Wentz Brothers Festival of Fears – Full Review

Wentz Brothers Festival of Fears is a Haunted Attraction located in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

300 Mary Esther Blvd, 118, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple HauntsHaunted House


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Optional Games/Midway, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor Waiting Line, Family Friendly

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This attraction was reviewed on September 16, 2023 by Team Fright Life.

Final Score: 8.08

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Back for another season at the Santa Rosa Mall, Florida’s largest indoor haunt, The Wentz Brothers Festival of Fears takes on 2023 with three brand-new themed haunts and an expanded midway. They promised they had big, bold plans for many years to come, and they continue to deliver. Their midway now includes two 15-minute haunted escape rooms, ‘Midway Mayhem’ games, a bar with themed alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, a gift shop, and several local food trucks in the parking lot. This year’s haunt themes are ‘Beasts of the Bayou,’ ‘The Nightmare Menagerie,’ and ‘The Secret Show.’ They are longer than the previous year’s haunts and include immersive sets. Festival of Fears is the largest indoor haunt in Florida. So, grab some friends and bring your appetite, your courage, and your detective skills to The Wentz Brothers Festival of Fears for a night of spooky fun!

Cast Score: 7.35

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Cast Review:

The cast was paid this year and seemed smaller than in past years. We felt the haunt would have benefitted from having additional actors to provide more scares and immerse the hauntgoers in the story. The stand-out actors/characters came from “Beasts of the Bayou” and those roaming the midway area. Each of those actors embodied their character and was committed and engaging. Our personal favorite was the skinwalkers, who were quick, agile, and incredibly creepy.

Costuming Score: 8.13

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Costuming Review:

With three themed haunts and a midway, we saw plenty of variety in costumes. “Beasts of the Bayou” stands out regarding characters and costumes. Swamp creatures, cryptids, and bayou folk were appropriately costumed and realistic. Some actors had more detailed makeup than others, but it was all appropriate, given their character and scene. Our favorite costumes are the ones on the midway actors. There are two stilt walkers in costumes. One is a giant Bigfoot that stalks the guests; the costume is intimidating, and the actor works the crowd well in it. Don’t miss a photo opportunity with this character.

Customer Service Score: 10

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Customer Service Review:

Festival of Fears always stands out when it comes to customer service. Every team member we encountered was friendly and helpful, and they genuinely loved being part of the haunt. We saw both the ticket and midway teams proactively approaching attendees, asking them how they were enjoying the haunt and if they could help them in any way.

This haunt has some advantages over other haunts that benefit their attendees. First, it is located at the back of the Santa Rosa Mall and is easy to find. Second, it also has plenty of complimentary parking. Third is that their safety measures are also superior to other haunts. Each attraction had to undergo extensive inspections to receive their permits, so overall, it is very safe.

Immersion Score: 7.83

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Immersion Review:

This year, the ticket area and midway are bigger and better than ever. There are multiple vignettes set up that are great for group photos and selfies. These vignettes tie nicely in with the midway games and the entrances to the haunts. Each haunt has a distinct entrance and queue line, and the décor between them includes a themed stage. Once again, “Beasts of the Bayou” stands out as the most immersive of the three haunts. Each scene within that haunt transitioned seamlessly. No noticeable gaps in décor or sound effects. The other two haunts were somewhat immersive, but some sections seemed empty with sparse décor and no actors. Those few sections did pull us out of the experience.

Special FX Score: 8.03

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Special FX Review:

With a plethora of special effects and creative set designs, it would be worth the ticket price to experience “Beasts of the Bayou.” It was clear from the moment we walked in that the set design and special effects were obviously where the Wentz Brothers spent their time and money this year. (SPOILER ALERT) In the first section, we walked up a ramp and found ourselves traversing a walkway over a bayou. The bayou was complete with sound effects, fog, and creatures coming out of the “water” from underneath us. Later, we were the ones inside the swamp and “underwater.” There was also a section with an entire hallway of antlers coming out of the walls that we had to weave in and out of. It was clever and left a lasting impression.

Scare Factor Score: 8.03

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Scare Factor Review:

Building on their success from last year, each of the three haunts was distinctly different in story and scares. “Beasts of the Bayou” is more intense than “The Nightmare Menagerie” or “The Secret Show.” Most scares are jump scares, with some scareactors being completely hidden. There are also some scares via animatronics. And for a family-friendly, less scary experience, Festival of Fears offers two “Family Day” options on Saturday afternoons.

Entertainment & Value Score: 8

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E&V Review:

This year, The Wentz brothers have additional ticket options and have raised the prices a bit. Tickets to a single haunted house are $25. A combo pass includes all three haunts for $45, and you can upgrade to express entry for $65. There is also a season pass option for $200. That pass is good for a single entry into all three haunted houses once per operating night. Any ticket purchased gives you access to the midway, concession areas, and fun photo op spots. The midway games and concessions are an additional cost. New to the midway this year are two scary escape rooms. They are $25 per group, and those tickets and reservations can only be made on-site the night of. These sell out quickly, so if you are interested, get there early to be sure you get one of the limited time slots.

We got through all three haunts in 21 minutes, putting their minutes per dollar (MPD) at 0.48. We expect that once October hits, there will be much larger crowds, and some nights will sell out. Wait times between groups entering each attraction will increase, and some groups will move slower than others, so the time spent in the houses will likely vary. That said, grab a “Fear Potion” drink at the bar, do a little shopping, play a mid-way game, and take a few selfies with your friends while you wait between haunts.

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