Visiting Stranger Things: The Experience – Toronto

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Stranger Things: The Experience, the interactive exhibition presented by Netflix and Fever. The experience is happening from now through June at Netflix's new soundstage at the Cinespace Marine Terminal Studio in the Toronto Portlands. The experience is divided into two distinct parts, beginning with an interactive experience in Hawkins Lab, followed by the Mix Tape exhibition space.

Stranger Things: The Experience – Hawkins Lab

Stranger Things: The Experience begins with you signing in for what is purported to be a Sleep Study at the Hawkins National Laboratory. Visitors are sorted into three colour-coded categories as they interact with actors playing the scientists leading the study. Naturally, things quickly go awry, and pre-recorded messages by the Stranger Things cast guide the visitors to use burgeoning psychic abilities to stop an attack from the creatures of the Upside Down.

Taking place over an approximately 45-minute timespan, the Hawkins Lab section of Stranger Things: The Experience is exceptionally well-produced, mixing live actors and effects with video messages from the cast, including Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair, as Max Mayfield, Paul Reiser as Dr. Sam Owens, and Matthew Modine as Dr. Martin Brenner. While the specifics of what happens in Hawkins Lab is something we are asked to keep under wraps, with no photos or video allowed, I will say that it climaxes with an awe-inspiring full-room 3D experience, which includes the various creatures from the Upside Down flying directly into your face.

Stranger Things: The Experience – Mix-Tape

Visitors exit from the interactive Hawkins Lab experience into the Mix-Tape exhibition and food court area. Here you can take your photo with a statue of the villain Vecna, visit the Byers Family living room from the first season, and order food from stands based on the show's Surfer Boy Pizza and Scoops Ahoy Ice Cream Parlor. The Mix-Tape also includes a 1980s-themed bar called The Upside, selling drinks and cocktails inspired by the show and a gift shop selling t-shirts and other souvenirs.

Sadly, the Mix-Tape is the least impressive section of Stranger Things: The Experience. While it is cool getting your photo taken with Vecna or visiting the recreated Byers Family living room, the food stalls were low quality and expensive (paid $8 each for a tiny slice of pepperoni pizza and a single scoop of ice cream). With my VIP ticket, I got a free drink from The Upside, and I chose the Eleven-Themed cocktail, which was more or less a Shirly Temple. My credentials also got me a VIP Tote Bag on the way out, containing a Stranger Things Bluetooth speaker and a package of Chips Ahoy cookies.

Stranger Things: The Experience – Details

Stranger Things: The Experience – Toronto runs until June 11, 2023, at the Cinespace Marine Terminal Studio (8 Unwin Avenue, Toronto, M5A 3L1). Tickets start at $49, and the hours of operation are Wed-Fri 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM and Sat-Sun 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM. The interactive Hawkins Lab experience runs for 45 minutes, with visitors able to spend as long as they wish in the Mix-Tape. Children under five will not be admitted, and adults must accompany those under 14.

This post was proofread by Grammarly