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Skull Island: Reign of Kong from construction to opening

RMichael21

Well-Known Member
Review time :)

Let me just say that the whole thing is great from stepping under the Kong head arch to meeting Kong himself. The radio broadcasts in the exterior queue are a great touch and remind me of Jungle Cruise but seem much clearer and easier to hear than JC. I love watching the trucks pass by and the driver AAs are surprisingly pretty convincing.

The interior queue is perfectly dark and foreboding. The room with the witch is a huge highlight with the AA being one of Uni's best human figures though still not close to Disney's best in that field. After that comes the scary natives though none came out at me. Only the people before and after me :( After that we get to the second queue AA which is the worm. Very creepy.

The outside path after boarding your truck is a great setup. Some lines from the driver and then we hear native chanting as the gates open and the flames roar. The bat AAs are a nice touch to this first room with the skeleton but are pretty basic. I like how all the torches go out to more chanting in here too. After this we have our first screen and meetup with Kate. The smaller bats that fly out here seem to fly right through the truck through some great 3D. The insect pit is no different with one worm getting a little too close for comfort. The water effects here are pretty disturbing, lol. The 360 scene is amazing if you have the right seat. My best experience was in row 6 towards the middle-right. There's so much going on around you it's impossible to see it all in one ride which is a great way to encourage repeat rides. I've been on twice and still feel like I haven't seen it all. Now the pièce de résistance: the audio animatronic King Kong.

He is nothing short of spectacular. I've never seen an AA with such realistic facial movement though I wouldn't expect anything less from Creature Technology Company. Almost makes me wish that they made the bats at the beginning too. I love that you get to spend plenty of time with him and it's not just some quick encounter. Best AA in Orlando by FAR and it makes me excited to see what Avatar has to show next year since there's supposed to be some pretty advanced Na'vi.

Overall I love the ride but it does have a few faults like Kate not really being important to the story. Setting the ride up more like how Jaws was could've helped here. Another one is that on my second ride I was on the far left and could easily see the top edge of the 360 screen. I have the same pet peeve when I'm on Soarin'.

If I had to rank it among my favorites I'd put it like this:

Forbidden Journey
Spider-Man
The Mummy
Kong
Transformers
Gringotts

All subject to change of course :)
I rode for the first time on Sunday and I pretty much agree with all of your points.

The water effects were pretty... interesting to say the least.

But, because we were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, we got early entry and went to Harry Potter first thing and then got in line for RoK at about 7:20. Soon after, the line stretched very far back and they slowly walked us up through Jurassic Park in short increments and we were allowed to get in line at about 7:40. We were held in the outdoor portion of the queue (until 8:00) and were allowed in. This was the point when "normal" guests arrived and were able to get in line, only to see a pretty full queue. We were in the second truck, in row ten. I was in the second seat to the right. Great spot, couldn't see the tops of the screens or anything and all of the effects (to my knowledge) were working except the bug projections.

But, you need to try to be as early as possible, because right after we got off, the ride broke down and the wait had climbed to 90 minutes after we had exited.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I rode for the first time on Sunday and I pretty much agree with all of your points.

The water effects were pretty... interesting to say the least.

But, because we were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, we got early entry and went to Harry Potter first thing and then got in line for RoK at about 7:20. Soon after, the line stretched very far back and they slowly walked us up through Jurassic Park in short increments and we were allowed to get in line at about 7:40. We were held in the outdoor portion of the queue (until 8:00) and were allowed in. This was the point when "normal" guests arrived and were able to get in line, only to see a pretty full queue. We were in the second truck, in row ten. I was in the second seat to the right. Great spot, couldn't see the tops of the screens or anything and all of the effects (to my knowledge) were working except the bug projections.

But, you need to try to be as early as possible, because right after we got off, the ride broke down and the wait had climbed to 90 minutes after we had exited.
By that description it sounds like I got in line for my first ride just as you got off yours!!! I heard the message that they were down but the line still kept moving so it wasn't bad at all :)
 

RMichael21

Well-Known Member
By that description it sounds like I got in line for my first ride just as you got off yours!!! I heard the message that they were down but the line still kept moving so it wasn't bad at all :)
Haha, that's so funny. :hilarious: Yeah, we literally took one step off of the RV and they made an announcement. I wasn't sure how long it was down for, as we left right after that, but thought it was pretty interesting that it broke down after the second RV of the day.
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
To me no matter what the marketing said it's clear that Kong is your friend in this attraction as evident by the AA not attacking you. The 360 room does take some getting used to. F&F will be the same but much, much worse due to cringe worthy dialogue. Pretty much the same as Hollywood with a difference in layout only :hungover:
I think maybe I was too used to the 3D screens. After riding screen rides all day, it seemed like Spiderman and Transformers handled that trick better than Kong, where you can see the top of the screen. I fell for all of the "feeling of falling" screen tricks throughout the day (Gringotts, Spidey, Transformers + Simpsons), but got nothing from the tram fall on Kong.

I love ride technology so I do appreciate what they have done. I just felt the ride experience was lacking. I will post my full review soon. Not that anyone cares.
 

DManRightHere

Well-Known Member
I rode it and went in from the dark (never read reviews or anything). I finally realized on the second time I rode the driver was autonomous. The facade is amazing. The outside que is ok, it felt too much like buildings, but I really enjoyed the old timey music. The inside que I really enjoyed, buy I wish there was more context. I like the ride, but I think it is too short. An additional outside show scene would have been cool or one more scene after the 360 room. Maybe even adding additional scenarios would make me really enjoy this ride more (my wife read a rumor that each ride could possible have different scenarios, and we rode twice with the same show, I guess that is bupkis). Of course, that AA is what really makes this attraction.

BTW, I never noticed any canopy elements in September.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I think maybe I was too used to the 3D screens. After riding screen rides all day, it seemed like Spiderman and Transformers handled that trick better than Kong, where you can see the top of the screen. I fell for all of the "feeling of falling" screen tricks throughout the day (Gringotts, Spidey, Transformers + Simpsons), but got nothing from the tram fall on Kong.

I love ride technology so I do appreciate what they have done. I just felt the ride experience was lacking. I will post my full review soon. Not that anyone cares.
I care :)

I also think FJ, Spidey, and Transformers do it better. On my last ride on Kong I found the best seat for the falling sensation was all the way in the back in the middle of the row. You can look straight ahead and see both screens (kind of) and really get the full effect.
I rode it and went in from the dark (never read reviews or anything). I finally realized on the second time I rode the driver was autonomous. The facade is amazing. The outside que is ok, it felt too much like buildings, but I really enjoyed the old timey music. The inside que I really enjoyed, buy I wish there was more context. I like the ride, but I think it is too short. An additional outside show scene would have been cool or one more scene after the 360 room. Maybe even adding additional scenarios would make me really enjoy this ride more (my wife read a rumor that each ride could possible have different scenarios, and we rode twice with the same show, I guess that is bupkis). Of course, that AA is what really makes this attraction.

BTW, I never noticed any canopy elements in September.
The only different scenarios I ever heard of were the different drivers. That's pretty much it. My favorite so far is Will Denham. Got him on both of my last rides.
 

DManRightHere

Well-Known Member
I care :)

I also think FJ, Spidey, and Transformers do it better. On my last ride on Kong I found the best seat for the falling sensation was all the way in the back in the middle of the row. You can look straight ahead and see both screens (kind of) and really get the full effect.

The only different scenarios I ever heard of were the different drivers. That's pretty much it. My favorite so far is Will Denham. Got him on both of my last rides.

Cool. I at first thought they were real, (plus an initial article I read said they were "manned" vehicles). The first ride there was no physical interaction with the driver, which I concluded was dumb for a manned vehicle, unless they just had to for safety issues. Then the second go around we were a bit closer to the cab and I thought it was the same spiel.

At least I have that to look forward to next time.
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
I had the chance to ride Kong last week. I have to say I was unimpressed. I had ridden all of the other screen rides (which are pretty much everything except the coasters and ET/Suess) and I think I may have had screen fatigue.

First the good.

I thought the AA Kong was amazing. I just wish he did something, instead of just sit there.
The queue was very nice with 2 nice AA's, but my wife hated the scare actors and almost didn't ride the second time.

Now things I appreciate, but didn't really affect my ride experience.

Multiple AA drivers with different story lines. (I got the same "driver" both times.)
Trackless ride system. However, it is not like there is any doubt where the ride vehicle is going next, so I am not sure if it was needed.

Now the bad.

The ride is just not very exciting. You drive outside, nothing exciting here. I could barely even see the door open, because I was 4 rows back or closer on my 2 rides. You forward vision is blocked by the fake driver and cab. We enter the building. I see the big skull on my side and I try to look through the other people at the bats, but I can't really get a good look before we move to the 1st screen on the left. 3D is not very effective to me, so it just seems like I am watching a standard movie. Screen edges are easily visible. 2nd screen (right) more to the movie, but nothing exciting except you get sprayed with water (a common feature on almost all Universal rides.) I am waiting for something to happen. We move to the main show movie and lock into the motion base. I don't really know where to look as the action keeps moving from side to side. The tram rocks back and forth, the motion doesn't seem to match great with the video. You can also see the screen edges. I guess we are supposed to fall with Kong saving us? I guess? Then we calmly move to see the AA. I am not sure why his head is at tram level. Is he lying down? Are we supposed to be up high? How am I looking him in the eye when he is so tall? Kong kind of looks at us indifferently. He then kind of grunts and the tram moves on to the unload station.

Nothing exciting. More of the same screen stuff, but it doesn't work as well as Spiderman, Simpsons, the Potter rides or Transformers. There is just not that much "there" there.

I only waiting 5 minutes so I rode it twice, but I will skip it if I every return to Univesal and the line is more than that.

Fast and Furious looks to be more of the same. Except I have no interest in the FnF franchise. Hopefully Nintendo is not all screens too.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I had the chance to ride Kong last week. I have to say I was unimpressed. I had ridden all of the other screen rides (which are pretty much everything except the coasters and ET/Suess) and I think I may have had screen fatigue.

First the good.

I thought the AA Kong was amazing. I just wish he did something, instead of just sit there.
The queue was very nice with 2 nice AA's, but my wife hated the scare actors and almost didn't ride the second time.

Now things I appreciate, but didn't really affect my ride experience.

Multiple AA drivers with different story lines. (I got the same "driver" both times.)
Trackless ride system. However, it is not like there is any doubt where the ride vehicle is going next, so I am not sure if it was needed.

Now the bad.

The ride is just not very exciting. You drive outside, nothing exciting here. I could barely even see the door open, because I was 4 rows back or closer on my 2 rides. You forward vision is blocked by the fake driver and cab. We enter the building. I see the big skull on my side and I try to look through the other people at the bats, but I can't really get a good look before we move to the 1st screen on the left. 3D is not very effective to me, so it just seems like I am watching a standard movie. Screen edges are easily visible. 2nd screen (right) more to the movie, but nothing exciting except you get sprayed with water (a common feature on almost all Universal rides.) I am waiting for something to happen. We move to the main show movie and lock into the motion base. I don't really know where to look as the action keeps moving from side to side. The tram rocks back and forth, the motion doesn't seem to match great with the video. You can also see the screen edges. I guess we are supposed to fall with Kong saving us? I guess? Then we calmly move to see the AA. I am not sure why his head is at tram level. Is he lying down? Are we supposed to be up high? How am I looking him in the eye when he is so tall? Kong kind of looks at us indifferently. He then kind of grunts and the tram moves on to the unload station.

Nothing exciting. More of the same screen stuff, but it doesn't work as well as Spiderman, Simpsons, the Potter rides or Transformers. There is just not that much "there" there.

I only waiting 5 minutes so I rode it twice, but I will skip it if I every return to Univesal and the line is more than that.

Fast and Furious looks to be more of the same. Except I have no interest in the FnF franchise. Hopefully Nintendo is not all screens too.
You're supposed to be up on a ledge in the AA room. He's obviously a friend in the rides story and I guess what they were going for is him giving you a kind of send off.
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
You're supposed to be up on a ledge in the AA room. He's obviously a friend in the rides story and I guess what they were going for is him giving you a kind of send off.
I will accept that, but I don't know why Kong would like humans invading his territory. Godzilla is "good", but only because his enemies are our enemies. Godzilla will still step on you if you get in the way. I think of Kong being good in this way and not "I like your tour bus I will save you and let you look at me up close".

Did you ride Kongfrontation? I thought that was a much better use of the AA. He actually attacked you and you felt it. So fun!

So we are supposed to be on a ledge. Were you able to see that ledge? I missed it, to be honest, I was looking at the subtle Kong facial movements. The AA is so impressive. It was the main reason I rode it again.

None of these things would really matter if the ride was exciting. I just like I was waiting for the excitement to happen. Then the ride was over.

I respect your opinion @Mike S, so what did you find exciting about the ride? What am I missing?
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I will accept that, but I don't know why Kong would like humans invading his territory. Godzilla is "good", but only because his enemies are our enemies. Godzilla will still step on you if you get in the way. I think of Kong being good in this way and not "I like your tour bus I will save you and let you look at me up close".

Did you ride Kongfrontation? I thought that was a much better use of the AA. He actually attacked you and you felt it. So fun!

So we are supposed to be on a ledge. Were you able to see that ledge? I missed it, to be honest, I was looking at the subtle Kong facial movements. The AA is so impressive. It was the main reason I rode it again.

None of these things would really matter if the ride was exciting. I just like I was waiting for the excitement to happen. Then the ride was over.

I respect your opinion @Mike S, so what did you find exciting about the ride? What am I missing?
Well we do know he has a thing for blondes, lol. Your example with Godzilla can be applied somewhat here since the Dinosaurs are both his and our enemies. The ledge is noticeable by looking at the AA itself. His waist and arms are lower than the truck. No way that's possible unless we're on higher ground. I guess I find more enjoyment because I feel the ride does something different with the 360 room. A lot of action that leaves me wanting more and encouraging more rides. The first two scenes are ok but I do like how they used water here. Here's a post from OU I made about how those first scenes could've been different for the better:
Mike S said:
When it comes to Kong I've actually thought of a way to tighten the story and make the ride better than it already is by changing only the first two screen scenes.

During the outside path our drivers intro is cut short by a distress call from Kate and we can also hear gunfire and roars in the background.* The native chanting as we enter the temple remains. The first scene with the skeleton and AA bats is the same but the driver calling for Kate is added in. Replacing the first screen is the torn up and blood stained remains of Kate's truck with guns and ammo strewn about the cave floor. What happened here? You don't have time to find out before you hear the roars of whatever killed Kate and her team echoing through the cave. The driver guns forward to get us back to safety and abort the expedition but we get stuck in the mud of the bug pit simulated by a simpler motion table than the one in the 360 scene. Now, I haven't decided if this scene should be all AAs, a small 360**, or a mix of both. Either way bugs slowly surround us as our driver desperately calls for help and base camp responds saying a truck is being sent right away. Miraculously we break free and the rest of the ride plays out exactly as it currently does with no changes except of course Kate no longer calling in saying she's ok at the end. If you haven't noticed, I took heavy inspiration from the Jaws ride with this idea :thumbsup:

Should I have put this in the Kong thread though? Mods feel free to move if you want to.

*Those who pay attention would realize that it's the raptors that got Kate and her team with the roars acting as a bit of foreshadowing for when we see them in the 360 scene.

**Think screens the size of the current first two set up on both sides of the truck.
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
v
Well we do know he has a thing for blondes, lol. Your example with Godzilla can be applied somewhat here since the Dinosaurs are both his and our enemies. The ledge is noticeable by looking at the AA itself. His waist and arms are lower than the truck. No way that's possible unless we're on higher ground. I guess I find more enjoyment because I feel the ride does something different with the 360 room. A lot of action that leaves me wanting more and encouraging more rides. The first two scenes are ok but I do like how they used water here. Here's a post from OU I made about how those first scenes could've been different for the better:
I guess I was seated too far on the right to see the ledge.
It is a good use of water, but when every attraction I have ridden all day, except ET or coasters, has a water effect, it just seems stale.

I think your ride would be better, but a ride more like Kongfrontation would have made me happy.

I am sure you know that Kate survives in the current version. Although I don't know how this is possible.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
v

I guess I was seated too far on the right to see the ledge.
It is a good use of water, but when every attraction I have ridden all day, except ET or coasters, has a water effect, it just seems stale.

I think your ride would be better, but a ride more like Kongfrontation would have made me happy.

I am sure you know that Kate survives in the current version. Although I don't know how this is possible.
I guess it helps that I never saw Kongfrontation in person. I also like how they did something different by setting it on Skull Island. Kate's unexplained survival is one of the things that inspired my idea. She's just dead from the start.
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
I guess it breaks down to you like the main 3D show scene and I did not.
No biggie, I am glad you liked it and I wish I did. It sounds like @marni1971 liked it too. I am just giving my 2 cents. I thought is was, well... boring. No offense meant, just being honest. My wife felt the same for what it's worth.
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
I guess it helps that I never saw Kongfrontation in person. I also like how they did something different by setting it on Skull Island. Kate's unexplained survival is one of the things that inspired my idea. She's just dead from the start.
I like the new setting, just not the ride experience. It is really nice looking from the outside, even with the painted rock background.

USF takes rides from California and elaborates on them. This goes all the was back to Jaws. Kong is the latest "tour moment" turned into an attraction, with FnF being the next. There is nothing too innovative here. I also feel the longer tram vehicles provide a better viewing angle than the newly configured Skull Island vehicles with the closed-off front and shorter vehicles.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I like the new setting, just not the ride experience. It is really nice looking from the outside, even with the painted rock background.

USF takes rides from California and elaborates on them. This goes all the was back to Jaws. Kong is the latest "tour moment" turned into an attraction, with FnF being the next. There is nothing too innovative here. I also feel the longer tram vehicles provide a better viewing angle than the newly configured Skull Island vehicles with the closed-off front and shorter vehicles.
Weird. I heard people say the opposite that the smaller vehicles and screens make it better.
 

FoodRockz

Well-Known Member
v

I guess I was seated too far on the right to see the ledge.
It is a good use of water, but when every attraction I have ridden all day, except ET or coasters, has a water effect, it just seems stale.

I think your ride would be better, but a ride more like Kongfrontation would have made me happy.

I am sure you know that Kate survives in the current version. Although I don't know how this is possible.
New Uni AP holder here, and I also noticed the proliferation of water effects there. Also was not overly impressed by this ride, and I was excited to finally see a new ride (lifetime WDW fan).

E.T. is amazing in every sense of the word. Brings me back to classic dark rides that I miss so much. I have never even seen the movie!
 

PorterRedkey

Well-Known Member
New Uni AP holder here, and I also noticed the proliferation of water effects there. Also was not overly impressed by this ride, and I was excited to finally see a new ride (lifetime WDW fan).

E.T. is amazing in every sense of the word. Brings me back to classic dark rides that I miss so much. I have never even seen the movie!
I love ET and that awesome forest queue!
 

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