Theme Parks

New King Kong attraction set to open at Universal Orlando

Come face to face with King Kong next summer at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Come face to face with King Kong next summer at Universal's Islands of Adventure.  (Universal Orlando Resort)

Universal Orlando is getting a new attraction worthy of a king—king of the jungle, that is.

Called Skull Island: Reign of Kong, the new ride is being built at the Islands of Adventure and is expected to be one of the theme park’s largest attractions to date.  It features a fully immersive experience and that takes visitors into the world of King Kong as they journey through ancient caves, encounter hostile natives, confront dangerous jungle creatures and more. 

The long-rumored attraction was first mentioned by Comcast during an earnings call back in February, but this is the first time the park has made it public-- and comes ahead of a scheduled release of Universal's latest King Kong movie, "Skull Island," slated to hit theaters in 2017.

After nearly two years in development, most of the ride is already constructed. To help guide the new attraction—Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Peter Jackson, who directed 2005’s action-packed “King Kong” reboot.

“Peter has been instrumental in helping our team develop a truly immersive experience,” Mike West, executive producer, Universal Creative told “We’ve created an entirely new story line for this attraction, so it will be unlike anything riders have experienced.”

Universal had a King Kong ride called Kongfrontation in the late1990s that closed to make way for the Revenge of the Mummy attraction. The park also has a film-based King Kong 360/3D encounter, directed by Jackson, which opened in 2010.

But this new ride will allow fans to come face to face with the legendary gorilla-- and with new technology, and on a much grander scale, this ride is leaps and bounds above similar attractions, West says.

Riding in the largest vehicle ever created for this type of attraction by Universal—an oversized 72-seat truck-- guests will enter the multi-faceted trip through a 70-foot high wall into the depths of Kong’s jungle. Though West wouldn’t give exact specifications on the size of the attraction, he noted that it will contain indoor and outdoor segments and is gearing up to be one of the biggest facilities ever built by the entertainment giant.

“I don’t know the total time from start to finish, but I do know it will be one of the longest rides we’ve every done,” West says.

Like the popular Jaws attraction that can be found at neighboring Universal Studios Orlando, Skull Island: Reign of Kong is designed to bring riders into their own version of the movie—though West insists this will be “completely different” from Jackson’s film.

Skull Island: Reign is Kong is slated to open at Universal’s Islands of Adventure summer 2016.