With the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween looks a little different than it has in the past. Instead of a plethora of traditional haunts with claustrophobic hallways and personal-space invading monsters, we’re seeing innovative attraction formats such as socially-distanced houses, walking theater, and drive-thru haunted attractions. In Orlando, there are two drive-thru attractions offering completely different experiences: Scream N’ Stream and The Haunted Road.
While both of these drive-thru haunted attractions offer a similar format, their actual products are very different! Each has a special tone and creative execution. Let’s take a look at these innovative haunts and the differences that give the attractions their unique flairs.
These attractions are situated within vastly different sections of the Greater Orlando area, adding to their unique and individual atmosphere. Scream N’ Stream is located at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures in Kissimmee. The property is (obviously) waterfront, so there’s a ton of huge oak trees and beautiful Spanish moss. With the lighting used in the attraction , the natural features definitely add to the show’s feel. It’s conveniently located to the communities of Poinciana and St. Cloud.
The Haunted Road is located in the eastern part of town at Corn Maze Orlando. It’s a large, flat, grassy property that adds to the expansive feel of the road. There’s plenty of space for cars to travel winding, dirt paths to and from each scene so that your show feels even more like a “journey” through the story.
Scream N’ Stream’s drive-thru portion takes about 20 minutes to complete, but there are other amenities and activities available at the same site (which we will discuss later).
The Haunted Road, however, is a much longer show taking approximately 40-50 minutes from start to finish.
At Scream N’ Stream, your car will drive through the experience individually. You won’t have any other cars with you. The attraction uses red and green lights to indicate to drivers where to park within the scene and when to move on to the next.
At The Haunted Road, cars experience the attraction in groups. The lead car will stop where indicated and the others will park behind it.
Much of the audio for Scream N’ Stream comes from outside your car. There is a radio station available, featuring the spooky soundtrack of the event. However, the exact same music is being played on speakers outside – making the radio music unnecessary. Dialogue is spoken live, again through speakers outside the car. The live dialogue and limited audience (since only one car enters a scene at a time) allows for improvisation and personalization of the interaction. With the speakers set right outside your car window, however, the audio is incredibly loud.
The Haunted Road uses prerecorded audio and dialogue to tell the story. Each scene uses a different radio frequency, and it plays directly in your vehicle. This, of course, gives you complete control over the volume of the show. There are no outside speakers for dialogue or music. Pre-recorded soundtracks leave less room for improvisation or personalization, of course, but The Haunted Road’s scaractor crew still manages to provide plenty of audience interaction!
In addition to the drive-thru experience, Scream N’ Stream offers restrooms, refreshments, and a meet and greet opportunity with their signature character – The Fog Queen. For an additional fee, you can even take a Haunted Airboat Ride around the nearby lake. All of their extra experiences take place in a large courtyard, perfect for social distancing. While the actual drive-thru experience is much shorter than Haunted Road, the amenities help it feel more like a full event.
The Haunted Road is a much longer show but does not offer any amenities. There are no restrooms or refreshments available. The only activity available outside the drive-thru is a small merchandise tent should you want to purchase something.
Storytelling formats like these often include multiple actors representing the same character. Individuals can’t really follow their audience between scenes, so various actors will be dressed in the same costume, wear the same hairstyle, etc. to signify that they are the same character.
Most characters in the Scream N’ Stream story did not recur between scenes, however, there was one notable exception. The main female character, a cheerleader, has multiple appearances in the story. The costuming team did a great job with identical costumes and similar hairstyles, but the actresses are not cast to match height, build, or hair color. As a result, part of our party thought these characters were supposed to be different cheerleaders on the same squad instead of the same character.
The Haunted Road, on the other hand, features at least three frequently repeating characters throughout the story. The main character, Rapunzel, is included in almost every scene in the show. Not only did the costuming team maintain a uniform look between the actors’ clothes, but the Rapunzel actresses appear to be wearing identical wigs. Additionally, it was obviously important to the casting department to keep a steady look for each character. For example, the Rapunzel actresses all appear to be a similar height and build. This further enforces the illusion that these actresses are the same person.
Plot and Story Execution
While both drive-thru haunted attractions showcase horror-themed plot lines, there’s a big difference in their feel and execution.
Scream N’ Stream features a teenage couple locked inside a drive-in movie theater. While trying to escape, they encounter various members of a strange cult. Will they escape or be sacrificed to the Dark Lord? You’ll have to visit to find out!
Most of Scream N’ Stream’s scenes feature one actor; a select few include two. As we’ve already noted, this is great for distancing and personalized interaction. With the cars traveling through the scenes individually, the actor’s entire attention is focused on just a few passengers, however, introducing one character at time makes it very difficult to follow the details of the story. Even now, I can only give you a general overview of the plot.
Conversely, The Haunted Road follows Rapunzel as she leaves her tower in search of her lost prince. On the way, she encounters several familiar fairy tale creatures; with dark, Halloween twists. Since we are already familiar with many of these characters’ backstories, it’s easier to follow the plot and storyline. Additionally, The Haunted Road includes several characters, with expanded dialogue, in each scene. I was able to notice more plot details and understand more of the story with this style. We already noted that the more intricate scenes do leave less opportunity for personalization and interaction with the characters. In addition to the main cast, however, there are also a group of silent scaractors featured in each Haunted Road scene. These scaractors still provide individualized audience interaction and improvisation.
Each of these drive thru haunted attractions offer a unique experience that is not to be missed. Scream N’ Stream will be offered for only two more nights: Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31! The Haunted Road will be playing Wednesday through Sunday, October 28 – November 1. PLUS, you can also experience a special 18+ (extra gore) version of The Haunted Road November 5-8. If you haven’t already planned your Halloween weekend, I recommend doing so soon as dates will sell out.