After throughly enjoying the last Thorpe Park VIP experience with the Saw the Ride behind the scenes tour we instantly jumped at the chance of doing another as we bring you this Walking Dead the Ride VIP behind the scenes tour review.
Unlike the Saw the Ride behind the scenes tour this particular tour is the first of its kind done by the park and we were lucky to able to snap up tickets for the first day of this brand new tour and it didn’t disappoint!
Thorpe Park in collaboration with AMC’s hit TV series The Walking Dead revamped the old X: No Way Out indoor rollercoaster and turned it into a spine-chilling walker filled wonderland taking guests straight into their own zombie-filled mission.
The Walking Dead series, based on the comic books by Robert Kirkman, quickly gained a massive following with its gripping storyline and intense zombie-filled action.
Capitalising on the show’s success, Thorpe Park teamed up with AMC to create an indoor rollercoaster that would bring the post-apocalyptic world to life. The attraction opened in 2018 as part of a decision made by the park to bring more horror themed attractions to the resort.
The rollercoaster itself is a marvel of engineering and design. Seated in comfortable and secure ride vehicles, passengers embark on an indoor journey filled with twists, turns, and unexpected surprises.
The coaster features some scattered set pieces mixed with lighting and audio to immerse you in a little story you are a part of. Some cool zombies greet you on your mission and some animatronics will certainly frighten a younger audience. Guests are sent spiralling into the darkness on a short yet relatively fun little Vekoma indoor ride.
Walking Dead the Ride Stats
|Type||Steel – Enclosed|
|Riders per train||10|
|Propulsion||Tire propelled lift|
|Area||40 metres × 60 metres|
|Top speed||44.6 km/h|
Due to the success of the TV show the ride became one of the park’s most popular rides, attracting both fans of the series and theme park thrill-seekers. Whilst the experience itself was met with mixed reviews the overall experience really isn’t as bad as people make out and I feel like it’s a very udnerappreciated ride at the resort.
Being a big horror fan and knowing VIP behind the scenes tour experiences of anything inside a show building would be miles better than a normal coaster tour I had no hesitation in clicking ‘Buy it Now’.
We met at reception, grabbed our printed Walking Dead cards and picked up another VIP lanyard and pin badge (yes, another one) and away we went!
Our Thorpe Park VIP Tour Begins
Before we step foot inside the main Walking Dead show building we are lead to the Angry Birds 4D theatre where we watch a presentation. Similar to the Saw experience we looked at concept art and trailers as well as schematics and even theming plans (budget dependent).
It was a real shame to see that some ideas didn’t make the Final Cut due to budget but it’s the story of many UK attractions, victims of our own downfall sometimes when it comes to a company wanting to either cut a corner or get the cheapest version of the experience in.
With Black Mirror Labyrinth being located within the same building as Walking Dead the Ride we got a tour through that attraction too. A nice little bonus just as the Exodus site tour was during the Saw the Ride VIP event.
It’s nice to have this little bonus and it certainly was interesting to see it with the lights on, it’s certainly not a great attraction by any means but I can still appreciate the work that goes into creating them all the same with these behind the scenes glimpses. Right, enough of that. Into Walking Dead the Ride we went!
Jamie our tour guide was joined by 3 extra staff members this time as opposed to the extra staff member on hand to help the first time around.
This worked perfectly throughout the tour as some areas of The Walking Dead ride are narrow so two members of staff looked after one half of the group (6 people, max groups of 12 allowed only) and the other 2 looked after the other half.
This helped wonderfully when guests were on rotation. When one half were looking at the control panel with two members of staff, the other half looked at the lift hill.
The groups are then swapped and no one is standing around twiddling their thumbs waiting to see something. It worked well and having more staff on hand made sure that no one was left without someone to ask questions and speak to and there was no overload of info on one staff member. It was a great balance.
From seeing the corridors in the light (without walking into any walls for once) to seeing the interior of the ride building it does bring a sense of appreciation with it. The work that goes into it, the space and how effects are triggered and the meticulous planning and co-ordination needed with the ride manufacturers to make sure the theming is right and the coaster can run efficiently.
There was no rushing of the groups and everyone could take as many photos as they liked with anything they wanted. Seeing the zombies up close you can see the levels of detail that you miss on-ride as you’re flying past them so quickly!
I couldn’t help but wonder why more theming wasn’t added at certain points of the ride just to add to that immersive experience but going back to seeing the concept art earlier there were many documents with ‘Subject to Merlin Budget’ on them. That makes a LOT of sense.
The one issue I had with the Saw tour was the fact that we were being asked to ask our tour guide questions as opposed to being given a tour and then given the opportunity to ask questions (if needed). This time around the tour was definitely more show and tell with questions to be asked afterwards and this followed a more normal tour style and certainly made for a better walkthrough experience.
One particular highlight of the tour was getting to climb to the very top of the brake run where a certain scene plays out that involves the coasters braking system. The scene simulates you stuck with a hoarde of zombies chasing you down as you try to get your vehicle working again. You judder backwards and forwards trying to get your vehicle started before being sent hurtling down on the track before you.
The fact we managed to go up here without any harnesses needed (it was just a flight of stairs) was great and the fact they went out of their way to get approval for us to do that goes to show that they genuinely care about the tour experience they’re giving us. A little effort goes a long way and it certainly doesn’t go under appreciated!
At the end of our tour experience which lasted just over 2 hours we were gifted with a Walking Dead the Ride poster as a keepsake of our experience. These posters are great to have but I’d love for some variety in merchandise or by all means throw an extra £10-£20 on the tour cost and give us some themed merchandise.
Walking Dead merchandise at the park is virtually non existent (might be an IP issue) but even a Walking Dead lanyard or little gift bag or something would be a nice extra. I’m just greedy.
This experience certainly feels very VIP and with friendly staff on hand to answer questions, the groups being a small manageable size especially for someone like my who can’t stand crowds, it’s intimate and it works wonderfully.
With this just being the start of the VIP tours for the park and with them being so popular I can see them being run much more often in the future.
After a special limited edition Ghost Train tour sold out another normal tour (less time) has already been announced for September. Saw the Ride has sold out for the entire 2023 season and Walking Dead the Ride tours are being snapped up quick time.
These indoor rides provide the perfect tour as you can step behind the scenes and with other areas around those rides to explore you just never know what you might find on these tours that take a peek behind the curtain of the island like no other.
Beyond the thrill of the ride, The Walking Dead Indoor Rollercoaster leaves a lasting impact on its riders especially if actors are present within the experience. It may get some hate but even I’ve got this newfound appreciation for it.
When I next go on it, I can think ‘I’ve been there’ or ‘I’ve seen that up close’ and it just bridges the connection a little bit more between the park and its guests.
A cracking little experience for a big nerd like me and that just isn’t rollercoaster related. I never knew that in the queueline there were some TV show props loaned to Thorpe Park from AMC similar to what Lionsgate did with the park for Saw the Ride.
One of Merle’s prosthetic hand blades was on display in a little cabinet in the back of the truck before you enter the station building. This entire truck is in darkness when you get to the station and it’s hiding an absolute gem of a prop!
The prop looked to be made from a rubber of some kind so it certainly wasn’t a hero prop (one shown on screen for close-ups) but more a stunt version. Still a very pricey prop indeed!
There are also so many easter eggs from the show but with the lighting being so dark in the corridors and station you can barely see any of it during a normal visit. It really is a shame as fans would absolutely love spotting these!
When it comes to the Thorpe Park VIP tours I can’t believe just how good they are, how intimate they are in terms of group size and how active the team are on the Thorpe Park Passholders Group at answering questions and keeping us update with park activities.
Thorpe Park are heads and shoulders above the rest this year, they’ve stepped up their game tenfold and they’ve really made an effort to make us all feel heard and understood. Something that has been severely lacking across Merlin parks for many many years.
Walking Dead the Ride VIP tour, just like the other VIP tours are curated by people who truly care about giving you a good experience. It’s not a money grabbing exercise, the price is reasonable and the tour is worth every penny.
If I had to make any improvements they would be very similar to the Saw VIP tour ones but with maybe a few additions.
Improvements I would make:
- Personalised the lanyard itself and the pin badge to be Saw specific. Have these running for every tour of its kind over multiple seasons
- Mic up the main tour guide so they’re always audible especially during the presentation as some people in the theatre in the beginning at the bottom couldn’t hear a word
- Have an op as one of the staff members accompanying the tour and give a lights-on ride at the start of the tour and a lights-off ride at the end (VIP ride on the park when its empty is a special and exclusive experience)
- Include the POV face forward Lights-on footage in an exclusive personalised video for VIP guests only (a simple mounted GoPro / SD card transfer could be done easily for this)
- Have a folder or similar for ride content within the presentation (not the full document) that can be accessed by tour groups. If trusting people not to share them is an issue then curate the content within the presentation to include documents you wouldn’t mind released should people ignore and share regardless.
- Have a tally system or similar where every VIP tour attended by certain guests adds up and a special VIP gift or experience is given out as a thank you for supporting the parks new VIP experiences. This could be something like an exclusive piece of merchandise or a more cost-effective perk such as an exclusive VIP ride on Exodus or similar to really add to that VIP loyalty.
Walking Dead the Ride VIP Tour Conclusion
The Walking Dead Indoor Rollercoaster at Thorpe Park stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and creative ingenuity. Whilst I’d love the ride to just have a little bit more theming whilst on-ride you’ll be blown away by the scale and additions that currently reside on the ride as we know it.
A wonderful tour and a gathering of all things Walking Dead. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the show or a coaster nerd or even a blend of both you’ll really enjoy this.
I felt as though this tour was much more immersive than the Saw the Ride tour simply because of the limited indoor areas you could access on the Saw the Ride experience.
Having a whole coaster indoors gave you more space and theming pieces to explore and certainly felt like it was the better of the two tours especially with how much free roam you could do to take as many photos as you liked.
Thorpe Park’s Walking Dead attraction has solidified its position as a must-visit destination for VIP experiences where fans can go beyond the standard visit and indulge in something special. For the price (even cheaper if you’re a Merlin pass holder) you just can’t complain!
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