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Monday, August 13, 2018

The Smallfoot Yeti Village offers a cool blast in the heat of Hollywood

Film Flam Flummox

After successfully creating a blockbuster-building buzz last year for the Stephen King adaptation It with a free, immersive fan experience custom built in the heart of Hollywood, Warner Bros. is once again doing the same but for a wildly contrasting film: the animated comedy Smallfoot, featuring a voice cast led Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, LeBron James, Common, Gina Rodriguez, Yara Shahidi, and Danny DeVito. While the It Experience was a scary, haunted house/maze-esque attraction aimed at an adult audience, the Smallfoot "Yeti Village" is accordingly as family-friendly as Karey Kirkpatrick's film, offering a number of activities for the kids as well as photo opportunities and--perhaps most importantly--an Arctic-level blast of literal cool over its two-level structure in the late summer swelter of SoCal heat.

Unlike the It attraction, which was a bit more structured in that small groups were guided through the expanse of the space in fairly rigid intervals, after checking in at the Smallfoot Yeti Village at their scheduled time, each party has more or less free reign to explore the premises. That being said, there is a set route upon entry, as one is first led to go up a staircase, in which this evidence of the "Smallfoot" (that is, humans) is presented.

That sets the stage for the theme of the top level of the experience, that being the icy, isolated home of the not-so-mythical creatures. The first thing one sees is a big display of footprints for the various Yeti characters in the film.

Gwangi, the character voiced by James, is appropriately the biggest of the bunch.

This level is largely focused on photo op settings, such as that footprint display and this big set piece.

Smaller prop displays are also around, such as this taste of native Yeti news outlets.

The sole non-photo op attraction on the top level is actually also a (optional) transport system to the bottom level: a slide...

...which leads out to a display of a Yeti who made a less-than-safe landing.

The bottom level is the snowy home of "Smallfoot," or, rather, human beings, and appropriately this is the level where more of the activities are based. First visible is the "Yeti to Play" game room, featuring skeeball and other fun for the family.

This ball tub is the sole photo-op-focused attraction on the bottom level.

Kids can put their artistic skills to work at the "Yeti Museum," a coloring and drawing station...

...after which they can ask parents for various souvenir merchandise at the gift shop next door.

The last major stop is the iHeartRadio karaoke station, where the entire family can put on a tuneful show.

Inside the karaoke bar, as in other "outdoor" spots on this level, has a lot of amusing and clever decorative touches.

All in all, a fun and refreshingly air conditioned experience is awaiting any family, Yeti or Smallfoot, at Hollywood and Vine for the next few weeks.

The Smallfoot Yeti Village is now open daily at the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles through Friday, September 14. Advance reservations are required at Smallfoot opens in cinemas nationwide on Friday, September 28, from Warner Bros.

(Special thanks to Warner Bros. and LeBron James)

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