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Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest (or simply The Emperor's Quest) is a 4D motion simulator attraction in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. It is featured in the newly refurbished DreamWorks Theatre, a re-design of the previous Shrek 4-D attraction that will showcase all characters from DreamWorks Animation's various works, starting with those from the Kung Fu Panda franchise.[5]

The attraction opened to the public on June 15, 2018.[6]

Description

Story

Synopsis from NBC Universal:

"Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest" recounts a plot-filled story whereby 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.[2][6]

Plot description from USA Today:

... Po goes on a new quest — with his adopted duck father Mr. Ping and the red panda Master Shifu — to bring the Liquid of Ultimate Power to the Palace for the Emperor.

The mission is hijacked by the villainous Kang Wolf who wields the stolen Ming Hammer, a relic so powerful that it knocks foes into the spirit world.

Po and his sidekicks battle Kang in this ethereal world, along raging rivers and into the Emperor's Palace.[7]

Technical

Main theatre; taken by @SoCal360 via Twitter

The attraction features "cutting-edge technology" in its design, introducing "the first-ever integration of interior projection mapping designed to engulf guests in 180 degrees of immersive adventure." This integration technique is said to depict "a series of immersive and visually dynamic scenic designs that will transform within the interior space and enhance the story."

The main ride theatre uses seven Christie 4K Boxer Cinema Projectors behind a 62-foot screen,[7] as well as 360-degree surround sound audio used to enhance the ride experience with elements like water and wind. It also contains 241[7] "ultra-plush, fully articulated seats that pivot and swivel in tandem with the 180-degree action."[2]

Queue area

Ticket booth featuring Pinocchio

The attraction is featured inside the newly constructed DreamWorks Theatre building, with its design "inspired by Mission revival architecture [harkening] back to the Golden Age of Hollywood's Art Deco period of the 1920s." The ticket booth reflects this by being designed as a "box office ticket seller booth" and staffed by "a three-dimensional Pinocchio character asleep on the job."

Outdoor queue

An outdoor garden awaits past the ticket booth, leading guests into the main theatre queue with thirty-six framed DreamWorks Animation film posters. In the lobby, twenty statues of various DreamWorks accolades is on display; of these include Emmys, Annies, Golden Globes, Critic's Choices, People's Choices, and National Board of Reviews. The lobby also features original sculpted maquettes of the attraction's Kung Fu Panda characters, as well as magical artifacts obtained by Po from the Spirit Realm.

Pre-show area; taken by @SoCal360 via Twitter

Prior to the main ride, guests enter a "pre-show area of the theatre where they meet an array of DreamWorks characters who kick-off the attraction's narrative." They then move to the main ride theatre.[2]

Summary

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Pre-show

The pre-show area of the theatre presents a variety of iconic Dreamworks characters. The panda named Po, in particular, is informed by Master Shifu to deliver Mr. Ping’s bottle of ultimate power to the Emperor. Little did they know, Kang, the leader of a group of wolf pirates, steals the Ming Hammer and plans to get the bottle. The pre-show then ends with the front gates opening for guests to enter the theater.

Main show

The show begins with Po, Shifu, and Mr. Ping boarding a river boat. The trio travel throughout China on water, while crashing into some construction on the way. Water is also splashed onto guests during the process. After falling down a waterfall, Po, Shifu, and Ping enter the Dreaded Cave territory. While they are supposed to be quiet, Mr. Ping kept blurting out questions loudly and alerting the wolf pirates of their location. They stumble upon Kang with the Ming Hammer and his hideout. A battle ensues with Po trying to keep the bottle of ultimate power away from Kang. The group soon breaks free and escapes to the Emperor’s palace, but Kang reappears once again and uses the Ming Hammer to send Po and his friends into the Spirit Realm. Po and Shifu fend off Kang while Mr. Ping protected the bottle. Kang manages to steal the bottle and gives Po the choice of either saving the bottle or his father from an incoming boulder. Po ultimately chooses to save his father and uses the power of Chi to send them all back to the Mortal Realm. The Emperor thanks Po and Mr. Ping reveals that the bottle is only containing hot sauce. As the curtains close, Po bids goodbye to the guests and sends the Ming Hammer flying around the theater and into a wall. Guests then leave the building.

Voice cast

Production

Announcements

On June 5, 2017, Universal Studios made the first announcement of renovating the DreamWorks Theatre into a Kung Fu Panda-themed attraction, replacing the previous Shrek 4-D ride with a "brand-new multisensory attraction" featuring Po and various franchise characters on an "adventure of awesomeness". The announcement also included the ride's planned release period of 2018.[8]

In March 2018, Universal narrowed the attraction's release date to summer 2018, providing additional details on the ride's technical aspects.[2] Then in April, they announced its slated opening date of June 15, 2018.[6]

Development

The attraction was created by Universal Creative in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation; the story and animation are presumably done by DreamWorks, while Universal handled the ride's detailed technical aspects. In one visit, a sound technician from Universal Creative "repeatedly played a scene featuring a flaming arrow shot seemingly over the audience's head, making sure the thumping impact sounds had just the right quiver."[7]

Release

On May 29, 2018, the attraction had a soft opening, in which only a handful of invited people sampled the ride.[4]

The attraction had its dedication and opening ceremony on June 14, 2018, and then officially opened to the public on June 15, 2018.[6]

Reception

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The guest reception of the attraction's soft opening was very positive.[4]

Gallery

Promos

Development

Theatre previews

Show previews

Concepts

Videos

Quotes

Join Master Po and the Furious Five in an All-New Multisensory Attraction
—Early tagline

See also

  • Show transcript

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Top40-Charts.com - "'TAG' Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Available June 15th". Published June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 PRNewswire.com - "Universal Studios Hollywood Debuts the All-New DreamWorks Theatre With the Technologically-Advanced, Immersive Attraction 'Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest' in Summer 2018" by Universal Studios Hollywood. Published February 8, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Twitter-favicon.png @MickWingert (Mick Wingert) on Twitter: “Reviews are starting to roll in, the New #KungFuPanda attraction (featuring Yours Truly) at Universal Studios, Hollywood is a major hit and visually stunning!!”
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Twitter-favicon.png @SoCal360 (Attractions 360°) on Twitter: “The New Kungfu Panda attraction @UniStudios Hollywood is fantastic & visually stunning! ...”
  5. Los Angeles Times - "So long Shrek, hello Kung Fu Panda. Universal Studios to turn 4-D theater into DreamWorks showcase" by Brady MacDonald. Published & retrieved June 5, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 NBCUniversal Media Village - "Universal Studios Hollywood Announces ... 'Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest' Officially Opens on June 15". Published April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 USA Today - "First look: Po kicks again at Universal Studios with 'Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest'" by Bryan Alexander. Published May 25, 2018. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  8. Universal Studios Hollywood - "Just Announced – New Attractions Coming Soon". Published & retrieved June 5, 2017.

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