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Dreaming of California

As part of their ‘Am I Dreaming?’ campaign that premiered during the Super Bowl LVI pre-game programming on NBC, Visit California launched an all-new immersive digital experience designed and built by global digital partner, Appnovation.
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The DREAM Theater website greets users with an idyllic vista of California and entices them to explore a sideways-scrolling journey to discover California’s iconic attractions and thrilling adventures. The site answers the question of “Am I Dreaming?” immediately with the title, “You’re Not Dreaming”, as it envelops the user in an immersive, engaging digital experience that proves that, as fantastic as it may seem, all this and more is possible in The Golden State. Visitors can choose their journey by selecting from five key tourism categories: Beaches, Culinary, Family Attractions, Outdoors and Arts & Culture. Within each category, users discover places to visit, can build itineraries and road trips, and uncover fun facts about California, with the ability to click on any area of interest to explore further into the deep, rich content of the multi-award winning Visit California experience. Users can easily access travel videos, free travel guides, Visit California’s newsletter, the California Now podcast and information on California Welcome Centers. “Visit California exists to inspire travelers to plan their next trip to The Golden State. When concepting and building the DREAM Theater, we wanted to lean into that too-good-to-be-true feeling you get when planning the trip of your dreams,” said Anton Morrison, VP Experience Design at Appnovation. “Whether planning an adventure or just discovering the possibilities, DREAM Theater immerses users in a dream-like experience that is ALMOST as good as visiting the destination itself!” Additional design features of the new site include: Horizontal scrollytelling Interactive scroll-based navigation adds to the sense of unreality, as users experience the same dreamlike quality as the ‘Am I Dreaming?’ commercial. The digital story holds users’ attention, as stunning visuals come to life as they go, making them want to keep scrolling to the very end. Use of white space to allow users’ imaginations to run wild The intentional use of white space allows users’ own imaginations to fill in the blanks and leaves room for different interpretations. The negative space background holds together the visual elements and multiple layers of imagery making them stand out, while improving the user experience, usability and navigation. Motion design that creates a parallax effect The illusion of depth on the site immerses users further into the dream narrative, adding whimsy and delight. The subtle but constant motion design and interactivity keeps users’ attention as they explore the page further and supports the scrollytelling element of the site. Rotoscope animation Creating a more intuitive and authentic user experience, rotoscoping gives a lifelike feel to the animation throughout the dreamscape. The human-centered design experience creates meaningful, more natural interactions for users, reducing cognitive load. With scrolling imagery of the state’s unique vistas as the backdrop, this rich, multimedia experience incorporates video, photography, podcasts and motion design that bring the dreamy destination to life. Are you dreaming of visiting California?

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. It just don’t look right with a “g” on the end of Dreaming!

    That Mamas and Pappas song, California Dreamin’, has become so iconic down through the decades that as soon as I see California and Dreamin’ in the same song I start to hear the song.

  2. There’s no doubt that there’s something magical about California and that it has a real allure. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been drawn back to the Golden State.

  3. I never really get why the Golden Gate Bridge is taken as California’s symbol. I’ve driven over the Golden Gate three times. Twice in thick fog and once in pouring rain. Isn’t there a better symbol of California out there?

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