Feature | The Walking Dead Experience

If you’re reading this, I somehow survived.

This past weekend, celebrities and fans alike invaded the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center for the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest. The two day Fan Fest also played host to The Walking Dead Experience.

What is “The Walking Dead Experience”? It’s a Michael Counts production that is true to what you see on the television show, The Walking Dead. This experience is so authentic, that some of my crew actually thought they were on the show, but I’ll get to that in a bit. This version of the experience was titled CHAPTER 1. CHAPTER 1 is 30 minutes and takes place in a small town on the night before the outbreak takes over. This is not your typical haunted house walkthrough; YOU are a main part of the experience.  A group of 8 will enter and will be given cards; on these cards are tasks. The tasks will be different for everyone.

The Journalist Without A Beat crew including myself, Clinton, and Mike were given full access to try our hand at this and hopefully survive. JWAB crew member, Nathan, decided to hang back on this one. From the outside it looks like two normal semi-truck trailers, but once you’re inside, it’s something that you will have to see for yourself.

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It should be noted this would be my first time doing anything like this, so at the time I was really anxious. Our group went in as a group of 4. Before heading in, Alex (instructor for The Walking Dead Experience) thoroughly went through the rules and regulations and handed each of us 2 task cards each. She mentioned we should memorize our tasks and do them accordingly when prompted. Soon after, Alex opened the first door to a pitch black room, told us to line up side by side facing the door, close our eyes, and turn around when the lights come on. This is where the true terrifying experience began.

I won’t go into detail on the missions as they do contain spoilers, but I will reveal that my task cards including me answering a question and picking up an item. Along the way you will encounter other survivors who may lend a helping hand. With each part, I always felt a feeling of unsureness of what was next. Could a Walker be around a corner, wanting to take a bite? Speaking of walkers, they are phenomenal in this. I forgot they’re  very sensitive to sound, and at one point I spoke to soon causing a chaotic scene; I’m sure my group wasn’t too fond of this. This incident would add more time to our experience, as we had to figure out what to do next. Also, throughout the experience, trust issues will emerge among your group and other survivors just like if this was to happen today.

As I mentioned, Clinton and Mike would become so immersed in the environment, it looked as they thought they were actually living in a Walker invested apocalyptic world.

After the experience was over, I wanted to continue on. A lot of hard work, dedication, and attention was given to The Walking Dead Experience. All the sets effects have that end of the world feel. The Walkers are extremely talented, even that clicking sound they make was there and it sounded great. Plus the awesome twists and turns in the story will have you wondering what is next. I truly enjoyed this.

I asked Clinton and Mike what were their thoughts on experience, Clinton stated “A lot of time and effort were put into this experience and I was thoroughly impressed. Bring an open mind, energetic friends, and a love for the world of zombies and you’ve have a guaranteed a good time”. Mike was still pumped after it was over and shared “It was an experience that showcases the unpredictability of human nature. It was more of adrenaline fuel experience than a horror one. Like blueprint of how you would react if an apocalyptic event occurred. The suspense was all too real”.

The Walking Dead Experience staff is amazing and has something very special with this. I highly recommend checking this out when it hits your town.

Didn’t have a chance to try out The Walking Dead Experience at the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest? Well you’re in luck as it will return this May 28 & 29th for The Walker Stalker Con.

For more info on The Walking Dead Experience, watch my interview with Alex and a very special guest below.

– Journalist Without A Beat… Out!


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