Welcome To The Upside Down: Visiting The STRANGER THINGS Experience In Atlanta

Demogorgons, and Surfer Boy Pizza, and Scoops Ahoy, oh my! An inside (spoiler-free) look.

By Jimmy Shaw · @YankeeDawgPhoto · November 8, 2022, 5:25 PM EST
Welcome to Hawkins.

Before I started working at FANGORIA, I was fortunate enough to be a very small part of the massive machine that is Stranger Things for four seasons. The show was a huge part of my life for six years, and I got to experience so many cool things that I will get to share with my kids once my NDA runs out. I don't want to risk Netflix sending Demodogs after me and having my kids become orphans, so I'm glad they are still too young to care about any of it. My work days were a minimum of 12 hours, and a lot of weekends too, so naturally, I spent way more time with my co-workers than my family.

When I got the invite from Netflix for the Cast and Crew night at The Stranger Things: The Experience in Atlanta, the first thing I said was, "Why in the hell would I need to go to this? I lived the experience!"

Several of my awesome teammates from Season 4 were planning to go, so, combined with FANGORIA wanting me to check it out, my Friday night was booked. I honestly went into it with meager expectations and was mostly looking forward to seeing some of my Film Family that I hadn't seen for over a year.

After being checked in by security, I was handed a ticket for a free slice of Surfer Boy Pizza redeemable at the end of the experience. After that, we were broken up into groups and given a corresponding color wristband — red, blue, or yellow. Red Group for the win!!! Here is where that NDA comes back into play, and I must watch what I say, so don't expect any spoilers!


Besides the cast and crew, there were also a lot of guests that were fans of the show. I did my best to take a step back and watch the reactions of all the people around me. Watching everyone's excitement and pure joy was pretty amazing to witness, especially the younger fans. Despite my very low expectations, I really enjoyed the experience and feel it is a must for any fan of the show, even the casual watcher.

The experience itself lasts about 25-30 minutes, and once that's over, guests enter the mall which also acts as a photo op and gift shop. Thanks to several years of Netflix sending us stuff, and all the wrap gifts I've received over the years, I have an endless amount of ST swag — but there was a variety of shirts and merch for sale here that I had never seen! The photo ops alone will be worth it to most fans.





You can visit Scoops Ahoy, the Arcade, Family Video, the Surfer Boy Pizza Van, and the famous Byers couch, complete with Joyce's Christmas light telephone to the Upside Down. There's also a chance for brave souls to get a picture with a Demogorgon and season 4 baddie, Vecna. I wish I was better versed in the art of taking a selfie so I could have snapped some Instagram-worthy pictures. If you aren't adept at selfies, make sure to bring a Barb along.




While the best part for me was seeing all my Film Family that I love dearly, if I had known ahead of time how much fun this was going to be, I would have signed up quicker than Nancy changes boyfriends. After catching up with some of my Film Family, I finally got that slice of Surfer Boy Pizza, and like the experience itself — it was surprisingly pretty good!!!

Co-produced by Netflix and Fever, this groundbreaking experience takes fans inside some of the series' most iconic settings on an intimate guided new adventure alongside their favorite characters before the chance to hang out and explore all the major locations from the show. The experience opened in New York in May, San Francisco in June, London in August and Atlanta in October, with other cities announced around the world later this year, (including Los Angeles!) Check here for dates and details. Not near one of the announced cities? You can nominate yours on their website as well!