A local mother is warning other parents about the dangers of Scarowinds after her “terrifying” experience on Saturday night at the Fort Mill theme park with fights, intimidation and dangerous rowdiness.
Carolelynn Zmyslo, of Indian Land, said she told her story on Facebook over the weekend and got comments from people who witnessed the same thing. She said it was the first time experiencing “the spooky fun of Scarowinds” for her and her two daughters, ages 10 and 13. They had also come with some friends who were not season-pass holders.
She expected it to be busy for opening weekend, but Halloween is something she enjoys.
“We ran through the gates like a kid running to the tree on Christmas morning,” Zmyslo said. “The fog was spooky and the decor was amazing! We immediately got in line for our first ride and waited patiently. The ride was great as always and we decided that a walk around the park would be fun. This is where our night turned into anything but a fun family night.”
She said teens and young adults had complete disregard for others with foul language, in-your-face intimidation and a complete disrespect for the property.
“So many people were throwing cups, plates and trash at each other and anywhere else they felt like throwing it,” she said.
Zmyslo said there were multiple fights in different areas of the park with large groups screaming and people getting pushed in different directions.
“We ultimately decided it was best to leave,” Zmyslo said.
Carowinds issued this statement about the fights: “On Saturday night, September 14, an altercation between some park guests broke out. Park security and York County Sheriffs, who were on site, responded quickly and handled the situation appropriately. The guests involved were ejected and banned from the park. The safety and security of our guests and associates is our highest priority.” (Story continues below.)
But Zmyslo said she didn’t feel like her family and friends were in a safe place.
“I had a death grip on my 10 and 13 year old daughter’s hands as we tried to make our way through the crowds towards the entrance,” she said. “It was a total bummer! It was a waste of money for the friends we brought along who are not season pass holders. It was a total let-down!”
Zmyslo said the park itself was awesome with the decor, fog, monsters and entertainment. But she was forced to leave and saw several other families leaving for similar reasons.
“I hope to get another chance to experience the fun of Scarowinds without the fear of something happening to my children or to us,” she said.
She said the security was overrun and didn’t stand a chance against the size of the groups that were there.
“It reminded me of those videos of groups rushing a store and robbing the place and running out,” Zmyslo said. “It was very overwhelming and very scary.”
Another mother also told her story about Saturday evening at Scarowinds to WBTV. See that story here.
Have you visited Scarowinds? What’s been your experience? Tell us here or on Facebook.