Check out the video below to watch as Twister: Ride it Out is transformed into Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon through photos taken throughout construction, starting all the way back in 2015. The facade for this attraction now looks like 30 Rock in New York City, but it was originally just an unthemed sound stage with a billboard for Twister. See below the video as well for a complete timeline of all construction updates and news stories about the new Fallon ride that we’ve posted. Thanks for joining us through it all!
All remnants of the old NBA City restaurant are gone as work looks be wrapping up on the exterior of the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. This original steampunk themed restaurant should be opening soon at Universal CityWalk. I was there Friday evening and the immense size of those smokestacks is incredible. They can be seen from everywhere on property, including from inside the parks! Check out the video and photographs below for a look at the new smokestacks, steampunk decor, and even working gauges that really spin! No word yet on an opening date but tables, chairs, and everything else is starting to show up inside and on the outdoor patios, so it shouldn't be too much longer now! Stay tuned for more Toothsome news as it happens.
Recently Universal re-named the upcoming dessert-focused CityWalk addition to The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. Gone is the word factory, (and hopefully any comparisons to a certain Wonka). Universal is making quick work of converting the old NBA City restaurant into their steampunk creation and we have an update to show off some of the new features added to the facade. Also, Universal started looking for team members for their opening team, and they even put out a casting call for two all-original walk-around characters:
- Penolope Toothsome - A female, 5'7" to 6' tall with a British accent, simply described as having traveling the globe to gain the knowledge of "all things chocolate".
- Jaques - A male, 5'8" to 6'1" tall, described as a robot companion to Penelope who will wear a costume that will cover their entire body, including face, but still will be able to speak.
I guess now the Toothsome name makes sense. It's a character's name! Things are really starting to sound interesting for this unique dining experience. For a look at some of the featured menu items, check out my previous post. See the photo report below of construction progress and stay tuned for more updates!
The walls around the food stand have been moved back and "The Mess Tent" is now open and serving guests. It's now just a matter of weeks, or maybe even days, before all the walls come down around Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure. I think the most exciting thing I saw today wasn't even something you can see... It was the beautiful original score for Skull Island now being pumped into the area. (You can listen to a sample here, or in the video below.) See the video as well as images below to get a better look at The Mess Tent, some more little touches that have been added, and listen to the new area music.
Opening date? The media preview for Skull Island, along with the new Sapphire Falls hotel, is scheduled for June 22-24. I'm assuming the grand opening will be around this time. Usually soft opens happen in the weeks leading up to a new attraction's grand opening. Soft openings, or technical rehearsals as it's called by Universal, allow team members to get used to operating the ride during a practice period. During this time some effects may not be running as problems are fixed throughout testing. Soft opens may only happen for a couple hours a day at first. They will last longer as we get closer to the official opening date until eventually it is open all day. Check back here and I will be posting when soft opens have started. It could begin any time from now until the end of June. Stay tuned!
The factory facade is starting to take shape at the upcoming Toothsome Chocolate Factory & Savory Feast Emporium restaurant taking over the NBA City in CityWalk Orlando. This incredible facade will include towering smoke stacks and funky gadgetry that is certain to catch the eye of all visitors to Universal Orlando. The new steampunk themed restaurant is planned to open later this year. See the video as well as some snapshots of the construction site below and stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon! Check out the previous updates for concept art, food, dessert and milkshakes pics, and more video!
The non-stop construction continues for the new multi-sensory ride, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, opening soon at Islands of Adventure. Today I got my first glimpse of vehicle testing and got a chance to see what else is being worked on at the site. The food stand, named "The Mess Tent", is nearly ready to start serving guests. It already has all the equipment and warmers it needs to offer snacks like soft pretzels, churros, and cold drinks. And now they're decorating it with nets, ropes, and other decor to better match the area. New exterior lighting has appeared, mainly pointing at the temple gates and surrounding area. Much of the lighting has a blue tint to create the perfect nighttime mood after dark. I also saw folks painting and set-dressing the area near the entrance, adding accents to bamboo spears and painting. Check out the video and snapshots below and stay tuned for more updates!
Some new Skull Island: Reign of Kong merchandise has shown up in the middle of the main gift shop in Islands of Adventure and we take a look at all of it today. While I was there I got some more footage of the ongoing Kongstruction as well. Today they had the torches by the entrance arch all lit up and all the street lamps in the area were on for testing. Workers were installing new spot lighting atop the temple gates while a crew of team members toured the area without hardhats. See all the action in the video. Plus, check out the merchandise photos along with some key snapshots of the construction area below. And stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon!
It's time for a big update of the construction progress for Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Lots of plants, trees, and bushes have been brought in by the landscaping team. This not only creates an incredible atmosphere, but is also helping to separate the area from neighboring Toon Lagoon. While I was there they were (briefly) testing fire effects as well as testing the blackout doors in the big temple entrance. These are inner doors behind the big gates used to block out the light after the ride vehicle enters the building. Inside the doors you can see a huge animal skull and bones. Lots of work is also being focused on preparing the queue and ride entrance for guests. New lanterns have been added throughout the path and I even saw a ride warning sign up now! Things are getting really close for their Summer opening. Check out the video and photos below and stay tuned for more updates!
This week's update of the construction progress for Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure shows us that the Kong entry arch is finally being painted. Also, a new food stand (presumably) has appeared along the walkway. Little touches are always being added day to day, including many many more skulls being added atop stakes along the ride path and outdoor queue section. This week also saw the update of the attraction info page on Universal's website with an all new ride description and details. See it yourself here or read below!
The monstrous new ride for your life. Opening Summer 2016
Live the brutal struggle of a 1930’s expedition that’s caught in a clash between prehistoric predators, man-eating beasts and the most colossal ape ever to walk the earth—King Kong. Around every thrilling turn, ferocious monsters fight for dominance, while you just fight to survive. It’s the multi-sensory, multi-dimensional ride for your life.
Enter the ruins of a primal realm and journey into the dark heart of an island filled with untold dangers. Vicious, ancient predators and unspeakable monstrosities rip into your crew and swarm from every side. Then, in an act of sheer ferocity—or monstrous bravery—King Kong charges between you and certain doom with an earthshaking fury. With each thundering roar and each chest-pounding thud, one colossal truth comes clear.
This is his home, his kingdom. Only he reigns.
I headed out to Universal's Islands of Adventure on a dark and gloomy December morning to get some new images and video of the construction progress for Skull Island: Reign of Kong. So much has been accomplished since my last update, but I imagine some of the more incredible work has been going on inside the building, beyond those massive gates. According to eye-witnesses, apparently those giant gates have been tested recently and are ready to go. When I came by they were locked open and covered in tarps, but lots of other work was being done: the outdoor ride path and set pieces are coming along nicely, the outdoor and indoor portions of the queue are taking shape, and little flourishes like skulls, spears, and torches have started to appear! Take a look at the images below and watch the video for more. Be sure to share the video and check back soon for more park updates.