by Joe Tracy, editor of Theme Park Magazine
AREA15, the immersive entertainment district in Las Vegas, has announced that they will be opening a second location in Orlando, Florida called AREA15 Orlando. The new immersive entertainment district will open in 2024 and be within a short drive to the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Orange County Convention Center, and SeaWorld Orlando.
AREA15 Orlando is being built on a 17-acre site on the Southeast Corridor of 1-4 (intersection of Lake Street and Regency Village Drive). The new location will have 9.6 million residents within a 100-mile radius.
AREA15 Orlando is actively recruiting immersive experiences to be a part of its new location. In Spring 2023, the groundbreaking for AREA15 Orlando will commence and the facilities will open to the public in Fall 2024.
AREA15 Orlando – What to Expect
AREA15 Orlando will feature a two-story immersive entertainment complex with 135,000 square feet (SF) of leasable space and 72,000 SF of indoor/outdoor event spaces.
Like AREA15 Las Vegas, most of the space at AREA15 Orlando will be leased to organizations offering immersive or themed experiences and dining. The first floor is made up of event spaces, a lounge, bar, and retail, along with six additional leasable spaces between 1900 SF and 15,860 SF. The second floor has eight leasable spaces between 1,941 SF and 17,650 SF.
AREA15 Las Vegas has a popular “anchor store” with Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart that is a big draw in Las Vegas. It’s likely that a similar anchor store will be part of the Orlando installation. However, none of the spaces available come close to the 52,000 SF that Omega Mart occupies at AREA15 Las Vegas.
One of the big draws for AREA15 Orlando will be its extremely impressive indoor and outdoor event spaces. There are several event areas with the most impressive being more than 16,000 SF.
According to AREA15 CEO Winston Fisher, AREA15 Orlando will be a place of “innovative design, best-in-class attractions, integrated storytelling, monumental art installations, extraordinary technology, and distinctive retail.”
In a press release announcing AREA15 Orlando, it was stated, “AREA15 Orlando will offer a robust, ever-changing roster of concert events, art exhibitions, out-of-this-world nightlife, and boundary-pushing production shows.”
The mayor of Orange County, Jerry Demings, is excited for AREA15 to expand the art experience of the area. “In addition to the synergy with our world-class theme park and entertainment industries, AREA15 will amplify the region’s efforts to lead in the arts and culture space,” says Demings.
Little else is known at this time about what AREA15 Orlando will feature until companies start leasing spaces for their creative endeavors. A look at AREA15 in Las Vegas may be an indication of things to expect.
AREA15 Las Vegas
The original AREA15 opened in Las Vegas on September 17, 2020, and in its first year enjoyed 2 million visitors despite COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
AREA15 was created as an experiment to bring immersive experiences together in one location in order to create an immersive entertainment district. Area15 opened with eight experiences/attractions and added nine more, including the extremely popular Meow Wolf Omega Mart, in its first year.
Here is a list of attractions at AREA15 Las Vegas as of March 2022:
- Army of the Dead VR Experience (fight the dead VR challenge)
- Birdly (avian VR flight simulator)
- Brainstorm (interact with an “artificial brain”)
- Dueling Axes (ax throwing)
- Emporium (arcade and bar with funky lighting)
- Five Iron Golf (golf simulator)
- Haley’s Comet (gliding zipline around inside of AREA15)
- Liftoff (outdoor towering skyline lounge experience)
- Lost Spirits Distillery (unique immersive distillery experience)
- Museum Fiasco (immersive light and sound experience)
- Omega Mart (Meow Wolf’s immersive art installation and experience with a mystery to unravel)
- OZ Experience (called “the future of VR” – more senses are brought into play)
- Particle Quest (Augmented Reality experience)
- Virtualis VR (free roam VR experience, including body tracking and props)
- Wink World (unique psychedelic art experience created by one of the co-founders of the Blue Man Group)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as AREA15 Las Vegas continues to expand with new upcoming experiences like the second location for Illuminarium, called “the next generation in immersive entertainment.”
At CES 2022, Panasonic announced that it had entered into an “entertainment collaboration” with AREA15. Over the course of the next five years, Panasonic will “provide AREA15 with turnkey solutions from the very best of Panasonic’s solutions such as software development, engineering, projection design, show-quality support, industry-leading projectors and more to provide seamless and unparalleled 360-degree visual experiences.”
Prior to the announced collaboration, Panasonic was already providing projection-mapping projectors for AREA15 experiences in AREA15’s Portal room.
AREA15 Accolades and Awards
AREA15 may have started as an experiment, but it has turned into a massive entertainment complex for fans of immersive and themed experiences. Since launching, AREA15 has won many accolades and awards, including:
- “Best Immersive Art Experience” (USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards)
- “Best Attraction” (Las Vegas Weekly’s “Best of Vegas” Readers’ Choice Award)
- “Best Place for Your Instagram Shot” (Las Vegas Weekly’s “Best of Vegas” Readers’ Choice Award)
- “World’s Best Immersive Art Experience” (blooloop)
Advice for Visiting AREA15 for the First Time
- Surprisingly, AREA15 doesn’t allow cameras with detachable lenses and security will prevent you from entering if they see you with one. So leave your pro camera somewhere safe and secure before going to AREA15.
- You have to pay a “Entry Pass” fee to enter AREA15 and then additional fees for each experience you want to do. The Entry Pass fee is waived, however, if you pre-book an experience or event online.
- AREA15 often has deals or “bundles” on its Website (See Explore More – Resources below for link).
- After 10pm only those 21 and older are allowed to enter.
- If you plan on doing Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart experience, plan to be there for several hours. If you decide to immerse yourself into unravelling the “mystery,” you can easily be there for 3-5 hours.
AREA15 and AREA15 Orlando are a joint venture between real estate firm Fisher Bros and Beneville Studios, a creative consulting agency.