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Skull Island: Reign of Kong Review Islands of Adventure

Ride entrance. Credit:

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is a dark ride manufactured by Oceaneering International and is located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. The attraction opened on July 13, 2016, and is located in it’s own Skull Island section in the park. I will be looking into the ride experience and my thoughts on the attraction as a whole.

The first thing you will notice is that the attraction is in it’s own little area in the park, it’s located right past Toon Lagoon and it’s in between that and Jurassic Park. The plaza outside the ride is very well themed with a temple-esque vibe with a lot of rockwork, trees, and fire torches. When you enter the queue, you will enter an outdoor section if the line is long that is shaded to keep you cool from the Florida heat. The first main section of the queue is a set of switchbacks that is centered around an shamness animatronic that warns you of the dangers ahead. This is a very cool animatronic but just be warned that this queue is VERY dark so if you have sensitive eyes just be warned!

Shamness animatronic in queue. Credit:

After the set of switchbacks, you will enter a cave where there are a lot of skeleton heads. This is also where often a scare actor will pop out and scare unsuspecting guests. The first and as of now only time I’ve walked through the queue, I knew there were scare actors but I didn’t want them to scare me because I get easily scared. My mom and sister were walking right in front of me in this part of the queue when all of the sudden I saw a hand lunge out at my mom and sister. As much as I felt bad for my mom because she was in the dark and had bad eyesight, I couldn’t help but laugh simply because they weren’t expecting it. You then past a animatronic worm-like creature before picking up your 3D glasses then finally entering the loading station to board your ride vehicle.

Scare actor in queue. Credit:
Worm-like creature near loading station. Credit:

After boarding your ride vehicle, you will first start your ride by going through a small outdoor section while intense music plays. The big doors at the end of the small section open as you enter the main show building. When you enter, you will encounter small animatronic bats before entering the main screen section, which is where the main ride will take place. As creatures attack you through the screens and get you wet in the process, King Kong himself comes to the rescue and saves your vehicle from any serious harm from the various creatures. After the screen portion and before unloading, you will enter a room where a larger than life animatronic of King Kong himself stands. He will move and breathe his signature banana breath on the guests in the ride vehicle. This animatronic is one of my personal favorites at the resort, as it’s so massive and impressive looking, it’s hard not to be in amazement when looking at it. After passing the animatronic, you will then unload and exit through a pathway that leads you back out into the ride’s plaza.

One of the final screen scenes of the ride. Credit: Inside the Magic on YouTube
King Kong animatronic at the end of the ride. Credit:

My Thoughts: Contrary to popular opinion, I actually really liked this attraction. I didn’t mind that it had a heavy use of screens, as I felt very invested. People sometimes compare this to Supercharged over at USF, and I have a separate review of that attraction on this site. Anyways, I think that despite using the same ride technology, this attraction is WAY better than that ride. I believe the difference is not only that this attraction has more to offer in it, but the fact that I felt very invested. With Supercharged, I really didn’t feel invested on what was going on around me. With this, I felt that I was really in danger and that King Kong was really saving the ride vehicle. Otherwise, I thought the queue was very immersive and the King Kong animatronic is a sight to behold in itself!

Tips: Due to this attraction being one of the newer rides in the park, this attraction will see longer wait times. On an average day, the ride will see waits of 60-80 minutes, with waits possibly reaching as high as 120-140 minutes on peak days. I would recommend riding this attraction within the first hour of park opening. With everyone going to Harry Potter and Marvel first, the ride sees relatively short waits until an hour or two after park opening. When I was at the park, I went on the ride about 20-30 minutes after the park officially opened and walked right on. There is a single rider line, but it is rarely ever open. Check to see if it is open as it will save you a lot of time especially if the wait is long. Child swap is also available for this attraction.

Final Thoughts: Despite it’s heavy use of 3D and screens, Skull Island: Reign of Kong is a very solid attraction that is worthy of giving a ride! It’s very immersive, engaging, and fun. The Kong animatronic is awesome, and for a dark ride, this ride is intense but at the same time a blast! If you are going to IoA anytime soon, make sure to give Skull Island: Reign of Kong a ride so you can experience this attraction yourself!

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