Vacation Tips

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 Studios

Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando is known for being packed with thrilling rides around every corner, but Universal Studios has some incredible rides as well. Studios is a bit roomier than its neighbor and has more nooks to explore making it a more relaxing experience. While it’s a refreshing park, it does have amazing rides to get your adrenaline pumping. Obviously, I recommend every ride in this park because “when in Rome,” right? However, there are some stand out attractions that I think you need to make time to experience before your trip to Studios is over.

The first ride on my list that you’ll come across is Revenge of the Mummy. This is an indoor roller coaster based on the film series The Mummy. I was quite worried when the new movie was released that they would re-do the ride’s theming, luckily, I don’t think Brendan Fraser is going anywhere. I say “luckily” because this ride is one of my favorite rides in Orlando. It’s an indoor coaster that takes you through real sets as you escape Imhotep. The theming for the ride is immersive, the queue is perfectly creepy (and air conditioned), and the coaster itself is a blast. It’s a simple ride that’s easy to enjoy. If you don’t like the Florida heat, don’t like screen rides, and aren’t too jazzed about riding a coaster as big as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, this is the perfect ride for you.

The next ride on my list is one I don’t think anyone would skip. Just in case you’re on the fence about it, you need to ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Potterheads and muggles alike will enjoy this ride. It’s a 3-D ride that spins you, lifts you, and even drops you. It has some physical elements that are impressively massive and the videos that you watch are impressively realistic looking. I would like to include a disclaimer about this ride, if you’re lucky enough to be placed in the front cart, you’re in for a real treat. If you’re placed in the second cart however, your experience won’t be as incredible. It’s an unfortunate design flaw that takes away the immersive magic that this ride offers. I still highly recommend this ride to anyone visiting the parks. It really is magical. Both this ride and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are groundbreaking rides that I think are both enjoyable as well as uniquely impressive. Both have incredible queues, amazing theming, and are just a good time. Even if you don’t like Harry Potter, you’ll be blown away by the detail and you’ll have no choice but to crack a smile.

Hidden in the back of the park is the ride for all people seeking a relaxing break from the heat without having to lock up your belongings for a thrill ride. E.T. Adventure is one of the cutest and most relaxing rides in the park. You start in an outdoor waiting area and are ushered into three small standing theatres where you get a special mission from none other than Steven Spielberg. After giving your name to an attendant, you enter a forest with the most satisfying smell anywhere. Seriously, I’d wait in line for an hour just for the smell. You then get on bikes and help return E.T. to his funky home planet. If you’re lucky, E.T. will even say your name as he thanks you for helping him. This is a relaxing indoor ride for everyone in the family to enjoy. It may seem a bit outdated but the nostalgia you’ll feel will make up for it. It’s a classic Studios ride worth the hike to the back of the park.

Unlike my Must Rides at Islands of Adventure, I do know which ones I like most. Revenge of the Mummy is hands down my favorite ride in this park. I ride is every single time I go to Studios.  It’s a great thrill ride and I hope to see its style copied in the new Fast and Furious ride. My second favorite is E.T. Adventure. I have a soft spot for this ride and when I’m lucky enough to sit in the front row, I’m actually giddy over it. Because of the design flaw in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, this ranks as my third favorite. It’s a great ride that is worth braving the line for, but maybe head there as soon as the park opens so you can make the most of your day.

Much like my previous Universal Must Rides post, I struggled to pick these three since I have multiple favorites. So to be fair I have to give Men in Black: Alien Attack an honorable mention. This is an arcade style game that whirls you around as you try to protect the planet from an alien invasion. This ride honestly could replace Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts as a favorite for me but I’ve ridden this ride so many times that the excitement is wearing off. I think if you’ve never ridden this ride, it will most definitely be a favorite of yours. While I say I’ve over-ridden it, I still ride it almost every time I’m there. It’s just a fun ride.

Well those are my must rides for Universal Studios in Orlando. If you have any questions on rides for a vacation, staycation or a spontaneous day trip, ask away! If you have different opinions on these rides or have a different set of favorites, I’d love to hear them. Any info you’d like me to discuss on Orlando theme parks, leave me a suggestion. See you next time!