Inside the LAIKA Experience in San Diego

The LAIKA Experience opened its doors this weekend just in time to celebrate Pride in San Diego and, obviously, San Diego Comic-Con.

Visitors can stop by the interactive pop-up exhibit at 520 5th Avenue for 20-minute-or-so tours throughout the week, featuring puppets, sets, monsters and props to take you inside the world of LAIKA’s films.

Each tour through the exhibit takes you through the studio’s movies, starting with Coraline, to ParaNorman, to The Boxtrolls, and to their most recent film, Kubo and the Two Strings. Visitors learn about the amazing effort that went into creating each movie, and the advancements in technology and the 3D printing process that took place between the films, from 2009’s Coraline to 2016’s Kubo.


With this exhibit, you get a sense of the scope and the time that it takes for each individual scene to be crafted. It takes three to four months to craft a new puppet, and, for ParaNorman, it took 60 puppet makers to create 178 full body puppets and 31,000 individual face parts. Norman himself required 20 different puppets, and 8,800 faces with a range of individual pieces — a truly staggering amount of possible facial expressions (1.5 million, give or take). By comparison, Coraline had 207,000 possible face combinations, with 6,300 parts all sanded and painted by hand, and Kubo had 23,187 pieces for 48 million possible combinations.

The Experience also has LAIKA merchandise available for purchase, including exclusive Gaslamp-branded shirts, bags, and posters. See below for a price list and images:

We also have a video walkthrough of the Experience up on YouTube, but don’t spoil yourself if you plan on attending!

If you miss LAIKA on this Southern California visit, the Portland Art Museum will be opening a full exhibit from October 5, 2017 – May 18, 2018. The exhibit will include the 16-foot tall Hall of Bones Skeleton from Kubo and the Two Strings.

The hours of operation for the LAIKA Experience:

  • Friday, July 14: 2 PM to 10PM
  • Saturday, July 15: 11AM to 10 PM
  • Sunday, July 16: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Monday -Tuesday, July 17-18: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, July 19: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, July 20: 11:00 AM to 11 PM
  • Friday, July 21: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Saturday, July 22: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday, July 23: 10:00 AM-6:00 PM

Will you be swinging by the LAIKA Experience? Let us know in the comments!

About Kim Twombly

Contributor to the SDCC Unofficial Blog. Kim also runs www.OutsideComicCon.com and its accompanying Twitter feed @OutsideComicCon, specializing in outside events during SDCC.

  • Steve Oliveri

    Do you know how the shoe giveaway is going to work exactly?

  • keeleon

    Why close at 7PM on Wed 🙁

  • Akiba4tN8

    I went yesterday, I live in SD. Great tour. One pair of shoes is raffled daily (1 fr one of the 4, tho I was told that Paranorman Foams were already gone?? It was on display, tho the Boxtrolls sneaks were not there). After the tour (@ 10-15 min) u sign up for the raffle. Oh and it’s a totally random pick, u have no say over size/style (so unless u luck out on ur size, I guess they’ll be display/ebay fodder lol). They’ll notify winner (no need to be present, they’ll mail it to u). They also have some cool pop-up shop merch there. I dropped some major $$ but got some free stuff like an Anniversary poster, and all of da staff are mega-friendly. I recco dropping by.

  • maxhdrm

    I understand it from the article that the raffles woudn’t take place until the actual con as that is when the most foot traffic will take place. I also think considering that they are really REALLY limited (i.e. basically prototypes) then no one will really care what the shoe size is because I know I personally wouldn’t wear it. You don’t retain the resale value if you start wearing it. Not on a show like this. My fam are big fans of Laika studios and stop motion so this is a first up right after Funko. It’s so cool when I can get up close to props.

  • Damian Zamora

    They are sold out of vinyl for the rest of the pop up. the limited posters are limited to 50 and only had about 20 or so of each left.

  • Akiba4tN8

    The raffles started the day that they opened, on Friday. And yes, they’re limited but not everyone is a die-hard sneakerhead/flipper/collector. I would’ve worn a pair that fit me proudly and I LOVE and am very knowledgable of sneaker culture. And they’re not really prototypes b/c staff and fam fr each film got them; in general they’re called “friends and family” limiteds. Prototypes would be shoes where only one or two pairs exist and basically have no production “run”.

  • Akiba4tN8

    Thnx for the update! I snagged 2 of the vinyls and got the poster ?. Hope u got all ur desired loot as well~

  • maxhdrm

    Even prototypes can be produced in more than one quantity. The automobile industry does it for car shows and movies. Custom jobs that never see a full assembly line or mass production. As this isn’t mass produced in business terminology, it could be considered prototypes to some or if you prefer a “limited production run”. You SHOULD feel proud if you won these. I personally wouldn’t want to ruin something that was soo cool because these are so cool. I am totally not into the whole sneaker collector genre but I do like Laika movies that’s the reason why I would not wear them.

  • Dezeri Perez

    How much does it cost to go in?

  • Pete Puebla Jr.

    Admission is free.