Skull Island: Reign of Kong open for previews at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Posted Friday, June 17, 2016 10:01 AM | Contributed by Jeff

King Kong is still kind of a big deal in these parts, and soon we'll all be able to visit him at Skull Island: Reign of Kong, an attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The ride is not officially open yet. There have been sporadic previews, some available only to Universal Orlando employees, some open to whatever visitors are in the theme park.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Friday, June 17, 2016 9:17 PM

We did it tonight around 8pm. It was advetised as a 75 minute wait but we got on in 40. It was a pretty cool experience, a nice mix of live action and multi dimensional screen. We were in row one, which was definitely not the best place to be. The further back you are, the better view you have of the screens during that portion of the ride.

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Friday, June 17, 2016 9:52 PM

Did the monkey work? Or is he still in preview mode?

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 10:35 AM
Jeff's avatar

Is anyone getting burned out on 3D projection at Universal? I'm asking, I don't have an opinion myself. It just seems like the go-to thing for them.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:16 AM

Well... They are known for making movies...

But my last trip to Universal in February brought forward that very thought. It definitely seems like that's the direction, and every new attraction seems to be projection oriented as opposed to 100% physical or sound stage experiences.

I don't want to say that I was disappointed in Gringotts, but kind of. The coaster part was short with not enough to it (for my taste) and the story line effects were one film clip after another. Then there's Transformers which was fun but more of the same stuff we first experienced long ago over at Spiderman. Minions, Jimmy Fallon, Simpsons- movies movies movies.

I think the perfect ride in that regard is Forbidden Journey which is just the right blend of surprising movement, live action, and darned near seamless transitions in and out of the film portions. All dark rides should be that way. I thought this new version of Kong held that kind of promise, but it seems like the main deal in there is the movie.

For a ride designer (which I'm not) I'd think modern day considerations are available space, capacity, and of course $$. Projection based attractions are probably easier to produce and maintain and when time comes easy to swap out. They can also hold a butt-load of people.

I guess they're effective crowd pleasers.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:18 AM

I honestly don't know what preview mode for the giant Kong at the end would be compared with full operation. It made a lot of noise but didn't move much. But just the size of it was the most impressive part of the ride for me.

And Jeff, honestly yes. It works brilliantly for rides like Potter and Spiderman. But I would have rather had a shorter overall ride experience and had it all be actual show scenes with animatronics and actual stuff, for lack of a better term, rather than the 3D for something like Kong. I also wish the outdoor portion had been longer and more thought out.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 12:42 PM

Do we now view sound stage attractions like E.T., Twister, Jaws, Earthquake and the like as old fashioned and passé? I think that's a firm yes.

Special effects in films (and television) have grown so freaking realistic that's it's possible to do anything and make it believable. So I'd venture that modern audiences in turn have grown used to and demand realism in their theme park attractions especially from places like Universal.
When Studios first opened they invited us to "ride the movies" and it was great. Everyone bought into the marvelous experiences, and if they didn't, well, it was still pretty cool. Now that stuff is viewed as laughably fake and the satisfying answer is film-based projection to add the necessary layer of realism we're used to in other forms of entertainment.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 2:04 PM
Jeff's avatar

I disagree. I think the set pieces in Revenge of The Mummy are fantastic. Forbidden Journey's practical parts (not to mention the epic queue) are also awesome. And maybe I'm sentimental, but I still like E.T. I don't know that the classic dark ride has to feel like real life, but projection systems are kind of feeling like you're moving from one movie to another. Realistic effects on "film" still feel like a movie.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 2:46 PM

I kind of forgot about Mummy, which indeed has a great "live" look. I did not forget about Forbidden Journey in my post two above. Like I said it's a perfect blend.
It's true that movies feel like movies. A movie is not real. But the common convention is to immerse one's self in and believe in the media whether it be a film, a stage show, or a dark ride. Special effects in movies seem 'real' in that they look like they're actually happening to someone but got captured for all to experience. And advancements made in that technology are (to me, anyway) astounding. And that's what people come to expect.

I personally like rides like E.T. and I get on it just about every time I go. But I can't help but think modern audiences, particularly the latest generations, probably find them less enchanting. The other sound-stage rides I mentioned are gone and there has to be a reason.

You pose an interesting question, though, and its something we as enthusiasts have noticed. If we should burn out on 3-D rides I get that, but I'm not sure they're going away any time soon.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 4:25 PM
99er's avatar

Jeff said:

Is anyone getting burned out on 3D projection at Universal? I'm asking, I don't have an opinion myself. It just seems like the go-to thing for them.

YES! And not just at Universal either. I was disappointed when I saw the ride-through of the new Pirates in Shanghai and that it relied more on projection than practical effects and actual sets. All of my coworkers were immediately obsessed but I didn't care for it and I think I was the only one. My two favorite rides at Universal, now that Jaws is gone, is E.T. and The Mummy and I rarely make a trip where I don't ride at least one.

I like how they have integrated projection into rides like Spiderman and the Forbidden Journey as it is done really well but I would like to see them build a ride that didn't use any or very little projection. I have yet to ride Kong but was bummed when I found out it used a lot of projection. We'll see how that one goes.


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Saturday, June 18, 2016 4:41 PM
sws's avatar

RCMAC said:

Then there's Transformers which was fun but more of the same stuff we first experienced long ago over at Spiderman. Minions, Jimmy Fallon, Simpsons- movies movies movies.

Jimmy Fallon - The Ride.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016 4:44 PM

My favorites at UO are still Men In Black and The Mummy. To me, no 3D screen will ever top those.

Also, forgot to mention, Hulk 2.0 was cycling last night with water dummies as we walked by. Can't wait to ride. And it's so quiet now.

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