1,950 went to lottery winners. Fortunately, I set my alarm and was up early in March when registration opened around 6am. I’ve gotten up early for races before and even to cheer, but never before just to register. Within a minute I had confirmation of my entrance in the race after I paid the $45 fee. This is one of the major differences between Disney and non-Disney races: the fees. I usually pay in excess of $50 just for 5Ks at Disney, and I think I paid $110 for the 10K coming up in January.

I’ll skip over my training, because I didn’t really do enough of it to say the least. My work schedule has me unavailable from 1:30pm – 12:30am including commute and I’m not much of a morning person. I suffered for this, trust me. I got to Maine the Thursday before the Saturday race. That afternoon the expo and packet pickup were held from 4-8pm at the high school I attended. It was also on Friday from 2:30 – 8pm. This was a similar setup to what I was used to at Disney races in that you got your bib and pins based on your bib number. Based on bib numbers it appeared that over 6,800 runners eventually registered. The odd thing to me at the packet pickup and expo was that I didn’t have to show photo id or present a waiver.

Race packet pickup
Race packet pickup
Picking up bibs
Picking up bibs
Race expo
Race expo
Bib
Bib
Race shirt front
Race shirt front
Race shirt back
Race shirt back

The expo was familiar with shoe and clothing vendors, Cabot cheese, Gatorade gel blocks, massages, people getting taped up, etc. Shirts were picked up in the expo when you presented your bib and they marked on the back that you got your tech shirt. ESPN Boston had a booth present and there were several local news crews there during the expo, which was a little different. Outside the expo a local Italian restaurant was making free small plates of choose your own pasta for anyone who wanted to wait in line. My brother tried this and said it was really good.

When I was at packet pickup I asked if they had the finisher’s medal on display. This is where I learned there was no medal for the race participants, only prize money for the winners in each category. I had spoken with friends who ran last year and got medals, but didn’t find out til this point that the medal was a special thing just to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the race. I have to admit I was more than a little upset/disappointed. Many runners will admit that they continue to run for the bling. While I was doing the race to achieve a new personal distance goal, I was also doing it for the medal.

I tried to rest the day before the race and get to bed early. I woke up every hour pretty much because I was making sure I wouldn’t get dehydrated. Just the week before the temperatures in Maine were in the 90s and had crazy humidity. There had been a half marathon in Portland the previous week where numerous participants were hospitalized for dehydration. I wasn’t going to end up in the hospital on this trip (been there, done that).

Gear ready to go
Gear ready to go

The race didn’t start until 8am, but they recommended that everyone be at the start between 6:30 and 7am, so I was up at 6am ready to go. Like most races, I had all of my gear and clothes out and ready to wear the night before. Start line was a bit before Crescent Beach State Park and the finish line was at Portland Headlight at Fort Williams (hence the Beach to Beacon title). Most runners park at the high school or get dropped off there, and then are shuttled by school buses to the start line a couple miles away. I was warned that the high school parking lot fills up quickly, so I opted to park at the adjacent middle school and walk a few blocks to the buses.

Now, I knew going into this race that it was usually won by elite runners from Kenya who were often Olympic medalists or marathon winners from prestigious races like Boston. I was not prepared for what I encountered on the bus or at the start. While riding from the high school to the start I heard a few ladies in front of me discussing how they were upset at 9 minute miles on their recent training runs. Several of my friends are capable of this, but I typically train at a 15 minute mile. This is when I started to get apprehensive that I was way in over my head. Then we got to the start.

At the start I saw the typical line for bag check, portapotties galore, and then the signs for the corrals, which were self placing. I walked toward the front, since I had over an hour and 15 minutes before the race, and saw the last corral for the slowest time was a 10 minute mile. This did not help my nerves. Like Disney races, the wheelchairs started about ten minutes before everyone else. As I got closer to the start line, I saw that the corral behind the elite runners was for a 5 minute mile. It isn’t that there aren’t elite runners in the Disney races, but this was almost exclusively elite runners. There were no Sunday joggers in this race.

The race was started by a runner who was injured in the Boston Marathon, and we were off. There were no fireworks, which I’ve grown accustomed to, but there was a DJ that I could hear as I approached the start line. I had driven the course the day before and knew it well from living in the town for years. I was on pace for my 15 minute mile, but towards the end of the first mile I pulled my left hip and felt a pinch. I tried jogging some more, but the uneven plane of the road only aggravated it, so I slowed to a walk.

Sun rising before the race
Sun rising before the race
Noticed increased police presence
Noticed increased police presence
Dropped off at the start
Dropped off at the start
In the corral
In the corral
Waiting to start
Waiting to start
Start line
Start line
Mile 1 with the inn I worked at in high school behind
Mile 1 with the inn I worked at in high school behind

I was so discouraged and realized I was in dead last place only 18 minutes and a little over a mile into the 6.2 mile race. Tempted to quit, I came around a bend to people cheering me on. The other runners closest to me were already out of sight, so they were all cheering for me. Dozens of people outside their homes were there waiting just for me. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion since I’ve never been close to a position of being last in a race with my Disney fun runs. Then I went by one of my high school friend’s houses and she and her mom were out there cheering. Her mom, who was our high school nurse, came running out to me and gave me a big hug saying how proud she was of me. It was at that moment that I knew I wasn’t going to quit. No matter how long it took me, I was going to finish.

Shortly after this, I passed my old neighborhood and kids came running up to me wanting to give me high fives as I passed by at my walking pace. I’ve participated in eight races prior to this and never before have spectators and people cheering along the course meant so much to me. Unlike Disney races, which often take place in a park or places where most people can’t cheer, this race is through neighborhoods and through the center of town. There are literally hundreds, if not more, people along the race route standing in groups of dozens at a time at the end of their street or on their front lawn. To have people there still when I was a good 10-15 minutes behind everyone else at this point was so incredible. More than a few times I cried, completely touched by everyone’s support.

There was a truck following me to indicate the end of the race and I slowed up between mile two and three to make sure he wasn’t going to pull me from the course. I knew that I would make it before the road closures listed were scheduled to open back up, but again, I’m used to Disney sweeping on longer races if you don’t keep pace. He said he was there as long as I was moving, so don’t worry. This was reassuring, but I was still in a lot of pain and wasn’t even to the halfway point.

My dad, his wife, and my brother were waiting for me just after the 3.1 mile marker and they asked if I wanted to quit or if I wanted them to walk the rest of the way with me. I was not quitting. I was in pain, but that wasn’t going to stop if I did, plus I’d have to deal with the failure. I declined their offer to accompany me and I kept on moving. As I kept on, the crowds continued to be extremely supportive and called out my name as I neared. Around mile 4 I started seeing runners heading back towards me since it was quicker for them to run back to the start than to wait for the buses.

There is something about the acknowledgement wave or nod of the head from another runner that is some of the best encouragement one can ever get. No matter how slow I was going up and down the winding hills, I was still moving and people seemed to be impressed that I hadn’t given up yet. Between mile 5 and 6 a police officer pulled up beside me to let me know that I could keep going, but to stick to the right lane since they were going to open traffic from the other direction. One of the paramedics jumped out of her ambulance and asked if she could walk with me for a bit, and I let her for about half a mile before I entered Fort Williams and left her behind. As I climbed the last hill, I knew my friend Cindy was still amazingly waiting for me at the finish. She had driven over from Vermont for the weekend for a getaway, but also to cheer me on. She got there around 6am, and was now there at the finish with a homemade medal for me after 10am.

Mile 6
Mile 6
Finish Line
Finish Line
Race photo
Race photo
Medal Cindy made me
Medal Cindy made me

There were literally no other spectators other than Cindy. The photographers were there to capture my finish, along with the medical tent staff just to make sure I didn’t need any medical attention. I didn’t feel the sense of accomplishment that I had hoped, but more perseverance. I had been off of twitter and facebook since mile 1, but had been texting with Cindy to let her know I was still alive. When I finished I was completely overwhelmed by the amazing support from friends near and far who had been cheering me on. I took my time walking almost another half mile or so to get to the bus back to the high school I stopped and had a breakfast of orange slices, watermelon and a lime popsicle.

Portland Press Herald with race coverage
Portland Press Herald with race coverage
Dead last finish, but I did it
Dead last finish, but I did it

This was one of the most humbling and emotional experiences of my entire life. I didn’t know what I was getting in to. I didn’t train well enough, and I suffered for it. I did it, and I don’t ever need to do it again. I finished, but barely. My time of 2:17.34 was a personal record, and I ended up doing about 8 miles all in with getting to start everything. What I think meant the most to me was later that day and the next day getting messages from two friends in particular that said I inspired them. I don’t know that I have ever been an inspiration to anyone before, and this made me feel incredible that I helped them not give up. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. It was an amazing experience I don’t ever care to duplicate. I do look forward to doing better in January and breaking my PR, but with a lot more training under my belt. If I can hobble through this race, anyone can do it! Train properly and reach your goals.

No matter what, always remember DLF>DNF>DNS.

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