Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to see what Hawkins Indiana was really like in the 80s? We sure have! This past weekend Fandomize Media got the chance to check out Stranger Things: The Experience, you know, the one from Joseph Quinn’s infamous “I don’t know” interview. Netflix partnered with Fever to produce this epic immersive experience allowing fans to unlock their power and become heroes in their own adventure.
But in true Hawkins fashion, things don’t always go as planned…
When we got to Hawkins, (through a gate in Brooklyn) we decided to check out Hawkins Lab. Dr. Owens said it had reopened and they were looking for sleep study participants. We all really wanted to get a glimpse at where it all began so we volunteered for the study. After a brief introduction to the study, we were ushered into the Rainbow Room for the first test and something interesting happened… We have superpowers!?! Some of us could move objects or make them freeze like El, while others could create illusions like Kali.
It turns out Brenner was only using the sleep study as a cover and we all knew that we needed to escape. Luckily, we had some help. Thanks to Dustin’s hacking skills, Mike’s encouragement and El’s powers, we were able to create a gate to the Upside Down, allowing us to flee, but not before facing a few demodogs. Now it was our turn to help El occupy some demogorgons while she closes the gate.
Back in Hawkins proper, we caught up with the rest of the gang and headed to Starcourt Mall to relish in our victory with some Surfer Boy Pizza and Scoops Ahoy ice cream! I went for a mocktail called “The Eleven” and treated myself to a rootbeer float. I even played a game of Dig Dug at the Palace Arcade, although there was no way I could beat Max’s score.
The mall set up kept the 80s nostalgia strong with the Mix-Tape full of neon lights, tunes and iconic movie posters. There were plenty of selfie opportunities at Rink-O-Mania, with the Christmas lights in the Bylers’ living room, a phone booth, and a Demogorgon. To say this experience was totally tubular is an understatement.
I’m not going to lie, this experience felt real. Getting to interact with Brenner was kind of terrifying but getting to immerse myself in a Hawkins mystery was super cool! For the duration of the experience, I forgot reality and believed that I could have powers. The 3-D glasses really made it seem like we were in the Upside Down with the dust particles floating everywhere. I even jumped when a demodog started running toward us. But getting to help El save Hawkins was worth it.
The icing on the cake was at the end when the gang welcomed us into their friend group. Despite knowing that I wasn’t actually in Hawkins, hearing El and the gang call me a friend was the best part of the experience for me. So, in addition to walking away with awesome merch and bitchin’ photos, I also feel like I walked away with new friends.
Fandom is a community where we can come together to share our enjoyment with others that feel the same way as we do. Stranger Things: The Experience does that for fans. Through this experience, we are given a space to fully participate in our love of Stranger Things by immersing ourselves in the story and teaming up with some of our favorite characters to save Hawkins.
The New York City location is sold out, but good news: the experience is still available in San Francisco and London. The experience will also be available in Atlanta starting October 22. The waitlist to reserve your spot is now open, and you can officially purchase tickets starting September 8. Tickets are limited, and while walk-ins are welcome, guaranteed entry is recommended.
So, was this experience worth it? Friends don’t lie, it was a solid 11/10!