Haunted Hayrides of Delaware Valley, Inc., the operating company for The Valley of Fear and the Original Hayride, is in the business of scaring people. The haunt, which started as a franchise location, became the Delaware Valley's first large scale, outdoor Halloween entertainment event when it opened over 20 years ago.
Tom Yaegel, founder and President of Haunted Hayrides of Delaware Valley, Inc., Valley of Fear, explained the history behind Valley of Fear and the Original Hayride when interviewed by email on Tuesday, October 22.
“There was a company named Haunted Hayrides, Inc. that was established in Syracuse, NY in late 1980's that developed a format, actually trademarked the name "Haunted Hayrides" and sold franchises with operating manuals and marketing procedures,” said Yaegel. “Haunted Hayrides of Delaware Valley Inc. bought a franchise in 1990 and started operations at Stepping Stone Farm in Buckingham, PA in October 1990. In 1996, we relocated to the current location, (Phoenix Sports Club in Feasterville, PA), subsequently adding a haunted house. In 2003, the name was changed to Valley of Fear and the Original Hayride, offering 3 attractions (including a forest maze).”
Present day, Valley of Fear and the Haunted Hayride continues to offer three attractions; the all new for 2013 Original Haunted Hayride, Zombie Escape Maze, and Scary Tales, a haunted forest trail.
“Most of the design of the 3 attractions is based on original concept by our Creative Director, Robert Dovan, who designs and supervises the set construction,” Yaegel said.
The Valley of Fear employs over 90 actors, nightly, decked out with professional quality makeup and costumes.
The actors at The Valley of Fear do not touch visitors, however, they do get as up close and personal as possible without laying a finger on their guests.
The Original Haunted Hayride has visitors dangle their feet from the sides of the wagon. A graveyard, gigantic sets, animatronics, professional sound and lighting, fire breathers and many scary creatures and characters are waiting in the woods. The hayride includes visitor interaction and even has a serial –killer storyline.
“The Legend Of Carver” was created by our staff,” Yaegel said. “He’s just a crazy guy who occupies an old barn and carves pumpkins and people.”
The Zombie Escape Maze, which is in its second year, is a fog-filled attraction with zombies surrounding visitors at every twist and turn. Zombies are huge in popular culture right now thanks in part to movies and TV shows like AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The maze was created after a devastating fire destroyed two of Valley of Fear’s former haunted houses: The Zombie Research and Control Center and a pirate themed attraction.
"Many in our industry did not think we could recover from the August 2012 fire,” Yaegel said. “We proved them wrong as with the help of a great staff and the guidance and support of local and state regulatory officials, we were able to get the new maze design approved, constructed and inspected in just five weeks."
The haunted forest, Scary Tales, is a haunted walk filled with dark and twisted versions of friendly fairy tale characters. The dark side of fairy tales has become quite popular in recent years with movies like Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and TV shows like “Grimm,” “Once Upon A Time” and the new "Once Upon A Time In Wonderland." Visitors will recognize childhood favorites at Valley of Fear inspired by characters from “Alice in Wonderland” to “The Three Little Pigs” to (well that’s a surprise).
The Valley of Fear and the Original Hayride is located in the woods of The Phoenix Sport Club, 301 W. Bristol Rd. in Feasterville, Bucks County, PA. (If using GPS, list town as Lower Southampton). Dates and times of operation, driving directions, discount coupons, prices, entertainment and more information can be found on their website at http://www.valleyoffear.com. To reach Valley of Fear by phone, call 1-215-942-9787.
Warning: Do not attend haunted attractions if you have certain medical issues (for instance; asthma, heart conditions, seizures, etc.)