The ride has been down for the last month to allow for the upgrade to a new 4K digital high definition Infitec 3-D projection system, new audio system, new lighting, and upgraded attraction’s sets.
The morning began with a very brief opening ceremony and then it was straight onto the ride. The queue hasn’t changed asides from a few small minor touchups and display upgrades.
Getting closer to the ride, it was time to grab the new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses, which are made with new dichroic filtered lenses to allow for vivid colors and clarity. For those familiar with the Star Tours: The Adventure Continues 3-D glasses, the Spider-Man lenses are smaller in comparison and are more limiting in view. The frames themselves look about the same size but are also slightly smaller and not as prescription glasses friendly. They do not fit over the full frame of prescription glasses unlike the Star Tours 3-D frames, which comfortably fit over a set of modern prescription glasses and still allow for a full viewing experience of the ride. In addition the new lens filters make the rest of the sets on the ride look darker.
The vehicles have had their sound system upgraded from 8-channel to 16-channel surround sound making it even more immersive. The ride itself is for the most part the exact same story. Every scene on the ride has been rescored and re-animated to 4K high definition animation including added details of everything in the scenes as well as at least one new element in each scene.
Let me just say the new animations look stunning and the audio is clearer than ever. The new animation includes several cameos by Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee (I managed to find him in two scenes but I heard he appears in three). The details in the images are stunningly crisp and the colors are vivid. Universal has taken what has been an amazing attraction for the past decade and made it even better. The 2002-2005 best attraction winner should now definitely be a strong award contender once again. It is definitely worth going to check out the updated ride.
Update: Here's a video from Universal, with some on-ride footage:
I think this would have been a good opportunity for Universal to change the villain lineup to have each villain have a 4D effect (I'm looking at you Scream). Like maybe Mysterio and have him trick Spider-Man with illusions and fill the room with mist. Something ANYTHING beyond "Oh the humanity, she's swiping her claws at me!"
So in summary: Animation great, music abysmal.
I rode yesterday and the wait was about 90 minutes, 40 mins for single riders. The new animation is beautiful, but the ending sequence did not seem to have the same intensity as before. The tilt of the ride vehicle seemed far less extream, so Maybe they are breaking the movement in slowly?
As a result, you're able to take in the images onscreen longer (including a few new details and minor scene extensions), but the physical ride itself seems much less 'wild', and, as a result, a bit less fun than it used to be.
It's kind of like adding trim brakes to The Beast. Sure it's still great, but not as great as you once experienced. And yes, the new soundtrack will take some getting used to.
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