After two years of planning and construction, Universal Studios Hollywood is ready to unveil its newest attraction based on the most watched show in cable television history – The Walking Dead.
A number of stars from the show were on hand to help bring the television show to life. Among them were Myla Kenedy (Mika Samuels), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Brighton Sharbino (Lizzie Samuels), Michael Traynor (Nicholas), and fan favorite Scott Wilson (Hershel Green). Greg Nicotero (Executive Producer of the television show) was also on hand, overseeing a significant portion of the attraction from its original inception.
The presentation began with Kirk Trutner (Senior Manager of Entertainment Production) and Tim Runco (Senior Vice President of Entertainment) representing the theme park on stage. With authenticity as the main attraction, Runco notes that “If you thought this [The Walking Dead television show] was terrifying in your own home on your two dimensional flat screen, just wait till you walk through this arch. It’s like stepping into the story itself.”
Next, Runco introduces Greg Nicotero, who is not only the Executive Producer and Director of the television show, but also the overseer of much of the attraction’s special effects. Nicotero oversaw the entire attraction to make it as accurate to the show as possible, noting that he’s worked with Universal in the past on Halloween Horror Nights. Of course, Nicotero also makes it a point to mention that The Walking Dead Attraction is completely different than anything they could have created in the past for a temporary Halloween event.
As Greg started bringing some of the stars from the show to the stage, we begin hearing the infamous Savoir whistle that fans of the television series should be familiar with. Savoirs on motorcycles begin storming towards the ceremony, taking over the event’s festivities and announcing threats to kill and steal from members of the media in the name of Negan. As a gift for us, the ringleader brings out a grotesque “ribbon” of sorts to be cut for the opening of the attraction.
The “ribbon” consists of six walkers, chained together. Sensing that we’re not entirely happy with our gift, the ringleader offers another. “What to get the man that already has six growlers? Got it! How about a herd?” He then fires a flare gun into the air, and a giant herd of walkers comes flooding towards us as guards quickly try to shut the gate. It was a great show and made for a fantastic opening.
After the presentation, we were able to experience the attraction in full. With Savoirs giving us menacing stares and hospital workers ushering us to safety, it’s clear this is not your standard Halloween Horror Nights maze. The theming is incredible, the effects are fantastic, and the scale is large.
The Walking Dead Attraction officially opens on July 4.
Inside The Walking Dead Attraction
Photos by Bernard Mesa