BloggersAisha Al-Muslim Jennifer Barrios Bill Bleyer David Reich-Hale Denise M. Bonilla Sophia Chang Tara Conry Carl Corry Erin Geismar Scott Eidler Mitch Freedman Mackenzie Issler Carl MacGowan Deborah S. Morris Ted Phillips Candice Ruud David Schwartz Nicholas Spangler Joshua Stewart Brittany Wait Patrick Whittle
Disney inspired creator of Bayville Adventure Park
D.R. Finley, 51, and his wife, Anne, own four adjacent businesses on Bayville Avenue in Bayville across from the Long Island Sound. The couple, who have four children, operate Bayville Adventure Park, an amusement park located at 8 Bayville Ave. that is converted into Bayville Scream Park in the fall and Bayville Winter Wonderland in the winter. They also own the adjacent arcade, Beaches & Cream ice cream parlor, and a full-service restaurant, The Shipwreck Tavern, that are opened year-round.
How long has your amusement park been operating in Bayville?
Prior to me buying the property, there was a business there called Bayville Amusements, but it was in terrible disrepair, falling apart and had very few attractions. I bought the property [in 2004] and we demolished the whole thing. We built the new park from scratch and Bayville Scream Park, the Halloween-themed part of the park opened in the fall of 2006, and the summer attractions opened in the summer of 2007.
Why did you want to open a haunted amusement park?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Disney and Halloween. We also own and operate Jekyll and Hyde [restaurant] in New York City. We always wanted to open up a haunted attraction, but it’s very difficult to find good locations for that because it’s such a seasonal business. I had been looking for a long time and this was made perfect sense, because it could be a lot more than just the haunted attractions.
What do you like about the park’s location in Bayville?
It’s right there across from the beach, which is special. Bayville is also an old-fashioned town and we like to think we are an old-fashioned park.
How has the park evolved over the years?
The first year, we had three haunted attractions — Bloodworth Haunted Mansion, Uncle Needles Funhouse of Fear and “Temple of Terror “-- and the following year, we opened up “Curse of the Zombie Pirates” and then, the following year, we opened up “Evil in the Woods.” A summer version of the fun house also opened up a few years later.
In the beginning, we also had some large, inflatable sides in the rear of the amusement park, and we’ve removed those and added the Bungee Bounce Dome and Wild Water Balloon Wars.
How many people usually come the park each year?
It’s difficult to tell, because we don’t charge an admission price. A family can come in and the parents don’t have to go on the attractions if they don’t want to. There’s still a lot of people on Long Island that don’t know we’re there, who still don’t realize Bayville exists and have trouble finding it. The Halloween fans are very determined about going to Halloween attractions and it’s very successful for us, but there’s not a large amount of crossover between the people who come in the summer and the people who come from Halloween.
Did your love of Disney inspire any of the attractions in the park?
I consider the three most fun, classic attractions of Disney World are Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise, so very much they are an influence for the park. Our miniature golf course is Pirates of the Caribbean, Bloodworth Mansion is Haunted Mansion and Bumper Boats Safari is Jungle Cruise in our small way.