Busch Gardens Tampa’s “The Experiment” goes in the wrong direction; infuriates me – My Blog

Busch Gardens Tampa’s “The Experiment” goes in the wrong direction; infuriates me

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream is my absolute favorite Halloween event. It is with much sadness that I have to say that in my opinion their newest announcement, “The Experiment” disappointed me. Normally I have to experience something in order to say that about something. This is an exception.

The concept is what disappointed me such that the execution is a non-issue. They hit the sweet spot of putting literally every concept that Harknell and I do not like about haunts into 1 attraction. If you are not us and you do not share our preferences, you might love this. Read on for details.

What is “The Experiment”? It’s the next version of their once-phenomenal “Alone” house. Yes – “Alone” is gone. This is the new “Alone”, which makes it more upsetting to me personally because “Alone” was absolutely amazing.

“[T]he Howl-O-Scream creative team is introducing the next twisted level of interactive scare experiences that they promise to be “the most personally invasive haunted attraction in Howl-O-Scream history” with The Experiment.

In this all-new experience you become a “test subject” and researchers challenge your fear tolerance and mental endurance. The test subjects endure psychological experiments and must face fear-inducing elements, from roaches and snakes to needles and darkness.

You are not just seeing the scares. In the Experiment, you become part of them. Refuse to participate and your Experiment will be terminated…

Up to four test subjects can challenge The Experiment at a time, and reservations are required. The Experiment admission is $50 for the first test subject and $10 for each additional test subject in the same reservation. Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included. The Experiment is available every night of the event and is located in the Eqypt area of the park.”

This upset me for 2 reasons.

The first reason is that there has been a theater company (Nightmare Haunted House NYC) doing a post-Halloween show called “The Experiment” for at least 2 years now. You can read a review of their show here.

Not only is this the same concept – it’s exactly the same name. Unless they got the Nightmare crew to consult on this I call a major party foul.

I’ve often ranted about my frustration with haunts cloning concepts and names. In fact – the reason I started blogging haunts is because most of them are named in such a similar way that I needed this blog to keep track of which ones I had gone to. Would it really have been so hard to call it something unique? Call it “Doctor Scaryguy’s Whateverman’s Experiment” or something. You get the idea – just don’t call your event the exact same thing someone else does.

The other reason I am unhappy is because this is the type of haunt experience that I and Harknell dislike, Its just Not For Us. We enjoy fantasy and horror narrative. Neither of us want anything resembling the Fear Factor TV show anywhere near us. We have gone to these types of shows in our review tour and luckily were not the ones picked out of the audience. These types of experiences often rely on peer pressure to make you do something. Guess what we both don’t respond to? If anything, peer pressure makes us respond more negatively than if there were no pressure.

This works for a certain demographic, but I personally hate this concept being at Busch Gardens Tampa. BGT always stood out to me because of their storytelling, amazing execution, and superior scare actors. This just seems like a gross out show. I’m sure they will do the best gross out show you have ever seen, but I don’t care to see it. I hate that this replaced ” Alone”. As a sideshow or an addition to the event “The Experiment” would have been fine. But this replacing something that was so amazing? No.

I love the people who work here and consider many of them to be friends. Some may kick my ass for posting this. Look, guys. BGT is consistently on the cutting edge of innovation in almost every aspect. Their attitude and passion often gleam brighter than anyone else in the biz. If you like this kind of thing I am sure they will bring that same passion to this and you will have a great time.

I was looking forward to another immersive fantasy haunt from Busch Garden’s Tampa this year. They delivered something different and exactly the type of “fear” that I do not consider to be fun.

I am interested in other people’s reviews. If you are going to this and would like to do a guest blog for me, please get in touch.

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4 responses to “Busch Gardens Tampa’s “The Experiment” goes in the wrong direction; infuriates me”

  1. SO what! they used the same name of a haunt THEATER experience SEVERAL states away? Big deal! Having an audience participate in a big group is nnot the same as you in there alone ir with 3 others. Besides who knows what the actual scare techniques will be used. Maybe we’re all assuming (because of fear factor) that it will be straight out gross out extreme fear. Maybe they will blindfold us and our minds will trick us into thinking there are bugs,snakes,needles stc…when in fact its just sound,smell, and touch tricking us…

    Look at things at disney. Bugs life…are there actual beetles or wasps on your

    • (sorry posted via phone)

      Wasps/beetles on your seat?

      Or how about honey i shrunk the audience? Does a snake really flick its tongue at you? Mice run down the aisles? A lion swipe at your feet?

      Or alien encounter: does an alien really breathe on your neck? Flick its tongue, or put its weight on your shoulders?

      Have done sounds dangerous and any of the sound booths? There’s one where tge sounds are so real, and placed in such a manner u could swear you were somewhere else. Or you could feel breeze when there is none, a pair of scissors snipping at your hair etc.

      So before we(as im also not a fan of fear factor gross out) condemn howl i scream’s experiment…how about we wait and see if we’re right/wrong!

      • Maybe. My blogging style is to document my thoughts. If you go, I’d love to hear about your experience. I might be able to be convinced to go from a journalist pov. And if I change my mind I’d link to this post to illustrate the scope of how much my perspective changed. Don’t you think that’s more effective to illustrate to other people who may feel this way that perhaps they should try it? That’s why people trust me.

        I am also careful to tell you why I feel the way I do so that if you feel differently you can still make an informed decision. Personally, any place a roach is automatically is over the line – not fun for me.

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