Posted Thursday, November 6, 2008 9:52 AM | Contributed by Jeff
[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt from a press release. -J]
The Polar Express 4-D Experience is presented daily in the park’s Imagination Cinema. This holiday season…What if there is a place beyond your imagination and to get there all you have to do is BELIEVE! Dollywood guests are invited to come journey to the North Pole where dreams become real and all of their senses come alive in this magical 4-D Experience. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on an epic journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. The Polar Express 4-D Experience is based on the film from Warner Bros. Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment, inspired by the beloved Caldecott Medal children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, and includes 3-D and 4-D effects that will make you BELIEVE.
Learn more from the official Dollywood site.
We did this 4D experience last year at the Cincinnati Zoo, and it was pretty decent from what I can remember. We've really begun to love that movie the past 2-3 seasons, and the 4D was pretty cool with the sound system they had, as well as, the wind, snow, and the scent of hot chocolate, (though it did start to smell a little rank after about 30 seconds or so). The runaway train/roller coaster scenes were even better on the bigger screen. I hope DW gets it done right for the audience.
Did this thing at Dollywood. If you have the opportunity to see this show, do yourself a favor, and DON'T.
Oh, it looks great, and visually the train ride is pretty incredible. But the motion base programming makes "Back to the Future" look like a lame ride by comparison. If you don't have back problems when you get on, you will when you get off. Seriously, it is the first motion base ride I have ever ridden where if I could have found a Big Red Button, I would have frobbed it. The horseback riding scene in "Corkscrew Hill" at Busch Gardens has got nothing on the sheer violence of the Polar Express. By the time the train got to the pole, I was propped up on my elbows to get as far away from that damned seat as the safety belt would allow.
The real issue is that as soon as the train starts moving, the seat starts bouncing. But the program is for a hard bounce instead of a soft bounce. What should be a gentle swaying with a little bit of a kick is instead an aggressive motion, so at the point where the motion should start to get aggressive, it instead resorts to extreme violence. And this goes on for roughly seven minutes of a thirteen-minute film.
One good thing they did...instead of the usual plastic reusable 3D glasses, they use disposable cardboard. That meant that with a little bit of creative folding I was able to turn mine into a pair of clip-ons, so I didn't have to spend the whole film trying to keep the glasses from falling off. Which, given the violence of the show, was a Good Thing.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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