A piano begins to play “Black Hole Sun” seemingly on its own. The scene is familiar, except that the crowd isn’t the Mariposa Saloon’s typical patrons – this time, visitors are San Diego Comic-Con attendees. This is part of Westworld: The Experience, the next best thing to stepping foot in Sweetwater. The immersive activation drops fans into the roles of park guests, and brings all the iconic aspects of Westworld to life.
Here’s a rundown of what lucky attendees will experience this weekend:
Those looking to “live without limits” should head over to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel to make an appointment with a Westworld host. As they wait, a player piano takes their requests via a covert Delos computer program. The piano also serves as a chilling reminder of the finale episode’s events: A splatter of blood appears as the music roll passes over the trackerboard.
Those who secure access to the ultra-exclusive experience receive a business card with a time and location. Guests arrive and enter a Delos suite, and are greeted by a host who ushers them into the iconic onboarding area. There, guests can see a wide assortment of weapons available in the park. The selection includes Single Action Army pistols, a derringer, a LeMat – used by the Man in Black – an assortment of bowie knives from the 1800s and more. Beyond the arsenal, guests can get a look at the costumes of William, Maeve and Logan.
After surveying the accessories, the experience becomes more personal. Hosts lead guests down a hallway; the walls are decorated with model heads, which attentive viewers may recognize as props from Dr. Ford’s office. At the end of the hallway, a room labeled “Delos Research and Development” features a logo of another Delos world. Instead of entering that mysterious room, hosts usher guests into a separate space labeled “concierge analytics.” Once inside, the host sits directly across from guests and begins an intense personality assessment. A typical question is as follows: “Picture yourself sitting in a saloon, with five strangers sitting beside you. A gang bursts in and kills the other five. They offer you a gun. Do you join them, refuse them or fight them?”
Following the series of inquiries and answers, the host provides a personality analysis, and recommends the ultimate Westworld determinant – the white or black hat. As guests try on the recommended custom Serratelli hat, they see a glimpse of a Delos Lab Tech.
No park experience would be complete without a stop at Sweetwater’s iconic Saloon. Upon entering the Mariposa, guests are greeted by Paul McGee and Shelby Allison, world-renowned mixologists and co-owners of Lost Lake, a tiki bar in Chicago. Playing the role of host bartenders, the pair whip up a trio of cocktails, each inspired by the early 1800s. First up is a sherry punch, made from Maeve’s favorite liquor. Next is a nod the old west saloon – the “Blue Blazer,” a drink containing high-proof rye whiskey that’s lit on fire. The final round is a milk punch, a wink at the beverage’s frequent appearance on the series. With cocktails containing rare spirits served in vintage glassware, the saloon is an authentic taste of the Old West.
While fans prove that the whiskey’s not doing any good sitting in the bottle, they can request songs on another player piano, bookending their one-of-a-kind Westworld: The Experience.
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Click here for photos from the experience.