For the new release of season 3 of Stranger Things Netflix set up a pop up in Hongdae in an old Outback. I’d told a couple friends who hadn’t started the show but had it on their to watch list and they went with me, only to find the line had over a two hour wait and they had dinners to get to. So instead we decided to come back again on the last day. A half hour before they opened.
We weren’t the only ones with this plan. One of our friends got there over an hour before it opened and there was already a line, a small one but more people then I had expected. At 12 it opened and we were let in to sign up. The way it went was if you had a Korean phone number hooked up to Kakaotalk you typed your number on a touch screen and then got a number. Then you could leave or take pictures outside and come back when it was your turn. My friend with the best Korean gave them her number and then we took some pictures around outside before heading to the CU across the street to stay somewhere cool and eat more snacks.
She was able to see what place we were in line and how many groups were in front of us via the message she was sent on Kakaotalk. We were number 64 and the wait wasn’t too bad. I liked the way they’d set it up because it meant if you had a long wait you could explore Hongdae a little and come back or go get something to eat.
Eventually it was our turn so we went across the street to go in. We had been given a piece of paper about the pop up, a Stranger Things fan and now that we were allowed inside we were given another paper with a cute map on it and were asked if we knew what to do.
The staff member told us we needed to take 11 pictures. They could be of anything throughout the Stranger Things pop up, inside or outside with at least three of their hashtags, either on Instagram as posts (story was not allowed) or Snapchat or other social media. So we decided we’d start taking pictures and post whenever we had to wait.
The first room was set up like the Byer’s living room from season one. We sat on the couch and took pictures before moving onto the next room.
The second room was set up like Palace Arcade from season 2. They even had working games like Pacman and Space Invaders. And next to these games was the Stranger Things video game that you could play. They’d set it up like an old school arcade game but there were controls sticking out. This was all there was to the first floor. The rest of the first floor was where you went to get photo booth pictures (they had printing options for 2, 4, 6, and 8 which I greatly appreciated) and where you picked up your lucky prize.
Soon we got in the line on the stairs to go up.
There was a room on the second floor for posing with either castle Byers or the Mind Flayer. Then we got in line again to go to the top (and last) floor. On this floor was a lot more. Like a fort (and the only air conditioned room) in the Wheeler’s basement that was playing season 3. It was nice to sit in there and cool off because the next room was not air conditioned at all. This room was full of art.
It was really cool to see all the art but the room was sweltering. They even had a TV playing how some of the art was created.
Then in the middle was a space that looked like the school where a demogorgon was breaking through along with a wall of weapons and some sticker-ed desks.
There were two more parts to the top floor. One required 3 pictures to be posted, the other all 11. So we headed towards the 3+ pictures and I grabbed one of the tables on the balcony and fought a little with my overheating phone while my friends hovered around me and fanned my phone. As soon as I got all 11 posted with the hashtags I headed over to the 3+ picture section.
This section was for a free waffle. Eggos are somewhat rare in Korea, I’ve found them once and they’re like the ones in the picture, chocolate chip only.
Who knew there was a Stranger Things Eggo card game? Not me. Am I now intrigued by how you play a Stranger Things Eggo game? Yes definitely.
Next we went to the snowball room to do our lucky draw. Everyone in my group got an eco-bag (a reusable bag stamped with the Stranger Things logo on it). It was a fairly common prize. I also know a friend whose prize was stickers so I was pretty excited when I saw I got something different. (We also got an 11 stamp and a sticker of our choice. I grabbed the Korean title card sticker)
The prize pick up was downstairs right next to the photobooth so there was some line confusion. But eventually we got in the right line to get our prizes.
There were a lot of other really cool prizes and based off what I’ve heard from other people I’d wonder if the odds of winning any of the cool bigger prizes is a bit unfair. Except while we were waiting in line I did see a lady with the giant Lego set under her arm so I assume it is possible and you just have to be very lucky.
After looking at the prizes we didn’t get we hopped into line to take some pictures at the photo booth and were able to get four copies which I greatly appreciated because it meant we didn’t have to keep the long line waiting too much longer. Prizes and pictures in hand we headed outside to get our final prize. Though we did see something else we hadn’t heard about and were a bit bummed. There was another lucky draw.
This lucky draw though was if you’d come dressed up in cosplay as one of the characters for the show. And if you can tell, no eco-bags in sight. So the chances of something else was pretty high. Oh well.
Since I was the only one in our group who’d finished season 3 before going to the pop up I was insanely pumped up for Scoops Ahoy. I love nautical themes so I was already pretty happy, but free ice cream on an insanely hot day after wandering a non air conditioned building is a wonderful thing. There were no options. Only nice soft serve ice cream.
When I first heard about the Stranger Things pop up I wasn’t particularly excited. Originally everything I read was about the escape room. I didn’t know if I’d be able to go with friends or on my own and an escape room on your own in a language you don’t know just doesn’t sound like fun to me. But it was completely sold out immediately after it opened or maybe even before it opened. So how that was and if I would’ve had fun doing that is a different matter. Walking around taking pictures and posting them on social media was something I was going to do anyway so it was fun to do that and get prizes for doing it. Plus the entire thing was free so it was a great way to spend time with friends. The only thing I’d change is the ability to buy something you didn’t win, but since no money was exchanged I could see how maybe that’d require other permits or something.