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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

The Valley of Fear and The Original Haunted Hayride - 2018 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: The Valley of Fear and The Original Haunted Hayride

Location of Attraction: Feasterville PA

Date of Review: Saturday October 13th 2018

Total Number of Attractions Available: FOUR

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 8/10

Entertainment and Food Rating: 8/10

Atmosphere Rating: 9/10

Overall Costume and Make Up Rating: 8/10

Overall Cast and Crew Rating: 8.5/10

Overall Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Feedback: On Saturday October 13th we paid a visit to The Valley of Fear (VOF) located in Feasterville PA. This was our squads second go around of reviewing this haunted attraction. We last visited during the 2017 season and we had an absolute blast. For 2018 we elected to once again pay VOF a visit knowing we’d likely have another spooktacular experience! Unfortunately our experience fell a bit short of our expectations and ultimately the experience was a small step down compared to last season. Our squad arrived at the haunt shortly before 7:00pm and the parking lot was rapidly filling up. The lines for the ticket booth were several dozen people deep before VOF was even open. It was clear that it was going to be a busy night here at VOF! VOF definitely excels at creating an upbeat atmosphere. With a live band jamming out and a raging bonfire we were quite content with just relaxing before beginning our experience. VOF offers four attractions: The Facility, ScaryTales, Operation Z Escape and of course the Haunted Hayride. We love the variety in the attractions. The Facility is a high energy maze like attraction. ScaryTales is a solid mix of comedy and scares. Operation Z Escape is an interactive escape experience featuring mini escape challenges, live zombies and paintball guns. Last but not least, the Haunted Hayride is a pleasant mix of hillbillies, horror film characters, circus performers and more. To kick off our night we elected to begin with The Facility.

Last season The Facility was rated by far our squads least favorite of the four attractions offered at VOF. But for 2018 they made a much needed step up and provided a thrilling experience. Security guards can be seen walking the perimeter of the attraction sending a rush of nerves through your body making you question what you’re about to experience. Once inside guests watch a brief introductory video which informs you of what goes on at The Facility. Then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose… a security breach occurs and zombies are running rampant throughout The Facility. It’s at this point that the guests are left to fend for their own as they make their journey through The Facility. VOF did a very good job of making the maze like paths disorienting with their usage of strobe lights and heavy fog. There were moments where we could literally see nothing around us and then BAM, a zombie was nearly chomping on our arm. The actors were far more energized this season and were relentless in their attack. The set design of The Facility was generally simplistic but very effective. VOF incorporated several claustrophobia walls into this attraction with one of these being used in a way we’ve never seen before… above our heads forcing us to crouch and crawl. In one area black panels hanging from the ceiling were used to create a maze and boy did we have a hard time finding the exit. Our group got spun around countless times before finding the exit to the maze. The cherry on top was the actor in this section who snuck up on us and delivered a spine-tingling scare. Overall The Facility definitely provided a thrilling experience and started our night off on a good note! Next up we headed for ScaryTales, our favorite attraction at VOF during our visit in 2017.

ScaryTales turns your typical Fairy Tale characters into bloodthirsty and dark creatures. You’ll encounter everyone from Rumplestiltskin to Dorothy to The Madd Hatterer to The Muffin Man and many more! The most unique nature of this attraction is the usage of improv by the actors. Each and every guest receives a different experience as the actors alter their skit to your fears/personality to deliver either a scary and/or comical experience. The Madd Hatterer is by far one of the best actors we’ve ever come across in the haunt industry! That man is downright terrifying and delivers a spooktacular performance to each and every guest. Set design once again is of a simplistic nature but does a great job at portraying the said Fairy Tale. There is some dead space in between several of the scenes but for the most part this wasn’t an issue. Despite the six inches of mud there isn’t much that we would change about this attraction.

After completion of ScaryTales we set off for Operation Z Escape. This attraction has timed ticketing which helps crowd control and keep wait times as short as possible. Groups of about 15 set off for Operation Z Escape at a time. One large group is then split into two army teams, team Alpha and team Bravo. One commanding sergeant has the responsibility of guiding guests on their journey through the dark woods at VOF. Throughout your journey you will stumble upon several mini escape challenges where guests work as a team to complete. Your last stop on your journey is your hardest challenge of all. Guests are armed with paintball guns and are tasked with killing off the zombie horde. Throughout your walk in between escape challenges live zombies are encountered which helps break up the large areas of dead space. In our opinion Operation Z Escape has some unique touches but is a bit bland and doesn’t really consist of much. Besides the two mini escape challenges and zombie paintball, Operation Z Escape is basically a walk through the dark woods with a few zombie actors thrown in. There was actually one less mini escape challenge this season then there was just last season. We would love to see VOF add in more mini escape challenges to help increase the interactivity of the attraction. For 2018, Operation Z Escape definitely fell short.

To finish out our evening we headed for the Haunted Hayride. During 2017 the Haunted Hayride at VOF was voted among our top five favorite hayrides of the season. We were hoping to see VOF take a step up with the Haunted Hayride but unfortunately they actually took a step back in terms of the experience provided. From what we remember there were very little to zero changes made to the Haunted Hayride in terms of set design. We appreciate the detailed work in each of the scenes but we would love to see VOF keep the hayride fresh by changing up a few of the scenes. Along your journey you’ll encounter Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Hillbillies, Clowns, Circus Performers and more. We were simply amazed by the Jason Voorhees scene… Jason’s take downs/kills were very realistic which added that extra element of thrill. Unfortunately a few of the scenes had some malfunctioning props/animatronics; the same props that just one year ago amazed our squad. With having just visited last season it was easy for us to pick up on certain props/animatronics that weren’t working this season. We even recall the amazing Slenderman scene that the hay wagon rolled right past this season… what a disappointment. One of our favorite sections of the Haunted Hayride last season was the area with the Circus Performers. Last season this area featured sword swallowers, contortionists, fire breathers, fire twirlers and more. This season we were disappointed to see that there was about half the performers as the year past… only a fire breather and fire twirler were encountered this season. What was a very engaging and thrilling scene last season turned to out to be very bland this season. All in all, the Haunted Hayride did not provide that same thrilling experience that we enjoyed just last season.

As a group we all felt that VOF came up just a bit short of providing the top notch experience that we all loved during the 2017 season. For the most part, costuming and makeup was well done with many of the actors possessing believable makeup and well sculpted masks. There were a few actors in each attraction that were almost unidentifiable as haunt actors due to such poor quality makeup and costuming. In terms of scare/thrill factor VOF definitely has a few moments which feature high startle scares but for the most part the experience is suitable for the entire family, even the young ones. Set design definitely had its ups and downs with areas featuring masterful set designs/props/animatronics while other areas had malfunctioning props/animatronics. In terms of the cast and crew we felt all the actors were high energy and very passionate; we were just disappointed with the shortage of actors especially in Operation Z Escape and The Facility. All in all, Valley of Fear definitely has the stepping stones in place to be a top notch haunted attraction. But unfortunately in 2018 they took a step back in our books instead of a leap forward. If VOF can correct the set design malfunctions, refresh some of their scenes and incorporate more scare actors into the show they’ll easily become of the best haunts along the East Coast. But at the end of the evening despite some of the issues mentioned above we still had a more than enjoyable evening that featured a great combo of laughs and screams. If you’re in the area definitely pay Valley of Fear a visit; their unique experience is definitely one worth checking out!

Individual Attraction Review:

Attraction Name: The Facility

Overall Attraction Rating: 7.5/10

Cast and Crew Rating: 8/10

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 7.5/10

Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7.5/10

Attraction Name: ScaryTales

Overall Attraction Rating: 9/10

Cast and Crew Rating: 10/10

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 8.5/10

Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8/10

Attraction Name: Operation Z Escape

Overall Attraction Rating: 7/10

Cast and Crew Rating: 7/10

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 7/10

Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Attraction Name: Haunted Hayride

Overall Attraction Rating: 8/10

Cast and Crew Rating: 8.5/10

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 8/10

Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7.5/10

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