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!
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 or features 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. There are no guarantees that the ride will be open during this time an official opening date has not yet been announced. Stay tuned for more news as it happens and subscribe to the feed to stay on top of announcements.
A very crowded entrance to the new ride
As the sign says, the only answer you get when asking team members when Kong will be opening is “Summer 2016”
A view of the temple gates, ready to receive sacrifices
The “line” stretching out forever of anxious folks hoping for their chance to encounter Kong
Line stretching all the way down to Toon Lagoon
A separate section of line started leading into Jurassic Park. They were tacked onto the end of the line all the way out in Toon Lagoon
Trucks started cycling for the first time for the day after 7 hours of waiting
Someone was filming around the area
Around 4:45 they led the line around to the back entrance, straight to Kong’s extended queue
A look at the extended queue, nestled between Skull Island and Toon Lagoon
The closest I’ve ever been to this side of the show building
Nice to see the old bamboo style work walls get a new life in the extended queue
Fans and misters in place for folks waiting in the Florida heat
Technical Rehearsals signage
Walking around the outdoor queue, looks like this might be a temporary staging area for upcoming media event on the right, overlooking the outdoor portion of the ride?
Themed water fountains in the queue
Amazing how it feels like a secluded jungle even though I know there’s hundreds of people on the other side of that wall. Loud bird and insect sounds drown out the park. Don’t even hear the music over here
First time seeing the temple from this vantage
Entering the first covered queue building
Old-fashioned water pump themed elements
Old-fashioned radio on a desk, spouting news reports and old music
The closest I’ve been to the temple gates so far!
Technical workers riding the ride to spot any issues one last time before our chance
Inside the dark indoor queue, first room has two creepy statues and an arch to enter the next room that looks like a face
Animatronic woman in a room filled with skull and ape carvings filled with an impressively real looking fire musion effect
A closer look at the “witch” animatronic, as she summons Kong
Dead bodies in the next room of the indoor queue
Approaching an animatronic worm creature in the final room of the queue
Closer view of the incredibly realistic giant worm monster
Backside of worm creature
“Live Animal” in box. Makes noise as you pass by
Don’t forget your “goggles”
Child swap to the right of load
Here comes our truck!
Exiting the ride
High fives for an incredible ride!
So happy I got a chance to experience this new attraction so early on. It’s been a wonderful two years covering the development, construction, and implementation of this awesome addition to an already wonderful park and resort!
Until we meet again dear friend…
Be sure to check out our last Kong update with video and photos of the entire area with the walls down, and see all Kong updates here.
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Alicia has been visiting theme parks since the age of 3, has a knack for memorizing park maps, loves theme park renovations and cannot wait to ride something new. She can often be found wandering the parks and riding coasters!