Universal Orlando tests 2D projection on Kong ride

February 26, 2024, 10:04 AM · Theme park fans who can’t stand 3D on rides are getting a break at Universal Orlando this week. Islands of Adventure has removed the 3D projection on Skull Island: Reign of Kong, at least for the time being.

For now, as part of a test by Universal, the King Kong ride is being projected in 2D, with no extra glasses required. Traditional 2D projection typically supports a brighter screen than 3D and does not create the visual accessibility problems inherent in 3D, which does not work for people with certain vision impairments.

3D projection also can amplify the effect of motion for riders - which is a plus for some but a big minus for others.

That’s why the trend has been away from using 3D on theme park rides. Universal Orlando has removed 3D projection from Despicable Me Mjnion Mayhem and did not employ 3D on Fast & Furious Supercharged or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which projected in 3D - at least for a little while - at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The 3D projections remain at Universal Orlando on Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. (And Transformers: The Ride - thanks for that reminder in the comments.)

We would love to hear in the comments what you think about 3D on theme park attractions.

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Replies (11)

February 27, 2024 at 9:38 AM

Transformers at USF is also still in 3D.

I think 3D can be great when used effectively. The issue is when a too many of a park's attractions utilize 3d it can feel played out.

My favorite parts of Kong are the outdoor portion, the queue, the beginning of the cave, and the big Kong AA at the end. In other words, the non-screen parts. I think an artful blends of the physical and screen-based portions would work better.

February 26, 2024 at 3:30 PM

@Jeffrey H

Agreed. And the outdoor section on Kong has been down for some time now, it's in B mode.

February 26, 2024 at 3:38 PM

Ahhhhh it's all about the Money...

If you don't have to wash those anymore or buy. fix and replace them also..

Plus if you wear glasses then have to put these 'Other' glasses on top of them...

February 26, 2024 at 3:46 PM

I always took off my 3D glasses to fully enjoy the physical sets and animatronics without the dimming of the glasses anyway, so I'm all for this change.

February 26, 2024 at 5:26 PM

I’ve ridden this ride twice, both during Covid protocol procedures. So in addition to the cumbersome glasses, the face masks that we were wearing were constantly fogging the glasses. I realize that this ride is basically a plussed version of the tram stop in Hollywood but I felt this attraction was sorely lacking, despite a fantastic queue and immersive atmosphere. I’d happily give it another chance without having to wear 3D glasses though.

February 26, 2024 at 7:27 PM

Yeah, I think this is a very generous read on Universal's motivation to drop 3D from the attraction. The ride doesn't work in 2D — and I hope the surveys they collect about this decision reflect that reality. The solution moving forward is to not rely on massive screens for most of your attractions, but nerfing an existing one is about money more than accessibility.

February 26, 2024 at 8:05 PM

I feel like 3D is more impactful on attractions where you're facing the screen head-on and interacting with it directly rather than having the screen alongside the vehicle serving as environment extension, and also feel that it should be reserved for rides that are mostly/entirely screen focused rather than those that blend screen scenes with physical environments. While I haven't ridden it without the glasses, Kong feels like the sort of attraction that should be fine without it. By comparison, it'd be really weird if it were to be removed from something like Spider-Man, particularly as there's a lot of direct interaction between the riders and characters on the screens rather than simply having a scene play out around the vehicle.

February 27, 2024 at 6:14 AM

I rode it Sunday evening in 2D. I was immediately impressed with the sharpness, clarity, and additional detail vs 3D. I hope they keep it in 2D permanently. All of the signage has been completely removed, including the signs at the end that were on the walls - warning that the glasses will trigger an alarm. It looked like more of a permanent removal to me.

February 27, 2024 at 10:55 AM

I generally agree with AJ here, but the 3-D used on Skull Island is quite good, even with guests viewing images from various angles and often with other people's heads obscuring the screens. I've always been impressed with the effects, overall sharpness, and particularly the depth of field of the images shown throughout the ride.

I do think it's odd that guests spend a large chunk of the queue in darkened corridors and rooms before boarding - allowing eyes to adjust so images darkened by 3-D glasses appear vivid and sharp. However, as soon as you board the truck, you're sent outside and subjected to natural light conditions that ruin all the time guests spend acclimatizing to the lower light levels.

Personally, I've never had an issue with the brightness or vividness of the images on Skull Island, but having seen other aging 3-D attractions slowly dim over time, I can see what Universal is testing here. Projectors are expensive, so if Universal can squeeze a another year or 2 of useful life out of them in 2-D mode, it's probably worth it if most guests do not know the difference - and let's face it, most guests don't notice stuff like this.

February 28, 2024 at 10:53 AM

I've never had an issue with 3D personally but if the imagine quality is just as good I don't mind not having 3D. In fact I prefer it too since its less annoying and I always seem to get wet or smudge glasses anyways. What I really want is for the outdoor section to be working all the time! I've been on Kong every trip since its opened about 5 or 8 times and have yet to experience going outside with the doors. :(

February 28, 2024 at 2:35 PM

Both times i rode this everything outside was static. Are there show elements that i was missing?

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