King Kong is coming back to Universal Orlando
King Kong is set to make its return to the Universal Orlando Resort. The great ape, star of movies from the 1933 Fay Wray original to the 2005 Peter Jackson blockbuster, once made a home at Universal Studios Florida, before the Kongfrontation ride closed in 2002 to make way for the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster. When Kong returns, it will be to Universal Orlando's other theme park, Islands of Adventure.
We've known for some time that Universal Creative designers have been kicking around ideas for the Return of the Kong. As a result, theme park fans for months have been spreading rumors about a new Kong ride in one of the parks or the other. But ideas are worthless until they become reality. Lots of "blue sky" attraction ideas never make it to development. When parks start filing for permits with local authorities and start hiring contractors to develop the plans, that is when an idea become a project worth reporting as fact. That is when parks are putting real money behind an idea.
We appear to be at that stage now with Kong. Universal Orlando filed a permit application with the City of Orlando this week for a demolition project to clear space for either the new Kong attraction or possibly for a fifth hotel on the Universal Orlando property. We don't know for certain which project this permit represents, but we've heard from enough other sources within the industry to confirm that both projects are happening.
In addition, multiple Universal team members have reported seeing markers that suggest impending demolition work around the old Triceratops Encounter space in Jurassic Park, which is the land next to which industry sources have said a new Kong attraction would go. Frankly, space seems tight on that side of Jurassic Park with the show building for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey encroaching into much of that land's old empty space, which is why we've been skeptical of rumors that Kong would go in on that site. (Oh, please don't let this just be a Kong-topped polercoaster.) There's more space for a new attraction on the other side of Jurassic Park, near the new Cabana Bay hotel.
Universal lost the original version of the Kong animatronic attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008 when the soundstage that housed that encounter on the park's backlot tour burned in a major fire at the studio. Universal ultimately decided to replace that attraction with the film-based King Kong 360/3D encounter, directed by Jackson, which opened in 2010.
With demolition on schedule soon, construction on Orlando's new Kong attraction, whatever and wherever it turns out to be, could begin once Diagon Alley opens to the public this summer. And development of the fifth hotel should be expected to begin not long after Universal wraps up its fourth hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort later this spring.
Expect this as the new normal at the Universal Orlando Resort. As one major new attraction development wraps up, a new one will begin. As one new hotel opens, construction will start on the next. Meanwhile, new developments continue to begin over in CityWalk, too, beyond the new restaurants and shops that Universal Orlando already has announced for this spring and summer.
What are you hoping for in a new Kong attraction — or a new hotel — at the Universal Orlando Resort?
A combination of a Kong AA with the 360 screen effects plus other scenes with a slow moving track seems to be the latest rumors. I'd like to see that. OU & OI have been reporting the last few months, though, that the proposed site is behind the River Adventure falls & restaurant area.That area has also been marked off recently. The Trike Encounter area, they report, will have some type of Jurassic Park attractions.
Man oh man, what am I not looking for? I can only assume that Universal, whatever they decide on for this attraction, is going to put the same effort and attention to detail into the new attraction that they have with other recent projects like the Harry Potter areas and Transformers.
BTW, I rephrased a clumsy sentence about the location of the Kong attraction from my original version. I meant to shoot down the idea of the attraction over by the old Trike site, but my original phrasing suggested that was where it was going, instead.
I have to say it will be nice when there are mo more construction walls at these parks... Its getting to be a bit much, even for me.
Great news, but why locate the ride inside Jurassic Park? Is Universal changing the entire land into Skull Island?
To the questioning poster: Comcast purchased the park. Universal's mantra is now, basically , if you build it they will come. Especially after the huge success of HP1.
Kong!!!! 8th wonder of the world....oh boy...I missed the old one, and even though that ride had shut down issues, and long lines, it was a favorite..I enjoy the new one as I have seen the video on you tube...islands needs a few new attractions. and, Jurassic park is one of them. Not every one wants to go on the river adventure when its cold out in the winter time here so for 2-3 months, heck no, I won't go...But, lets get kong going...anything to pump up islands is going to be worth it. And, to start with the 8th wonder of the world, modern style, I am all in.
Robert did I just read this correctly? Did you say they're building a 5th Hotel at Universal? Where exactly How big? and Opening Date!!! Sooo cool!!!
I wish they would build a Harry Potter themed hotel. My family would stay there every time we are in Orlando and would never stay at a Disney resort again.
Great ... It's a theme park attraction where I narrowly escape being killed by an enormous ape ... or a t-rex ... or a dragon ... or a giant robot.
To TH's point, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Star Wars Land (should WDI do it right) are places where people can cosplay and spend the day within the lands themselves. They inspire a level of audience interaction far beyond simply waiting in line, riding a ride, getting a snack and moving on to the next land.
Only issue I have is that the Jurassic area of IOA is pretty swell as is... wish they were fixing the Toon Lagoon instead. Maybe it will be next after Kong. Otherwise, a new King Kong attraction sounds fun. Although I seriously wonder if the franchise (I use the term loosely here) has any pull left outside of old fogies like me?
Um, "a solid, respectable hit?"
I'm glad Universal is pumping so much time, thought and money into the parks. And I couldn't be more pleased with the new additions over the past few years.
I hope this will be universal's answer to expedition everest, with giant AA to boot. Working AA of course.
I hope the ride is outdoors and have it be like Indiana Jones and dinosaur
Love that Kong is coming back, but also love that nothing is leaving to make room for his comeback.
So will this be just a stand alone attraction, or will they try to cram a whole Skull Island land in the park? Space seems so limited to flesh out something substantial aside from the one attraction. Even though I'd like to see a Kong attraction make a return to the Orlando resort, in this case I rather just see a new Jurassic attraction get built to coincide with the new movie that has been rumored to be moving forward. Real interested to see how the whole thing will play out.
I imagine it will "play out" as a story where Universal guests will board a quiet ride through the jungle ... until something goes horribly wrong.
PLEASE not a Potter Hotel!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I can take ANYMORE Potter!!!!!!!!!!!
That's most likely a bulls eye on how the rides story will play out, no argument there. I'm curious as to how this attraction will find a home thematically at IOA. Looking at IOA on google maps, there's just nothing left with a large enough footprint to get a Skull Island area inside the gates. Shoe horning it into the Jurassic area just to add another big ticket attraction to the parks line-up is lame and goes against the concept of the park. I would much rather see them add another experience to the Jurassic Park area. Perhaps this ride would be best suited as an anchor attraction in a new land at a 3rd gate.... hmmmm ;o)
TH Creative says....
Note to Apple Butter: The only thing more cliche than another dark ride where the guests are chased down by a giant beastie is an attempt to turn a TPI thread topic into another Disney vs. Universal battle.
Yeah I was going a little off kilter there sorry. The model that you spoke of is used in theme parks around the world because it works for most. Although there is a lot of different models out there using just IOA as an example. Like being a kid again in Sues Landing, Acting like a fool under the comic bubbles at toon landing, spraying water at unsuspecting guests star water cannon at ripsaw, when your kid or any kid is chosen where their wand chooses them in Olivanders, or just letting yourself step into the pages of HP while enjoying a frozen butter beer. You can find these things to do at Disney or similar things. It's not all you're going along a calm path and something happens model.
So TH Creative (the man with the same reply on everything so how creative is he) will open his own theme park with rides based on literature like Pinter, Shakespeare and Harper Lee.
OT asks: "What do you want?"
Diagon Alley will no doubt improve upon the immersive experience of HP 1.0. For it not to would be a step backwards for Universal in creating themed environments. Even if it matches HP 1.0, it's a misstep in pushing things forward in my opinion. They have to improve upon what they have done before and continue to innovate what should be expected in a theme park experience.
I'm sure some die-hard Universal fans are stoked about this, but I'm disappointed that this expansion isn't a Jurassic Park Jeep Adventure ride.
Really enjoying Phil B.'s comments. It demonstrates the TPI community's interest in themed entertainment environments, while offering no recognition claiming any significance to bringing a (yawn) "respectable hit" (Kong) to Orlando.
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