Mariana Ruiz
February 27, 2024
3 min read

Thrilling Beyond Neon: Uncovering the Ultimate Las Vegas Adventure

Immersive Vegas, welcome to the future by Mariana

My family and I decided to take a trip to America.  In the middle of December 2023, we took a plane from Melbourne, Australia, to first San Francisco and then Los Angeles (yes, Disneyland was a must for our twin girls). 

At the same time, my husband and I wanted “our Disneyland ” too: Las Vegas!  But do not get me wrong—not the “adult Vegas,” not Elvis and Dolly Parton, or the casino and all the other outlawed Las Vegas—we wanted to visit The Sphere Las Vegas!   The Sphere promised to be Disneyworld for people like me who are passionate about creative, media, digital and immersive technology.  So once we were done with Disneyland in Anaheim, we rented a car to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. 

We left LA early in the morning with the idea of arriving in Las Vegas around noon to be able to enjoy some hours before The Sphere show at 7pm.  All the excitement did not let us pay attention to the possible jet lag and the previous day of walking around the Disney amusement park for more than 14 hours (which felt like 36).  And, to tell you the truth, this time we  could not tell the difference between day and night or having breakfast or dinner.   So, in order to keep moving and avoid dozing off while driving to Las Vegas, we had to stop a few times for coffee and sweets.  We stopped in ghost dessert towns a few times for coffee and to stretch.  The scenery of that landscape was beautiful:  desert, mountains, Joshua trees… kilometres of absolutely nothing but dry red desert and colourful mountains.  

We could see each other when we got close to Vegas.  The scene began with tons of billboards; first billboards of lawyer ads and so on and later, bright billboards from casinos, hotels and entertainment shows.  

The city started showing the first buildings and then more and more luxurious golden dwellings that make you believe you are arriving in Luxor, Venice or Paris in only one block.  Everything is stunning, bright, and enormous, you cannot believe your eyes. You only wish you would have another pair of eyes not to miss a thing! If we thought we were sleepy or tired, that changed in a second! We were very excited!  So, we decided to find our hotel first so we could go, leave our luggage and start exploring the city for a few hours before our main attraction.

Our hotel was located just behind the sphere. Walking distance from our room.  We will not miss it, one of our daughters said!  We decided to drive to The Strip and then, leave the car to be able to start from “The First” hotel at Las Vegas pedestrian walkways, which are exceptionally built as “overhead pedestrian bridges.” Imagine floating above the city’s chaos, free from traffic. These buildings connect the Strip’s many hotels and casinos, allowing easy exploration.  This elevated construction makes the journey between the sparkling attractions safe and enjoyable, giving spectacular views of the neon-lit show below.  So from Mandalay Bay Hotel, the first of many, exploring the city”. You could say 2 parallel worlds exist:  the outside and the inside, the one that takes you from one hotel to the other, forcing you to go through all the casinos, shops and restaurants.  You can walk kilometres without going outside and without knowing or distinguishing between day and night.  We were there, the 4 of us, trying to capture what we were undergoing: I would count at least 25 Elvis and 55 Dolly Parton’s, apart from all of the other people wearing all kinds of costumes and funny outfits.  And I have to say, we were underdressed!  

We went to a few places, trying to choose one thing to do and feeling like a kid inside a toy store, not knowing what to grab first.   It was overwhelming and too much all together. 

After a few hours, it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for our adventure.  We walked from our hotel to The Sphere.  The Sphere looms so large and omnipresent, like the moon, that it seems constantly within grasp. We were still on the move after a 15-minute walk, a testament to its magnificence and our miscalculation of its size.  

The sphere is equipped with an exterior that features approximately 53,884 square metres of fully programmable LED lighting and it is used to advertise brands, services, and events.  This amazing function lets the Sphere display a variety of graphics and animations, changing the Las Vegas landscape. I have to say its design enhances entertainment venue technology, delivering an immersive experience inside and out.

The Sphere’s desolate bulb appearance basically gives just a hint of the delights inside: a futuristic world where technologies and imagination combine reality and fantasy (and it is hard to say which is what). 

When we ultimately arrived at the venue, we had to find our entrance. The place was big as a stadium, and our entrance was the main one, and THAT one was breath-taking, I would say.  Stepping into its lobby felt like entering the future. Once you enter the revolving door and as you step into the Sphere’s lobby, you’re immediately surrounded by an atmosphere that feels like the unknown. The lighting in the grandiose, dark space makes you feel as if you were inside the black light theatre of Prague.  I was stunned due to its enormity.  I have to say the place looked like it was in a Star Trek movie, a combination of lights and shadows gave the surroundings a supernatural glow, setting the stage for an experience beyond imagination. Massive holograms and 3D billboards floating, inviting visitors  to experience a world where innovation and creativity merge in stunning fashion.

But it was the state-of-the-art robotic guide known as Auras, that dramatically changed the experience. These AI auras filled the gap between technology and human connection with a warm reception.

This futuristic scene was made more realistic by 3D holograms, which created vivid illusions that merged reality and fantasy. These holographic projections moved in the air, telling stories, and showing science fiction visions.  Robots moved smoothly and interacted with guests in a nice, friendly way. They blended into the lobby’s environment. The ambient music for this future journey fits the setting. And the architecture reinforced the feeling of being transported to another time and place, it was stunning and created a sense of spaciousness and infinity.

The sphere INSIDE

The inside was magnificent. The space majesty was intimidating in the greatest way. It was big and ambitious, an adventurous move towards an age when technology and art combine to create experiences beyond our greatest dreams. From the precision-engineered acoustic to the kaleidoscope of graphics moving across the spherical screens, this cathedral of innovation transports you.

The ground-breaking infrared sound sensory system and 167,000 carefully hidden speakers gave every scene of Darren Aronofsky’s film “Postcard from Earth” a vibrancy and depth that seemed almost tangible. While watching the movie, we flew above the Andes with condors, whose wings flapped to our heartbeats, demonstrating the venue’s immersive capacity. This impression was tactile and perceptible, as if we shared their splendour and freedom of flight. It was a sensory experience, not just the visuals. We travelled places, landscapes; we felt like we were at the base of an enormous waterfall, feeling the cool mist on our faces, inhaling the freshwater scent, and hearing the roar of its fall. The Sphere’s capacity to shift from the tranquil aurora borealis to the strength of the water cascade was outstanding.

The Sphere was a journey through deep emotional and sensory experiences.  We were living every second with reality and fantasy nicely blurred. With its cutting-edge technology, the Sphere had shown us the planet and carried us through its heart, leaving us with marvel, wonder, and a deep connection to the earth and its many stories.

The Sphere in Las Vegas redefines live entertainment. It represents human creativity and the never-ending search for art and technology collaboration.  Entering its world is a journey into the heart of feeling, dreaming, and changing due to an immersive story.

As I wrap up, I do not want to leave this experience without mentioning where I see the world going. I believe the future looks  bright, especially with artificial intelligence transforming our world. Imagine a world where, instead of algorithms, technology learns your personality, creates stories around your feelings, and creates experiences that seem created only for you. It looks like AI promises to make every experience richer, more meaningful, and more influential in the creative industries today.

Experiencing the Sphere in action is similar to stepping into a world of the supernatural. It vividly shows how technology can make narratives immersive. It’s like entering a dream, where every story evolves in an amazing, almost surreal choreography of light, sound, and sensation.  I cannot recommend the experience more. 

Group 527 , owner of Creativa, 7YM, Get Early and Ultimerse), a creative media and technology agency, is always embracing new technologies. And all of us aim to create captivating, heartfelt, and immersive experiences.

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