Make us your home page
Instagram

King Kong's reign begins as Universal opens Skull Island ride

Universal's Islands of Adventure surprised visitors Wednesday with the official opening of its newest mega attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. (Universal Orlando)

Universal's Islands of Adventure surprised visitors Wednesday with the official opening of its newest mega attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. (Universal Orlando)

Universal's Islands of Adventure surprised visitors Wednesday with the official opening of its newest mega attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

The Orlando theme park has been tight-lipped about when the enormous ride would open, even though it has let riders on intermittently for "technical rehearsals" for weeks.

After Al Roker showed viewers on the Today show Wednesday morning what to expect when they board a 40-foot-long, 17-ton expedition vehicle to navigate the foreboding terrain of King Kong's home turf, the park officially opened the ride for full-time operation.

The attraction, which looms over the park between the Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park islands, has a complex ride queue loaded with props and even actors as scary islanders. The ride itself is aboard a 72-seat jungle bus that takes riders past the 36-foot tall doors of an ancient-looking temple into the world King Kong.

The action takes place on huge curved 3D screens on each side and above the truck and a loud animatronic Kong nearly three stories tall roars his displeasure in a battle sequence.

The ride announcement comes one day before Thursday's opening of Universal Orlando's fifth on-site hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The 1,000-room Caribbean-themed hotel with Universal's largest resort pool, a water slide, fire pit, two sand beaches, waterfall and lush lagoon, is positioning itself as a convention hotel that connects via covered walkway with Royal Pacific Resort's conference area.

A stay at the resort includes early access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, with transport via land or water taxi. Rooms start at $179 at loewshotels.com/sapphire-falls-resort.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

King Kong's reign begins as Universal opens Skull Island ride 07/13/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Tuesday May 30

    Events

    Finding Neverland: The hit Broadway show follows the story behind playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to find inspiration to create Peter Pan, until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, …

    Mitchell Wray, Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer and Ben Krieger as the Llewelyn Davies Boys in the National Tour of Finding Neverland. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  2. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    Soft pretzels are displayed with a beer at the Features Gastropub in the Riverview 14 GDX  theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  4. From the food editor: I love that food is a huge part of Master of None's transcendent second season

    Cooking

    Deep into a late-night binge of Master of None, Aziz Ansari's Netflix series that returned for its second season May 12, I realized I was laying as far back on my couch as possible, blanket clutched up to my chin, eyebrows permanently raised.

    Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Arnold (Eric Wareheim) eat lunch in Modena, Italy, in the second season of "Master of None."
  5. Three 'MasterChef' contestants from the Tampa Bay area talk cooking inspiration and more

    Cooking

    When Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef begins its eighth season tonight, the Tampa Bay area will have three contestants to root for. A marketing director from Tampa, a dentist and Palm Harbor native, and an employee for a steel supply company are all trying to impress a trio of judges with their home-cooking skills.

    Jeff Philbin, from Tampa, left, Palm Harbor native Paola Annoni Patel, and Danny Flores, of Land 'O Lakes, will be competing on the season premiere of "Masterchef."