The Walking Dead: The Ride Top 5 Best Bits

It feels so weird to be writing this. It feels like only yesterday we started on this project and now it's the day it finally opens to the public. It's been such a journey, and one that I've been truly privileged to be part of from the word go. The media night was SUCH a blast, and there's nothing more satisfying than seeing everybody coming off of the ride that you've been working so hard to build momentum for and shouting about how much they loved it. And of course, I finally got to ride it in it's full show mode glory, and I want to get all my feelings about the ride down on the internet whilst they're still in that raw form. Here's my top five best bits of The Walking Dead: The Ride at THORPE PARK Resort. And of course, spoilers ahead y'all. You've been warned.

As a huge fan of the show, I absolutel love the time and effort that's gone into making sure the entire attraction is stuffed with Easter Eggs from the show. There are subtle things, like signage and the way wording is used, such as references to Rick Grimes in notes found around the queueline, to fully fledged pieces of theming using icons of the show. So far I've spotted Daryl's motorbike, Michonne's sword, Carl's hat, Merl's knife and Negan's bat, but I'm sure there's still tons of stuff that I haven't even spotted yet. If you're a big fan of The Walking Dead, try to take some time to see what you can spy (although I appreciate this is a little difficult when a hoard of walkers is on your tail!)

After riding I think I said the phrase 'I can't believe this used to be X!' about 100 times. But really, I can't BELIEVE this used to be X?! It's absolutely mad how unrecognisable the attraction is from what it was just a few months ago. I'll be honest, I was never a huge fan of X so it doesn't pain me very much to see the neon lights and rave music left behind, but it boggles my mind just how completely transformed a ride experience it is. There are moment within the attraction where I completely have zero idea where I am in relation to what used to be here when it was in its X form, which is a testament to just how incredible a job the team have done with this retheme.

From the minute you catch a glimpse of that watchtower you know you're in for a treat thematically. With Wicker Man last week and now this, it's been an absolute treat to indulge in what is truly some of the best theming efforts to come out of Merlin in a while. The attention to detail in The Walking Dead: The Ride is stunning. Every single angle, every nook and every cranny is so rich and overflowing with detail that you can't help but be completely absorbed into the narrative. The way the walls are painted to interact with the lighting, the way the sound effects are triggered to propel you from scene to scene, the textures and smells - it's a thematic lasagne of post-apocalyptic goodness, with each layer just oozing with rich and compelling elements that elevate the attraction to the next level.

It's hard to pick just a couple of my favourite effects from the ride to talk about, as there's just so many sections that leave me with a huge smile on my face. One of my favourite things about The Walking Dead: The Ride is the effort it goes to to tell you a story. I'd liken it to an immersive theatre experience, but with a roller coaster at the centre! Of course, this being a coaster means that live actors cannot be used at the side of the track to scare for obvious health and safety reasons. Instead, what we get is cleverly used special effects, including some screens! Honestly, when I came around that corner to be faced with a giant window depicting some poor chap doing his best to shoot those pesky walkers away, I died. I absolutely loved it and I think I squealed with glee a little bit. I can't put my finger on why, but the inclusion of the gunshots added a real layer of true Hollywood action to the experience.

And oh damn, of course it wouldn't be a review of The Walking Dead: The Ride without a mention of THAT sequence. From getting stuck on the brake run and having Dylan desperately trying to get us restarted, to the explosions, to propelling into a billowing cloud of smoke and fire only to find yourself confronted with a hoard of walkers. Honestly one of the most thrilling elements on any coaster in the UK, and to think it's all achieved with special effects is just so thrilling to me. As we know, it's not easy to bring a fully themed roller coaster experience to life, hence why not many of them exist outside of the Universal and Disney parks. The final smoke effect is like something you'd find on The Mummy coaster, and I still can't believe it's here at Thorpe for us to enjoy over and over again - it's fantastic.

The Walking Dead: The Ride is bloody awesome. Don't go into this ride thinking you're getting high octane, Stealth style thrills, because at the end of the day this is still X the coaster we're talking about, and that part hasn't changed. What has changed is the theming and narrative - no longer are you bouncing around a coaster track in the dark with some lights and club music pumping at you.

In it's place is the UK's best themed coaster experience, something that totally immerses you into a world of horror and peril using excellent theming and special effects to bring everything to life (or...death if you're a walker). Think Van Helsing's Factory at Movie Park Germany meets Living Nightmare meets Dark Knight at Six Flags Great Adventure. It's something truly unique to the UK, and I can't wait for my next ride!

Talk later xoxo,