Bad news: There's been an outbreak of the zombie virus and all of society is breaking down as people struggle to survive in the new post-apocalyptic world. The good news is you've secured a seat on a train that is staffed by soldiers, a zombie tracker, a gamer turned zombie expert and a doctor working on a cure for the virus. And thus your journey on the Zombie Train begins.
The Sierra Dinner Train in Oakdale has once again been invaded by the undead for the month of October. The Zombie Train offers a 40-minute interactive excursion where guests get a front row seat to humanity's fight against those who prefer brains to pumpkin spice lattes. That is exactly the experience that drew Diane Perralt of Modesto and her 10-year-old granddaughter Angel Johnson.
"I was anxiously awaiting for it to come back because it's a different kind of experience," said Perralt, who admitted to being a zombie person all her life. "You actually get to have the experience. You can pretend you're in a movie, it's pretty exciting."
Perralt and Johnson took their experience to an undead level by signing up to get "zombified" by the train's make-up artists. When the pair were done with their transformations, they were pale and bloody enough to fit in with the zombie crowd.
Lena Avedian is one of the cosmetologists tasked with taking the dozens of local actors — and those guests who upgrade their tickets — from living, breathing people into the monsters that haunt society's nightmares.
Avedian said that creating a zombie is more fun than work.
"Zombies are not symmetrical; they don't have to be perfect, just death-looking. It's all about contours...and a lot of blood," she said.
Ken, Ellen and Bre Reed of Modesto boarded the Zombie Train for its maiden 2015 journey in hopes of seeing a specific zombie.
"We have a daughter who's a zombie," said Ellen Reed.
"We love her anyway," said Ken Reed.
Those wishing to take their own journey on the Zombie Train can purchase tickets starting at $35 for adults and $25 for children 2 to 12 years old. A Zombie Makeover can be added on to a ticket for $20. Excursions will run two to three times a night every weekend in October and the first weekend in November. Nightly trips will also be held Oct. 27-30.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit sierradinnertrain.com.