Last night, Thorpe Park Resort launched The Walking Dead: The Ride at a special VIP Launch event which saw invited guests descend on the Island to experience the Resort’s headline attraction for The Year of The Walking Dead. SouthParks was amongst those invited to experience the Resort’s newest attraction. (Please note this article may contain some spoilers).

Located at the centre of the Island, as you approach The Walking Dead: The Ride you are greeted by the ‘Safe Zone’ entry compound – an area surrounded by mesh fencing, corrugated iron gates, with a prison watch tower standing tall looking out over the main queue. The area features a number of nods to the TV show, including references to The Prison, Terminus, and the Alexandria Safe Zone. IMAscore’s haunting soundtrack plays out across the area, creating an eerie atmosphere for those who are waiting to enter the attraction.

The ride itself is a re-theme of X, the indoor rollercoaster, and whilst there are no changes to the track layout there has been an extensive amount of theming added to the pre and post ride areas, as well as around the track. After leaving any bags in the new baggage hold, guests are taken into a ‘holding area’ which is where you experience a short, but effective pre-show welcoming you to the ‘Safe Zone’ before being ushered forwards to escape an imminent invasion of Walkers. What was formerly the interior queue line for X has been completely transformed into the corridors of the Safe Zone with some incredibly detailed theming and a variety of sound cues which are triggered as you make your way through. Fans of the TV show will also notice a number of references to a number of key characters and scenes from the series.

The rollercoaster’s station has been re-themed as a transit system within the Safe Zone which will transport guests to a safer area, away from the invading walkers. As you embark on the ride and make your way along the track, there are a number of cues triggering a range of effects revealing the attacking walkers, and survivors defending the safe zone. This latest re-theme has also seen the restoration of the stop sequence on the ride’s mid brake run, which features a short sequence which fits in nicely with the overall context of the attraction’s story. As the ride comes to an end, guests are ushered off the trains to ‘escape’. The final exit corridors again feature some very detailed theming before finally you emerge back into the outside world. Once you’ve escaped you make your way to the Thorpe Megastore where you can view your on-ride photo, (with the on-ride camera having been added as part of the attraction’s re-theme), and where a selection of The Walking Dead merchandise is available.

Overall, The Walking Dead: The Ride combines some fantastic theming with a cohesive story to create a good addition to the Island. The theming contains a number of Easter eggs providing references not only to the TV series, but also some sentimental nods to X:/ No Way Out. The ride now has a clear story, one which can be enjoyed by all guests, even if they are not familiar with the TV series.

As part of the VIP Launch Night, the Resort welcomed a number of well-known faces, including Will Mellor, Johnny Vegas, Stacey Solomon, and Craig Revel-Horwood who had made their way to the Island to brave The Walking Dead: The Ride.

With The Walking Dead: The Ride opening at Thorpe Park Resort on 31st March will you be heading to the Island to experience it for yourself? If you do be sure to share your thoughts over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum. With The Year of The Walking Dead now well underway at Thorpe Park Resort, we’ll be sure to bring you all the latest developments from the Island. UK Theme Parks from another point of view!

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