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MrBestDayEver

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

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According to some insiders, cast members assigned to Kong now have their costumes and are to report to their work location starting tomorrow. They're saying construction walls are supposed to come down Thursday, and soft opens are possible over the weekend.

 

I'm so freaking excited.

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Walls are still up today so no softs until at least tomorrow, but desperately hoping I'll be able to ride during my visit on 5/5!

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I hope they work it out. I really dig the idea that there will be a rotation of drivers so you can get a few unique experiences

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I'm happy to see King Kong return to Universal Studios, I really want to see this in the future.

 

Future? Speaking of which, I hope to see a return of a Back To The Future themed attraction at Universal Studios.

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Yesterday USA Today released a new article with never before seen pictures of the ride/que/animatronic.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/2016/06/03/skull-island-reign-kong-universal-orlando-sneak-peek-exclusive/85312242/

BETTER YET: Team member previews started today and are ongoing tomorrow night. Tuesday is the rumored public soft openings. I'M DYING FROM ANTICIPATION. I don't know how i'm going to wait until mid July.

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Team Members and invited guests are currently on day #3 of Technical Rehearsals for the ride.

 

An animatronic in the queue:

 

 

Another (at 3:20) 

 

 

Wow!

 

Meanwhile, the presence of live Scareactors in the queue is earning some mixed feedback (granted, from those who haven't actually ridden the ride yet). I tend to agree, though. Even the "scariest" rides aren't really scary in the way that a Halloween Horror Nights house is. I don't mind bugs flying at me on a 3D screen, or an impressive animatronic. Doesn't mean I want people jumping out at me and shouting in a dark, claustrophobic line. That's a different kind of fear, you know? Adding live actors to the queue is likely to be pretty controversial.

 

I'm thinking even of my own little cousin, 9-years-old.... He's a good 20 inches taller than the minimum height requirement for Reign of Kong (which is only 34 inches, by the way!) but like many kids his age and younger, he starts to get very antsy in "scary" queue lines (DarKastle, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Gringotts, etc), and you can see him beginning to want to chicken out. I think that if a live actor popped out and scared him, he'd totally shut down and the rest of the day would be a wash. That alone makes me think / hope they have an "alternate queue" for people who want to skip this experience.

 

Either that or the actors would only be in the queue after 5:00 or something like that. It'll be interesting to see how that develops. 

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Yeah agreed on the scare actors.  It could be very detrimental to getting young kids to enjoy rides.  If I know something may be too scary for my son while we are on a ride (say Haunted Mansion at WDW) I can clover his eyes or "accidentally" reposition him to not see it.  If a dude jumps out and scares me... well he would be done as well....

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This looks like a most excellent addition. I have never been to Universal, but will probably have to make a trek down that way in the next year or so

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Here's an idea for the kids that don't want to be scared in line: don't ride. Not everything has to be 100% completely family friendly. That's a main reason I love Universal over Disney. 

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Okay and I guess people who don't like haunts should also not ride then.

And as a whole both parks are very family friendly. No one is changing the ride chief

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Yeah, I'd be one of those guys who'd skip out on Kong because of the scareactors. Also, I can see this being detrimental not just to kids on the fence about riding Kong, but what if someone is super excited to ride, and then a scareactor pops out and the guest has some type of medical emergency (because their adrenaline is that much more fired up)?

 

EDIT: I can see what Universal is going for atmosphere-wise, but still...

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The ride has begun to soft open now. Spoilers and videos can be found online already for it. Want to be able to go into the ride not knowing what happens but going to be hard avoiding spoilers for the next few months

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From the videos I saw it looks like the ride from the Tram tour at Universal Hollywood and some extra stuff. Can't wait to take a trip and see the ride. When I took the VIP tour four years ago they showed you how the ride worked after it was over. If your ever out in Hollywood the Universal VIP tour is worth every penny.

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Looks like a POV video of the ride experience has now popped up on YouTube. So far I've resisted the urge to watch but we'll see how long I hold up for...

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2 Things:

 

Kong like many thought is a slightly expanded version of the Tram Tour at Universal Hollywood.  Expect much the same from the new Fast and the Furious ride.  Say what you will be Universal Orlando loves their screen based attractions because they do them really well, even if it might be beyond a tipping point now.  

 

Secondly Next Friday we are surprising Little Miss RailRider with a long weekend trip to Universal and IOA.  She has zero idea about this trip and will not be telling her until we arrive at the Airport.  That being said I hope technical rehearsals are still going on because I am very much looking forward to riding Kong.  Kongfrontation was one of my favorite rides at Universal, so there is a bit of nostalgia for me.  Will report back if we accomplish this ride.

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I loved Kongfrontation also. Still have the picture of Kong "holding" me and my brother in his hand from back in the day.

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^

Great photo opportunity.  I am still nostalgic in regards to Universal.  I loved all the rides with physical sets and am not a huge fan of Screen: The Ride.  I will be sad this upcoming trip not being able to ride Jaws and hope that Diagon Alley is worthy of its location (I hear it is).  Also Earthquake was an awesome experience and its removal for Fast and the Furious does nothing for me.  Especially since it is confirmed it will be a direct copy of the Tram Tour and the 360 screen, plus F&F never entertained me.

 

But with all of the aside I cannot wait to take Little Miss RR to these parks for the first time and especially when she sees IOA for the first time.

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I'm a bit mixed on the experience. I remember going to Universal right when IoA first opened and most of the main park was still the original rides and I was pretty underwhelmed by it, loved IoA though. Feel the park is better as a whole, but I do miss the physical sets. Their screen based attractions are great but I do miss the physical sets. Spiderman was an amazing ride but think it's kind of let stuff get out of hand a bit with how popular and well received it was. Think Forbidden Journey had a good mix of physical sets and screens. Hoping more of their future dark rides have a better combo like this, at least have a few physical elements in Kong.

 

For Fast and Furious I was hoping they would try to find a way to still utilize the Earthquake subway set into the ride. Would have been a great way to keep that part of the attraction which was pretty awesome and make something that really differentiates it from the Hollywood version.

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First day back from Universal and it was a great trip and I still can't believe we had our daughter surprised all the way to airport.  

 

We were able to ride Reign of Kong during a technical rehearsal Saturday afternoon.  A few observations.  The Skull Island area is very impressive, the building and such fit in with the Jurassic Park Area nicely, but it is right on the edge of creeping in to Toon Lagoon, which is a bit odd.  Anyways the queue is very impressive and brings back memories of the old Dueling Dragons queue.  They had Scareactors towards the end of the queue before boarding and it was amazing watching them surprise and frighten folks in the line.  I saw them focus on adults and not children in the line.  Not sure if that is by design or just by chance.  

Anyways the line while impressive has a very disjointed story.  The outside portion you are making your way through an expedition base camp, then you enter the natives temple, which is filled with natives who don't like you and then before boarding you are back inside a supply area for the expedition.  There is never any discussion or mention as to why you are there, why the natives aren't attacking the base camps and why we are getting on these giant safari vehicles.  I got more of a feeling of hey lets build these really cool rooms with this effect or that effect.  This lack of story feeds over to the attraction itself.  Doc was our driver, who gives you a brief backstory as to why he is there, but still not sure why I am here or what we are doing, what's our mission?  Then the ride itself is more of the same a bunch of really cool scenes that really don't tie together or have any flowing story, more of the same.  Hey it would be really cool if we did this, ideas.

 

Anyways with that being said and with the giant ape sized plot holes...

 

Kong is Awesome.  Seriously this attraction is a great mix of physical sets and insane projections.  Read no further if you don't want SPOILERS...The outside portion while short is very cool and would be awesome at night.  The bats and bug pit scene are awesome and thrilling, but the tunnel projection is really well done and provides a lot of excitement and action.  There is so much going on during this scene I know I missed many things.  Then you meet the big guy and the Kong Animatronic is awesome to behold.  The sound system they use for this is what drives home the realism.  Even if it is just Kong's head and shoulders, and the set does nothing to explain why you only see half the monkey, its more of the hey this would be really cool if, don't worry about the details.  With that all being said Kong is Awesome and is a great addition, just don't expect much of cohesive story like Jurassic Park or the Potter rides.  It is just a bunch of cool screen based scenes with a gigantic monkey at the end.  Yet it is still impressive and a great addition

 

Here are some other observations about Universal from this weekend.  The Potter areas are amazing and very well done, great additions to the parks, but as someone who first visited IOA during its first year it hasn't seen much TLC outside of Potter, neither has the Studios.  My wife and I both got the feeling that all of the time, money and effort has gone in to the Potter areas and the rest of the parks have taken a back seat.  Dirty concrete, faded buildings, lots of things need painted, and lots of attractions partially or not working at all.  Really kind of sad to see the shape the parks were, especially IoA.  Seuss Landing was just dirty and needs a good power washing and painting.  Many of the Dino's on the Jurassic Park River Adventure were not working and a few were missing.  The quote from the original movie from Malcom continually went through my head "There will eventually be Dinosaurs on this tour."  These were just a few of the things we noticed, I could list all of the rides that were having some serious issues but I'm not here to bash Universal.  We had a great time, it was just sad to see how outside of Potter the parks have gone down hill.  Especially when their price point is right there with Disney, their level of service and park experience outside of Potter is nowhere near Disney.  This was just a common theme we saw the whole weekend, even at the Royal Pacific, beautiful resort that needed some serious TLC.  

 

All in all we had an amazing time, Kong is Awesome, a great 1 or 2 day diversion from Disney, not practical to visit with smaller children (there is nothing for them), and please Universal put in some non screen based rides.  

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I'm astonished that Universal has let their child offerings slip so far. Universal Studios was always considered the park for tweens and teens – not the sort of place you'd consider visiting with elementary school or younger, with every ride ending with "something going horribly wrong" as you're attacked by a shark, ape, earthquake, tornado, Terminator, etc. Universal's Islands of Adventure was supposed to changed that, and I think it did a respectable job with Seuss Landing and Toon Lagoon (though both could use another E-ticket family dark ride). That's all well and good, but neither of those lands has grown and Universal Studios next door still has Woody Woodpecker and Fievel? It's a little disgraceful, really.

 

Meanwhile in Universal Studios Singapore, Shrek and Madagascar each have their own full land. I realize the licensing must work differently (why else do Dreamworks properties outside of Shrek have zero presence in the parks? Why else hasn't E.T. become a How To Train Your Dragon dark ride? Why else isn't the Barney show a Kung Fu Panda Academy and playground? Why else isn't Curios George's area a proper Shrek dark ride?

 

The rumor now is that Nintendo is their coup and that will be UNiversal Studios Florida's "family" area. It would still be nice to see family stuff permeate the parks. 

 

And I agree with everything you said and noticed, RailRider. I love Islands of Adventure, but I'd skip one of Comcast's promised big-budget E-Tickets in favor of just giving the park some TLC outside of Potter. Clean it all up, repaint it all. And I absolutely 100% think both those parks could benefit from 4 - 5 new C or D-Ticket attractions. They don't all have to be headliners. Give us a family roller coaster around Mount Crumpet in Seuss Landing, a family dark ride in Jurassic Park, a new show  / mythology ride to replace Sinbad in Lost Continent... Universal Studios suffers from a lack of "medium-sized" rides, especially. Those are the sorts of things that keep families coming back as their children grow.

 

I think people were excited for Kong, and now that it's opening, we're looking at the slate of E-Tickets they've got planned and going "uh oh..." Fast and Furious, based on the terrible, terrible, terrible piece of Hollywood's Tram Tour? Yikes. Jimmy Fallon's Soarin' Over New York? Fine, I guess, but is anyone waiting with baited breath for this? While the big name headliners may be selling points for some, the parks need to be foundationally strong to support them or else people come once... then decide Universal is a 1 or 2 day aside. That's Universal's worst fear, and I think it takes more than just big name E-Tickets to counter that. 

 

tldr: USF needs to bulldoze its 90s "kids area" and start from the ground up. If Dreamworks isn't the answer, let it be Nintendo. Then, let's take a few years off of adding headlining E-Tickets to simply refurb / TLC the park and the ride's that need some love (Dudley, Jurassic Park, etc) then focus heavily on adding some medium-sized family offerings to permeate the parks, even in places they're not expected – Jurassic Park, Lost Continent, etc. Now that Kong's nearing completion, the next round of up-and-coming headliners isn't nearly as attractive, only making me more sure that it's time to improve the parks at their foundation instead of rushing into the next billboard additions. 

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Yea I'm hoping that between the Nintendo deal and the recent acquisition of DreamWorks by Universal that Universal will update some of their kids areas at least. The stuff in USF especially could use an updating. I do like to see some of these old classic type characters but they are just not relevant today. Same with Toon Lagoon. There's area  little more classic so can pull it off a bit better but still not really relevant and sure many kids now don't know who any of the characters are. With having two separate areas in their parks could do one area in DreamWorks and one in Nintendo. Would like to see Shrek 4D converted into something from their Illumination films too (maybe the Secret Lives of Pets rumored ride) to make a mini area as well for it.

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^

As a family we honestly had some of the most fun in Seuss Landing because of the smaller C and D ticket rides.  Like you said bkroz I would take park wide TLC over any of the new attractions that are coming.  Just another example The Cat in the Hat ride was suffering from inaudible audio in certain scenes and animatronics that were not working or out of synch.  Plus it might just be my memory but I remember that ride spinning a lot more in certain places, like the Thing 1 and Thing 2 mess montage.  Once again you have the beauty of Hogwarts next door to areas that are in serious need of some TLC.  There are seasonal parks who keep things much cleaner and upkept than what I noticed at Universal.  

 

We walked in to the 90's kids area at Universal to ride ET and it is a sad excuse for a kids area.  Kings Island's is much better and looks a lot prettier as well.

 

There is the rumor floating around of a 3rd Universal Park coming, which is all well and good, but that makes me even more concerned about general upkeep of the other parks.  If they struggle with 2 how will they do with 3?

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