Will you be chosen by the mysterious nature-worshipping woodland dwellers? Is it even a good thing if you are?
|Theme Park||Alton Towers|
|Park Area||Mutiny Bay|
The Welcoming: Be Chosen is the brand new scare maze for Scarefest 2017, and is linked to the backstory to Wicker Man (Secret Weapon 8), the new wooden rollercoaster which was under construction as the maze premiered.
The storyline is based around a mysterious group who have been spotted living in the woods near Alton village. This group take part in a festival every year around Halloween, celebrating the Earth and the worlds of the living and the dead. As part of this festival, outsiders have been invited to take part in a ceremony in which select participants will be "chosen" ... but is being chosen a positive or a negative? And what is really going on surrounding this initiation ritual?
A more detailed description of the experience is given below, but suffice to say The Welcoming is among the best ever scare mazes devised by Alton Towers. As a separate ticketed attraction for 2017, it is well worth spending the money if you enjoy scare attractions.
The Welcoming is the first scare maze to take up residence in the Courtyard in Mutiny Bay. As a location it works well, with guests entering the queue near Marauders Mayhem and exiting the maze through the big archway opposite the SW8 construction site. With a new restaurant due to open in the Courtyard next year, it will be interesting to see where The Welcoming is hosted in 2018.
As guests wait in the final part of the queue they are handed a cotton bag to be used as a hood, but told not to put them on until instructed. The information given about the hoods is a little misleading - recorded announcements throughout the queue suggest guests "may" be required to wear a hood and "must comply" if asked to do so. In reality, everybody is required to wear one for part of the maze.
Guests are split into small groups of around ten people, and ushered into a short preshow before entering the maze proper. The first scene puts them right at the centre of a festival taking place with the woodland dwellers. They interact with the group, selecting some of them as "chosen" by marking them on their faces with black paint.
Moving on, the group walks through several scenes depicting the community's primitive living quarters. Towards the end of this, everyone is instructed to place their hoods over their heads, grab onto a rope and follow it deeper into the maze. This blindfolded section is nicely done, although not as immersive as the experience was with the Molly Crow scare maze in 2015.
After reaching the end of the rope and having their hoods removed, the group (or whatever part of the group has managed to remain together up until this point) find themselves in an underground passageway with what look like tree roots dangling through the tunnel ceiling. Emerging back into the open, they enter the final scene where they discover the truth about what is really going on in the woods ... the ritual intensifies to a climax as guests encounter a burning man. They move along quickly passing a burst of fire and a priest-like figure who tells them they will burn in the flames, before leaving the maze and escaping back into the evening blackness.
The Welcoming: Be Chosen is located in the Courtyard in Mutiny Bay
The Welcoming: Be Chosen sign
Entrance to the queueline
The Welcoming: Be Chosen at night
Entrance to the scare maze
Scare maze entrance
Guests exit The Welcoming: Be Chosen
Aerial view from the Sky Ride
The woodland dwellers can occasionally be spotted roaming the park
A mysterious woodland dweller
The community tend to shy away from modern technology
Participating in their rituals
The official prequel experience for SW8