Starcourt Mall : A Stranger Things 3 Pop-up
July 6, 2019
A group of us managed to get tickets for the Starcourt Mall pop-up to celebrate the release of season 3 of Stranger Things in Los Angeles this past weekend. The pop-up was only open Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7, 2019. The free tickets were for time slots spaced 30 minutes apart. There was no description of what this pop-up was about except a mention of it being an immersive experience and photo-ops.
We had a total of 8 people, but we split up our for the photo ops. We arrived 15 minutes before our appointment time, which is what was recommended by organizers. Once checked-in and wristbanded, we could get a free scoop of the new Stranger Things themed flavor U.S.S. Butterscotch ice cream (by Baskin Robbins) from the Scoops Ahoy “boat.” They also had free bottles of water and a large character wall for photos. There were restrooms behind the character wall.
Then we got into another line where we could get a free can of New Coke from a vending machine. There was also a pressed penny machine where each person could get a free pressed penny (pennies provided) of a Stranger Things image of their choice. In total, we waited approximately an hour and a half before getting inside the “mall.” There was a DJ playing 80s music while we waited in line, and we were in the shade provided by the building so the wait wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
They took us in small groups inside the mall, and our group was eight people so there were only a couple of others taken inside with us. Once inside the building, you see a central court complete with planter in the center of the room and store facades. The first actual room you go to is the Flash Studio where they had various 80s era shirts, jackets, and accessories to get you glammed up for a Polaroid photo. You could also take or have the staff take photos on your phone/camera. The next room couldn’t take all of us so the others went into the Hawkins Community Pool and our personal group stayed in Flash Studio and took more photos on our phones.
Once we got into the pool, we played with beach balls and Hawkins swim tubes and took lots of pictures. There were two “lifegaurds” in the pool to make sure we obeyed the pool rules posted on the wall, and they posed for pictures, too.
From the pool, we go into Eleven’s bedroom complete with replica props from season three. We were only allowed to spin the bottle, play with the CB radio, and sit in the chair at the desk. This room is small, and we took our own photos before we taken in our “photo group” into next room.
It was a black room with a bathtub in the center. I climbed inside the tub for the photo and wore a blindfold. They took a photo and GIF length video and both were emailed a few minutes later to the address I provided.
The next room was the Russian laboratory, and there was one man inside yelling at us in Russian when we touched the controls on the consoles (which our guide, Andy, told us to do), and Andy played along, too, ordering a pizza from the phone on one of the consoles. Two more “Russian” looking (if you’ve seen season 3, you’ll know what I mean) men walk into the room from another door and lead us to another room. We’re now on a “hill” for a photo-op. I got really excited to see the Mongoose bike photo prop I got to stand with. There were a few photos taken of each photo group. We had two in our photo group so we were given two printed copies, and we provided an email address where they would send all four photos to us. Once you leave this room, we are back in the central courtyard area where we had entered the building. I took more photos of the street-facing side of the building while we waited outside for the rest of our group.
This was a great immersive experience which lasted about 45 minutes, and I wasn’t too annoyed with the hour and a half wait. They did allowed a few people in via standby, but I heard those lines were over two hours. This is something I hope would be at San Diego Comic Con next week, but it would also really need to have reserved appointment times.