New Uni­ver­sal at­trac­tion is gung-ho for Kung Fu Panda

Times Colonist - - Go -

UNI­VER­SAL CITY, Cal­i­for­nia — Just an earshot away from the boom­ing sounds of Water­world and al­most di­rectly across from where the Don­key from Shrek spends his day pos­ing with the thou­sands of visi­tors to Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios Hol­ly­wood is the new­est at­trac­tion for the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia theme park. The all-new Dream­Works The­atre of­fi­cially opened Kung Fu Panda: The Em­peror’s Quest.

Work on the new at­trac­tion started 18 months ago, not long af­ter NBCUniver­sal ac­quired Dream­Works An­i­ma­tion. The work in­cludes a com­plete re­fur­bish­ing of the build­ing that was once the home for the Shrek 4D show to make way for the Dream­Works The­atre. Only the shell re­mains from the Shrek fea­ture and the con­struc­tion has been fash­ioned ar­chi­tec­turally to pay trib­ute to the Golden Age of Hol­ly­wood’s 1920s Art Deco pe­riod.

The at­trac­tion starts with a box­of­fice ticket-seller booth staffed by a three-di­men­sional Pinoc­chio char­ac­ter from Shrek who is asleep on the job. This is the be­gin­ning of the trib­ute to the long list of an­i­mated of­fer­ings from Dream­Works that started in 1998 with Antz and in­cludes Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Mada­gas­car, How to Train Your Dragon, Mon­sters vs. Aliens, The Boss Baby and many more.

An out­door gar­den leads to the the­atre wait­ing area that con­tin­ues the theme of clas­sic movie houses.

In the lobby’s wait­ing area, the walls are cov­ered with 36 movie posters and a se­lec­tion of more than 20 award stat­uettes are on dis­play that rep­re­sent a sam­pling of the Golden Globe, Emmy, Peo­ple’s Choice, Critic’s Choice, Na­tional Board of Re­view and An­nie awards.

A col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal sculpted scale mod­els of Kung Fu Panda: The Em­peror’s Quest char­ac­ters will also be on dis­play, along with ar­ti­facts em­body­ing mag­i­cal pow­ers Po brought back from the Spirit Realm.

The suc­cess of the new at­trac­tion is all on the broad shoul­ders of Po.

Kung Fu Panda: The Em­peror’s Quest is the story of how on the morn­ing of The Em­peror’s Great Feast of Heroes, dragon war­rior Po must go on a dan­ger­ous mis­sion to de­liver the rare and pre­cious Liq­uid of Lim­it­less Power to the Palace. Park guests will join Po on the trek filled with rag­ing rapids, river pi­rates, magic and kung fu.

Visi­tors will make their way to a large the­atre that uses state-ofthe-art visual effects. More than 200 fully ar­tic­u­lated seats pivot and swivel in tan­dem with the 180-de­gree ac­tion.

The new at­trac­tion is part of the Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios Hol­ly­wood movie-based theme park and stu­dio tour ex­pe­ri­ence. Other at­trac­tions in­clude The Wizard­ing World of Harry Pot­ter, De­spi­ca­ble Me Min­ion May­hem, Springfield, The Walk­ing Dead and Trans­form­ers.

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