Enter the rift and into the upside down, but watch out for Demogorgons!
Well, the summer season is almost here, the country is slowly recovering from COVID 19, and Netflix is on the cusp of releasing the latest season of Stranger Things. It feels so long ago when Stranger Things 3 dropped onto Netflix during the summer of 2019, and COVID made time move much slower. Thankfully, Netflix has partnered up with Fever to produce a groundbreaking experience to help pass the time! NYC residents will finally be able to live the moments of the hit TV show with the Stranger Things Experience!
Located at the Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Stranger Things Experience sends participants on a journey through some of the most iconic settings of the show, all with a new storyline developed by the Duffer Brothers. Participants start off signing up as volunteers as a test subject for a sleep experiment (Anyone who goes must arrive fifteen minutes early!). After being placed in one of three groups (red, yellow or blue), the participants get sent to a conference room to watch a welcome video. Eventually for the feed to be interrupted by Dustin, Mike and friends warning the audience to escape before they are lead out by employees.
As participants go to the next room, they partake in experiments while being overseen by scientists, and are shown that they have psychokinetic powers, with each group having a specific kind. As the facility is placed on lockdown, the kids appear again to tell everyone to use their powers to escape the facility and enter the “upside down.” What follows is a breathtaking, thrilling, and all around fun adventure where the participants use their powers to rescue Eleven, seal the gates, and restore safety to Hawkins, Indiana!
From the production standpoint alone, there is so much to admire about this experience. Each of the 5 rooms are distinctly detailed, and contain many Easter eggs. The visual and audio effects also add to the excitement, such as having the participants use their “powers” to move and crunch a soda can. These are the kind of effects that make one wonder how the creators were able to accomplish them. Even the part where participants have to wear 3D glasses is impressively innovative
The experience itself is a lot of fun, but thankfully, the entertainment doesn’t stop there. Once the participants are finished, they are rewarded with a stop by a retail hub that Starcourt Mall. Here, they can hang out and chat with fellow participants and partake in pizza, Scoops Ahoy ice cream, and arcade games. Unlike the main event, people are allowed to take as many pictures as they want of everything in the room. Thankfully, there are plenty of visuals worthy of pictures for social media, or even for personal keepsakes. Blending in amongst the people who went through the experience are mall-goers, including roller skate fanatics or mall staff members. Movie buffs may even end up in quarrels with the video store clerks!
With that being said, one of the most effective aspects of the experience is the acting performances, particularly the facility operators and the show’s cast. That’s right! All the young members of the cast, including Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard and Gaten Matarazzo, appear at certain points throughout the experience! Even though their material is pre-recorded, each of these actors are fully engaged in the storyline and somehow manage to interact with the audience even when they are not saying any lines. As far as the liver performances are concerned, some of them can be a bit over the top , but for this genre of storytelling, that just makes everything feel more fun. So much fun, in fact, that 45 minutes just doesn’t seem like enough. Perhaps one more room or 15 more minutes would have made it more satisfying, but as it is, it still provides an excellent time!
Now the big question….would this be enjoyable for only fans of Stranger Things? Not necessarily. It would help to be familiar with the show to know the characters who appear, but it is not required. If anything, this experience might help win the show new fans. Not only has it been a long time since the last season of Stranger Things, but also in doing things as a community. It is possibly the closest anyone can get to Disney World in New York!
The Stranger Things Experience is now open to the public at Duggal Greenhouse, 63 Flushing Ave, Building 268, Brooklyn NY 11205. It operates on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays form 5 pm–9 pm, as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am–9 pm. Be sure to follow @strangerthings.experience on Instagram to keep up to date with exclusive news and surprises.
Tickets for the Stranger Things Experience can be purchased here.