Immersive Dining Concept

Creating A Magical, Immersive Dining Experience inspired by alice in wonderland

Concepting, designing, and prototyping to solve
problems and create exceptional experiences

Summary

A large entertainment company wanted to add on to their existing dining experience by creating a 360 immersive dining experience. By creating a 360 degree, dome-like space, combined with storytelling and experience design, we pitched how the magic and wonder of Alice in Wonderland could come to life during the entire dining experience.

Details

Client: 

A large entertainment company

Agency: 

900lbs

Category: 

Experiential

Timeline: 

2 weeks

Skills: 

Concepting / User Experience / Storytelling / Creative Direction

Objective

Create an immersive experience to amaze guests and compliment the existing theme

A large entertainment company has a restaurant themed around the Wonderland story and sets the standard for imaginative cuisine. The existing dining experience is a highlight for many, but how could our client top this to make an even more immersive and mesmerizing experience for guests?

Insight

The magic of the Wonderland theme comes from the outlandish theatrics that fans of the story love

The White Rabbit. Mad Hatter. The "Bloody" Red Queen. Cheshire Cat...these are all beloved characters that create such a profound sense of joy bring out our inner child. The story of falling down a rabbit hole, wandering through a strange place with odd characters, yet eventually finding a sense of rationality in an irrational world, is something we can all relate to (in a way). So in order to create an experience that people can connect to, I spearheaded the creation of a storyworld where outlandish and whimsical just seems like another day in Wonderland.

Solution

Wonderland Immersive Dining

The existing Wonderland concept embraces the classic tale, yet is missing the piece of oddity and vividness that shines in the original story. In order to truly have an immersive experience, I led the creation of a storyworld where guests were taking a tour of Wonderland. Guests would experience this through an individual 360 immersive environment projecting our visual content throughout their meal, along with their guides (waiter/waitresses) pushing the story along.

Anything and everything could happen.

Concept Art by Abby Esterly
Overview

The surrounding 360 environment acts as an extension to what you’re eating, and what you eat changes the scene:

Entrance: A pre-dinner drink (either with or without alcohol depending on guest age)
Exterior of the dining area where there's a projected door that gets smaller once "Drink Me" beverage is consumed.
Makes guests small enough to enter the area.

Appetizer: Carrots & Veggies
Wild garden with animation and mini stories happening (ex. Two ants fighting, flowers whispering, etc.)

Entree: Liquid Lobster or Beef Tenderloin
Ocean scenes with fantastical and strange Wonderland-esque creatures.
Land animals in ocean, ocean animals on land, etc.

Dessert: Tea & Cake
Tea house with “controlled chaos” happening around.
Just enough to make the guests feel slightly uncomfortable, but not so much that they don’t enjoy the experience.

Exit: "Eat Me" macaroon
Guests receive a "Eat Me" macaroon to remember the experience once they're back to their normal lives.

Guest Experience Journey

All guide-led with “You” referring to the guest going through the experience in second person perspective.

INTRODUCTION
You make a reservation for this Wonderland immersive dining experience.

Upon reservation time, you meet your guide (waiter/waitress) and are taken to this seemingly secret and mysterious tunnel that’s separate from the main Wonderland restaurant.

You guide takes you to the front of the pod. You see a tiny door (the outline of the door is created by an LED strip). Your guide tells you “to drink this” in order to fit through the door.

As you consume the drink, the guide sets expectations for the experience and sets the scene.

Seemingly after you and your fellow guest finish your drink, the door gets bigger (remote controlled by guide).

The guide opens the pod door and your guide officially welcomes you to Wonderland.


WILD GARDEN
You enter the pod. As you walk to your seat, you see a 360° moving environment filled with bright colors and elements.

The floor is a burgundy red with medium-sized fuzzy dots. You remember that the guide told you that your mode of transport for the tour would be a magic mushroom. The table is neatly set, however, for a nice meal.

As you get settled in, your guide serves you your first official appetizer to set the mood.

After you eat the appetizer, the waiter realizes that he gave you something that would make you even smaller.

Suddenly, purple smoke lines the environment, and when it dissipates, you notice that you’re even smaller than before...the size of an ant!

The guide apologizes, but explains that it might make the tour even more interesting.


FOREST
You enter this magical forest. Mushrooms look like trees, and trees look like skyscrapers, You notice things that you may have not before becoming this size. You notice two ants fighting in the corner.

As you progress into the forest, you hear strange noises. A “yoo-hoo” one moment, but when you turn your head, you see nothing. Though your fellow guest did say that he feels like he’s being watched…

You eat an appetizer or two more and feel like the menu is fitting in naturally with each part of the forest you walk by.

After you finish your last appetizer, you notice that you’ve reached the end of the forest and have reached a semi-rocky shore.

Your guide tells you “Oh, the tea house is just across this lake.” and says that it’s excellent weather to go boating.


LARGE LAKE
You set off towards the tea house. Your mode of transport feels like it’s floating on top of the water.

You receive your entree and enjoy the scenery. Though you do notice some small ships in the distance.

As you have finished your entree, the guide comes in looking quite worried, saying “The heart ships are surrounding us!”

He gives you another drink to consume (in a shot glass), and as soon as you and your fellow guest finish it, purple smoke again fills the area.

When the purple smoke dissipates, you realize that you are much bigger than before. The ships don’t feel humongous anymore...they seem quite the opposite. You note that they look much like toy ships.

Your guide then presses a button underneath that flower vase that’s been there this whole time, which triggers the mushroom to send out a particle wave, knocking the ships back and rendering them inoperable.

After just a few moments of your mushroom moving, you see the ships behind you and the tea house shining brightly up ahead like a lighthouse.


TEA HOUSE
You made it on shore! Your guide apologizes for what happened back there; he didn’t know there would be a chance of heart ships in the weather forecast.

Your mushroom morphs back to land-ready transport. It pauses. Your guide serves you your first mini dessert.

As soon as you finish that, you become normal sized again. Your mushroom floats and moves you into the teahouse.

The teahouse is pleasant, but a little...odd. There’s picture frames of very normal things, like a white hare, done in a very strange way, like it’s upside down but deliriously smiling. You hear delirious laughs in the distance, and every so often some breaking of teapots and mad fighting about nothing. Those are just some of the things you notice, but your fellow guest also notes some other things in your odd surroundings.

You have a couple of mini desserts, along with tea and coffee while you’re in the tea house.


END
As you are finishing up, you start to hear feet marching, like an army of some sort. Your guide says, "We have to leave now, as tea parties are forbidden in these parts" and starts up the mushroom.

V1) The guide activates a different colored smoke that fills the room. This time, the color is a darker pink.

V2) It feels like a magic carpet ride, being able to rise up and see a top down view as you see the heart army in the distance.

Next thing you know, you’ve been taken back to the wild garden you started at. The mushroom lands on the ground for you to deboard.

Your guide then escorts you out of the pod, and before you leave, you get one last drink to make you normal sized for the real world, in addition to a small macaroon that says, “Whenever you miss Wonderland, eat me.”

Your guide wishes you well and invites you to come again soon.

Concept

Use AR to animate instructions right off the page for improved context

AR provides two key features that help users further understand their environment. 1) It puts in augmented content wherever the user holds their phone camera and 2) Provides context in the X, Y, and Z axises instead of just two like traditional mobile applications.

Why this works

Use AR to animate instructions right off the page for improved context

IKEA Assembly is a mobile application that uses augmented reality to place animated instructions into the user's environment.  The little details and context that get lost in a picture can be clarified by the user walking around, moving closer and away from the model, and iconography representing key tools and actions needed.

Concept Art by Abby Esterly

Why this works

Allows guests to be a part of the story

Compared to other 360° experiences, guests are a part of the story through the guide interaction throughout the meal.

Invites a sense of awe

Guests are surrounded by a fantastical storyworld full of vibrant imagery and see that actions they take directly affect the story.

allows multiple ways to experience the wonderland storyworld

For those who are looking to be in a unique dining experience in addition to being entertained have this as a plus one for special occasions or impressing their plus one.

The Process

behind-the-scenes: Research, Initial Sketches, Experience Objectives

Concepting, designing, and prototyping to solve
problems and create exceptional experiences

Lorem ipsum dolor

Another needless source of question marks over people’s heads is links and buttons that aren’t obviously clickable. As a user, I should never have to devote a millisecond of thought to whether things are clickable — or not.

Button Text

Sit amet elit

Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible. When instructions are absolutely necessary, cut them back to a bare minimum.

Button Text

Features

Feature one

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature one

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature four

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature one

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature four

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature five

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature six

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature seven

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature eight

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Features

Feature one

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature One

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature four

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Features

Feature One

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature four

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature five

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Feature six

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

The spectacle before us was indeed sublime.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Features

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Button Text
Initial Brainstorming and Sketches
Experience Objectives

EXPERIENCE RULES (INTERNAL)
1) The experience should involve everyone at the table

2) Don’t have them look down; have them look around and talk with each other

3) Experience is primarily passive, with some interactions during the experience to drink or eat to move the story along

4) Waiters/Waitresses are called guides. Should have some acting experience to become a character within the experience to guide the guests.

5) Projection is meant to augment the experience, not take away from it - should have just enough intrigue to keep guests interested in their surroundings, but not so much that they don’t eat their food.

6) The pods for this experience should be in a separate area from the existing restaurant to ensure we can test before scaling up. Make sure the lights and sounds from the pods don’t spill over into the existing dining area

BEST PRACTICES
1) The menu and the story should be seamlessly tied together (ex. when in the forest, you have forest-themed food and drink items).

2) Bringing in food is timed so when guests are brought in and out of the pod, no one sees people on the outside delivering food.

3) Preset menu (such as a Prix Fixe) would be best for this type of experience (ex. 3 appetizers, 2 smaller entrees, 2 desserts, and some drinks).

4) No a la carte to streamline the process and rhythm of the experience. Only a la carte potential might be other alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks ordered at the very beginning.

FUTURE PHASE OBJECTIVES
1) Experience recorded for later viewing (even there being a camera that takes pictures at climatic moments).

2) The pods could be converted into separate rooms, with each room having its own environment (ex. Move to the Forest Room, Move to the Ocean Room, etc.). Would have elements of each to ramp up the immersive feel.

3) Have guest pre-choose online which experience they want to do, or choose after they’ve checked in to their reservation (ex. Tour of Wonderland, Save the Hare, etc. Experience tiers would be passive, active, or a mix in between).

4) Each guest has a wristband or some other personal device given to them that allows them access into Wonderland (would have RFID tag inside). Could be similar to Disney’s wristband and could even scale for being throughout the property. Predominantly used for tracking what experience they chose, providing access into Wonderland, and sending them photos of their experience.

The Team

Emmar Grant, Visual Content Artist
Steve Garcia, Freelance Visual Content Director
Heather Jones, Director of Client Services
Angelica Ortiz, Experience Designer

MY RESPONSIBILITIES

Concepting, User Experience, Storytelling, Creative Direction

MY RESPONSIBILITIES
CONCEPTING
USER EXPERIENCE
STORYTELLING
CREATIVE DIRECTION
PROTOTYPING
CONCEPTING
USER EXPERIENCE
STORYTELLING
CREATIVE DIRECTION

View other work

Lorem ipsum

Legowerk UX kit

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Option one

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Option two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Option three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.