Our previous article detailing the Terror Tram told the story of The Walking Dead’s season 2. With No Safe Haven, the story picks up immediately with season 3 as we enter the deadly prison where walkers are lurking about for their next victim.
Once you’re able to successfully navigate and survive the prison (which, in itself, is not an easy endeavor), you’ll come to the scene of a horrific helicopter crash in the middle of the forest. As you get closer to escaping with your life, you’ll eventually come face to face with the Governor and his compound where you’ll encounter his infamous trophy room. But, be careful since Penny – the Governor’s infected daughter – also wants to play.
By far, The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven was my personal favorite from this year’s event. Everything that one would associate with Halloween Horror Nights – immersive sets, the Universal backlot and spectacular makeup – was featured heavily throughout No Safe Haven as guests are thrust in the middle of The Walking Dead’s season 3.
Placed near Universal’s metropolitan sets, No Safe Haven features an elaborate recreation of the prison scene from the television series. It’s an impressive sight as the queue wraps around the prison walls giving guests an opportunity to take in the entire facade. A chain link fence surrounds the scene as the guard tower hovers above. Inside, the immersion continues.
I’m not one to give a play-by-play description of what’s inside (the photos, hopefully, offset that need), but I will say that the entire maze was an enjoyable experience with one caveat. One major caveat, depending on your perspective. While it’s common knowledge that the entire metropolitan experience (Dead on Arrival, No Safe Haven and Black Sabbath) has a tendency to backup depending on the day, my visit suffered from something I’ve never seen before: backup within the maze itself.
Granted, this was opening day and Universal was probably still working out the kinks, but for a major maze like this, it may be agreed upon that the setup for this experience could have been better. While I was personally fascinated with the very notion of being stuck in the same prison scene for ten minutes (gave plenty of time for photographs!), guests around me were notably irritated. Scare actors – to their credit – would act out their cues, but the scare effect itself grew tiresome after guests could foresee the effect three minutes away. Luckily, crowding quickly subsided once we entered past the two-story prison, but this backup left an odd impression.
Either way, the queue situation should be improved now that Universal has had a chance to run things through, but Walking Dead fans might be advised to head for the metropolitan experience first to avoid the possibility of backup altogether.
Going back to the maze itself: like El Cucuy: The Boogeyman, The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven is home to a few new innovative effects. I won’t ruin their surprises here, but these might even catch some seasoned Horror Nights fans off-guard.
Jon Fu is the editor-in-chief of Inside Universal.
Jon originally founded InsideUniversal.net in 2006 as a summer hobby aimed at providing families and fans a resource for all things “Universal Studios Hollywood.” Since then, the website has taken him throughout the United States and around the world – including to places like Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore.
Jon currently resides in Santa Cruz, California with his bamboo plant. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.