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Ride / Skull Island: Reign of Kong

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Torre' KONG!

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is a 3-D simulator/dark ride hybrid attraction that can be found at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The attraction is an expanded version of the King Kong 360 sequence that can be found on Universal Studios Hollywood's tram tour. At the same time, the attraction also serves as somewhat of a successor to the original Kongfrontation ride that was located at the neighboring park, Universal Studios Florida.

The ride is set before the events of King Kong (2005) in an Alternate Continuity where Skull Island's existence became public knowledge, which eventually leads to a trip to the island by a group known as the "Eighth Wonder Expedition Co.", who intend to explore the island, discover as much about it as they can, and bring back any specimens they can retrieve along the way. The group consists of volunteers from around the world, including of course the riders themselves.

The queue of the attraction begins with guests wandering through the territory of island's native tribe, along with several close encounters with the natives themselves. From there, guests board a large expedition transport vehicle and head off on an exploration of the island. The ride descends into numerous close and dangerous encounters with the many different species of the island, such as a swarm of flying carnivores and Carnictus worms, which eventually leads to the climax where guests are pursued by a pack of Venatosauruses before finding themselves in the middle of a giant battle between a Vastatosaurus Rex trio and the mighty ape himself.

The attraction opened up on July 13, 2016, becoming the seventh "island" of the park.

Despite it having a very similar-sounding title and opening just months before its release, this ride is not based on Kong: Skull Island, but rather on the 2005 film.

Tropes shown in Skull Island: Reign of Kong include:

  • Action Girl: Kate, one of the Eighth Wonder Expedition crew members, certainly falls under this as she's able to hold her own against a herd of Carnictus worms and some of the island's other dangerous species with a gun and a machete.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Most of the characters in the ride wear 30's-style Archaeologist uniforms, with leather jackets, long pants, and large boots.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The ride serves as a much-extended version of the King Kong 360 sequence that's on the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Kong gets this to an even bigger extent than the film the ride is based off of; as here he defends the riders from the attacking V-Rexes despite not really having any motivation for doing so.
  • Alternate Continuity: The ride, while based heavily on the 2005 film, is set in a different continuity where the existence of Skull Island is made public years before the film took place and an expedition to the island is being broadcast to the world.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The climax begins with a pack of Venatosauruses chasing the ride vehicle, only for one of them to soon get eaten by a V-Rex while the rest flee in fear.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The first monsters encountered during the ride are a flock of bat-like creatures.
  • Behemoth Battle: A staple of almost everything Kong-related, the entire climax of the ride has the guests being right in the middle of a battle between Kong and three V-Rexes that's very similar to the one that occurs in the movie.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The big ape himself shows up triumphantly to save the riders from the V-Rexes.
  • Bloodless Carnage: There is no visible blood in the attraction (though you do see some of the insects' guts get splattered), even with how brutal Kong's fight with the V-Rexes get.
  • Cave Mouth: Though not on the outside of the cave, there's a few parts in the cave caverns where you pass through giant stone mouth-shaped archways.
  • Crowd Chant: The island's natives can be heard chanting, "KONG!" in the distance as the ride vehicle enters the island's giant wooden gates, as well as in the queue line when the native witch performs a ritual around the big ape.
  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: Even with the extreme amounts of abuse the Expedition Transport vehicle goes through in the big battle with it getting rammed by the giant creatures, it still manages to come out completely unscathed and fully functional at the end. There's even several moments where Kong climbs right over the vehicle, and the roof somehow does not collapse in under his weight.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Despite getting picked up by the Terapusmordax, Kate puts up a fight and slices her way out of its grip, and later is able to take on a giant pit of the island's insects all by herself.
  • Darker and Edgier: The ride is this to both the original Kongfrontation ride and any other attraction in the park. To start, the entire queue is littered with skulls and many of the island natives, who at certain moments will jump out at guests. The ride itself contains far more scenes of violence than any other attraction Universal has done before, making the fight scenes in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Transformers: The Ride look like child's play by comparison.
  • Death Glare: At one point in the queue, there's a native that gives a very long one to the guests walking by.
  • Devoured by the Horde: The Terapusmordax winds getting eaten by the Carnictus worms when it gets stuck in the pit.
  • Disney Villain Death: Two of the three V-Rexes are killed when Kong tosses them down a cliff.
  • Everybody Lives: All of the Eighth Wonder Expedition members are shown or are said to have survived at the end of the ride. The only ones dying are the monsters that attack the guests.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: While this is to be expected with Skull Island, it is made no more apparent anywhere else than in this ride, where guests encounter the worst of what the island has to offer within a span of just six minutes.
  • From Bad to Worse: The journey first starts with the guests narrowly avoiding a Terapusmordax and other flying creatures, then they end up getting swarmed by a huge pack of Carnictus worms and other giant insects, then get chased by a pack of Venatosauruses, then get attacked by a trio of V-Rexes, which escalates into an intense battle between them and Kong that results in the guests getting sent over a cliff before being saved by the giant ape.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: While not on an actual person, fire appears in the eye sockets of the skull-shaped walls in the native ritual section of the queue.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Done with Kong's head in one of the attraction's posters (as shown in the page image).
  • Giant Spider: When the ride vehicle is hanging on the vines, a giant spider briefly appears on one side of the vehicle.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • The facade itself has two face-like sections with eyes that glow red at nighttime.
    • In the ride's cave scene, there's a trio of bat-like creatures that possess glowing eyes.
  • Human Sacrifice: There's an implication that the natives' intention is to have all of the riders be their sacrifice to Kong.
  • Island of Mystery: The mystery of Skull Island serves as the entire driving point of the ride's premise, with the Eighth Wonder Expedition Co. journeying to the island in order to unravel said mysteries.
  • Jawbreaker: As to be expected with Kong, he kills one of the V-Rexes by snapping its jaw apart in the climax.
  • Jump Scare: There is a section of the queue line where the Skull Island natives will pop out at unsuspecting guests.
  • Jumped at the Call: Radio transmissions in the queue reveal that when volunteer requests for the Eighth Wonder Expedition Co. were sent out, many were immediately enthusiastic to join.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: A Terapusmordax snatches up Kate and flies off with her for a brief moment before she cuts free.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Shortly after attempting to kill Kate, the Terapusmordax ends up falling into a pit where it is slowly devoured by the Carnictus worms.
  • Machete Mayhem: Kate uses a machete to slice off the Terapusmordax's leg in order to break free, then soon after uses it to decapitate a couple of Carnictus worms.
  • Matte Shot: In a rather unique non-film example, the "mountain valley" behind the attraction's facade is essentially a matte painting.
  • Mockumentary: To help advertise the ride, Universal put together a fake nature documentary called "Myth Explorer", that follows an explorer named Erin Ryder as she attempts to navigate through Skull Island and locate some of the island's creatures.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: The ride's entrance goes through a rock formation that closely resembles Kong's face.
  • Mucking in the Mud: When the Terapusmordax lands in the bug pit, the mud renders it completely helpless before the Carnictus worms.
  • Mysterious Mist: Much of the attraction's promotional material depicts Skull Island being covered by a layer of mist. Along with that, mist effects are occasionally used on the ride's exterior to give off that same mysterious feel.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When in the cave, the Eighth Wonder crew attempts to get some light in by throwing a flare. This ends up causing all of the cave's creatures to swarm around both them and the ride vehicle.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: When Kate insists that the guests leave her behind, the driver refuses to leave without her. The decision is then taken out of their hands when Kate gets grabbed and pulled away by an Arachno-Claw.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Several piles of skulls can be seen throughout the queue line. note 
  • Off with His Head!: In her struggle against them, Kate beheads two of the Carnictus worms with her machete.
  • The Precarious Ledge: The riders are put up against a cliff edge during Kong's battle with the V-Rexes. The weight of the ensuing fight results in the cliff edge crumbling apart.
  • Raptor Attack: As mentioned previously, the climax starts with the guests being pursued by a pack of Venatosauruses.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Although it initially appears that Kate gets killed by one of the giant insects, at the end of the ride she sends a radio transmission, stating that she was able to make it out alive.
  • Scenery Porn: The attraction goes to great lengths to recreate some of the sights of Skull Island as seen in the film, and the results are quite dazzling.
  • Sequel Escalation: The original Kongfrontation attraction featured just Kong himself in the city of New York. This ride features not only the famed ape, but also encounters with the other terrors of Skull Island.
  • Shout-Out: The final scene of the ride has guests coming face to face with a giant animatronic of Kong, in homage to the original attraction.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Until Kong finishes them off, the V-Rexes never stop in their attempts to kill the riders, despite how increasingly dangerous the situation gets.
  • Tagline: "His reign begins."
  • Taking You with Me: When of the V-Rexes is about to fall down a cliff, it bites onto another Eighth Wonder jeep and drags it along for the fall.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: When the riders are met with a pack of Venatosauruses, the driver urges everyone to remain calm, but when one of them snarls dangerously close to the guests, the driver puts the vehicle into full speed.
  • Vine Swing: A more unusual version of this occurs when the vehicle is sent down a cliff and gets tangled in a bunch of vines. The weight of the vehicle makes it swing back and forth between both the last remaining V-Rex and Kong.