We (me, wife, two kids both wearing No-Boo necklaces) went Friday night as well. Got in line at the parking lot around 5:20, entered lot around 6:30, gates around 6:45, and stayed at the entrance to watch the beginning show. Ended up staying until about 11:15, just walking around the different areas and riding a few rides.
This was the first time my daughter's (9yo) done anything scary and the second time for my son (12yo), who did a haunted house last night. At first, he didn't want a necklace, but after about 2 minutes of the opening show, he asked if he could get one.
Overall, we had a great time. I walked through the Fleet Street area a couple of times, once calling out "Fezzy! Fezzy!" but never did get a response.
We loved the theming throughout the park. I don't know that I saw an actor not having fun with their job. As I was standing in line for a ride or just waiting around, I watched some great scares - and some good misses. The atmosphere was a lot better than a haunted house, where you're basically in a line, then in the house, then going home. I was able to just sit on a bench and watch the actors have fun with the guests that walked by.
The actors were awesome to the kids. They'd walk up, say hello, and give high fives. I was a bit disappointed that none tried to scare the wife and I while walking with them, even though Fezzy implied they would. I asked one later in the evening and she said it was because they didn't want to scare the kids by scaring us. Fair enough.
Our favorite actor was the girl near PvZ, sitting in a milk bottle throwing booth (3 throws for $1). We gave my son a bill and he walked up. I don't want to spoil the interaction, but I'd highly suggest anyone checking her out. She had some crutches behind her in the booth, so she's probably there for a bit - at least until that foot heals. Fezzy, if you know her, give her our praise for a great few minutes.
Checked out all the live shows. The acrobatic show near the entrance was awesome; I was surprised they didn't do anything Cirque related in their building - now I see why. The marching band and dancers near Blue Ridge Junction was pretty good, too. I was not impressed by Blood Drums. The music they were playing to was insanely loud and, from what I could tell, the microphones weren't working, so you couldn't hear their drums at all. The girl doing the different twirling acts was mediocre at best. The whole show was a let-down.
The wife and I are probably going to get a kidsitter for the evening and go out by ourselves in a couple of weeks. We hope to get all the mazes in, and just walk around and enjoy it without the kids. I mentioned that while we're probably not getting passes next year, this and Winterfest may change my mind - just without any of the add-ons. Even two visits to SCarowinds and a visit or two to Winterfest will make it worth it.
One suggestion I would make for the park: Have employees that are non-actors wear a light or something visible in the dark. My mind went to a kid who gets separated from their family and can't easily find someone for help. If they know to look for a flashing red light or something else obvious, it would make that situation a lot better for them.