Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Thu October 20 2016

How ‘The Walking Dead’ Is Taking Over Universal on Both Coasts

Destination & Tourism | Erik Yates | October 20, 2016

How ‘The Walking Dead’ Is Taking Over Universal on Both Coasts

Photo by Erik Yates

It was the biggest cliffhanger of the year, and probably one of the biggest of all times. Who does Negan kill? Is it Glenn, Abraham, Maggie, Daryl? We won’t know until Sunday, and the suspense is killing us! While we aren’t going to spoil what happens to the crew from AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” there are ways you can get your fill of zombies, gore and mayhem ripped directly from the show. Of course we’re talking about The Walking Dead at Universal!

The show is going into its seventh season, and stronger than ever in the ratings. There has been so much talk about it that it’s spilling into the real world. From convention appearances to video games, “The Walking Dead” is still everywhere. Who said a zombie is dead? The biggest thing happening right now, however, is all the Walking Dead happening at Universal in both Orlando and Hollywood.

The show came to Universal in 2012 at Halloween Horror Nights in both Orlando and Hollywood. That first maze was relatively small in comparison to the other mazes of the year. The first and second season were represented, with all the iconic scenes mixed in. The second year was even bigger, as Universal Studios Hollywood immersed fans into the area with Terror Tram, and a huge section of the Backlot that was off limits before.

Orlando not only got a house, but they went through the entire park with scare zones based on The Walking Dead. In 2014, and 2015 there was more of the same: every year The Walking Dead got bigger and more elaborate. There was always a house that would recap the prior year’s season.  

Let’s fast forward to 2016, in which there is more Walking Dead at both Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and Universal Studios Hollywood. Once again, Universal Orlando announced a huge house based on The Walking Dead. Hollywood, however, went in a different direction. Hollywood wouldn’t just give you The Walking Dead during Halloween, no. They gave you a year round haunted attraction based on the ever popular TV series!

The attraction differs from the normal haunted house in that everything is built more elaborately. There are bigger displays, and things are a lot more detailed. The special effects with the Walkers are flat out amazing (especially the burning Walkers) and you see tons of nods to the entire series. As the years go on, the house will be changed to reflect current seasons, and older portions will be taken away. It was built to change, much like the show.

READ MORE: 5 Must-See ‘Walking Dead’ Destinations

Orlando, on the other hand, isn’t ready for a year-round haunted attraction. In fact, the chance of you seeing one is pretty slim. But, you can look forward to amazing haunted houses. This year marks a return to form for the horror franchise at Universal Orlando as they bring a “best of” house. If you love “The Walking Dead,” this is your year. Showrunner Greg Nicotero stopped by the opening event to show a little love and answer questions about the show during the media preview of Halloween Horror Nights 26.

This year in Orlando we go through every single season. Instead of feeling like a retread, we see new angles from very popular scenes. We get to see Walkers in the tents, we see the RV, we walk through the barn during a tornado strike. It’s truly a greatest hits.

We even end with Negan’s gang hunting us through the woods. While the visuals are great, what makes the houses are the actors. This year it seems like there’s no shortage of actors, and you get a great scare in every single scene. If you want Walkers, you got ‘em. Gun-wielding maniacs from Terminus, yep, they got those two. Your Wolves? Oh yeah, they are raiding Alexandria in full effect. It’s definitely one of the best houses to hit HHN in years, and quite possibly the best of the bunch from The Walking Dead.

This season promises to be one filled with all kinds of drama and action. Will Universal pick up on that drama and bring it to life once again for Halloween? We’ll have to wait and see!

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