Nature is healing and things are slowly going back to normal. With more people getting vaccinated every day, guidelines being lifted, and businesses opening up, it was only a matter of time before immersive selfie museums started to return. Especially eagerly anticipated ones that were supposed to open last year but couldn’t, due to COVID. And that’s exactly the case here, with ELSEWHERE AT THE MADCAP MOTEL finally opening its doors (and portals) this week into its strange and weird world.
Though, calling MADCAP MOTEL a selfie museum may be the wrong choice of words. I would think of it more as “Meow Wolf Lite” in a lot of ways, where its an interactive art museum of sorts, with fantastic sets in an abnormal world, with a bit of immersive theater thrown in to boot.
After getting our temperature taken and waiting in a short line outside, guests are invited into MADCAP MOTEL in small groups. The front desk and waiting area are designed to a 50s / 60s theme, and it was a great way to get into the mood of the world. A maid made her way around to each group, doing fun little immersive bits with them, before our “room” was ready. From there, we were brought into a gorgeous motel room, where the real fun begins. One thing lead to another, and before we knew it, we were walking through a worm hole in the closet into the world of Elsewhere.
I really loved this opening sequence, as it not only did a wonderful job of setting the stage for what was to come, but it did the “on-boarding” of rules in such a fun, in-world way. This is the kind of immersive theater I love best, where it really understands how to ingrain people into their world, so kudos to the MADCAP team for that.
After being dumped in a lobby (which also happened to double as a tropical forest), we were set loose to wander the strange world of MADCAP for ourselves. Off the lobby were a ton of doors to the motel’s many rooms, each one more zany than the last. There was the “car wash”, where I was told not to press the red button (which of course, I did), the room where we were shrunk down and could fit inside a TV, the room that was under the sea, a room akin to an infinity room with mirrors on every surface, and more.
Each of these rooms had new secrets to uncover and explore, while at the same time providing some fun photo opportunities. Because, yes, photos are allowed and even encouraged. And trust me, there is plenty here for you to take photos of and with. These sets are absolutely stunning at times, and I found myself taking more photos of them than their original intention of me being in the photo! But that’s okay, because each room was more fun to look at than the last. Hell, there was even one with a grassy knoll that happened to be empty long enough for me to plop down next to my friend and watch as random videos were projected onto the wall. It was strange, it was weird, and in a lot of ways, it was peaceful.
I am happy to say that COVID guidelines are being enforced quite well here. They only let a certain amount of people in at a time, and the motel staff (while always in character) do their best to keep everyone socially distanced. I even witnessed a few staff members quickly jump to ask people to put their masks on properly during my stay, so that made me feel even better. Hand sanitizing stations were plenty, and there was always an empty space you could escape to if you felt too many people were nearby. But that said, I never once felt unsafe at MADCAP, so they most be commended for that.
If I had one gripe for my visit, is that I wanted a little more story as opposed to selfie. While the opening and closing scenes were great at setting the tone, once inside, we were left to our own devices. I did have a great interaction with a motel “guest” and a moving bush in the lobby atrium area, but aside from that, the staff in the rooms were mostly there to be silent guardians and keep everyone safe. Having some of these staff members interact with the guests a little more would keep it fresh and entertaining, adding a little extra oomph to the space. But that didn’t take away from the fun I do have there. There is still plenty to see and do without it!
At the end of the day, ELSEWHERE AT THE MADCAP MOTEL is a fun way to get a little immersive fix and see some really cool spaces. Being my first real “experience” back in the real world since COVID hit, MADCAP MOTEL was an excellent way to get back into the swing of things. If you’re looking for a fun activity for you and your (hopefully vaccinated!) friends to do, I definitely recommend it. Just don’t press that button in the car wash.
For more information, and to buy tickets, visit ELSEWHERE AT THE MADCAP MOTEL online at: https://www.madcapmotel.com/