Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail in Plant City Florida is celebrating their 8th season by releasing a full-length novel, written in collaboration with two local writers, Amanda Rosenblatt & Brad Acevedo. This is day 31 of our 61-day Hauntathon counting down to Halloween, and today Owner Zach Glaros explains more about the novel and how his trail expanded for 2021.
Ticket And Book Information
Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail is open select nights October 1- November 6th 2021, and tickets are now available. General Admission is $30, with Front of Line only being $40. While in the park you can also purchase a Season Pass.
Sir Henry’s Haunted Tales: Dark Anthology is based on the universe of Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail and is now available on Amazon. This book was written by two avid fans of Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail, with permission from the owner Zach, and provides insight to the characters and history of the Sir Henry universe.
What To Expect, And What Is New At Sir Henry’s
Zach: So once again, we’ll have all three haunted trails back, better than ever. We’re also bringing back laser tag, that whole experience, and we’re bringing back our escape game for 2021. Then, we’ve re-themed all three trails. All three have gone through massive renovations, especially two of them. We tore down a lot of sets and structures that had been there for over four or five seasons and built all new facades and sets in place of those; including what I’m calling our showpiece, is our new Victorian Mansion facade, which is about double the size of the last one.
Then we have our Captains Fury trail, that’s basically a haunted fishing wharf, really excited for that one, there’s some cool stuff in there. We built a giant light house that kind of looms over the entire property, and then we also built an entire boardwalk scene, and we have four or five boats in this scene. You walk on a boardwalk, there’s like a facade of buildings there, lots of awesome new stuff happening.
Philip: Captain’s Fury is the new theme this year, but you’ve done upgrades to the other two.
Zach: Yeah. And Then we also have Blood Masquerade, which is where our new Victoria Mansion facade is at. That, basically, is a masquerade, and it’s about this Victorian family that believes they’re vampires and they drink people’s blood because they think they’re vampires. We also built a kind of cave cellar scene for the finale of that trail. That’s going to be pretty epic, and that’s where the vampire/beast creature lives for the finale.
I know a lot of people always like the oldest haunt; I thought it was great, but it was definitely time for an upgrade. Took us about two months just of steady work, I’ll be over 400 man hours to get this thing to where it is, and I am very proud of it, and I have to say it’s a piece of art.
Have Any Of The 2020 Operations Policies Stayed Into 2021?
Zach: 2020 COVID, we had that first hit and we didn’t know exactly how things are going to look or how things were going to work. A lot of the stuff we ended up doing was more by default, where you have things like the time ticketing, online ticket sales only. We didn’t really know how it was gonna go either good or bad, but it went flawlessly. I think it made for an overall better experience for the guests; shorter wait times, more intimate experience, even though our event is pretty intimate in itself, I think it offered them a better overall experience.
So for 2021, we’re bringing back online ticket sales only. We’re bringing back the time ticketing slots. It just worked too well to not do it again. So, those were the two biggest things we will be bringing you back. We are an outdoor event, so that does lend us a pretty big advantage compared to most indoor places as far as being safe. So, that’s some of the stuff you can expect to see it for 2021.
How The Continuing Policies Affect Staff And Team Members
Zach: Last year, how we organized costumes at the beginning of the night, handing those out, and that end of the night, cleaning them, taking back in. We did a great job with that, we didn’t have anybody get sick, or any cases throughout the whole season last year. Hopefully, we’ll see the same thing happening again this year. We’re going to keep those procedures in place, we’ll definitely have people that have to wear masks and gloves and the whole nine yards with that. But, we encourage our volunteers to get vaccinated, but we’re not requiring them..
Last year we pulled back a little bit, and even inside the trails too, and kept that social distancing for actors. Kind of want to make it a little more intense this year, get back to the heightened fear aspect of it. But, if there is a position where we have an actor in close proximity to a guest, they’re going to be masked, they’re going to be safe.
Philip: Also, you kind of already have your worst case scenario plan, because it was what you did last year. Have you noticed this year that there are less people that want to come out and volunteer, or have you not had that problem?
Zach: I was expecting us to have less interest due to variety of factors. But, so far, it hasn’t been the case. We have our core group of returning actors and volunteers that will be back with us this year, but then we’ve also had a really good response for the first two auditions we’ve had.
Philip: How many team members are you normally running?
Zach: I would say last year an average probably between 60 and 75 a night.
Philip: You think you’re going to keep the same numbers for this year?
Zach: Yeah, definitely. A lot of the mazes have been restructured because of our rebuild to maximize a certain number of actors, while maximizing the most scares possible. So, it’s a little more efficient. But yeah, we are hoping to run with the same number of people. Especially now, because last year we didn’t have laser tag or the escape game, and we’re bringing that back now so we’ll need a few extra hands with that.
What Is The Book And How Did It Happen?
Zach: Sir Henry’s Haunted Tales releases September 1st, this was written by Amanda Rosenblatt and Brad Acevedo. They were huge fans of the event, they actually moved to Florida from California back in 2019. So, that was the first time they came out to our event, fell in love with the place, and have becoming religiously ever since . They approached me after our Valentine’s day event this past February in 2021 and said, “Hey, we have this crazy idea.” They’re like, “we want to write a story or a novel about the characters of Sir Henry, create this universe for this.” I was like, “absolutely. Yes. I’ve been wanting to do something like this, but didn’t have the time, resources, or know how to do it.” So, we had some conversations, they had an idea of what they wanted to do. Really, they’ve been working on this since March, and here we are just a few days away from its release.
It’s a full novel, it’s 160 pages long. It details Sir Henry and a lot of his characters that you’ll see here at the event, such as Vex, Pyrum, Poppy, just to name a few, and introduces you to the Sir Henry story, a more in depth of it. The way that they were able to give life to these characters, with just our few conversations and coming to the event, is amazing and says a lot about their talent and ability.
Philip: What do you think will change once you have this book as reference?
Zach: I think it’ll be the foundation for guests to understand. It’s almost like a movie, it’s hard to fall in love with the little details and be able to relate to them so much. You can in a movie, because you can see all the little details. I think that’s what this book is going to give, and then it’s going to be a huge stepping stone to hopefully more stuff to come later on.
Philip: Are you going to maybe change any of what you’re doing with your actors, and with your characters, to match or align with the book?
Zach: The book aligns to what was already there. They did a great job on that. Take a Vex, for example, the way they wrote the backstory for her character, it was a backstory. She’s at the event, you see her, she’s very wild, kind of zany, and she carries like a giant electrical taser, almost. So, the book kind of explains how she went from normal to being Vex, and why she is the way she is. So, it just gave that background motivation for everything, which I think was awesome. So, I think that’s what you’ll see more going forward is, we’ll keep introducing new characters at the event, but then the books, other media, will help.
How Will The Book Weave Into The Haunt?
Zach: I think either intentionally or unintentionally, we’re starting to do that this year. Such as, with the escape game and laser tag, normally I would’ve just done kind of a one-off theme, just standalone thing. But, laser tag and the escape game will both featured a core Sir Henry character that’s themed around those attractions. So, an example, Mr. Peebles, one of our kind of staple older Sir Henry characters, is going to be featured in our laser tag game, which is going to be called Breakout, which is an asylum based thing. So, that’s one example of that. Then, the escape game too, will feature another core Sir Henry character, to be released soon. Now you have a very niche experience that you can get to know that character even better.
This will be our eighth season doing an event, and we’ve got an awesome group of fans now. They love what we do, they love the shows that we put on. So there’s some really dedicated, hardcore people out there that follow us and look for this kind of stuff, which is awesome.
How Did Zach Provide Input For The Book?
Zach: So, basically we had a meeting, I gave them everything that I had in my head for this Sir Henry universe and his characters. I kinda just gave all that to them, they had an outline and plan in their head, and then from there we both worked together. They would send me a chapter, I would review it, I would tweak it, however we needed. There, wasn’t actually a whole lot of tweaks, which was awesome. They gave me final approval of everything and anything written about the characters, any of the language of the book. It’s great for all ages, young, old, everything in between.