If you’re going to share a dream with Luna in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, what better theme is there than Alice’s dreamy Adventures in Wonderland? It’s the perfect theme for weary-eyed trance-like exploration. Wonderland also meshes well with ACNH’s affinity for cottage-core island designs. These islands are brimming with inspiration! Not to mention, Animal Crossing has its own unique way of driving us all mad.
Disney released Alice in Wonderland on July 26th, 1951, nearly a century after Lewis Carroll scribbled his illustrious lines of a young girl’s hazy voyage into the occult. Despite how old the story is, entire generations of children are still captivated by the mystical dream world of Wonderland.
Wonderland isn’t a sinister place. Wonderland isn’t frightening. Not quite, but the setting leaves us feeling like something is always amiss. Wonderland is vague, otherworldly, and wildly unfamiliar.
Still, the struggles felt by Alice are among the most familiar fumbling steps a child could relate to. From the opening moments of listening to her sister drone on with boring lessons, the following daydream that snatches her attention, to the plunge down a seemingly endless rabbit hole as she drifts to sleep.
Alice’s frustrations with civilized Victorian society have only doubled in magnitude for the children of today. The streets paved in asphalt reek a stench of bureaucratic red tape. The dirt roads of Wonderland capture childlike curiosity and imagination in a way that feels more alive and personable.
Before visiting these islands, let’s rekindle the tone and events of Wonderland. Themed dream island tours are a rare treat. We’ll want to savor ever little reference these awesome creators laid out for us.
Alice’s constant changes in size are symbolic of a child’s growth. The endless berating of disorienting phrases such as “you’re too old for this now” followed by an immediate, “Maybe when you’re older” spiral through a lukewarm atmosphere of self-doubt and constantly shifting identity.
Then the Caterpillar’s scrutinizing cadence of “Who are you?” rings through her head in a contemptuous cacophony of thumbtacks scraping against a chalkboard. “Who are you?” It isn’t intrinsic knowledge. I wasn’t born with the idea of becoming a writer, nor was Alice born a doctor or county lineman.
Let’s not forget the sheer audacity those mean old flowers had, calling Alice a weed!
The point is: Wonderland and New Horizons are both perfect havens for child-like escapism.
The language of Wonderland often collapsed the moment it was spoken. Words and intentions brewed into a muddled concoction of misguided intentions. Remember when Alice was forced to argue semantics with the Mad Hatter and his crew over a cup of tea that never manifested? It’s hilarious to look back on.
No matter what, Alice pressed on chasing her curious white rabbit. I loved her determination, and I love the determination we’ll see from these 6 ACNH creators, too!
Wonderland is no easy place to recreate! Although, despite lacking access to Bandersnatch villagers and Jabberwocky salesmen in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I found some islands that did an incredible job recreating Wonderland!
So, now that our memories are sufficiently jogged, let’s check out the 6 best Alice-themed New Horizons islands the internet has to offer:
On our first island, we wake up to a serene evening. We also wake up to the gentle waving of a flag featuring the one-and-only Cheshire cat. This island aims to use modest Alice in Wonderland themes to boost some well-executed fairy-core vibes to a new height.
While the theme may be lighter than we’ll see near the other end of the list, the overall design is lovely. Vibrant colors fill every inch of this Wonderland rendition, making it a great beacon of inspiration. I can also say with certainty that the Mad Hatter’s tea table is leagues above its competition!
Next up, we have a playfully whimsical island. The creator of this dream address wanted Wonderland to be an interactive and fun expedition. She starts us off with an outfit to try on near the airport. We stumble upon a warp pipe simulating a deep rabbit hole. Immediately we find ourselves at a cute little caucus race and the adventure ensues!
I love this creator’s building style. Tucked away in every table design is a piece of candy to eat before embarking on the next chapter of our visit. She doesn’t aim for grandeur or insurmountable monuments to walk around. Instead, she sprinkles the server with Disney references in a way that kept me smiling in adoration.
Don’t forget to check inside her custom houses! That’s where this island shows off its unique ambiance.
I immediately knew I was in for a treat when I noticed the island layout was terraformed to be the dissolving image of the Cheshire cat. The school of fish pun? Classic!
Of all the islands I visited, this was the loosest rendition of Wonderland – in the best possible way! References were a bit sparse, but the somber autumn leaves and auburn tones left an enchanted feeling coursing through my body as I explored some artfully crafted nonsensical terrain.
It felt like an entirely new Wonderland experience. It hovered miles away from my expectations, yet it was spiritually very reminiscent of the hypnotic world Alice created within her dreams.
Flora stalked me around the island, and one of the islanders nonchalantly told me he wasn’t a spy! The spirit of Wonderland was captured with elegance.
Edit: This island has been updated to a daytime map! I still stand by my words.
The next island on our list is Japanese, which was a surprisingly fresh take on Wonderland. The path was broken up into stepping stones over water, which added an extra element of traversal when exploring the area.
Overall, there was a solemn, melancholy overtone surrounding the place. It aligned so well with my macabre memories of watching the film as a child – I HAD to include it.
This designer was also the trailblazer who created the custom tiles we see on this island. They make an appearance on many of the other Alice-themed islands out there.
Clever use of terraforming resulted in towering monuments and oddities that caught the eye immediately.
For anyone interested, I’ve posted the design codes here.
The island of Hide Away was a tremendous labor of love! Mysterious forked roads lined this Animal Crossing island and kept the feeling of exploration feeling fresh. The paths weren’t overly crowded or frustrating to navigate. Characters from Wonderland made clever appearances throughout the island.
There were three island residents with awesome cosplay outfits and quotes!
Most importantly of all, the Queen of Hearts had a palace that was nothing short of immaculate!
The attention to detail here is unparalleled. Every villager is themed to represent an Animal from Alice in Wonderland. The terraforming is phenomenal. The island is interactive. The forced perspective elements from growing and shrinking are executed leagues above expectation.
The painted roses are weaved with intermittent spilled paint. We’re given a cute outfit to match the ever-anxious rabbit that Alice intends to chase. We even see elements from outside the Disney cartoon: The white and black knights!
The royal courtyard uses a delicate ebony and ivory balance, yielding perfect symmetry. I can’t recommend visiting this island enough!
Anyway, that wraps up the best Alice in Wonderland themed dream addresses in New Horizons. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed researching it! Here are some follow-ups on the series:
I’ll be doing more dream island tours in the future, too! So, take the hint and drop a follow on social if you’d like to come along for the ride.
These islands were fun to explore, but weren’t quite fully-committed to the Alice in Wonderland theme… with one exception:
I found a Japanese hedge maze puzzle that was immeasurably clever. Unfortunately, it was a very claustrophobic experience. Don’t get me wrong, the creator created a piece of art that would bring our dear Mad Hatter a wide-eyed smile. The problem I had while traversing it boiled down to the fumbly mechanics in Animal Crossing.