This year’s HHN themes are featuring a lot of cabins and now a lot of the dead. HHN Orlando and Hollywood have announced (to no real surprise) that AMC’s The Walking Dead will be returning this year to stalk the living in all new mazes based on the show’s 3rd season.
In addition to the maze, all of the Scare Zones throughout HHN Orlando will be themed to The Walking Dead. Various sets will be placed around the park to recreate scenes from the entire world of The Walking Dead.
For Hollywood, The Walking Dead will also once again terrorize the Terror Tram. Due to space restraints in the upper lot, we’ve heard that a new maze will be placed in the lower backlot in the area up in between the Collapsing Bridge and Flash Flood Tram Tour attractions. If this area indeed will be used we think The Walking Dead would fit in there nicely and would provide an long awaited change to the Terror Tram experience. From Google Maps we can see that the area has a small town set which looks like an ideal setting for the West Georgia Correctional Facility, the Town of Woodbury, and the woods in between.
Last year we were able to go to both HHN events and experience their respective versions of The Walking Dead: Dead Inside mazes. Overall we found Hollywood’s to be superior with scares and theming, with Orlando’s having slightly better design elements. Unfortunately, Hollywood’s Walking Dead Terror Tram experience was a bust. We hope that for this year they can increase the intensity of the Walking Dead mazes and experiences. We think it’s possible since last season had more terrifying situations and settings (such as the Governor’s aquarium room and zombie pit) for them to work with compared to the previous ones.
Here’s look back our 2012 The Walking Dead: Dead Inside maze reviews
The Walking Dead: Hollywood
We think “Season Premiere, Sunday, Oct 14th on AMC” is also a part of the title. This is one of the mazes that blatantly promotes the property it’s based on with tune-in messaging plastered all over the maps, signage, and just about everywhere else. We’re surprised they didn’t have a room with “OCT 14th” painted all over the walls. The maze is set up to take victims through the post-apocalyptic world of theThe Walking Dead television series, where we follow in the footsteps of the show’s human survivors, making our way from the devastated suburban hospital, through the streets of Atlanta, to the remote countryside, where we then make the bad decision to seek refuge in the barn. For fans of the series, there were some recognizable scenes and characters, including the “bicycle lady” and the “God forgive us” victims. The makeup on the scareactors was impeccable, and given how hot it was this night, we really give credit to the scareactors who kept their energy up in this maze. Some of the set pieces were cool but not specifically unique, and of course we noticed that a few set pieces were redressed from previous mazes such as The Thing and Friday the 13th, but we can’t hold that against them. There were a few good scares in this maze, which used Universal’s signature “strobe-and-sound startle” scare effect. The effect did seem to be overused in this maze, and after the third scare, the effect started to become redundant and predictable. It seemed as if they were relying on it too heavily, with most of the scares in this maze really being the typical monster popping out of a dark corner. The finale scene of the maze wasn’t necessarily scary but still one of the most climactic of all the mazes and a nice showcase of HHN’s makeup and scareactor talent.
- Haunt Design: 3.5 skulls
- Theming: 4 skulls
- Scare Factor: 2.5 skulls
Overall Rating*: 3.5 skulls
Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead
The Zombie Apocalypse that started in Atlanta, Georgia, has spread to the West Coast, and now the famous Universal backlot is teeming with hordes of “Walkers.” However, the real “Walkers” are us, as we stumble through a giant crowd of people and climb up the dark and very dusty “terror trail,” which really just feels like you’re in line to get back on the tram. One of our HHN Virgins asked if this were the Jenny Craig Workout maze!
Over the years, for repeat haunt stalkers like us, the Terror Tram has become a flatlined attraction. The one exception may have been in 2009, when they first expanded the layout with the Halloween (Michael Myers) and My Bloody Valentine overlays. Despite having different themes, the Terror Tram always ends up being the exact same experience year after year. Instead of Chucky or Ghostface, this year we have zombies roaming around the Bates Motel, the backlot hillside, and the War of the Worlds set. They did add the novelty of being able to take a photo with Norman Bates in front of the Psycho House, but it is just another 10+ minute line to stand in, and in previous years we found it easy to take a quick picture without this formal setup.
On the actual tram, we also “get to” watch commercials for the new season of show, premiering on Sunday Oct. 14th (in case you’ve forgotten) as you ride to and from the backlot. We recommend saving the Terror Tram for one of the last things you do aside from Universal’s Monster Remix, but do keep in mind it closes earlier on Thursday and Sunday nights. And if you’re running out of time, this could be one attraction to skip altogether.
- Haunt Design: 1 skull
- Theming: 1 skull
- Scare Factor: 1 skulls
Overall Rating*: 1 skull
The Walking Dead: Orlando
Just like Hollywood’s version this maze blatantly promoted the show with tune-in messaging plastered all over the maps, signage, and just about everywhere else. While waiting in line, they played highlights from the previous season along with reminders to tune in which we had plenty of time to watch as this was a maze with a 30 minuted posted wait time that ended up being a whopping 75 minutes.
The maze is very similar to Hollywood’s, taking victims through the post-apocalyptic world of the television series, where we follow in the footsteps of the show’s human survivors, making our way from the devastated suburban hospital, through the streets of Atlanta, to the remote countryside, where we end up in an old barn. While the zombie’s makeup was impeccable and had the look of the show, there weren’t as many recognizable characters like we saw in Hollywood. Due to this maze being so “popular” the crowds were packed inside and it became difficult to tell the zombies a part from the guests, further minimizing the scare factor. There were a lot of scares using Universal’s signature “strobe-and-sound startle” scare effect and like Hollywood the effect was overused becoming quickly predictable and almost annoying. There were also many predictable scares with zombies always popping out of a corner. Again, there were just too many people inside which prevented the experience from becoming to scary and in this category, Hollywood wins. We did like the department store scene where zombies were lurking among the racks of clothes. However, outside of this scene the rest of maze was pretty forgettable.
- Haunt Design: 2.5 skulls
- Theming: 3 skulls
- Scare Factor: 1.5 skulls
Overall Rating*: 2 skulls