When we were asked to cover the opening of the new Dreamworks Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood I didn’t know what to expect. I’d walked by Shrek 4D a million times but never experienced it because I can live without Shrek in my life. I was always afraid of the talking Donkey out front as well. Meet and Greets with something that can talk to me isn’t my thing, but I was excited to give the new Dreamworks theater a go…..and delighted to see that talking Donkey wasn’t there when I arrived.
As a disclaimer, I’ve never seen Kung Fu Panda so excuse me for not knowing everything, especially as the ceremony began with a giant Mr. Ping greeting us all. Wikipedia claims he is a goose, but to me he looked like a large ostrich of some sort. He introduced a few of Dreamworks other characters as they came out to meet and greet. Luckily none of them talk so I was okay. Still no Donkey. The final introduction was Karen Irwin, the CEO of Universal Hollywood. She bantered back and forth at the podium with Mr. Ping before stating that the Dreamworks Theater was a collaborative effort between Universal and their subsidiary Dreamworks animation. Once her speech was over the red carpet into the theater was transformed into a parade of characters, dancing Chinese dragons, and traditional drummers. It was actually quite a long and wonderful performance (which you could have caught on Nightmarish Conjuring’s Instagram story!) and then there were the final fireworks and ribbon cutting ceremony.
Once the ribbon had been cut, we were escorted into the new queue area, which looks like a little zen garden. Once inside the art deco theater you see Dreamworks film posters on every wall and that leads us into the pre-show which was wonderful. The blending of walls and video screens was seamless and there were lots of Dreamworks awards and trophies on display too. The pre-show lets you know that the film you are seeing today stars the characters of Kung Fu Panda and that we would help take part in the adventure.
Once inside the theater you have options to sit where you’d like just like a traditional movie theater. I’d suggest sitting up front as the screen blends so much with the walls around it that you would most definitely feel more involved in the plot line, but from where we sat, nearly right in the middle of the theater, we could take in many practical effects. I’d still recommend the front though, especially as the specialness of this motion simulator attraction dissolves when you see that the floor isn’t moving.
Oh yeah, this attraction is a motion simulator. Almost all of the seats in the theater move, but the floor doesn’t. There are no seat belts or restraints so keep that in mind of you are going into this. It isn’t crazy enough to eject you from your seat so for people who get motion sickness, this ride will be just fine for you. This ride also doesn’t require 3D glasses which is a nice change from the usual ride at Universal. This all allowed for a less thrilling but still fun experience.
The new Dreamworks Theater wasn’t mind blowing but it was definitely cute. To top it off, the theater looks fantastic and I’m sure many of the Dreamworks characters will be meeting out in front of it throughout it’s run. I look forward to seeing what films they change out. If you have a family with small children I would put this on the list as a must do, but for anyone else this might be something you’d like. If you are a Dreamworks fan or a Kung Fu Panda fan I can see why this might be great for you but if you aren’t I would put this on your list as something to get to if you can.