King Kong Construction Update, Plus a First Look at the Blueprints

November 23, 2014, 12:52 PM · ORLANDO — Universal Orlando has topped out the show building for its new King Kong attraction, as we've gotten our first look at the blueprints for the upcoming attraction at Islands of Adventure.

Kong show building
Click for higher res version

The new Kong will occupy the show building under construction between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park. You can see the Jurassic Park show building to the left, for scale, in the higher-res version. This show building is almost as large as the Forbidden Journey show building, and we've gotten our first look at the plans for what visitors will find inside.

Now, we haven't seen a complete set of blueprints, as we did for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. But we've seen enough to learn a couple of very interesting details about the new attraction.

First, this is not going to be a duplicate of the King Kong 360:3D attraction from Universal Studios Hollywood. Nor will it be a recreation of the old Kongfrontation ride from Universal Studios Florida. Obviously, this will be a dark ride (thus, the huge show building), and it will include a mix of screens and practical sets.

The blueprints we've seen call for a show scene with a massive set of screens on either side of the ride track, as found on the Kong encounter on Hollywood's Studio Tour. However, the next scene includes plans for a massive Kong animatronic, as we saw years ago in the old Kong ride and Kong encounter at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, respectively. Kong appears on the right side of the ride track as ride vehicles curve around Kong to their right, allowing a long moment with the Big Ape. We will pass along additional details as they are leaked to us.

Disney Legend Bob Gurr designed Universal's original Kong animatronic, which burned in the Hollywood backlot fire that destroyed the original Kong encounter in 2008. Universal chose to replace that encounter with the screen-based King Kong 360:3D attraction, while Universal Studios Florida's Kong ride closed in 2002, to be replaced by Revenge of the Mummy.

Previous Kong coverage:

Across Hollywood Way, site preparation continues on Universal Orlando's fifth hotel, the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Sapphire Falls Resort
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With a Caribbean beach resort theme, the Sapphire Falls is under construction between the Royal Pacific and Cabana Bay Beach resorts, and is scheduled to open in Summer 2016.

Previous Sapphire Falls coverage:

Finally, Universal's not the only theme park company with a big construction project underway in Central Florida. ;^) We don't have a photo (at least, that we can show you...), but we've heard from sources on the ground that foundation work is well underway for Disney's Avatar land at Animal Kingdom. We've already shown you the plans for the Soarin'-like 3D movie that will be the centerpiece of phase one of the new land, which will be twice the size of Universal Orlando's new Diagon Alley and will feature multiple interactive experiences throughout. Disney's Avatar land will open in 2017.

Previous Avatar coverage:

Replies (10)

November 23, 2014 at 2:20 PM · Very happy to hear about the Kong animatronic; I was starting to become a bit concerned that Universal would be following the Gringotts model of ride design for Kong (read: no AAs, just screens), but this sounds like it (hopefully) will have a nice balance between massive practical setpieces, big-scale animatronics, and the seemingly-unavoidable 3D screens.

Robert, do the plans give any indication as to what we should expect from the ride vehicle? I've heard rumors covering everything from Spidey/Transformers-style vehicles, to Great Movie Ride inspired designs (and perhaps with a live driver). I understand if you can't share, but I thought I'd check!

November 23, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Sounds like Kong will include the best of two worlds, immersion screens and great AA's. This confirms a lot of the rumors that have been floating for the past year. Good Universal contacts as always Mr. Niles.
November 24, 2014 at 5:57 AM · is still available, if anyone's feeling entrepreneurial...
November 24, 2014 at 6:57 AM · Assuming some sort of incredibly impressive Kong AA, how with Universal avoid the well-documented pitfalls of other large-scale AAs? I'm curious to see how that plays out.
November 24, 2014 at 8:43 AM · So, based on the level of construction at this point, and compared with Potter in Hollywood and Diagon Alley, what could be the date range of it being completed?
November 24, 2014 at 1:53 PM · I'm hearing 2016 for the opening.
November 25, 2014 at 10:07 PM · My hope is that this is a huge cover by Universal and it's actually a Jurassic Park jeep ride.

I want kong in disaster. It would fit. Make the outside look like broadway and put an 8th wonder of the world banner up and blend it into New York. Have the broadway kong scene when you walk in with a massive ananimatronic on stage and the subway tram becomes the escape with 360 screens.

Country Kong is boring because he just knocks over trees. I want city Kong!!!

November 26, 2014 at 12:08 PM · this looks COOL
November 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM · I hope the animatronic is the same size as the old Kong, i was never able to ride that old Kong ride and I have hated myself for not doing it since it closed.
my only dream is to be able to see something that big in my lifetime, i hope this is the case.

I would love a Jurassic Park jeep ride the same style as the Dinosaur ride in Animal K as well, but i feel pretty torn. I always wanted to see an amazing JP ride with jeeps but I would also love to see Kong in that size like I said.

November 30, 2014 at 12:09 AM · With the new Jurassic world film coming out next year it would make more sense to build a ride to coincide with that but I love kong as well so bring it!

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