By: Johnnie Maier
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of being able to attend the media night for A PETRIFIED FOREST in Altamonte Springs, Florida. We have all been through “haunted trails” and, needless to say, most trails you can venture through are largely a disappointment. That is not at all the case with A PETRIFIED FOREST. Their trails and attractions leave other trails in the dust. The best part about this location is that you get not one, not two, but THREE trails for one price. The value to dollar ratio has value and fun outpacing the cost, hand over fist. So let’s hop aboard the Terror Trolley, and be transported to a land where a new evil rises, in A PETRIFIED FOREST: WRATH OF THE WENDIGO.
Upon exiting the trolley, we were greeted by a strange taxidermy creation, part-man, part-wolf, 100 percent awesome! We then made our way into the forest to start with the three trails: Sewn, Derailed, and Unleashed.
Sewn is a trail in which you walk through the mind of the crazed artist, Ida steek. Daughter of taxidermists, and skilled with a needle herself. She has a maddening urge to impress the Wendigo with her creations. This trail was well done from start to finish, and I must say that not only did the trail keep its theme solid for the duration of the experience, but it is home to what I can only call the single most magnificent scare in all of Central Florida. The scare was masterfully designed by the creative team at A PETRIFIED FOREST, and expertly executed by Bruce Ryan Costella. There are very few times that I go into a haunt, and get legitimately scared, and Sewn delivered the startle, the freaky, the gore, and a GREAT overall experience.
Derailed invites you to come aboard the Moonlight Express on its ill-fated maiden departure. The conductor, Cornelius Fisk, doomed the train by crossing the Wendigo’s land. Now, you will wander the grounds, and join the passengers that haunt the wreckage. Again, expertly-designed trail. I did find myself in this particular trail being awed by the overall set decoration and design. The sets alone are a reason to go to A PETRIFIED FOREST, because you will be amazed at what can be accomplished on a small plot of land in the middle of a city. The actors in this trail will absolutely be interacting with guests (verbally, they do not touch you). The interactions of the actors heighten the experience, and keeps you wondering what is around the next corner. The actors do a great job of using their space within the trail to ensure an unsettling adventure, including - but not limited to - separating groups.
Unleashed is set for you to enter the end of humanity, and try to survive the wasteland of the apocalypse. If not deemed worthy, your body will be taken for the cause of feeding the ruler Saul, and his court of the Wendigo. Again, the theming is on point for the duration of this trail. They utilize multiple levels throughout the trail - meaning, there were people above us, people below us, coming from the sides, and seemingly out of nowhere. Shout out to “Mama Beck” for selecting Jeffrey Lane Sadecky and myself for the breeding program, and our favorite chainsaw-wielding lady Cathy Goodwin, for killing it with her gorgeously blood-soaked chainsaw! This trail will not only spook and amaze you, but will keep you guessing for the entire journey!
New this year for A PETRIFIED FOREST is Laser Tag! Two teams of four battle it out to win over the oil and gas rights in this post-apocalyptic arena. This $7 ticket grants access for one round of laser tag per person, but beware the Wendigo is not amused by such antics on his land.
What else is there to do on a night at A PETRIFIED FOREST: WRATH OF THE WENDIGO?
This site offers not only three trails, a lawn, and laser tag, but also food, backstage tours, and merchandise from local vendors, such as Color Street Nails by Amy Jo (who operates the made-in-the-USA dry apply nail manicure, with prices ranging from $11-$14). They have a variety of colors and designs to choose from. You can also find KJ Creative, operated by Tyreke, Jen, Kisha. They offer different handmade items for the spooky season, such as pumpkin scrunchies, and so much more! I highly recommend stopping by these booths, and grabbing that perfect gift for the horror fan in your life - just in time for Krampus to visit all of you naughty creepers!
Visitors to this year’s trails will not be disappointed. The creative team and actors at A PETRIFIED FOREST have outdone themselves. Every trail gets better and better, no matter which order you do the trails. This is a fantastic night, all around, and they do a wonderful job of line management and color-coding entries (kind of an analog version of a virtual queue). This allows for as much distance from other guests as you would like to make, and you don’t have to be closer than six feet to anyone.
A PETRIFIED FOREST is Central Florida’s premier haunted scare trail, located at 1360 E Altamonte Drive, in the heart of Altamonte Springs, FL. Waiting for you is 85,000 square feet of sheer horror. Best of all, this mega-haunt is located right in the middle of the forest.
With only a few nights to check out all the frights, you don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to see haunting legends performing at their best. If you have never been to A PETRIFIED FOREST, this needs to top your list of haunts to do this season. If you love haunted houses and scary experiences, A PETRIFIED FOREST is the place for you! This place is a solid 10/10 and 5 stars.
A PETRIFIED FOREST has become one of my personal can’t-miss attractions in Central Florida. The cast and crew should all be extremely proud of the product they put out this year, and I cannot wait to go back and see what they build next year. A huge thank you to Jeffrey Land Sadecky for accompanying me on this terror-filled evening.
Tickets are available online at www.apetrifiedforest.com.
Special TOTAL ECLIPSE night on 10/27/2021. If you want to take your terrifying journey to the next level, experience TOTAL ECLIPSE night. This lights-out event is not for the faint of heart, and a waiver must be signed for participation. That’s because when the lights go dark, the monsters WILL touch you. Children 18 and younger must have waivers signed by parent or guardian.