Reign of Kong soft opens at Universal Orlando
Skull Island: Reign of Kong has soft-opened to the public at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure.
The massive new ride includes a plussed version of the King Kong 360/3D experience from Universal Studios Hollywood in a fully-themed environment, including custom trackless ride vehicles and an immersive show building, themed to a Skull Island temple. The climax of the ride is a face to face encounter with a new, massive Kong animatronic.
Here's a first-look bootleg video of the ride. (Universal's on-ride rules prohibit video recording, but if you want to see the new ride, here it is. If you don't want it spoiled, don't watch.)
We haven't seen a walk-through video of the queue yet, but initial reports say that the interaction actors in the queue are easily seen and not doing "jump scares."
Universal hasn't announced an official public opening date for Kong, but the media event for the ride is June 23. Theme Park Insider will be there for the event, with full coverage.
Previously: Replies (83)
Just watched the video and I am not impressed. As I figured it would be it's a mostly screen based ride and the Kong AA at the end. I don't get Universal's obsession with screen based rides. The scenery is amazing but the actual ride looks very meh.
The ride is awesome and very realistic. Everything just works so amazing. By far a piece of old Universal complementing new Universal.
To be honest, this was somewhat less than I expected. Most of it is simply the Hollywood 360 ride, plus two screens and bats and the Kong animatronic. While this version may be better than Hollywood's version of Kong, it still doesn't beat Forbidden Journey.
I am fighting really hard not to watch this.
Wow that looks lame.. Can't believe I've been checking for updates daily for over a year now.. This is beyond disappointing. I had watched the Hollywood ride POV a year ago or so and didn't think they'd make an almost exact replica... Wow universal... Just wow.
Not a bad ride, but the new Shanghai Pirates ride ruined it for me and it's not in 3D. The entrance skeletons look like from The Mummy at the museum. The ending Kong had a "that's it?" feeling. Kong didn't try to attack, which would be better.
That was...underwhelming. I love the screen based rides Universal has produced to date. No one does it better. That being said, this is starting to be too much for me. The ride was about 85% screens and nothing new or truly innovative. I realize it's unfair to pass complete judgement based off a bootleg video but this does not inspire or impress. Add to all of this the two attractions in the pipeline at Universal Studios being screen based and it sort of kills the excitement with all the growth.
Anon Mouse found the words I was looking for regarding the animatronic. "That's it?"
I am more than disappointed with this ride after waiting for it for so long. This business of watching movie screens in a dark ride has to stop. It's getting very tiring. Where are the actual physical sets of Skull Island? Where is the lush jungle we were all waiting to ride through? And Kong....what happened to Kong? Is that the best they can do? Just a head? No real or implied threat? I thought there would be more than just a head.
Was it too much to ask for them to build a physical jungle, instead of staring at a movie screen?
Gotta be honest...this is about what I had expected. It doesn't look like a bad ride, but it also looks like it's going to disappoint people who bought into all the hype. As cool as a big animatronic is, I can't help but wonder if it would have been better to leave it out and end it after the King Kong 360 sequence. Perhaps it is more impressive in person, so I'll wait until I get a chance to ride it before passing final judgment, but if I had been to the park before this probably wouldn't be enough to get me to go back. Yes, I'll definitely ride it when I visit, but I've got a feeling I'll ride once and then go back to Spiderman and/or Forbidden Journey.
Watch old footage of Kongfrontation and its nowhere near as impressive as the ride was. Ride it, don't watch the YouTube handheld. It's gonna be great.
The 3d screened Kong in Universal Studios Hollywood has always sucked. The original animatronic was 1,000% better.
Does anyone really care about King Kong anyway? I'm a film geek and I understand the history but......I don't know, it all seems a little forced.
I will withhold my judgment because I'd rather go in spoiler-free.
Seems very dull. people are getting tired of the 3d/4D stuff. harry potter ride was good, transformers was good with it. trying to do a land based knock off of Jaws but sub real actors for screens will be the down fall of this ride. I will ride it as im a pass holder but will not make a special trip for it alone. Im more excited to ride renovated Hulk now. im sure the tunnel will be full of 3D screens too. but its still a coaster. The props and experience outside the ride better make up or this will be a bust. Still wish they did it like Jaws, i rode that every visit for years.
The Kong animatronic at the end was rather disappointing. It didn't do anything. At least let him raise a fist or something. After Shanghai Pirates showed the way to use screens (without the stupid glasses for gimmicky 3-D) and real sets together for an immersive experience, Universal dropped the ball on this one.
Wonder what the capacity is. The battle scene is a little under 2 minutes so I'd assume that would be the minimum dispatch time putting the maximum capacity at 2.1K per hour.
The ending was anticlimactic. I was waiting for the Kong to roar and lunge at the guests or do something. Notice the lack of excitement from the people. They were more thrilled in the screen-based section.
Guys check out a high-quality video from the great SoCal Attractions 360 channel of the original "Kongfrontation" at USH.
I get a huge laugh from the utter hypocrisy displayed by the pixie Disney fanatics on here. I'll take all of the terrific multi-media attractions that Universal has released in the last couple of years over the complete stagnation displayed at WDW in the past decade. Can't wait to see their sudden 180 spin in opinion when the predominantly screen-based Avatar and Star Wars attractions open.
Screen-based rides do nothing for me. Zip. Zero. Your mileage may differ and I open to trying any ride or attraction at least once but my hopes are exactly zero. And no, I don't want to wear those damn 3D glasses either.
I'll judge the ride when I see it in person. There is no way a video can do a ride justice. But going from the excitement from the guests and the bits I've seen from the queue and the ride this makes for one amazing and immersive ride.
Avatar and Star Wars at Disney will be screen based mostly, so it'll be funny when the Disney fan girls pull a U turn.
I still prefer the original ride. You actually felt like you were in the set. I don't see that on this one.
The Ride was 100 percent perfect! Ride it before you judge it.
Ummmm... That's... Uh... Okay.
Congratulations Universal Creative! KONG is another fantastic attraction-great queue, a fun and exciting 6 minute ride experience, and total immersion!
Seeing that 90% of the actual riders say how AWESOME the attraction really is, I guess no one should truly base an opinion on POV videos.
I have been on this site for over 10 years. I am not troll.
This ride was pure quality the moment I got in the queue. There's nothing like it in Orlando, It's a great cross between the old and new Universal that is just really well done. I don't understand the hate on it at all.
I love how people are writing like Kong 360 was not amazing..... that's a very wrong assumption. Kong 360 is amazing and totally immersive. This is a plus of that ride. It looks awesome and fun. The ONLY problem this ride had with it, is the simple fact that it had to follow the act of Pirates in China. The bar has been raised a bit. However considering the fact that it will be five years before I get to China.... I am just happy that Universal Orlando got an E ticket attraction again... Something that Disney World has not gotten in a very very long time. That is a fact and there is no getting around it.
I will be there Saturday, so I won't be watching this video. I'll report back with initial impressions.... (fingers crossed).
If I want to see a movie, I'll go to the theater.
^So slapping Frozen inside Maelstrom is not "lazy" and "taking shortcuts?"
I imagine that when viewing it from a fully synchronized vehicle and with the 3-D it'll all look and feel terrific! It's in no way possible to get the complete experience here.
Universal fans are butt hurt that they can't make a ride without using a screen
We will see James, we will see...
Will Express Pass be available for this attraction?
I would rather still have the original Kong ride
"This ride is terrible"
Should have had the animatronic at the beginning, or have it attacking the vehicle. Currently it results in a lackluster ending.
I think the ride looks fun and entertaining, but the first thing I thought was the ride vehicles appear to really inhibit the views. They should have made the vehicles without a roof so you could see better. If your child ends up in the middle seat, they aren't going to be able to see anything.
I wouldn't call Universal lazy. Universal and Disney each have their own approaches to dark rides. Universal is still using the studios tram ride as the paradigm. Disney is using dark ride vehicles. The Kong ride is very much of a tram ride. Its good enough and didn't break any new ground. I prefer it to be more of a dark ride. Remove the truck roof. If it isn't a tram ride, why keep the roof? It focuses on 360 degree field of view as long as the ceiling is omitted. Let's not omit this last detail. Then the animatronic Kong just sits there. I guess thats a step up from a non functioning alligator at Shanghai or Yeti at Animal Kingdom. Still, the Kong should do something except seem like he ate a bad banana.
The Frozen ride is a minor new attraction. Kong has been hyped as a major, E Ticket level addition to the park.
I actually think it looks fun. And two years to build? How many years did Disney take to build the Little Mermaid? Two years is not long at all. I always suspected it would be the Studio Tour expanded with a bunch more frills, and that is what it is, and I am OK with it. Now they have this done, it is time to move to another massive project. My suggestion would be a ride focusing on the classic monsters. Not a huge media appeal; however, Universal Studios could use another big theme around the area between Men in Black and England, or over next to the Mummy. Make a smallish haunted castle dark ride with old gothic village and graveyard. The big question is what they are doing down the road...
Some mixed opinions here! Looking forward to riding it. I've never judged a ride until I've been on it. P.S. Do grown adults really follow one company over another? Leave that to the PS4/Xbox Marvel/DC kids surely?
"The Frozen ride is a minor new attraction."
I expected a fantastic Skull Island jungle set, with dramatic show lighting. A ride with physical depth to it. And I expected a terrific Kong AA that broke new ground.
Any ride or new thing is awsome Kong ,Hulk re opening ,Mako ,Tree of life awakens ,Disney Springs Lets just enjoy all the new things ??
You guys need to ride this before you judge it.
Saw the video, and I do think you can have a idea, and no more, of a ride this way but you need to do it to feel it completely. I love Soarin but a POV of Soarin... ;) That say, I am a fan of Disney parks and specifically WDW because of a "nostalgia" factor and I know it. However, I am more than happy that Universal is since few years doing what it does (and I go to these parks) so Disney is moving, surely slowly, but moving with new attractions. Competition is a strong motivation and it is good for us theme park customers. Let's just hope that the prices will not transform theme parks into a vacation for fewer and fewer people.
No disrespect to Universal Theme Parks in General but in some ways I'm sorta kinda missing the 90's Universal attractions-at least some of them compared to these new generation state of the art high tech future version attractions that are trying to recreate itself with putting on 3D glasses? Kongfrontation was bomb-no 3d glasses required, Jaws was bomb-no 3d glasses required, back to the future-best simulator I've ever been on even though it's gone-no 3D, E.T Adventure which I hear is supposed to be leaving Universal!!??? No please....not now...please!!!!! No!!! Might be Universal's best attraction ever made-talking about the Orlando version of course..I've experienced more orlando Uni than I did Hollywood Uni personally..not that Hollywood Uni is terrible. I just miss the good old days of Universal...that makes it 5 3D attractions at Universal Orlando Resort! Here comes Fast and the Furious next year Supercharged in 3D we assume yes with 3D screens!!!! hahahahaha this is really driving me insane. I know Universal can be very successful without 3D attractions with glasses included. Would be so nice to create 3d screens without glasses needed, but I guess we are far from it.
I actually agree with Anon on this one (shocking)
Yuck! A slow moving screen ride??!!! Makes no sense.
If it were a simple copy and paste of the version at USH, it would have
Not understanding why everyone is so quick to judge based off of a VIDEO. I've been seeing people (who have actually ridden it) claim that it's a fantastic attraction.
Considering the "meh" caliber of the IP, I think Universal has done an excellent job with this attraction. Another top notch ride at a resort filled with top notch rides.
I've experienced this ride first hand and I have to say the only cool thing was the scare actors during the queue line!! The ride itself is actually a bore. I was so excited for this ride to open since it was announced because Its a legend returning back from the dead. The ride started off interesting all the way until you enter the show building, from there it just turned around. The first two screens where ok but the films didn't seem realistic like Gringotts. Then you enter the main 360 screen room and that's where I was even more disappointed, all I could think of was King Kong 360 at USH. It was the same exact film except the detail they change was instead of the tour tram it was a safari truck. Then the last scene was a huge AA of Kong from shoulders up, it was cool but needed something more. When the ride was over no one clapped or said anything. The hype was soo big that the final product was a let down, and I was one of the ones who bought into the hype. Let's just say Skull Island Regin of Kong was an ok ride that's not worth riding more than once and no longer than 30 min. Some fans are going to be disappointed like me so don't expect much out of it.
I really don't understand the harsh criticism here. Sure the ride uses screens, but how else would you realistically portray a Giant ape battling multiple Dinosaurs? Screens are not the problem it's all about how they are used. They are used beautifully in the new Pirates Shanghai ride and they are used well here. I do agree that the ending is lackluster but this is still a large plus compared to the Hollywood version and a very solid attraction by any standards.
I watched the video of the Kong queue and that's actually really sweet with live actors popping out to scare you. Even if the ride was less than what I thought, I will say that the scenery is great and a huge plus compared to Hollywood's. It would be nice to see Hollywood get a Kong animatronic again.
Didn't Universal hype the fact that there were going to be multiple "drivers", each with a different personality and backstory?
I'll judge totally when I ride it as plenty of rides look so-so on video and turn out to be great. That said, all the building for mostly a screen thing is a bit of a letdown and had expected more of the actual Kong AA. It's more detailed but just seems lacking compared to the original which had you about a recreated ruined New York and awesome Kong. Again, can be a great thing to ride but doesn't seem to live up to the huge hype.
Some of you guys want to believe that any criticism of this ride, or of Universal in general, is from Disney fanatic fan boys or from Universal haters. That's a lot of b.s.
I think that's the point here. It's not that Skull Island is a bad ride in itself - if this had opened 5 years ago everyone would have been raving about it - but the trouble is we've had a number of very similar rides in the last 5 years and Kong is, when all is said and done, just another screen-based ride and that's beginning to get a bit samey.
Well my son and I liked it. It was the last ride of the day and truly enjoyed the ride. I loved the creativity of the queue. The shaman and worm animatronics were cool. The bus was interesting with no tracks. The bats were cool as well. I liked the combo of movie screen and animatronix. My son didn't know who Kong was but was an instant fan after it was over. According to my son, he liked how it was scary in a mild way so kids could enjoy it too. He also liked how the structures In the ride were set up. It keeps dragging your attention to it on the outside. But, when you ride it feels like it could have more potential as greater attraction than it is now like if it was a high speed roller coaster like the Everest expedition ride in animal kingdom but overall he still loved this new ride. It could have been bumpier initially like a 4 wheeling trail. But not a show stopper. It gets wilder inside. There are no lap bars so it's not overly crazy. It adds variety in rides to the park which is nice.
"over-hyped" ... what do you expect Universal to do? Not hype their ride? You want them (or any theme park) to say "Come check out our average new ride!" Of course they are going to hype it, it's called marketing.
I would not judge the ride on this video alone. I was on the soft opening ride around 6:30 on Thursday. It was our third and final day at Universal, and we had just gotten off the Jurassic River adventure ride, when we saw they were letting people on Kong. We hurried into the line where we were eventually entertained by animatronics, actors, and loud sound effects, all of which built suspense and added to the overall experience of the ride. For a movie screen ride, this one does it really well. Especially after riding all of them for 3 days, I would like to think I know. :-) Riding in the expedition truck was really different, and being a 3D ride, you just don't get the overall effect of how awesome the Kong ride was from that video. I just hate to see everyone hating on the ride based on that video when the overall experience was so much more. Word of caution, I have a very brave 9 year old who will ride just about anything, and he loved Kong, but it's probably way too scary for most kids, even the animatronics and effects in the line.
So I guess the next bit of news from Universal is going to be them shutting this ride down because not everyone likes it. Look for a video, from someone's phone, on this announcement.
I hope the new Fast and Furious at Orlando won't be another tram ride.
I went on Kong yesterday. The theming of the line with live actors and anamtronics is one of the best in Orlando. I wish that they would had stuck with the natives for the whole ride. The adventurer people who drive the truck are lame and forgettable.
@Anon, with the F and F theme, I don't know how it won't be. Unless they have an animatronic Vin Diesel trying to steal your car or the Rock choke slamming you.
Jon: That makes no sense. You need no animatronic characters just to avoid doing another tram ride.
Did Kong twice yesterday and the queue is really well done one of the best this side of FJ in any park. The ride is solid and the 3D element is one of the best Universal has done to date. It is a solid attraction.
David Bowen sums it up best. It's not a bad ride, looks impressive and heard fun to be on. But this was hyped as a massive next-generation type thing and instead we get a mostly retread of a UHS tram attraction with a giant AA head that doesn't do anything but turn slightly and open its mouth. The original Kongfrontation felt real and thrilling and it's not that this is terrible by any means. But after five years and so much push that it would be the next Spider-Man/Harry Potter jump in theme park rides, it just falls a bit flat. That's not bashing Universal or trumpeting Disney, it's just noting that the ride frankly doesn't live up to all the hype.
The trend now for dark rides towards movie screen-based rides is a step backwards. The older idea of actually "taking you somewhere" inside a show building was exciting. Riding slowly past a movie screen is not an improvement. Can you imagine going on the Jungle cruise in Disneyland and just staring at a screen of a jungle going by? We can all go to the movies if we want to see KONG on a screen.
As a lifelong fan of both King Kong and dark rides, I was hoping for an attraction to rival and even best AK's DINOSAUR (formerly and better named COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION) with a full size animatronic Kong that could overpower the JURASSIC PARK RIVER ADVENTURE's T-Rex. I believe it's important to remember that Kong RULES Skull Island; he's the apex life form (albeit herbivore) and leaves nobody unchallenged. He should be roaring like hell at any interlopers to HIS kingdom, whether he chooses to crush them or not. It would take a whole truck full of Naomi Wattses, Jessica Langes, and Fay Wrays to pacify him to the point of stupor he appears to be in at the ride's conclusion. Did someone slip him some of that potent berry juice from KING KONG VERSUS GODZILLA? Bring the Kong!
I will say that the line is very well done.
Wow, what a bunch of negative Nancy's on here. Most of you haven't even ridden the ride and your judging from a crappy You-tube video. This ride has added capacity to a section of the park that had nothing. We knew going into it that it was going to be a ++ version of what Kong 360. At least Universal is adding new attractions and not resting on their pixie dust.
I was able to ride it today and I personally loved it, yes I'm a little disappointed that a lot of it was screen based but they used them in a really cool way and it's a different type of ride than any of other 3D simulators. The queue is also a huge pro, is really well done, very creepy and gets you in the mood of skull island. Also the automactronic at the end is one of the best ones I have ever seen in my life, yes he doesn't do much but just looking at it is a great thing to experience. I would give this ride a slight edge over Gringots but still not better than FJ or spidey .
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