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Universal Orlando announces new King Kong attraction



Posted on: 08 May 2015

Attention King Kong fans: Something big is heading to Orlando. Universal Orlando announced today that construction is underway on Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure.

If you went to Universal Studios Florida back in the 1990s, you'll remember Kongfrontation, an open-air aerial tram ride with a narrator on board. However, Universal officials say this new attraction, located between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, will be much different.

"Skull Island: Reign of Kong is so much bigger, so much more advanced and immersive," says Mike West, executive producer with Universal Creative. "It's a completely different experience in a completely different environment. Kongfrontation took place in New York City. Our new attraction takes you into Kong's world for the very first time."

West says the ride, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016, will take guests through an ancient temple inhabited by hostile natives, a perilous jungle ruled by prehistoric creatures and a foreboding underworld of caves. Plus, they'll come face-to-face with the colossal ape himself.

What does that mean exactly? Will there be an audio-animatronic Kong? Will he swat at the ride vehicle? Will there be a narrator on board as a throw back to the Kongfrontation ride?

Universal won't confirm, but West says: "We're utilizing massive characters, massive physical sets and revolutionary ride vehicles to bring the legendary story of Kong to life in a really incredible way."

The journey begins outdoors when guests board their expedition vehicle to explore the mysterious jungles of the island. At some point, they pass through the 72-foot-tall Great Wall into the ride building. From there, the experience takes place within massive indoor sets where the expedition turns into a fight for survival.

"The vehicle itself is enormous," West says. "And it's the first time we've utilized this ride technology in our parks."

Theme park experts like Robert Niles, editor of themeparkinsider.com, say it's a ride with great potential.

"The plans for Universal's new Kong ride suggest something truly spectacular, with a combination of immense 3D screens and huge animatronics," says Niles. "It's a greatest hits mix of the company's previous Kong attractions, taken to a new level with the latest in attraction technology."

Duncan Dickson, professor of theme park management at the University of Central Florida, agrees.

"If the story is good it will be an attraction worth seeing," says Dickson. "I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but I love the Wizarding World [of Harry Potter] because of the storytelling."