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Universal Studios Hollywood is known around the world as the place where movie magic comes to life, but in 2018, the park will introduce even more characters to its already star-studded lineup.
DreamWorks TheatreDreamWorks Animation has joined forces with Universal Studios Hollywood for the all-new DreamWorks Theatre opening this summer.
The state-of-the-art theater, which will feature a classic Hollywood art-deco design, will use projection mapping and LED lighting effects to enhance storytelling and immerse parkgoers in a multisensory experience based on the adventures of Master Po and the Furious Five from DreamWorks Animation’s hit franchise “Kung Fu Panda.”
The new “Kung Fu Panda - The Emperor’s Quest” attraction will take guests on a journey with Dragon Warrior Po the panda as he undertakes a mission to deliver the rare and precious Liquid of Limitless Power to the palace for the Emperor’s Great Feast of Heroes. Along the way, Po will overcome daunting challenges by employing magic (and kung fu, of course).
The attraction will also introduce the first-ever integration of interior projection mapping to surround guests in 180 degrees of adventure. The never-before-adapted technique will be used to transform the theater’s interior and enhance the attraction’s storyline. In addition, 360-degree surround sound audio; physical effects such as wind and water; and seats that move with the images on the screen will further involve guests in the story.
Movie buffs will love exploring the attraction’s lobby, where more than 20 award statuettes won by DreamWorks Animation — including Golden Globe, Emmy, People’s Choice and Annie awards — will be displayed along with a collection of original “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest” character models. Although the theater will debut with the “Kung Fu Panda” experience, additional DreamWorks Animation-themed attractions will follow.
Po and Tigress the tiger from “Kung Fu Panda,” Branch and Poppy from “Trolls” and Alex the lion and King Julien the lemur from “Madagascar” have already been greeting park guests in preparation for the DreamWorks Theatre grand opening, but soon, clients will have the chance to meet even more of their favorite DreamWorks characters at a daily “dance jam” in Universal Plaza.
Hello KittyThis year has also brought the beloved and bowed Hello Kitty to Universal Studios Hollywood. A dedicated section of the brand-new Animation Studio Store features accessories, apparel, collectibles and even sweets such as s’mores, fudge and cupcakes based on the pop icon and her equally adorable friends.
Hello Kitty fans of all ages can design their own customizable Kitty ears at the Build-A-Bow display, which is only possible at the in-park store. Plus, Hello Kitty makes her Hollywood debut in a movie-themed costume at a character meet-and-greet in front of the store’s whimsical window displays .
The new Hello Kitty store also offers park-exclusive movie-themed merchandise.
“We worked really collaboratively with Universal on all the products,” said Susan Tran, senior manager of brand management and marketing for Sanrio, Inc. “And they did a really great job with all the little details in the merchandising and displays.”
Some products feature Hello Kitty and her friends enjoying Universal Studios Hollywood’s attractions — like the world-famous backlot tram tour — and some put Hello Kitty into recognizable images from several of Universal’s best-known movies, such as “Jaws,” “Back to the Future” and “E.T.”
“Our designers worked with Universal to incorporate Hello Kitty into the original movie posters,” said Stephanie Simpson, retail merchandising director for Sanrio. “And we really wanted to make it park-exclusive so people can only find it here.”
In addition to Hello Kitty and her friends, the new Animation Studio Store also carries merchandise featuring popular Universal Studios Hollywood characters including the Minions, Curious George, SpongeBob SquarePants and the Simpsons.