🐾New Orlando attraction transports visitors into cat-eat-dog world with immersive theater

Journey of hound to hero based on Lonely Dog art from New Zealand artist

ORLANDO, Fla. – What if dogs and cats were like people, working and living amongst each other?

A new attraction is transporting visitors into that world with a unique immersive experience based off the Lonely Dog story, inspired by an artist with a unique imagination. It’s a story about an orphaned hound-turned-hero in a cat-eat-dog world.

Upon entering the building, you’ll walk through what looks like a mineshaft tunnel and into a theater room.

There are 35 projectors displaying scenes from a movie on the walls, columns and even the floor.


“When you walk in, you can see different things from different angles and walk through them, getting a different perspective. It’s 35 projectors creating 35 different films within this space, all choreographed together to be one piece,” Lonely Dog Immersive Producer and Director Cliff Dew said.

Dew said Lonely Dog Immersive transports you into a world where dogs and cats are like people.

The story follows the journey of Arthur Snout, also known as Lonely Dog, living in a town divided. Through his love of music, he goes from orphaned hound to hero.

“It’s all about the haves and have nots, love and love lost, being a reluctant hero, running from conflict, confronting conflict and resolution at the end. This hound, Lonely Dog, with his music, is able to bring the two sides together and sort of let them realize the cats and hounds do have something in common and can live side-by-side happily,” Dew said.

Senior VP Rob Pearlman said the dog and cat characters are based off paintings by New Zealand artist Ivan Clarke.

“He is best known for his landscape paintings, but one day he was leaving on vacation and saw one of his dogs looking out the window at the family car as they pulled away and the image stuck in his mind. He sketched and developed an idea about a dog missing his owner,” Pearlman said.

That’s how Lonely Dog began. Clarke started creating images of dogs and cats with human-like mannerisms and partnered with a longtime friend to publish a book based on the characters.

Through Lonely Dog Immersive, you become part of the whimsical world.

The film in the theater plays a 30-minute show that features CGI animation, 2D animation, art, sketches and music

The attraction also includes an art gallery, fun station where kids and adults can sketch their own characters, selfie salon with whale pit based on the movie’s iconic underwater scenes and virtual reality lounge.

The building also includes a space for a nightclub with live music on select nights.

It took four years and nearly 200 people to bring the Lonely Dog vision to life at 4950 International Drive in Orlando.

The creators said the attraction is for kids and adults offering a new perspective when it comes to storytelling.

“This is the future of theater. People aren’t going to want to be sitting down in the chair, they want to move around, be involved and immerse themselves in it,” Dew said.

The Lonely Dog Immersive Experience opens to the public Saturday, May 6, in Orlando and is the only one of its kind. The creators are looking to expand Lonely Dog Immersive to other locations across the world.

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About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.