Get a first look at the new Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest Attraction!
Amusement parks are always trying to keep their parks up to date with the latest and greatest attractions. Universal Studios Hollywood is no different. This summer, the movie studio/theme park is set to open Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest, an all new immersive adventure, set in the newly-built DreamWorks Theater.
Located near the front of the park, just before you hit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the DreamWorks Theater has taken the place of what used to be the Shrek 4-D attraction. With its Mediterranean architecture, it is a far cry from what was there before. The entire theater has been rebuilt, with a studio garden-patio environment, custom tile work, and a studio marquee out front.
Guests will first enter the theater lobby for a pre-show. Since the attraction wasn’t open when our small group of journalists were given a tour, we had Jon Corfino, Creative Director at Universal Creative, tell us what we could expect. An animated, slumbering Pinocchio will mutter one-liners in his sleep as people enter; there will be awards for various DreamWorks productions on display; and the Magic Mirror will hang on the wall.
“There are a couple key props we introduce,” says Corfino. “The Ming Hammer is one of them, it takes us to the spirit realm.”
There will be LED panels on the wall that will blend in with the static wall panels, and when the show opens, these LED panels will come to life.
“You’ll get to see Po, you’ll get to see Shrek, you’ll get to see a lot of guys who are basically arguing over whose show it’s going to be,” explains Corfino. Obviously, Po wins the argument, and the audience helps him on his mission to deliver something to the Emperor.
Inside the theater, projection-mapping will be used to create an immersive 180 degree film. According to the press release, “On the morning of The Emperor’s Great Feast of Heroes, dragon warrior Po embarks on a wild and perilous mission to deliver the rare and precious Liquid of Limitless Power to the Palace, while enlisting guests to join him on the exciting adventure filled with raging rapids, river pirates, awesome magic and Kung Fu.”
Unlike many current amusement park attractions, this one will not be 3D; there are no glasses to interrupt your views. “When you put on a pair of glasses and are looking at something 3D, you are shutting out the outside world,” Corfino tells us. “You are cutting off your viewing senses. You have to be dealing with content that makes sense to come out at you. In high action sequences, you have to be careful to not move too fast because not all people reconcile 3D the same way.”
I know that I certainly don’t see 3D the way my friends describe seeing 3D, so I am relieved to hear that this will not be a 3D experience. “If we made it a 3D experience in there, you’d lose the peripheral sensation of that transformative effect.”
The theater has 241 seats, all of them fully articulated to match the motion of the video. Corfino promises the chairs will be a smooth interaction; it’s more about “reinforcing the motion,” making the viewer feel like they are part of the adventure. Wind, water, and surround sound will also be used to further involve the audience.
Right now, Corfino says they have no plans to rotate the films, but the idea has been discussed. “The great part about having this conceit was having a great home for DreamWorks,” he says. “It gives us the opportunity that the theater could be refreshed, and we could possibly consider that in the future.”
Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest officially opens at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 15th.