Amazon’s Carnival Row is the most magical experience at SDCC 2019

As we see it, voting is now closed and Amazon Prime will be winning this year’s Comic-Con as the most massive activation with Carnival Row as its crowning jewel. Within this Amazon Prime offsite there are 3 experiences that represent each of the shows that Amazon Prime is pushing this year. With San Diego’s close proximity to Hollywood, it’s no doubt that Amazon imported some excellent immersive theatre actors for the Carnival Row experience. I would say that this was probably the longest, most intimate activation at this year’s Comic-Con. Spoilers ahead, so if you plan on doing this activation, read no further.

Creature Sorting

The experience starts with a sorting card. You choose whether you want a creature card or a human card. Your choice determines how you enter Carnival Row, and also how the Victorian era police treat you as you enter. By choosing to be a creature, I was subjected to a bunch of verbal abuse from the police. The police were a lot nicer to the humans so choose your cards accordingly.

The Market Area

The next area brings you into a market, with a few local merchant creatures and locals that you can interact with. We were confronted with aggressive merchants who were worried about what would happen if they didn’t sell enough of their wares. Often times, the police would interupt your conversation by pushing you to the side and giving you a warning that they are watching you. One specific item being sold from a merchant was a bottle of green milk that she called Green Fairy. Drinking it would assure that you would be able to see all green fairies for the rest of your life. After a bit of time interacting with the merchants, we are coaxed by the merchants to enter into the next area.

The Club

This is where things get good. The doors are promptly shut behind you as you enter an area that resembles a club space with a raised stage in the middle. As I entered, a creature was onstage welcoming you to sanctuary and served as the host between acts. The first act was a folksong ballad by the creature Molly. This is the time where you can essentially roam around the room while there’s a singing or a dancing act going on. One of the creatures took me into a private booth to tell me a story about her librarian friend from her hometown. She described the library with books as far as the eyes can see, and also how she fell in love with a soldier. The monologue story takes a dark turn as a bloody war happened along with a massive slaughter. With great sadness, her story becomes that of a widow. It was then, suddenly a commotion was occurring on the other side of the room.

The Disruption

It’s the same police that was patrolling outside the club. The music abruptly stops, and suddenly the club is swarming with police. Most of the creatures huddle to the corners and encourage everyone else to hide, but up on stage the club host creature gets pushed around and gets into it with a police person. The police start blaming the club for harboring a fugitive, then starts moving to the audience. After some verbal tongue-lashing by the police, we are all told that in order to conduct a thorough investigation of the premises, that we all must leave. We are huddled out the door by the police as the creatures start chanting, “We are creatures.” Out the door brings you back to the large Amazon Prime 40 foot tower to greet you back to reality.

The Amazon Prime activation will be available for all to visit, badge or not. Be sure to visit before Comic-Con ends. It is located at the corner of MLK and 1st Street. Look for the giant green Amazon Prime Tower. You can’t miss it.


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