Death comes for ‘The Walking Dead’ attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood

Zombies are held at bay by a chain-link fence during the media preview of "The Walking Dead" attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016. The attraction will close March 4, 2020.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

An attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood that put parkgoers face to face with killer zombies will be killed off next month as the park gets ready for an attraction with a livelier outlook.

Known as “The Walking Dead,” the attraction inspired by the popular AMC television series opened in 2016 and is scheduled to close March 4, Universal Studios representatives said. The attraction relied on a combination of animatronics and real-life actors playing the zombies that chased and lunged at park visitors who wandered through an indoor maze.

The area where the apocalyptic-themed attraction is located has been overhauled to become an animal-themed area known as “Pets Place” that will feature a new ride based on the 2016 animated blockbuster “The Secret Life of Pets.”


Theme park representatives say the opening of the pet-themed area did not cause the closure of the “Walking Dead” attraction. The ride is scheduled to open March 27.

“We continually evaluate our entertainment offerings and are thrilled guests have enjoyed ‘The Walking Dead’ attraction as part of our daytime mix,” said Universal Studios Hollywood spokeswoman Audrey Eig, adding that a temporary “Walking Dead” maze will return during the park’s annual Halloween Horror Nights event.

The new ride, “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash,” will use live actors, animatronic characters and projection mapping, which displays moving images on uneven surfaces, to replicate a New York City scene.

But the featured technology will be the use of facial recognition and “enhanced gesture tracking,” which will allow cameras and projectors to create a unique image of each rider, resembling a dog on a screen.

For each seat on the ride, the technology will depict the occupant as a different dog.