When asked to cover The Walking Dead Escape at San Diego Comic-Con for Wikia, I was all too eager to say yes. As a huge fan of the series and the graphic novels, I was excited to show the world how much of a bad-ass I truly was (in a structured and safe environment) and to prove to my family that I would totally survive the zombie apocalypse (albeit, a fantasy one at Petco Park in San Diego). Fun, I thought. It’ll be fun.
And then I checked in.
I immediately felt the anxiety rise within me. Here I was, the out-of-shape Cuban girl with glasses surrounded by hundreds of people that looked like they joined cross-fit this past year just to complete this course. They were stretching, doing push-ups, breathing exercises… legit -- they were pumping themselves up to survive the apocalypse. Oh yeah, and the waiver stated this “course was specifically designed to challenge you emotionally, mentally, and physically.” What the hell did I get myself into?
Soon after I checked in, Darryl (cameraman for Wikia, not the one with the crossbow) arrives and we discuss our game plan. He, too, notices the Hulks & She-Hulks we are surrounded by, but agrees with me that this is just a fun experience. No need to worry. Safety first. I instantly feel better knowing that he has my back and that he will be carrying a huge camcorder, so, if I end up in a tight sitch, I can always throw him to the frenzy. (Sorry, Darryl.)
They blow the horns and rush the first group to the quarantined area. The Escape has begun.
We start with about 75-100 people. This is important because as you watch the video of our experience, you will notice that we quickly dwindle down to 15-20 survivors. This obstacle course is no joke.
We keep getting rushed to section after section of government officials letting us know “we’re safe” and we “made it”, but (surprise, surprise) they lie. Every time we think we’ve cut a break and can breathe, mass groups of walkers appear and come after us. Some are slow, and some didn’t get the memo that they needed to be slow. Their make-up is awesome, they kinda smell, and they’re groaning “ughhhhh ughhhhhhhhhhh” is on point. These actors sound, look, and act like the walking dead for real. We go through abandoned parking lots, stairwells, hospitals, etc. All areas set-up throughout Petco Park, which by the way is freaking huge.
As I am running throughout the course trying my best not to get touched by these walkers, I am trying even harder not to get shoved/punched/thrown down by the participants. Yeah, remember those cross-fitters I mentioned earlier? Someone should teach them how to play nice -- this isn’t a real zombie apocalypse. They even shoved Darryl into walkers. I was the only one who could shove Darryl! Geez.
So, about 45 minutes and 972 calories later (my Fitbit told me so), we survived. We end up at a government tent with about 20 other survivors where the “President” is congratulating us on making it through and once again proclaiming us safe and sound. ((Spoiler Alert)) And then the military opens fire and shoots us dead. Nice, huh? So no one really survives the Escape. But, it was awesome.
The experience was intense, physically demanding, crazy because participants acted like it was real… but, awesome. And I didn’t need to sacrifice Darryl. We made it through together, Wikia-style. ;-)
A huge thanks to Wikia for letting me cover this and for Cameraman Darryl for not leaving me behind.
Check out the video and I hope you enjoy the experience. If you get a chance to check out The Walking Dead Escape at a city near you, I definitely recommend it.