By Grant Duvall
2020 has ruined practically everyone's plans. It seems as though the only person doing well and prospering is the CEO of Purell. Many of us have had to cancel our vacations, can no longer go to theme parks, and can no longer go to concerts. Here at the Creepy Kingdom, we started getting very nervous once COVID-19 hit as we did not want it to interfere with our favorite time of year, Halloween. All of the big-name haunts were slowly canceled, leaving me to feel as though there would be no traditional haunted houses to go through. Fortunately, SCREAM N' STREAM, located 45 minutes from Walt Disney World in Kissimmee, is here to save Halloween!
A drive-through haunt is a very strange concept. How can someone get scared while being in their car? Actors have to stay far away, and also, there's the issue of safety. How can the actors be protected? Scream and Stream have thought of everything. I was invited to a "Freak Preview," where I had no idea what to expect.
Watch Grant's thoughts before and after he went through the preview.
This is located at the Boggy Creek Airboat center outside of Orlando. The drive is through no man's land, which sets the tone. My wife and I saw several deer, raccoons, and other critters on the side of the road as there is very little civilization in this part. This really makes you feel isolated, which is a great tone for a haunt. We were given a Spotify playlist of tracks such as Man in the Box to set the tone. When we arrived, we were told to walk around for a while and check out nature. This area is truly gorgeous. Then, once the clock struck 8, I was given a tour of what is to come. We started with a walking tour of the non-driving part.
There will be a bar, live performers, and a Queen of Halloween themed to the Florida swamps available for socially distanced meet and greets and selfies. Food, including alligator, will be at the ready. There will be games, entertainment, and frights for all ages. To the side is an alligator pit, allowing visitors to get close up shots of the animal most associated with Florida that is not myself. They had started putting up decorations, and Chris, the organizer of the event, explained how the lighting would be done as well as social distancing. He also mentioned that there will be a family-friendly event beforehand which is drive-through trick-or-treating for kids who aren't quite ready to face horror.
So, we've talked about the Scream, so what is the Stream? Turns out, they will be offering night airboat rides through the swamp looking for alligators as well as spooky stories about the swamp. There will be no scare actors on this part for everyone's safety, as it would probably not be a good idea for people to get scared, fall out of the boat, and meet the inhabitants of Boggy Creek. This sounds like a very fun activity, and I look forward to checking it out.
Now it was time for the main attraction, the drive-through haunted house. As this is still being built, I got to experience three scenes out of over 10. They didn't want to show off all of the surprises. I was then told to tune my radio to a specific station to play ominous music. I loved this aspect! Mask wearing is required as well. They encouraged me to open my windows for an added fright so I happily did so, much to my wife's displeasure (she HATES being scared). We were told to drive no faster than 3 miles an hour and ride the brake the whole time. This allowed the actors to feel safe and for this to be a longer experience.
The three scenes were nice, setting the tone of what to expect for the final experience. The first scene was a guy with a machete who was screaming and banging on a trashcan holding what appeared to be ahead. The lighting was so creepy that it was hard to make out, but it actually added to the experience as it made my mind wonder what I was seeing. Once he went away, I drove to the next scene, which was a cheerleader screaming that they had her boyfriend. Her car had been stranded and she was trapped. I then drove through a long expanse of what will be future scenes and got to a big scene, where music and a microphoned actor was staged. There was a red light indicating stop, that way we could watch the whole scene get played out. This was the cheerleader but stating she was going to get revenge. The acting was all very good and the lighting effects were good. It will be fun to see how the whole story plays out. Soon, I was told that I had to turn back as the rest of the scenes were being built.
At this moment, Chris allowed me to walk the haunt! I did so, wearing my mask of course. Unfortunately, it had been raining very hard the whole day so the ground was extremely muddy and wet, but I wouldn't let that stop me. The actors were still there, and I got to watch the scenes played out a second time. In the distance, I could hear workers telling them to try coming from their spots and different angles. I love this kind of stuff, and it was an honor being a test dummy to ensure that when opening night comes, the scares will be at the maximum level!
Overall, this is a great idea and a product of 2020. Whether drive-through haunts continue to exist remains to be seen once we get back to normal, but SCREAM N' STREAM is a heroic effort to ensure that we can still experience a haunted house. The final product remains to be seen, but I have no doubt that this will be a great experience. Chris told me that the final drive will be about 25 minutes or so if you take your time and that it will be a flat 40 bucks per car, so bring your friends and have a spooky time! SCREAM N' STREAM is well on the way to saving haunted houses for 2020!