ABBA Voyage is a revolutionary new concert experience in London that has become an essential pilgrimage for any ABBA fan. But what is it really like to be on the ABBA Voyage Dance Floor? To find out whether the show lives up to the hype, we sent our own Dancing Queen to get the full experience. Read the full story of her visit below.
What is ABBA Voyage?
ABBA Voyage uses state-of-the-art technology in an incredible purpose-built arena to create an awe-inspiring experience that is part reunion concert, part augmented reality and probably the best ABBA event available in the world right now.
Central to the concert’s appeal are the holographic projections (affectionately known as ‘ABBAtars’) of the four original members, each animated using motion capture recordings by the actual performers. While Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny & Björn may not be there in person, the incredibly lifelike ABBAtars will make you swear that they are. A live band accompanies the ABBAtars through an impeccable sound-system to make some of the greatest pop hits of all time sound better than ever before.
As a huge ABBA fan, I had been waiting to see the concert for myself and find out what it is really like inside ABBA Arena. After my visit, I can safely say I was not disappointed.
The ABBA Voyage Experience Starts As Soon As You Arrive
Upon arrival, the atmosphere is instantly impressive as ABBA music blares from speakers at Pudding Mill Lane DLR station across the road from the venue. This gets you perfectly in the mood before you have even joined the queue. There is even an official merchandise store set up in the station if you want to snap up a souvenir before or after the show.
The venue is immediately visible as you exit the station. As you approach, there are two clearly labelled entrances; one for all seated tickets or Dance Booths and the other for Dance Floor only. On the night I attended, the Dance Floor entrance had no queue whatsoever, whereas the seated queue looked quite long but was moving quickly.
Getting Inside ABBA Arena
There is a quick security check on the way in that took two seconds and then you’re through to the main concourse area. This vibrantly colourful space, with lighting that pulses in time to the music, is a perfect welcome to the venue and offers everything you might need before or during the show. There are great food options, lots of bars and toilets, a cloakroom, baby changing facilities and even more merchandise shops. I did note that there was a large queue for the cloakroom, so the best advice is to only bring what you need and aim to avoid it altogether.
Food, Drink and Merchandise at ABBA Voyage
The food options are limited but well priced and there are kids’ options too. Hot dogs and ciabatta sandwiches are the predominant menu items with a few interesting varieties available, such as the Merguez dog, which features lamb sausage and chipotle mayonnaise, and the Parisian ciabatta, with brie, caramelized red onion chutney and wholegrain mustard mayo. Vegetable and chicken curries are also available. Most menu items cost around £9.
The drinks offerings include a variety of champagne, prosecco, cocktails and wine, all priced between £7-£9. Draft beers and soft-drinks are also available. There are also branded water bottles you can purchase with free re-fills to keep you hydrated for all the dancing. The night I attended, queues at the bar before the show were large and service seemed a little slow, but everyone was served before the performance started. The bars stay open throughout the show, and you will find there are no real queues once the show begins.
When it comes to merchandise, ABBA fans are spoilt for choice! There are magnets for £5, show posters for £30 and even a very stylish, Swedish Christmas jumper for £60 and many more options. T-shirts, mugs, stickers and even branded drumsticks! I purchased three pins for £10 and thought that was great value for money as far as show merchandise prices usually go.
Inside the Auditorium
There is a definite buzz when you first walk into the auditorium and see the large screens hanging over and around the stage, depicting a gently animated forest scene. The auditorium opens a good 45 minutes or so before the performance begins allowing people to take their seats with plenty of time or stake out their space on the Dance Floor.
Directly behind the Dance floor are the first blocks of seating and behind these, raised up for a perfectly clear view, are the dedicated accessibility rows. A team of access staff are stationed at this area to assist access patrons in any way they need.
Above and behind these sections are the rear seating blocks and Dance Booths. These Dance Booths are not like corporate boxes at a sports stadium as they are not privately walled off from the rest of the arena, but they sit in their own sections of the auditorium and offer both couches to sit on and a dancing area for small groups. The Dance Booths are a very popular choice as they offer both dancing space and seating, so if you plan to book one, be sure to do so well in advance!
The ABBA Voyage concert
I cannot overstate how exciting it is when the screens on the stage are lifted up, and out walk the life-sized, lifelike and incredibly believable ABBAtars. You can feel that excited tingle run through the entire crowd as people question whether what they are looking at is real. Pre-recorded dialogue from the band is tailored to address the London crowd and feels as if it is being said in the spur of the moment. It is an uncanny experience and one that is completely unique to this show.
The ABBAtars are accompanied by a band of live musicians, so the concert is a mix of live music and recorded vocals that is very skilfully combined. The sound-system is incredible and will be pitch perfect and crystal clear wherever you are in the auditorium. Obviously you will know the catalogue of hits being played as they are tunes that defined multiple generations, but you haven’t heard them quite as sharp as this before.
Adding to the spectacle is an array of lighting effects that hang over the stage and much of the front half of the auditorium. These displays are some of the most futuristic I have seen in a live venue and at times the show leans into the techno vibe, with the Tron-like costumes worn by the ABBAtars for some of the songs (as seen in the official poster) giving a nod to the virtual nature of the performance. The best way I can describe the show is like being at a disco in a video game!
What is it Like on the Dance Floor?
The ABBA Voyage Dance Floor offers the best value and a truly immersive experience that feels as close to a real ABBA concert as you can imagine. Tickets start around £77 and provide a fully immersive experience. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Dance Floor never felt too crowded, and it was very easy to quickly access the bar and toilets without having to navigate the steps or ramps from the seated blocks.
We chose a spot that was close to the exit, meaning we could pop to the bar or the loo and back without risk of missing any more than one song. It’s worth noting that while there is a bar in the walkway between the concourse and the Dance Floor entrance, there isn’t one in the auditorium itself, so this easy access was a nice bonus.
Of course, being a dance floor, you are unable to sit where you are, but this easy access to the concourse means you can find a place to sit if you need to and at 90 minutes without an interval, the show is just short enough that standing (well, dancing) for the duration isn’t a problem. Believe me, the wonderful music and the sensory experience that accompanies it makes that runtime fly by!
Is ABBA Voyage Worth It?
Yes. This is a very easy, unconditional yes. ABBA Voyage is a must for ABBA fans of all ages. We saw a lot of families, groups, parties, couples, and people on their own having a ball in varying levels of costume, glitter, and casual dress. It is a unique and spellbinding experience that can suit almost any special occasion and the level of thought and detail that has gone into both the show and the venue is astonishing. Grab some fellow Dancing Queens and get down to London – you won’t regret it!
Do You Have a Question About ABBA Voyage?
If you have any questions about ABBA Voyage that we didn’t cover above, or you would like to share your own experience from a visit to the venue, please leave a comment below.
10 replies on “The ABBA Voyage Dance Floor Experience”
Agreed. A fantastic experience. I’ve been 4 times already! It’s worth adding that the cloakroom may have long queues, especially after the concert, but it is FREE!😊
Yes, definitely good to have as a free option when taking larger coats or bags along!
That’s fantastic detailed information,Due to I’ll health last year I couldn’t make it,but it’s on my to do list this year,as I live in the Canary Islands and will require overnight accommodation, would you have any recommendations on a budget b+b close to the arena,or any contact information on accommodation near to it,
Once again thank you, regards Wayne,AbbA fan since I was 12 now 55.
Can you take drinks to your seat?
Where is the best place to stand in the dancefloor, and how early do you recommend queuing beforehand to ensure a place in the best spot? Normally I go for the front, and have queued all day when necessary, but I’ve read the middle is better for this.
Hi there, ,y question is, do you book a certain section of the dancefloor or can you stand wherever you like?
There is not much accommodation directly surrounding the Arena, but a quick 10 minute taxi or taking one stop on the DLR will take you to Stratford which has an array of budget-friendly and hotels to suit everyone.
Yes, you can take drinks in to the auditorium. The bars stay open throughout the show as there is no interval, meaning you can pop out anytime.
I would recommend the middle to the back of the dancefloor. The ABBAtars are worth seeing up close yes, but to enjoy the sky high projections which really add to the experience, it is best to stand a little further back to ensure you can take it all in. Some fans took their places an hour before the start time but I found that thirty minutes before should secure you a good view.
You can stand wherever you like on the dancefloor. In fact, you can move around if you choose. However, to avoid looking up all night – I would recommend getting there a little early to choose the best spot for you. My recommendation is the middle of the dancefloor, not right at the front due to having to look up all the time.