Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
With the unironically titled Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again set to hit theaters on July 20, 2018, now is the perfect time to explore the roots of the international phenomenon that is ABBA, whose music inspired the musical, movie, and oh so much more. And there’s no better way to get roused to see the next movie than by traveling in the footsteps of (A)gnetha, (B)jörn, (B)enny, and (A)nni-Frid in their homeland of Sweden. So, take a chance (take a chance) on Scandinavia with this top 10 list of ABBA-inspired things to do.
Party at Mamma Mia! Dinner Theater
Sure, you could get into the mood for more Mamma Mia! by re-watching the first movie. But, how much better would it be if you could go to Mamma Mia! The Party!? The Party is the Mamma Mia! all-encompassing dinner theater experience of your dreams (or nightmares, depending on your musical preference). You’ll be transported to a Greek island tavern inspired by the movie where actors sing, dance, and get you drunk in a four-hour or more party. Ouzo, anyone? The Party is on the island of Djurgårdsvägen. Plan a whole day here, as it’s also home to the ABBA Museum and hotel, Gröna Lund amusement park, an interactive Viking museum, and the Vasa Museum–home to a near fully intact 17th-century warship.
Sing With the Band
Have you ever dreamed of being the fifth member of ABBA? Well, now is your chance to live out the fantasy of singing and dancing on stage with the iconic foursome. There are a number of interactive displays inside the ABBA Museum, but none quite like this. Using your entrance ticket, you’ll be able to get on stage next to holographic images of the four band members and sing and become a “Dancing Queen” right alongside them. Once you’re finished, you can use your ticket to email yourself the performance and memorialize it forever.
INSIDER TIPCareful, the video can be used as blackmail if/when you send the performance to your friends.
Visit Viggsö Island
There are more than 30,000 islands in the Stockholm Archipelago and one of the most famous is Viggsö Island, an ABBA pilgrimage site where the band members famously recorded “Fernando”. There are ferry boats that run throughout the archipelago every day that make it easy to explore if you want to go fishing, hiking, and other song-writing inspiring stuff.
Stay at an ABBA Hotel
Connected to the ABBA Museum is Pop House, an ABBA-themed hotel with a great restaurant and bar, and live music on an outdoor patio throughout the week. If you stay here, you really need to reserve one of the ABBA-styled rooms. The Mamma Mia! The Party room is straight from the movie and decorated to look like a Greek village. The ABBA Gold Suite, meanwhile, is pure fandom, with gold records and CDs lining the walls and gold trim and glittery accents everywhere else. Also, if you stay at Pop House, you can get into the museum for a reduced price so you can save that “Money, Money, Money”.
Walk in ABBA’s Shoes (Not Literally)
If you really want to feel the history of ABBA, it’s important to get out into the streets and take a stroll through the band’s history. Booking a city walk isn’t just a great way to see Stockholm, it’s also the perfect opportunity to see where the bandmembers worked, lived, and played in Sweden. Tennis shoes are recommended over clogs.
Impress your Friends and Family
No one wants to see your boring vacation pictures. What they really want is to hear audio recordings of you singing ABBA karaoke. Inside the ABBA Museum are karaoke stations where you can record your own voice in all its glory as you belt out your best “Waterloo” or “Super Trouper” and have the recordings emailed to you.
INSIDER TIPAgain, watch out for future blackmail.
Scout the Next ABBA
To truly connect with the Swedes and see how acts like ABBA were made possible, you might want to head over to Cirkus where you can catch a live show. It’s here where both Mamma Mia! the musical and Chess (another musical with songs by ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson) were once performed and it’s here where you can find the next up-and-coming Swedish musical theater sensations (that’s probably a thing, right?).
Stay at a Different ABBA Hotel
Owned by ABBA member Benny Anderson, the Rival Hotel in Stockholm was opened in 2003 and is a boutique spot in the hip neighborhood of Södermalm. But it’s not just a place to sleep; the hotel also has a bistro, café, bar, and its own 703-seat theater for rock concerts, musicals, and live events of all kinds. The best part though? The hotel has its own theme song written by Benny and Björn and recorded in this (we’ll call it a trailer) epically awkward video for the hotel.
Dress in ABBA’s Clothes (Kinda Literally)
Back at the ABBA Museum, one of the other great interactive exhibits explores the band’s incredible style and wacky wardrobe choices over the years. There are “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” bellbottoms and sequins to virtually try on, and with your museum entrance ticket, you can have images of you in the costumes emailed to you. It’s basically your personal Swedish Glamour Shots.
INSIDER TIPMore potential blackmail.
Get Your Hands Dirty
If you’re in Gothenburg (Sweden’s second biggest city), check out Liseberg Amusement Park. Mainly, it’s wicked fun for the insane rollercoasters and stomach-churning rides, but for ABBA fans, it’s the site of all four bandmember’s handprints and signatures memorialized in concrete. It’s like the handprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood—but there’s only ABBA to compare your hand sizes to.