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'Walking Dead' zombies to stalk Universal Studios Hollywood in year-round maze

Universal Studios Hollywood plans to turn the "Walking Dead" haunted maze, which has proved wildly popular during the theme park's last four Halloween Horror Nights, into a year-round attraction.

Set to debut this summer, the "Walking Dead" walk-through attraction will be housed in a permanent building on the upper lot near the main entrance that will be open to visitors 365 days a year.

Universal said the new “no-holds-barred experience” promises to be significantly more intense than recent Horror Nights iterations of the maze, with more detailed set designs, props, costumes, makeup and animatronic figures.

The Emmy Award-winning AMC zombie apocalypse television show on which the attraction is based remains a ratings juggernaut. The new permanent maze will reunite "Walking Dead" executive producer Greg Nicotero with Horror Nights creative director John Murdy.

The new "Walking Dead" attraction will likely be built on the former location of Universal’s House of Monsters, a year-round haunted maze that was torn down in November.

Universal has not set an opening date for the new "Walking Dead" attraction beyond “summer,” which in theme park parlance typically means on or around Memorial Day weekend. The announcement of the new attraction comes just before Universal plans to open the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on April 7.

In November, Sally Corp. unveiled a new "Walking Dead" attraction at the International Assn. of Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show in Orlando, Fla. The Walking Dead: Battle for Survival interactive shooter 3-D dark ride would feature animatronic figures, physical sets, digital projections and special effects. At the time, many industry watchers thought Universal Studios would be a perfect fit for the new ride. 

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