Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando: Sirens’ calls beckon from the deep

Howl-o-scream SeaWorld Orlando, photo by Cristine Struble
Howl-o-scream SeaWorld Orlando, photo by Cristine Struble /

While the water can be calming and serene, the dark depths can equally frightening. At Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando, the sirens have emerged from the water, and everyone should be wary of their response. The reckoning has come, but can guests escape their grasp?

This year marks the inaugural Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando. When the sun shines on the theme park, the attractions are for all ages, but this Halloween night time event is just for the adults. As guests step under the sign, the reality is that it is intense. From the scares to the visuals, it is a Halloween event that is not for the timid.

Woven around the theme park, Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando consists of four haunted houses, four scarezones, four themed bars and roaming scareactors. Although a “no scares” amulet can be purchased, there is really no place to hide from these frights.

During the inaugural media event on opening night, guests were ready to brave the depths and reemerge from the water’s edge. Given that all the haunted houses are original stories, it was clear that the SeaWorld Orlando creative team was building on its connection to water and nature.

Each haunted house is strategically located near other attractions that play off the theme. From Captain’s Revenge to Beneath the Ice, the stories seamlessly blend into the other theme park attractions.

While going to haunted houses is about the screams, these experiences are meant be more than just a person hiding around the corner. The elements are woven in such a way to elicit a huge response.

And, some frights change. Without giving away too many secrets, there is an area where other guests can impact those harrowing experiences. Yes, fellow guests can intensify the fear in a haunted house.

Roaming haunts make Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando memorable

Although haunted houses are the staple of most Halloween attractions, the scarezones and theme bars are the reason to go to the inaugural SeaWorld Halloween event. To be clear, the scare actors really get into their jobs to scare you. If you jump easily, be prepared to be off your feet most of the night.

Each of the scare zones are quite immersive. From the park rangers warning you of the Deadly Ambush to the pirates who have might have walked the wrong plank, the interactions are both fun and slightly unsettling. Some scarezones are more about ensuring that you get scared while a few other moments are a little more about drawing guests into the scene, then making them jump.

The most visually appealing scare zone is the Bayou. That dark magic and the characters are the best scarezone of the four. Or, maybe it was some spell that was cast on guests to make them believe that statement.

And, for people who cannot get enough of that Halloween event fog, Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando has it rising everywhere. The soupiness allows the scareactors to hide in the shadows. Just make sure that you have a steady hand when holding your drink.

Is there any respite at Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando?

One of the most intriguing parts of the inaugural Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando is the themed bars that are scattered throughout the theme park. While there are several pop-up bars and food offerings around the theme park, the four specialty bars are the perfect spot to enjoy a beverage and soothe the throat after all the screaming.

Each bar has a specialty cocktail that is only available at its location. From poisoned apple to candy corn old fashioned, it can be quite enjoyable to sip them all throughout the evening. But, it is best to sip slowly and pace the experience. Even though a cocktail might calm the nerves, too many cocktails are quite scary.

Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando
Howl-o-scream SeaWorld Orlando, photo by Cristine Struble /

Even though Howl-O-Scream is quite intense, the Longshoremen Tavern will make you forget all the scariness that has overtaken the theme park. The Longshoremen come into the bar and interact with guests. They are lighthearted and even a little silly. While these characters might to a little removed from your cousin from Boston, they have many good stories and are ready to bring a few laughs with those cocktails.

The Poisoned Grotto is a cocktail and a show. With an aerialist performing over the bar, it can put guests into a trance. Those mesmerizing images make guests unaware of the impact that the poisoned apple cocktail could be having on them. The lure is real, but are people prepared for the resulting outcome?

Tormented is the spot to warm up after the frigid arctic has tried to snare guests in its icy depths. A little more boisterous option, the bar is a great mid-way point for guests looking to step away from the frights. Plus, the Siren’s Song show is just across the way. Enjoying a beverage with that show is a great idea.

Lastly, the Sirens’ Last Call is the themed bar that is either the first or last stop of the night. For guests who need a shot of liquid courage or one last drink before they leave the frights behind, this experience feels almost like a club. From dancers on the stage to the heavy metal music, it feels as if there should be a bouncer and a red rope at the entrance.

Overall, Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando has found its niche in Orlando’s Halloween events. This limited time experience is for groups of adults who want to have a fun, albeit scary, night out. With fewer haunted houses, scarezones and themed bars, no one feels rushed during the evening, unless they hit their limit of screaming.

Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando is a specially ticketed event that runs on select nights through October 31. Tickets can be purchased online and other special packages are available.

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While mythology says that sweetness of the siren’s song enchants, Howl-O-Scream SeaWorld Orlando has a siren’s call with a different pitch. The water’s edge plays a new melody that might just need your screams to complete its song.