Skull Island: Reign of Kong - Reviews, Photos, and Videos

amityboattours

Premium Member
Apr 1, 2010
645
York, England
Sign me up as a fanboy of this ride! We've done it twice now and our judgement of a good ride is always based on how much we giggle and wail like idiots, which we do lots of on this! The impression of speed in that 360 room is genuinely immersive to me, which actually increases my hopes for F&F to at least deliver a fun experience. Screens are clearly the future at Universal, so we may as well get on board with em! Exterior and interior set work/queue is potentially the best I've ever seen and that AA is just a perfect ending, another winner from UC!
 

STL

Member
Nov 1, 2012
508
St Louis, Mo
I'll keep this simple. We rode it 8 times during our week stay and we both loved it! Every ride was glitch-free which I'm sure helped out with our opinion of the ride. We used Express on 6 of our rides so we did get to enjoy the que a couple of times. The Boo Hole actor totally punked my wife the first time through the normal que. It was quite a site to witness! LOL I think this is a worthy and wonderful addition to IOA and can't wait to the get the chance to ride it again soon!
 
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Teebin

Legendary Member
Oct 12, 2009
19,998
North of the Wall
I am happy to hear many of you enjoying this attraction. I thought it sounded good in theory. Scotch Scott's review was disappointing and there have been some other behind the scenes survey reviews that have me tapping my fingers. I'm going with your nice reviews.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,264
Glasgow
You need a number of rides to get the right feel of the attraction. Repeatability is a real asset with Kong. One or two rides doesn't get it since there's so much going on.
I only rode once but I'm starting to think it's important I ride again and hopefully the queue will reduce to a more appropriate length.

How much of a diffference did the different drivers make?
 
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WAJAS98

Veteran Member
Aug 15, 2014
3,276
--Classified--
I only rode once but I'm starting to think it's important I ride again and hopefully the queue will reduce to a more appropriate length.

How much of a diffference did the different drivers make?
The difference isn't big but it is at least in the beginning noticeable. The big repeatability factor is the multiple things occurring on the second and third screens away from the intended POV. If that makes any sense...
 
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Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,264
Glasgow
The ironic thing in all this is that since I currently hold a low opinion of the ride that I'll have such low expectations riding it again that i'll end up loving it.
 
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Imperius

Veteran Member
Feb 28, 2015
3,531
Well the 100 feet of queue I was able to see was ridiculous. Went to IOA at like 12 yesterday before going to HHN and sucked it up and got in a 90 minute line because it's my first time back since it opened. Get in line and the speaker says they are in a brief delay due to adding another vehicle so yay going to be a quicker line. Wait about 30 minutes and it's back up. 10 minutes later it goes down for extended delay and then kicks us out. Did not get to ride because it didn't go back up until like 3 pm, but again the first part of the inside queue is ridiculously well done.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,127
Pittsburgh area
I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of this review, but I have a lot of points I want to touch on. :)
* First of all, due to some of the controversy surrounding this attraction, I thought it was important to apply the great Disney Imagineering legend Tony Baxter's test as to what constitutes a successful attraction. And that test requires 20 rides. Ride repeatability is the gold standard of that test. So I did 20 rides over a two week period on many different days, and would have done more if not for the hurricane chasing me out of Orlando a little early. :)
* 12 rides with the outdoor area included. 8 rides that were indoor only. 6 rides using the Stand By queue. 14 rides using the Express queue. All of my seating was middle to back since I always used the right side Stand By line (excellent advice from former OU reviews) and Express always seated us middle to back. So I didn't experience the weaker view seats of the front rows.
*The facade, queue, and Witch pre show puts this attraction's non ride aspects in the same class as Gringotts & Forbidden Journey. The Witch pre show is perhaps the best pre show in existence. Even when I went through the Express Line, I would pause & watch the Witch shows once or twice. It's that good. The amazing AA, effects, lighting and chants are utterly fantastic and really get you psyched for the ride. The Witch totally mesmerized me. I'd like to see the scare actors more since people seemed to really enjoy them. They were always there but your chance of a direct confrontation is small. And the area at the end of the queue, before you board, was very Indiana Joneish, really well themed. The Bug AA was very good and children didn't seem scared by it. And, at the end of the Express line, and the outside portion of the Stand By queue, they play the radio transmissions between the various expedition members, and that basically explains the story. Universal really hit it with this facade, queue & pre show. I rate it a solid 10, comparable to Gringotts & Forbidden Journey. Even if there was no ride at the end of this queue, I would rate it as an excellent walk through attraction. The ambiance & atmosphere are stunning.
* I timed it and it appears posters Convoluted Frippery & Joe Camel are correct. They evidently added almost 30 seconds to the original 5:50 since it now clocks in at 6:19 from the time the truck starts moving until it stops at unload. The truck pauses at the early skeleton scene fairly long and spends a long time in front of the Kong AA, so you really get to enjoy the very excellent Kong AA..
* The outdoor segment is really "crucial" to the ride. The ride really needs that slow unveil & dramatic gate opening to set up the screen scenes that speed by quickly because they have so much fast paced action. The ride is lessened somewhat when it only includes the inside portion (which is used for inclement weather and when they only run two trucks). It's so important that I rate the ride itself (not including queue, facade, Witch pre show which is a 10), as a 9 with it's outside portion. But when it's not a full ride and they only do the inside, I would drop the ride to a 7 rating {I rate the ride only portions for Forbidden Journey, Spider Man & Gringotts as 10's}
*Love the trucks. I know they had tech problems originally, but these are a winner as part of the attraction. Very realistic and jerky, and the movement becomes very thrilling when it's on the motion base. And because of the seating views, 1)left outside 2)right outside 3) middle, it's essentially three different rides, since your views of the screen action are so very different depending on where you sit. This, plus different viewing aspects depending on what row you're in, give the ride awesome repeatability, since the viewing & effects you experience are very different, some better than others. Having the drivers give different spiels also plays into that repeatability.
* The two cavern screen scenes are very good and put you right into the action. Loved the bats and the bug gut splattering effects. And the AA bats are good & creepy too.
* :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: The 360 room experience is probably the best two plus minutes I've ever experienced on a theme park attraction. Complete immersion, especially if you're not looking for screen endings (which I don't look for normally). The realism of the truck movements while on the motion base, the effects, screen projection, etc. are AWESOME. And there's so much happening at one time, from different sides, seat views, etc. that on my 20th ride I was still noticing lots of new things I had not noticed before. I can't say enough about this. It's a complete experience of alternate reality.
* The only criticism I have of the ride, and it's a "very minor" criticism, is the blank wall area after you leave the 360 room. I don't understand why it's like that and isn't fully themed as a temple wall or decorated with foliage like the Kong AA area. This is where I experienced the only technical problem of the 20 rides, when the 360 doors didn't close and the screen bled over onto the blank wall. I was in the last row and think I was the only one that noticed it. But it was amazing, as I looked backward, to see the truck behind us on the motion base in the screen room, and realize how great Universal utilized such a small space to make you feel like it was a huge jungle area.
* The Kong AA is just amazing. That's about as realistic as an AA can appear. The foliage creates a nice jungle ambiance & atmosphere. And the truck slows to a crawl so you can experience Kong to the fullest. It's just the right amount of time. Universal really hit it with the Kong & Witch AA's :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: These two belong in the AA Hall of Fame..... At unloading, they tie the Kate loose ends up with her speaking over the radio transmissions.
* Kong fills a void at Universal. It's an excellent family attraction that can even be utilized during inclement weather. It's fun, entertaining and thrilling. It is what it is. Lots of young children always in line. But, it's not "extreme" thrills like a coaster, so that segment of the riding population may not be attracted to it. It's strength is it's repeatability. I think it will be judged like Gringotts was, where riders like it more as they ride it more. That's kind of the way good family rides are. This is an attraction you need to experience many times to fully appreciate it's merits. One, two, or even five times is not enough to get a full view.
* And to me, it met the Tony Baxter gold standard. I enjoyed it even more on my 20th ride than my first ride.
Rating:
Facade, queue, pre show.....Ride...............Total Attraction Rating
10..........................................9.....................9 1/2
 
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amityboattours

Premium Member
Apr 1, 2010
645
York, England
I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of this review, but I have a lot of points I want to touch on. :)
* First of all, due to some of the controversy surrounding this attraction, I thought it was important to apply the great Disney Imagineering legend Tony Baxter's test as to what constitutes a successful attraction. And that test requires 20 rides. Ride repeatability is the gold standard of that test. So I did 20 rides over a two week period on many different days, and would have done more if not for the hurricane chasing me out of Orlando a little early. :)
* 12 rides with the outdoor area included. 8 rides that were indoor only. 6 rides using the Stand By queue. 14 rides using the Express queue. All of my seating was middle to back since I always used the right side Stand By line (excellent advice from former OU reviews) and Express always seated us middle to back. So I didn't experience the weaker view seats of the front rows.
*The facade, queue, and Witch pre show puts this attraction's non ride aspects in the same class as Gringotts & Forbidden Journey. The Witch pre show is perhaps the best pre show in existence. Even when I went through the Express Line, I would pause & watch the Witch shows once or twice. It's that good. The amazing AA, effects, lighting and chants are utterly fantastic and really get you psyched for the ride. The Witch totally mesmerized me. I'd like to see the scare actors more since people seemed to really enjoy them. They were always there but your chance of a direct confrontation is small. And the area at the end of the queue, before you board, was very Indiana Joneish, really well themed. The Bug AA was very good and children didn't seem scared by it. And, at the end of the Express line, and the outside portion of the Stand By queue, they play the radio transmissions between the various expedition members, and that basically explains the story. Universal really hit it with this facade, queue & pre show. I rate it a solid 10, comparable to Gringotts & Forbidden Journey. Even if there was no ride at the end of this queue, I would rate it as an excellent walk through attraction. The ambiance & atmosphere are stunning.
* I timed it and it appears posters Convoluted Frippery & Joe Camel are correct. They evidently added almost 30 seconds to the original 5:50 since it now clocks in at 6:19 from the time the truck starts moving until it stops at unload. The truck pauses at the early skeleton scene fairly long and spends a long time in front of the Kong AA, so you really get to enjoy the very excellent Kong AA..
* The outdoor segment is really "crucial" to the ride. The ride really needs that slow unveil & dramatic gate opening to set up the screen scenes that speed by quickly because they have so much fast paced action. The ride is lessened somewhat when it only includes the inside portion (which is used for inclement weather and when they only run two trucks). It's so important that I rate the ride itself (not including queue, facade, Witch pre show which is a 10), as a 9 with it's outside portion. But when it's not a full ride and they only do the inside, I would drop the ride to a 7 rating {I rate the ride only portions for Forbidden Journey, Spider Man & Gringotts as 10's}
*Love the trucks. I know they had tech problems originally, but these are a winner as part of the attraction. Very realistic and jerky, and the movement becomes very thrilling when it's on the motion base. And because of the seating views, 1)left outside 2)right outside 3) middle, it's essentially three different rides, since your views of the screen action are so very different depending on where you sit. This, plus different viewing aspects depending on what row you're in, give the ride awesome repeatability, since the viewing & effects you experience are very different, some better than others. Having the drivers give different spiels also plays into that repeatability.
* The two cavern screen scenes are very good and put you right into the action. Loved the bats and the bug gut splattering effects. And the AA bats are good & creepy too.
* :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: The 360 room experience is probably the best two plus minutes I've ever experienced on a theme park attraction. Complete immersion, especially if you're not looking for screen endings (which I don't look for normally). The realism of the truck movements while on the motion base, the effects, screen projection, etc. are AWESOME. And there's so much happening at one time, from different sides, seat views, etc. that on my 20th ride I was still noticing lots of new things I had not noticed before. I can't say enough about this. It's a complete experience of alternate reality.
* The only criticism I have of the ride, and it's a "very minor" criticism, is the blank wall area after you leave the 360 room. I don't understand why it's like that and isn't fully themed as a temple wall or decorated with foliage like the Kong AA area. This is where I experienced the only technical problem of the 20 rides, when the 360 doors didn't close and the screen bled over onto the blank wall. I was in the last row and think I was the only one that noticed it. But it was amazing, as I looked backward, to see the truck behind us on the motion base in the screen room, and realize how great Universal utilized such a small space to make you feel like it was a huge jungle area.
* The Kong AA is just amazing. That's about as realistic as an AA can appear. The foliage creates a nice jungle ambiance & atmosphere. And the truck slows to a crawl so you can experience Kong to the fullest. It's just the right amount of time. Universal really hit it with the Kong & Witch AA's :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: These two belong in the AA Hall of Fame..... At unloading, they tie the Kate loose ends up with her speaking over the radio transmissions.
* Kong fills a void at Universal. It's an excellent family attraction that can even be utilized during inclement weather. It's fun, entertaining and thrilling. It is what it is. Lots of young children always in line. But, it's not "extreme" thrills like a coaster, so that segment of the riding population may not be attracted to it. It's strength is it's repeatability. I think it will be judged like Gringotts was, where riders like it more as they ride it more. That's kind of the way good family rides are. This is an attraction you need to experience many times to fully appreciate it's merits. One, two, or even five times is not enough to get a full view.
* And to me, it met the Tony Baxter gold standard. I enjoyed it even more on my 20th ride than my first ride.
Rating:
Facade, queue, pre show.....Ride...............Total Attraction Rating
10..........................................9.....................9 1/2
10/10 for the effort put into your review bud! Really enjoyed learning about the Tony Baxter test and totally agree re: Gringotts and how it improves on subsequent re-rides, Kong is already on course for that after my 4th run through.
 

Cwoolboy

Veteran Member
Sep 22, 2009
1,462
Leesberg, FL
Got to finally ride it 2 days ago. What an experience. I have no problem saying this could be viewed as another game changer. The queue reminded me of a more intense version of The Indiana Jones Adventure one in Cali (The queue is indeed much scarier than the actual ride, really loved the mini-show with the witch....so intense). The ride vehicles were mucho impressive, and while I wasn't blown away by the 360 portion, everything that came before and after was superb (my guide was Kalani). The Kong AA was very realistic and fluid, and we get to spend a good deal of time with him (I'd say 30 secs-1 min maybe). I loved the whole experience and would gladly do it again (was cool that I only had to wait an hour in line). Not sure I'd say it's the greatest ride in the resort, but it's definitely one of the best (Probably in the top 4 or 5).
 

amityboattours

Premium Member
Apr 1, 2010
645
York, England
I've said this on here before, but I do often think that we are all a bit too close to this stuff to view it objectively sometimes. For example, I would say that 99% of people on here knew about and saw the main AA before riding, due to the nature of our interest. That has a massive effect on how you anticipate and react to the experience.
I've done lots of rides on Kong over the past 2 weeks and the reaction from theme park 'normies' to that AA is always absolutely electric. Strangely, its also completely variable. It's either complete silence in true awe of it, or lots of genuine 'WOW!' chatter. Either way, the 'normies' all seem to be getting off happy and impressed.
 
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sjago13

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
1,353
Kissimmee
I love this ride. Yes there is a screen focus but that 360 scene is one of the best simulated scenes at the resort. From the sense of speed to getting knocked around to the swaying. The only part on it that doesn't feel right is the fall but that's due to the limited motion of the base. People hoot and holar in there. Also there is always someone that shrieks at the bats in the first screen.
 
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shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
10,238
Florida
I think the line inside also feels extremely long compared to other attractions...For instance, waiting in Gringotts for 45 mins feels a lot different from waiting for Kong...Also, The ride could have used one more scene after the big Kong skull to build you up to the first screen - just my opinion though
 
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AK-Jake

Premium Member
Mar 25, 2013
444
Alaska
Finally got to ride it when I was down there 3 weeks ago. I went into it cold (knowing very little about the actual ride experience), with managed expectations and rode it 10 times over 3 days. I didn't experience the outside queue since I had Express Unlimited (only CHUMPS stand in the regular line, lol!), but the first time through, they for some reason were routing the Express folks into the FULL "Witch Room." As much as I was irked that I had to stand in line (the next 9 times they shot us from the entrance right up to the loading platform), I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the Witch. Holy cow, that room is insane!!! Brilliant theming, design and execution. The vehicles were unique, but for some reason, I kept getting the same two drivers (Will and Doc) and never experienced the other three (disappointing). I found the ride to be pretty typical Universal and the 360 room was better than I expected. Like Mad Dog, I too was miffed at the giant blank wall at the end of the 360 room....they should have themed that a bit better (minor gripe). The Kong AA was AMAZING. He looked far more lifelike and real than the Hollywood version I saw 9 years ago! Even on the one time he broke down and was completely stationary (which got me an immediate re-ride, kudos to Universal!), he STILL looked life-like.

I didn't notice a photo-op at the end of the ride like they were talking about early in the other Skull Island thread? I also didn't notice a gift shop (only a cart with crappy merch)...that surprised me.

All in all, it's a decent attraction. I wasn't floored by it, I wasn't disappointed by it...I was just kind of "meh." And that's fine: the ride wasn't meant to appeal to me directly, it's meant to appeal to families and people who can't do extreme rides. It was PERFECT for Islands. I'll definitely ride it every time I go to UOR in the future!

With that being said, I now fully realize that the new Fast & Furious clone going into USF is going to horrifically suck. It's going to be a stinker. I went from being disinterested in it to being 100% opposed to it. The ride system works for Kong, but it's not going to work for F&F. I am very disappointed in Universal for being so lazy