• Universal Orlando announces new 'Skull Island: Reign of Kong' attraction


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Universal Orlando Resort announced that there will be a new King Kong attraction next year called Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

    The new attraction will open in the summer of 2016 at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Universal officials described it as an "intense, all-new adventure brought to life in a dramatically-themed environment."

    Skull Island: Reign of Kong will pull guests into a story where they become part of the next generation of the Kong legend.

    "Instead of having Kong show up in New York, you're going to where he is, so you're in his place now," Mike West, of Universal Orlando, said.

    Officials said guests will be transported into a wild and mysterious world, where their mission is to discover creatures of unknown origin, but they are soon fighting for their own survival.

    Universal officials said the new attraction will be a combination of 3-D animation and animatronics.

    "New rides are always something we're looking for -- the new thrill, the next thing," park visitor Brian Stock said.

    Stock, 82, said he brings his family to Universal and area parks every year.

    "King Kong has been around since the 1930s. Do you think he's still big enough to draw people?" Channel 9's Steve Barrett asked Stock.

    "I think he is, because he's big, and he's the king, isn't he?" Stock said. "From the original films through the remakes -- fantastic."

    Universal's creative team is working closely with Peter Jackson, famed director of 2005's blockbuster movie, "King Kong."

    "King Kong is a Hollywood movie legend and a huge part of both our history and our future," West said. "He gives us the opportunity to tap into everything that makes our film history so special and everything that makes our theme park attractions so spectacular. We can’t wait to bring him to life in such an epic way."

    West said he doesn't see any end to the attempts by the big parks to one-up each other.

    "We always pride ourselves on the latest state-of-the-art technology whenever we develop any  of our rides, so in this case it will be no different," said West.

    While the big parks like Universal and Disney World continue to get bigger, and other big attractions like the Orlando Eye are opening up, some tourists told Barrett that they find time to enjoy some of the smaller attractions.

    "We've been to a citrus farm. We're going to a zoo tomorrow. We're going on an airboat ride. So it's more than just theme parks in Orlando for us," tourist Peter Gilderdale said.

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