Universal update: DreamWorks Theatre, Potter Christmas, Fast/Furious opening
June 5, 2017, 7:17 AM · Updated throughout. We've got three news items from Universal Parks and Resorts today. First, the integration of DreamWorks Animation into the Universal theme parks is beginning to accelerate at Universal Studios Hollywood.
NBCUniversal last year acquired the animation studio, which long has had an association with Universal's theme parks via the Shrek franchise. Today, Universal Studios Hollywood announced that it will open a redesigned DreamWorks Theatre attraction for 2018, which will feature a new Kung Fu Panda show.
So what happens to the Shrek 4-D show, you might ask? It's going away, as the DreamWorks Theatre will be replacing that experience. A Universal Studios Hollywood spokesperson said, "We continually evaluate our entertainment options. The ‘Shrek 4D’ attraction enjoyed a successful run since 2003 and we look forward to offering our guests this new multi-sensory experience next year."
USH also will feature DreamWorks Animation characters in expanded meet and greets in Universal Plaza, starting this summer. The line up will include: Kung Fu Panda’s Po and Tigress; Madagascar’s Alex the Lion, The Penguins—Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private, and King Julian; Trolls’ Poppy and Branch; plus Shrek’s Puss ‘n Boots as joining currently appearing characters Shrek and Fiona.
The park also announced today that it also will be getting the new Christmas show at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, previously announced for Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure. IOA's getting the food that Hollywood had last year, too, so it looks like we will have twin holiday celebrations in Hogsmeade at the Wizarding Worlds on each coast.
USH now is soft-open testing the non-holiday version of the castle projection light show, which debuts officially on June 23.
Finally, Universal Orlando today committed to a Spring 2018 opening date for its upcoming Fast & Furious – Supercharged attraction, which is replacing the old Disaster! ride. A stand-alone version of the encounter on Hollywood's Studio Tour of the same name, Fast & Furious – Supercharged will feature a simulated 120-mph race through the streets of Los Angeles, as the crew from the popular Universal street racing franchise tries to take down the bad guys.
The Orlando version will feature Universal's new Virtual Line system, recently introduced on Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. That means no stand-by queues for the attraction, which will feature show car exhibits in a waiting area before guests board ride vehicles for the 3D encounter.