Here's a First Look Inside Universal Orlando's New Kong Ride

March 14, 2016, 10:40 PM · Universal Orlando's new King Kong ride will blend live action with 360-degree 3D projection and animatronics, on massive ride vehicles. The resort gave the Orlando Sentinel a sneak peek at Kong's five new 40-foot, 17-ton ride vehicles, which will carry 72 passengers each.

The progenitor of these ride vehicles is the Studio Tour tram at Universal Studios Hollywood, where King Kong 360:3D has been playing for several years. The Orlando ride, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, takes that experience to another level, however, with the addition of a massive new Kong animatronic as well as five unique live-action storylines, one for each massive ride vehicle circulating through the attraction at any given time.

According to the Sentinel report, each vehicle will be driven by an actor portraying a different character, who's supposedly driving what actually will be Universal's first trackless ride vehicles. Each character will have its own, unique storyline. The characters are "Becky (a cowgirl), Will Denham (adventurous cousin of a movie director), Jinks Costanza (ex-con from New York City), Kalana (descendant of the island's natives) and Doc (paleontology student)."

Expect something to go terribly wrong for each of them. Of course, fans are already cracking jokes....

Universal Orlando has not yet announced an official opening date for Skull Island: Reign of Kong beyond to say "this summer."

Update: And here is creative director Mike West introducing the ride vehicles:


Replies (21)

March 14, 2016 at 11:28 PM · At first this sounded like a good ride. Then I saw that Tweet and am now sad for what could have been.

However, that Denham one could be the most interesting one because it has an actual tie-in to the in-universe. Vote of the week?

March 15, 2016 at 3:30 AM · This sounds awesome. So it will be slightly different based on who you get as a driver. This will probably be the best ride in all of Orlando.
March 15, 2016 at 4:50 AM · I'm just glad it's not another simulator ride.
March 15, 2016 at 4:57 AM · I wonder if there'll be an option to choose which character you ride with, or if it'll just be a case of pot luck?
March 15, 2016 at 5:00 AM · I want George Castanza to be my driver.
March 15, 2016 at 6:46 AM · As much as I would love George to be my driver, I think it would be even more entertaining for it to be Kramer. But the actual character itself, not the actor. I'd hate to hear what he'd have to say in a place as racially diverse as Universal Orlando.

Okay, putting all that aside, I still think it's cool that there's several different possible characters for different tour guides. Even though they can shake things up with some nice improv, all tour guides still have to roughly follow the same script. But different characters means different scripts. Different scripts (plus the aforementioned improv) means different possibilities.

March 15, 2016 at 7:13 AM · It kind of is actually. More real props than diagon ally. But it's still got screens.
March 15, 2016 at 4:19 PM · I think people will be in for a surprise relating to this part of the attraction. Things may not be what they seem. What is live & what is AA,what is musion/projection... food for thought. ;)
March 15, 2016 at 7:50 AM · I start to wonder by having such large vehicles, many will be stuck in the middle or aisle seats and have a crappy view..

March 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM · I would imagine the action takes place on the sides, similar to Disaster (may it rest in piece).
March 15, 2016 at 2:47 PM · I'm looking forward to riding it but I really don't want to be stuck in the middle. You won't see a thing, especially action that is high up on a screen. It's almost too bad the vehicles are so big, I think it might take something away from the experience. But I'll ride it and then judge it.
March 15, 2016 at 3:20 PM · It sounds like the seating configuration on this attraction is the same as on the Studio Tour at USH. I wouldn't worry too much about middle seats vs. side seats as the action takes place on both sides and can be seen fine from anywhere. In fact, the middle may even be better because it would be less obvious that you're in an empty room with screens on the walls.
March 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM · Sitting in the middle gives you the advantage of looking at both sides. If you're too far on one side, the other side is out of view. I'm surprised the vehicles have a roof. The vehicles aren't outside that long. Maybe the ride won't shut down during a brief rain storm.
March 15, 2016 at 6:09 PM · Sign me up as excited about this regardless.... I love the nod to a classic monster, the premise seems new, and I'll withhold my normal knee-jerk reaction to 3D stuff until I've seen it. I know my hopes are high, but I really can't wait to see how they pull this off....
March 15, 2016 at 8:20 PM · Brain, I don't think sitting in the center will result in a bad view. I think this because I have been on the Studio Tour at Universal tons of times and actually prefer the center. It results in making the ride more immersive. I don't think there will be a problem.
March 16, 2016 at 12:00 AM · Thankfully, only part of this attraction will be in 3D. Personally, I would have preffered if it was all sets and AAs.

Can't wait to read the online reviews for this ride.

March 16, 2016 at 6:42 AM · Cant believe no one else mentioned their excitement for live actors on the ride! I'm pumped! Did that news already release and I just missed it?
March 16, 2016 at 3:52 PM · The truck is self driving as a trackless vehicle. I read somewhere else the driver might be an AA. So this could be contrary to "each vehicle will be driven by an actor portraying a different character". The driver doesn't need to be seen. Maybe they will have the actor facing the audience so you can see them speaking into the mic. Otherwise, the audio can be pre-recorded and it's just an illusion that you're getting an actor in the vehicle.

I just don't see how they can have a high energy actor doing the same show multiple times a day. The Hollywood tram guide seems to put the tour on pre-recorded audio for most of the trip.

March 17, 2016 at 6:26 AM · This sounds amazing! Can't wait!
March 17, 2016 at 7:26 AM · I was kind of concerned with being forced to sit in the middle as well, which will clearly block a major portion of the big IMAX screens sequence, but the other issue could involve guests holding their kids up on the side seats to get a better view. I actually feel sorry for any little kids that get get stuck in the middle. They probably won't see much of anything.
March 19, 2016 at 8:10 PM · "I just don't see how they can have a high energy actor doing the same show multiple times a day"

Anon, just think of the JAWS skippers. They used to do their show every 5 minutes or so. I wouldn't be surprised if Universal hires actors to play the different driver roles.

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