Universal Orlando Offers First Glimpse into Reign of Kong

February 25, 2016, 9:26 AM · Universal Orlando Resort today dropped some more details about its upcoming new attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The ride, being built next to Jurassic Park in Islands of Adventure, plusses the King Kong 360 3-D segment from Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour into a longer, more complete narrative experience, adding a themed queue, richly detailed setting, and an animatronic Kong.

While Hollywood presented its Kong encounter simply as an exercise in film production, Orlando's will seek to transport you to another place and time. Universal today revealed some of the details from that backstory:

The adventure begins as you set out to explore an island rife with prehistoric creatures of unknown origin – and the legend of a beast still undiscovered. You find yourself at a campsite of the 8th Wonder Expedition Company, the research team leading your adventure.

Once beyond camp, the menacing terrain shows signs of a native presence; beating drums draw you toward an ancient temple. Moving deeper into the ruins reveals a lost shrine – and proof you are not alone. You ignore warnings to turn back.

You board a specially designed expedition vehicle that will take you deeper into the island. Mysterious sounds pierce the air and you hear chanting. And then – you confront an enormous temple wall, complete with carvings and images that seem to pay homage to something you cannot quite comprehend. The temple’s massive wooden doors slowly open, revealing a labyrinth of caves.

Inside the caves, you meet your expedition leader – and suddenly find yourself in the midst of a raging struggle between creatures of incomprehensible size and ferocity. Then, as those creatures turn on you, there is an even more enormous, earth-pounding presence – bigger, closer and more overwhelming than you can possibly imagine. It is Kong. But is he friend or foe?

The backstory appears to describe an adventure that begins in the ride's queue — the campsite. The loading station will be in the shrine, and once aboard your vehicles, you will enter the ride's show building through the temple gate. Inside the building will be the Hollywood-style video tunnel, where the creatures will fight. After that battle, your ride vehicles will make a sweeping right-hand turn around the massive Kong animatronic, which serves as the ride's finale.

And here's a look into the making of the ride, hosted by Universal Creative's Mike West:

Universal is also promoting the new ride with a Web series called "Myth Explorer," starring SyFy host Erin Ryder, in which she travels to the Indian Ocean in search of the lost Skull Island. Here's the first episode:

Skull Island: Reign of Kong opens this summer at Universal's Islands of Adventure. A specific opening date has yet to be announced.

Replies (29)

February 25, 2016 at 9:42 AM · Insider Jungle Skip of Parkscope & Orlando United & Sean Hueckel when posting on TPI just timed the screen portion of Hollywood Kong as 1.5 minutes (excluding the ride introduction) The Orlando attraction is six minutes long so the vast bulk of the attraction is not related to the Hollywood 360 screen portion. Plus indications are that scene is plussed also and combined with special vehicle effects. Clearly there's lots more here than what's present at Hollywood, as Jungle Skip says. I'm especially intrigued by the passage through the labyrinth of caverns with surprises around every corner (Mike West unedited words "You now face a dark labyrinth of caves where danger lurks around every bend. You manage to escape the caves") And of course the final scene with a gigantic Kong AA. And keep in mind that these new high tech vehicles will have special features, some surprises, and that their base permits them to turn & rotate on a dime.
February 25, 2016 at 9:37 AM · This looks like it'll be a cool attraction/experience can't wait to go!
February 25, 2016 at 10:18 AM · The bar is high from recent Universal projects! I am optimistic that this will live up to that standard. Can't wait!!
February 25, 2016 at 10:34 AM · The cave scene is the video tunnel. Let's remember that the reported six minutes is from load to unload -- it's the time driving from dispatch to the gate, through the gate, the video tunnel, the Kong scene, and driving back to unload.
February 25, 2016 at 10:31 AM · You're severely making this ride sound less than it really is. So excited to see you proven wrong when the attraction opens.
February 25, 2016 at 10:41 AM · So the reports of a scene (before the 360 sequence) involving bug and bat animatronics are untrue?
February 25, 2016 at 10:54 AM · The TPI official version of events isn't being supported by info on OU.Insider Jungle Skip on OU quoting Mike West UC, "There are five or six scenes with all kinds of varying creatures from underworld that you haven't seen before".That's all I'll say. When the attraction opens we'll know if that cavern that West talks about exists or is just a figment of our imagination. If it doesn't exist I'll be the first to admit I was wrong. LOL
February 25, 2016 at 11:59 AM · I am sure it will be a fine attraction, just not one that alone inspires people to plan a trip to IOA.
February 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM · There is space for animatronics in the room with the video tunnel - and there's a transition space between it and the temple gate. There will be a much more complex set-up than in Hollywood, starting in the queue itself. But the highlights of this ride are the video and the animatronic Kong.

If you're setting this up as a Pirates-style ride with multiple large-scale animatronic scenes in the ride portion of the attraction, well, that doesn't fit with the blueprints I've seen. Still, it's going to be a great ride. No dispute there.

February 25, 2016 at 12:01 PM · I would think the screen portion should be able to fit 4 trucks to copy the length of the Hollywood tram. So the trucks should be in a convoy while going through the caverns.
February 25, 2016 at 9:47 PM · I've never said or even hinted at a large scale POC type ride with multiple large scale animatronic scenes in the ride portion nor can I recall anyone else on TPI saying anything like that. I've just always been saying that there's a lot more to the ride than the 1.5 minute Hollywood 360 scene. Teebin the insider on OU that was detailing the Kong stuff many months before anyone else, has the projected route of the vehicle on page 115 King Kong Reign of Kong thread on the Orlando United forum. You can basically see where the 360 screen will be since it's the only straight line.The rest of the journey twists and curves, kind of like UC Wests description of the caverns, that are obviously not the straight awaay 360 degree screen. Check it out. Yes, that scene will be one of the rides' highlights. But it's not the only significant event besides the Kong AA scene. All of the accounts I've seen just stated there's some additional AA's and projections. This ride does not seem anything like POC, nor would I want it to be. It appears that it will be an interesting and entertaining hybrid attraction that uses a new high tech vehicle that will be a significant part of the attraction, AA's , projections, screens and great sets combined with an eerie scary story. That's all I could ask for in a great attraction.
February 25, 2016 at 12:31 PM · I heard that they have already purchased the strobe lights for the anamatronic...
February 25, 2016 at 1:34 PM · Jeff; Kong & Yeti Disco Dancing with the Stars.
February 25, 2016 at 1:37 PM · lol @ Jeff...

Did I make up the stat of back in the day it had said 70% AA to 30% screens? Maybe it was just wishful thinking...or they changed the plans...or they pulled an Antarctica to get us pumped and then fall short come delivery

February 25, 2016 at 1:54 PM · "It appears that it will be an interesting and entertaining hybrid attraction that uses a new high tech vehicle that will be a significant part of the attraction, AA's, projections, screens and great sets combined with an eerie scary story."

Sounds like Indiana Jones / Dinosaur. If so, I will be quite pleased!

February 25, 2016 at 2:10 PM · I'm not sure what to expect of this attraction. It could be an uber dark ride that raises the bar just like Spiderman and Forbidden Journey did. Or it could be a glorified version of USH's King Kong attraction.

And I don't want to kill the mood but I feel like the storyline of heroic, white explorers who are threatened by "hostile natives" is problematic to say the least.

February 25, 2016 at 3:09 PM · Don't you all expect that this ride system will be the exact same thing used at USF's upcoming Fast and the Furious?
February 25, 2016 at 4:01 PM · F&F is all screens. Kong isn't. I thought that was pretty clear by now.
February 25, 2016 at 4:10 PM · Are the projections in 3D?
February 25, 2016 at 7:57 PM · You guys do realize there are actors involved as well as multiple AAs along with the screen portion.
February 25, 2016 at 11:30 PM · Because of the moribund Canadian dollar, I might only get to experience Kong in 2017. At least there will be a lot of new stuff in Orlando by then.
February 26, 2016 at 7:47 AM · Am I the only one who really really really hopes they use the animatronic from Kongfrontation?
February 26, 2016 at 9:03 AM · Considering how bad the animatronics were in Kongfrontation by the end of their run, yes. Yes you are.
February 26, 2016 at 9:14 AM · I wouldn't mind a new Kong animatronic
February 26, 2016 at 11:38 AM · doesn't have to be the actual mechanics, just the puppet
February 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM · I would certainly hope they use state of the art AAs in this ride...
February 27, 2016 at 1:52 AM · They are doing far too many screen based attractions - getting out of hand.

Fast N Furious, and the Jimmy Fallon new attraction will also be screen based.

It's just too much. How about some actual physical experiences?

February 27, 2016 at 12:11 PM · " I heard that they have already purchased the strobe lights for the anamatronic..."

I Respond (in dramatic TH-like / I have to announce I am responding before I respond fashion) - Brilliant!!!

February 28, 2016 at 9:42 AM · "...the storyline of heroic, white explorers who are threatened by 'hostile' natives' is problematic to say the least."

I remember about a year ago someone made a very similar claim (maybe it was you!) but there's a couple problems with that statement.

First off, "white" explorers? Why only white explorers? Clearly you've never been to Universal Orlando, because every time I go there I see pretty much every ethnicity you can think of, not just white people. And I'm 99.99% sure that not all of the tour guides are gonna be white.

And then there's the whole thing about "hostile natives." Well, why not make them hostile? Obviously, they've been a staple of the Kong franchise since the first movie came out, but aside from that, they're completely justified to attack us! We're an an entirely new race (or races) of people that they've never seen before, with weaponry and equipment far more advanced than their's, who just showed up to their home one day completely out of the blue and completely uninvited and just decided that we now own the place. Any rational human being would of course retaliate with violence. At the end of the day, I think the majority of people will not view the natives as brutal savages who are attacking because they're bloodthirsty heathens, but because they're trying to defend their homeland. And if the natives are attacking simply because they're just evil, I think people will still know that not all native peoples are evil.

I'm sorry, my friend, but PC has no place in theme park rides.

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