Theme Park Thoughts

Ride Guide for Skull Island: Reign of Kong

There’s no denying that Skull Island: Reign of Kong is the most popular ride at Universal Orlando this summer. Being the newest ride to open and one of the most interesting, it’s a ride with a lot of hype. I’m going to give you everything you need to know to determine if the 115-minute line is worth the wait.

I’d like to start by saying that this ride truly is a great ride. There’s nothing out there, that I’ve ridden at least, that’s anything like this. You’re driven by a fake driver that’s given a full character specific to your car so every time you ride, you can get a slightly different experience. Your car drives on a trackless course into a cave that soon turns into screens. You then get thrown into a new world that’s larger than life. While I’m tired of screened rides, this is one of the coolest rides I’ve ever ridden. For reference, my initial reaction as I was exiting was “Holy crap, what was that?!”

I may think this ride is insanely good, but I’ve only ever ridden it three times. The ride itself is very intense and I do get a healthy dose of adrenaline whenever I ride this. I enjoy rides that are genuinely thrilling, so my problem lies elsewhere. When you see the wait and decide to brave the line, you need to take that phrase very seriously. The queue for this ride is actually too scary for me. It’s an indoor line with great air conditioning and some incredible but scary theming. It’s dark, creepy, and loud. The worst part of this line is that it has people that jump out at you from hiding places. It’s a mini Halloween Horror Nights house for me. Personally, I found that to be disappointing. I would actually love this line for this ride because it’s so detailed if they didn’t have people trying to scare you through tight hallways. This might be your cup of tea, but it’s too overwhelming for me. If you have small children or just don’t like jump scares, I would skip this ride or go single rider where no one jumps out at you.

There is one other reason you might want to skip this ride. I don’t usually get motion sickness (unless it’s the Simpson’s ride) so I can’t say for sure how you might feel if you easily get queasy. I would expect that if you usually get motion sickness, you’ll probably feel a bit ill after this ride. I don’t want to give away too much about it, but if you can’t handle screens, I’d plan for a break after this one.

For some little tips, I always recommend you download the Universal app and keep an eye on the wait times. It’s a great ride but you might end up missing over two hours of theme park fun for just one ride if you don’t plan. While this is an indoor ride good for dodging the weather, I recommend riding when the skies are clear of storms so you get to ride outside and see those massive doors open for you. It’s a small feature, but it’s really cool to see. I also think you should try to sit in the back so you can take it all in and see the world you’re exploring. You’re in a big safari style car so the front is completely blocked. You won’t necessarily have a bad experience in the front, but you’ll enjoy it more the farther back you sit. As I mentioned above, this ride does have a single rider line. This is a great tool for most rides in the park, but especially this one. The carts are massive so even if you and your friend hop in line to ride alone, there’s a good chance you’ll still be in the same car as them. It’s hard to find the single rider line open, but if you do, I highly recommend you run through it.

While I have my problems with this ride, I think you should ride it. It’s one of the most unique rides in Orlando and it really is worth the line. I recommend getting there early so the line isn’t too long. Even an hour before the park closes it’s usually a 60-minute wait in the summer. I really want to stress that if you have a child that’s already scared to go on this ride, just skip it. The line alone will scare them witless. While I’m not usually brave enough for this ride, I’ll still get in line sometimes because this ride is worth it. Skull Island: Reign of Kong is a must if you haven’t ridden it yet, but maybe get a Fire Whiskey in Hogsmeade for a bit of courage before you queue up.

Let me know what you think of this ride. If you have any questions about Skull Island: Reign of Kong, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments. Do you have any rides, parks, or attractions at the Orlando parks you’d like reviewed? Let me know, I’d love to give you some insight. See you soon!

 

My Three Must Rides at Universal’s IoA

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Universal Orlando Annual Pass holder. I love spending time at the parks whether it be for the day or just a few hours, but no matter how long I’m at the parks, I have a few rides I know I always have to find time to enjoy. If you’re just visiting the parks for a little vacation or staycation, these are my favorite gems at Islands of Adventure that I think you need to check out.

One of my favorite rides is a Universal classic, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.This ride is just a blast. It’s based off of the cartoons/old comics so don’t expect Tobey Maguire to be the Spider-Man you’re fighting crime with. With mainly an indoor themed line, this is a good ride to escape the rain or the Florida heat. This is a 4D ride with 3D glasses and an inevitable squirt of water in the face. While 4D isn’t my favorite thing, this is one I’ll gladly ride whenever.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Maybe 4D rides aren’t your favorite but you’re having trouble finding exciting rides without the glasses. If that’s the case, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a great compromise.This isn’t your average 4D ride. It actually isn’t even 3D. There are no glasses needed for this ride. There are screens that make you feel like you’re in the world, but there are also live elements as well. The ride splits between screens and sets giving us some variety. Add in the most immersive queue theming in the park and you’ve got a ride worth braving the line for. With a unique seating and car system, taking the single rider line won’t result in awkwardly sitting with strangers. I will recommend going through the full line at least once if you have the time and have never been before, it really is magical.Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Now I imagine most of you are expecting The Incredible Hulk to make my top three since it is the most iconic ride at Islands of Adventure. Although it is the famous Universal roller coaster that can be seen from I-4, my favorite coaster has to be Dragon Challenge.Every time I ride it, I fall more and more in love with it. Front row, back row, day or night, this is a coaster that changes every time you hop on. What’s unfortunate is that the wait is never above 15 minutes. You may read that and get excited for a quick line, but this could prove to be tragic for this thrill packed ride. If you love coasters or are trying to get into them for the first time, stop by and show this ride some love, it needs it.Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

If I had to rank them, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has to be my favorite ride, and the other two change depending on my mood. It was extremely hard picking those three out of all of the amazing rides so I do have an honorable mention for this park. If you don’t mind getting a bit wet, Jurassic Park River Adventure is an incredible attraction and I couldn’t write this post without giving it some praise. It starts out calm and serene but as the danger picks up, this ride is anything but relaxing. I used to be terrified of River Adventure when I was younger and now I can enjoy it while still jumping and screaming. If you don’t like the 4D rides, this will be one you’ll fall in love with.

There are some incredible rides at these parks and all deserve some recognition. I’m by no means bashing any rides, just celebrating my favorites. I’ve got some other posts about the attractions at these parks coming soon so stay tuned and let me know what your favorites are, I’d love to hear!

 

I Raced Through New York with Jimmy Fallon

Disney World is the most impressive theme park in the central Florida area by far, but if you’re a Florida resident and you just want some cheaper amusement park fun, Universal is the place to go. I became a pass holder and it’s changed my view on parks completely. If you go on vacation to a park, you’re usually rushing to cram everything in without stopping to fully enjoy the experience. Now, I can spend an entire day at Universal or only stop in for lunch and I’ll have a great time. My Universal buddy and I went over to the parks for a quick visit and we were in for quite a treat.

My friend and I walked up to a sign that said “Pass Holder Event” not knowing anything was going on. We thought we’d be getting a free soda or pretzel or maybe a tour through a set. We were actually at a special preview for the new Jimmy Fallon ride. If you like how the Dumbo line is set up, you’ll fall in love with the Jimmy Fallon line. It feels like you’re actually in Rockefeller building. There’s a down stairs waiting room with exhibits of all past Tonight Show hosts. The upstairs has couches with touch screen tables with games on it. There’s also live entertainment while you wait. We walked straight through the first level so I couldn’t look through everything but I got to spend about ten minutes upstairs and I was loving every second of it. I was disappointed initially that it wasn’t a roller coaster, but I loved the ride. The ride itself isn’t like the minions ride, which is what I expected so I’m glad it was something new and refreshing. Since I walked straight on, I was shocked to see the line that had formed around the building since we had gone in. Even if the line seems brutal from the outside, both the wait and ride are a lot of fun and I highly recommend checking it out.

Of course we also had to ride The Mummy. I feel like no trip to Universal Studios is ever complete without that ride. This sparked a frequent conversation Laura and I have on coasters versus 4D rides. As much as I enjoy the newer rides, the 3D and 4D rides get boring. I was hoping Race Through New York would be a Mummy 2.0. I’m now placing all of my hopes on the new Fast and Furious Ride being an indoor coaster. Even big Coasters like Dragon Challenge (or Dueling Dragons) is under debate for being removed. I never see the line above 30 minutes which worries me because I think rollercoasters are essential in any great theme park. I think the Harry Potter rides do a great job of making the 4D interesting and Kong is by far one of the most impressive rides I’ve been on, but nothing compares to the thrill of a coaster. While I like the new system, I want more thrill and adventure.

Overall, the day was great. We got some drinks at The Hopping Pot, rode E.T. (mainly for the smell), and jumped over to IoA for Dragon Challenge and Burger Digs. Moral of the story is, sometimes skipping class pays off (I’m just kidding, mom).

I would really like to know anyone else’s opinion on the Fallon ride and the great 4D versus coasters debate. Let me know what you think because I’d really like some more insight from fellow theme park fans.