It’s Sunday night- where are you? If you are a zombie lover, you are preparing for an evening of “The Walking Dead”. But then comes the latest news on Twitter that AMC’s hit show could possibly become a theme park ride! What?? The plans for “The Walking Dead: Battle for Survival” ride were announced at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions convention in Orlando. Your Zombie Examiner’s first reaction was wow that’s cool…but is this a great idea? All of a sudden our favorite show, the one we debate people over, post on Facebook about, yell at the TV over, could become the same kind of ride as Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters at Disneyland or the Kraken ride at Knotts? “The Walking Dead” being turned into an digital arcade ride? Without seeing more than a mock up of the set and one of the proposed zombies its hard to tell. The proposed plans on paper look really amazing and it might be fun to go on, once, but is it taking and dumbing down the whole zombie apocalypse? Ok, ok, zombies aren’t real, but having it be a theme park ride like this could be the beginning of the end for our beloved walkers being taken seriously at all.
Other than some really interesting set drawings there is not much available to see yet. Most of the company’s (Sally Corp) attractions are what they consider dark rides, You sit in a car on a track that goes from scene to scene. They combine physical sets, animatronics, special effects and 3D projections. You will have a plastic gun attached to the car and you shoot a laser beam at anything and everything that moves. It feels interactive in a way, but you are still stuck in a car that spins you around to face each scene and the screen to shoot at. “The Walking Dead” as a Disney type ride-and-shoot game? It would make more sense to be on foot and be able to make choices, good or bad and possibly really fail, more realistically, like a home video game. To give them credit, Sally Corp debuted the first animatronic walker at the convention and it’s pretty life-like, for an undead creature, even with the caveman, “Planet of the Apes” kind of face. That’s going to need some work. The designer Rich Hill says, ‘The Walking Dead: Battle for Survival’ will be scarier than most dark rides and is not necessarily for all ages, the gore will have be toned down a bit from the show.” At this time they are still looking for the ride to have a buyer so the zombies will have a permanent home.
Whether you like or dislike the show, you have to admit that the TV show does take us on a roller coaster ride of sorts. (Pun not really intended, but it fits) As fans we go up and down with the story-line, loving every minute of the action, bored by episodes that catch us up to the story when we want more zombies, and episodes that almost literally rip our hearts out when beloved characters are killed off. That’s why the show works. A ride of this type cannot do that and that’s is why it might not be good for the franchise, it will just be a theme park attraction, we shoot stuff, we get points and a photo of us at the end.
So there is no buyer so far, but lots of interest. Where will it end up? Since it is not Disney friendly (mouse ears on a zombie?) there are still many other choices, overseas and here. Cedar Fair? Universal? Six Flags? Europe? Asia? Who knows? I have to go at least once if it is close to me, but will remain skeptical as to whether this is the right direction for the zombies to go next, until then.
Watch The Walking Dead Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.