Experience Radar: World’s First Museum Boat Sets Sail, And Meow Wolf To Open Sixth Site In LA

At The WXO, we want to connect the dots across the Experience Economy and across the globe – so each month, we’ll be bringing you our round-up of the experiential stories that we think reveal something interesting, relevant or transferrable about the Experience Economy.

Welcome to the latest Experience Radar, where we’re setting sail aboard the world’s first museum boat, getting our glad rags on for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, and learning the mystic arts in Disney’s new Marvel adventure.

1. Meow Wolf To Open Sixth Site In Los Angeles

Headline image; Meow Wolf, Las Vegas. Photography by Paul Torres

There’s no stopping the experiential gurus at Meow Wolf, who are due to open their sixth permanent site in Los Angeles. As reported by Time Out, the LA venue is slated to open in 2026, and it promises to be its boldest yet. In keeping with Meow Wolf’s penchant for interconnected interactive worlds, complete with secret passages, touchable decor and oodles of neon, site six will be a “maximalist fantasy” land full of “absurd glitz” that plays on the city of angels’ filmmaking history “and the fantastical spells cast by Hollywood”. Expect a multi-sensory love letter to the Los Angeles art scene.

Located at the Cinemark complex at HHLA, the venue will offer “more than an immersive experience,” according to Meow Wolf’s CEO, Jose Tolosa. “We want it to be a part of the city’s narrative of growth. Being in LA, the entertainment capital of the world, we’re humbled to add to the dynamic interplay between art and entertainment here. Meow Wolf Los Angeles will blur the lines between reality and fantasy, inviting everyone to become part of a living, breathing spectacle,” Tolosa said. A leader in the field of immersive experiences, Meow Wolf started out in Santa Fe in 2008, and has since added venues in Vegas, Denver and Dallas to its portfolio, with a fifth in Houston imminent. It’s no wonder that the company was voted the winner in the Business category of the first WXO Experience Awards earlier this month.

2. Austin To Get Trippy ‘Spa Of The Future’

Submersive, Austin, Texas

Speaking of Meow Wolf, we’re excited to learn that the firm’s co-founder, Corvas Brinkerhoff, is currently building an immersive “spa of the future” in Austin, Texas, which will throw a grenade into the conventional spa format and shake up the industry. As reported by Fast Company, the 25,000-square-foot Submersive spa is due to open in 2026 and will feature video projections, immersive art, steam, lasers, and AI tech. It’s an idea that has long been percolating in Brinkerhoff’s mind. The goal is to use neuroscience to help visitors achieve elevated states of consciousness, from awe to euphoria. Once open the spa is predicted to attract 200,000 visitors a year at a cost of $88 per person.

Brinkerhoff is keen to move beyond entertainment towards improving people’s quality of life by creating a thriving bathhouse culture in the US. If the Austin site proves successful, the plan is to roll out the concept across the US, and indeed the world, with each site boasting its own identity and quirks. At the Austin spa, a dozen rooms will encircle a main gathering space, and visitors can choose how they move through it. Each room will have its own unique look, sound and temperature, from a neon pink techno room to a calming blue pool and a trippy room evoking the cosmos.

To aid circulation, visitors will be able to follow a hot soak with a cold plunge, with each room featuring baths at a variety of temperatures and steam levels. Brinkerhoff has also partnered with Susan Magsamen of the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University to understand how the brain’s reward systems can be engaged by looking at beautiful things, and how multisensory experiences are able to measurably reduce stress (Magsamen previously hosted a WXO Campfire on her and Ivy Ross’s remarkable book on the subject, Your Brain On Art – read more here). Art projections on the spa’s mirrored walls and ceilings will seek to tap into the benefits of neuroaesthetics. “Our aim is to amass the world’s deepest understanding of how multisensory experiences affect us on a physiological level,” Brinkerhoff told Fast Company.

3. Finland Pioneers Experience Qualification

The Finnish city of Tampere

The Finnish city of Tampere and the University of Tampere are jointly establishing a professorship in Experience Economy and an associated research and education programme to train future experts in the field. The goal for the qualification is to be able to provide “high-quality research data that stakeholders and educational institutions in the Experience Economy can utilise”, while “developing expertise to meet the needs of businesses and public organisations”. Applications for the professorship opened on April. The city of Tampere will fund the professorship and initial research and teaching activities from 2025 to 2028 with a €400,000 investment from the city council.

“Through research in the Experience Economy and the associated professorship, we aim to find solutions for the holistic wellbeing of citizens while promoting business activities in the field. By transferring researched knowledge and expertise into practice, we will further enhance the attractiveness of our region,” said Keijo Hämäläinen, rector of the University of Tampere. City mayor Kalervo Kummola belives Tampere to be “an excellent testing ground for research in the field”. The ultimate goal is for Tampere to be recognised as an international hub for creative and experience industries.

4. World’s First Museum Boat Sets Sail


Taking learning to the waters, ARTEXPLORER, the world’s first museum boat, has set sail. The brainchild of the Art Explora Foundation – which focuses on bringing art and culture to a broader audience through digital tech – and server solutions provider Modulo Pi, the catamaran incorporates an advanced audiovisual system, including an immersive LED tunnel and the Modulo Kinetic media server from Modulo Pi. Sailing until 2026, the floating museum will visit 15 countries across the Med offering free access to cultural and artistic experiences both on-board and at the host cities’ docks.

The boat’s main deck is able to host immersive digital exhibitions for up to 40 people. On the upper deck visitors are given headphones with binaural audio, allowing them to experience a sound voyage created by Ircam. The journey continues with a documentary displayed on a LED wall. Finally, visitors move into the centre of the main deck of the boat where they’ll walk through a 50 million pixel LED tunnel playing immersive exhibit Présentes, produced by Julien Abril and the Graphics eMotion team with the Louvre. Launching in Malta, the boat has since sailed to Venice and will dock in Marseille in June.

5. Taylor Swift To Boost UK Economy By £1bn

Taylor Swift

Brits have a lot to thank Taylor Swift for, as the American songstress’ Eras tour is set to boost the UK economy by £1 billion this year, according to Barclays. As reported by Rolling Stone, Swift is due to play a string of shows in the UK this summer, including Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Cardiff, with Barclays estimating that 1.2m fans are due to spend an average of £850 on the Eras experience, from the ticket itself to accommodation, travel, outfits and merch, which will provide a shot in the arm for the UK economy. To build anticipation, fans have been watching the Eras Tour film and hosting Swift-themed parties.

If the calculations are correct, fans will be spending over 12 times more than the average cost of a night out in the UK (£67) to see their idol in the flesh. “Fans are increasingly going all-out on experiences that resonate on a personal level, turning every concert into a potential holiday, every ticket into a cherished memory and every event into an opportunity to splash out on new outfits, food and merchandise,” said Tom Corbett, head of group sponsorship at Barclays. “Taylor Swift’s Eras tour will bring a substantial boost to our Experience Economy, with the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors all ready for it.”

6. Merlin Improves Accessibility For Deaf Visitors

LEGOLAND Deutschland, Merlin Entertainments

In cheering news, Merlin Entertainments is enhancing accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing visitors at its attractions across the UK through a partnership with SignLive. Merlin venues including Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, the London Eye, Warwick Castle, and Sea Life aquariums will offer sign language services via mobile devices, which includes instant access to British Sign Language interpreters. Merlin has worked with colleagues with lived experience to develop its accessibility strategy, including Andrew Baillie, a moulder in the Merlin Magic Making division.

“Inclusivity is a key part of our mission to be the greatest place to work and play,” said Kate McBirnie, Merlin’s UK accessibility manager. “Our partnership with SignLive underscores our pursuit of ensuring that every guest can fully enjoy the magic of our attractions. This partnership represents a pivotal moment in our commitment to foster a world where accessibility is a shared goal for all.” Fiona Mackay, COO at SignLive, added: “We’re taking strides towards making each experience more inclusive for deaf visitors. We look forward to seeing the impact it can have for attractions’ guest experience in the future.”

7. Disney Creates Multiverse Experience For Apple

Over in the metaverse, Disney has been hard at work developing a multiverse experience for the Apple Vision Pro headset. As reported by CNET, the game, developed by ILM Immersive, is based on Marvel‘s Disney+ show What If…? The experience will take the form of a standalone app, and will offer an interactive, mixed reality-based dive into the multiverse. According to Disney, the experience will allow Marvel fans to “step into the leading role of an immersive story that transforms the space around them as they traverse across realities”.

During the game, in which players will use eye and hand tracking tech, they will “come face-to-face with multiversal variants of their favourite Marvel characters, learn the mystic arts, and be tasked with harnessing the power of the Infinity Stones”. Called What If…? – An Immersive Story the experience lasts an hour, and has been made with the creators of the What If series. This isn’t the first time Disney has dabbled in mixed reality – an AR experience based on Eternals was released in 2021, and Disney has partnered with VR group The Void for Star Wars and Marvel-based adventures in the past.