Transforming X No Way Out into The Walking Dead: The Ride at Thorpe Park

We designed and delivered the terrifying multisensory experience that surrounds Thorpe Park’s newest coaster: The Walking Dead: The Ride. The attraction is a retrofit of X: No Way Out, which launched in 1996 as the world’s first backwards roller coaster in the dark, and it is completely unrecognisable.

The immersive experience wraps guests in the story from beginning to end, starting with the initial queue line and continuing with the preshow, dramatic on-board effects and a death defying finale.

The process began at the Holovis Demonstration Campus in the UK, filming all the media scenes and capturing the audio in the Green Screen and Sound Studio, then adding a full post production treatment.

The preshow sets the scene for guests, placing them in the Safe Zone then seeing this be compromised through a series of visual and sensory special effects that are dissimilated into the theming. This includes through mocked CCTV footage showing Walkers attacking the area of the queue line they were just in and clambering against a window, which is actually a 4K screen.

Guests then move through the rest of the line as a batched queue, with zonal surround audio and lighting giving the illusion that they are the only group there. The immersive media scenes continue into the loading station and on the coaster, with interludes at key moments combining physical and digital effects with real actors.

Peter Cliff, creative director at Holovis explains:

“This is a great example of our turnkey capability, as we’ve worked with Merlin Magic Making from the initial design phase through to capturing and creating all the media and integrating it with the AV and lighting across the whole attraction and special effects. This has allowed us to really maximise the impact, as the repercussions from things that are being seen and heard are interconnected to fit the gripping story.

“It also showcases how existing attractions can be given a new lease of life through integrated media, special effects and theming making it a quick and easy transition, with minimal structural work required.”

Take a look behind the scenes at the creation of The Walking Dead: The Ride here