Universal's newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure is now officially open! The announcement was made during the Today Show with Al Roker and Tamron Hall earlier today. It has also been tweeted by Universal Orlando with them saying "Skull Island: #ReignOfKong is now open at #IslandsOfAdventure!" The attraction has been in soft open, or 'technical rehearsals' as Universal calls it, for a full month, but as of now will be officially listed as open in the Universal Orlando app and map, and will (hopefully) be open all day along with the rest of the park (starting tomorrow). You can see the official opening ceremony from earlier this morning below along with some more images as well. Check out our extensive coverage of the construction of Kong since the beginning here, and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates coming soon!
Check out the video below for two years of Kongstruction is 2-ish minutes. I've been documenting the progress of this project from the very beginning when the land was being cleared, to the ride's soft opening this month. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this photo-journey from start to finish of the new attraction Skull Island: Reign of Kong. And see below for a complete timeline all construction updates and news stories about Kong that we've posted in the previous two years, listed in order. Thanks for sticking with me through this incredible journey!
More Secret Life of Pets merchandise is showing up in the parks. This time we're taking a look at the new stuff showing up at Islands of Adventure, including plush toys and collectors pins, in addition to the many shirts, cups, and mugs we saw over at USF last time. We also take a look at some minor construction going on in Camp Jurassic, and some minor additions to the Skull Island: Reign of Kong area. The roof over the park exit turnstiles is missing while work continues over there as well. Check out the video and image updates below and stay tuned for more updates.
It was only the second day that Skull Island: Reign of Kong had soft opened to the public when I got to ride this magnificent beast! What an incredible experience this has been, not just getting to be one of the first to ride this amazing new attraction, but also covering the story since it was just a pile of dirt and a rumor two years ago. So, Friday I decided to stick it out. As long as it took. To be one of the first to ride this baby! And after 7 and half hours in the hot sun, I got to do just that! It was totally worth it. You can see video from my experience at Friday's soft opening, plus a walk-through of the entire queue below. And there's lot of screenshots below as well with descriptions. Stay tuned for more Kong news as this thing goes from soft opening to grand opening in the coming weeks! And to those of you that have been following this project with me, thank you. I hope you stick around, as we have some amazing new things on the horizon for theme parks in Central Florida, as this time in history has become somewhat of a theme park Renaissance, and we're just getting started!
It's happening! At long last, Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure has begun soft opening to the general public as of 6PM! I will be there tomorrow for my chance of reign, but for now here are a few reports from Twitter. UPDATE: Check out my full soft open report here!
— Orlando United (@Orlando_United) June 9, 2016
The construction walls are down at Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure! The wait has been long, but soon we'll be able to get our first rides on this new immersive attraction. We should hopefully expect to see soft opens within the week. It really could be any day now (or any hour even). Plus the outdoor gift shop stand, Base Camp Provisions, is open and selling Kong merchandise. Check out the video and photos below to see how the area looks now with the work walls down and some of the items you can get at the new gift shop and food stand. Stay tuned for more information as it happens. This should hopefully be our last update video before softs start and we'll post as soon as they start letting guests on the ride!
USA Today has written an article detailing Skull Island: Reign of Kong, opening soon at Universal's Islands of Adventure, and they have included some never-before-seen images from inside the incredibly themed, and apparently somewhat frightening, queue. It seems that rumors were correct and we will be seeing scareactors within the queue itself, straight up Halloween Horror Nights style! See a section of the write-up along with all the incredible photographs in high resolution below. Click on an image to see it full size and stay tuned for more Kong news as it happens!
Universal Orlando has revealed the Kong animatronic in a new making of video and a few images. The Kong figure is three-stories tall, 18 feet wide at his shoulders and has a head larger than an automobile, according to Universal Orlando. The beast also has several "distinctive scars." Riders will come "face-to-face" with King Kong and get "so close they'll feel his breath sweep across their skin and his thunderous roar reverberate through every bone in their body". Reports say that the animatronic figure was designed by Creature Technology, the company behind the impressive full-size Kong puppet for the Kong stage show.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong should be opening soon at Islands of Adventure, but Universal has still not announced an official opening date, stating only that it will be opening Summer 2016. The media preview for Skull Island is scheduled for June 22-24. The ride may open around this time, with technical rehearsals in the days or weeks leading up to it. Technical rehearsals, or soft opens as it is also known, is a trial run where the ride may open for a few hours a day giving staff a chance to test the ride under real conditions. (Not all effects and features may be working during technical rehearsals.) Rumors say that there have been some unforeseen issues that are being worked out and that has pushed technical rehearsals back a bit. Stay tuned here for news of when you may get your chance to meet Kong face to face! See the video below for your first look at Kong in the flesh, plus more images and information. And see all Kong updates here!
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 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!