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Theme parks: Universal’s glimpse of new King Kong ride

The 72-foot temple doors on Skull Island, site of the new King Kong attraction opening at Universal’s Islands of Adventure this summer.
The 72-foot temple doors on Skull Island, site of the new King Kong attraction opening at Universal’s Islands of Adventure this summer. Universal Orlando Resort

With only months remaining before Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort opens its new King Kong ride, the theme park is tantalizing fans with a few details of the attraction and a website with a cable-TV-type adventure story, “Myth Explorer: The Quest for Kong.”

The ride, which Universal says is one of the longest it has ever created, is expected to open this summer, but no more specific information on the date has been announced. It will be called Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and will have its own story; it will be unlike the park’s earlier King Kong attraction, Kongfrontation, which closed in 2002, or any of the King Kong movies.

And unlike earlier story lines that had the giant ape attacking New York, the new attraction will take guests to Kong’s home turf, Skull Island.

The first part, through the jungle and temple ruins, will be done on foot — part of the queue — and the rest of the way will be in big expedition trucks.

The heart of the story is an exploration of a mysterious island where prehistoric creatures still live and legend tells of an unknown great beast.

The menacing terrain shows signs of a native presence; beating drums draw you toward an ancient temple.

Universal Orlando Resort

“The menacing terrain shows signs of a native presence; beating drums draw you toward an ancient temple,” says Universal’s description of the expedition, made public Thursday. “Moving deeper into the ruins reveals a lost shrine — and proof you are not alone.”

As the expedition vehicle takes researchers and the guest-volunteers deeper into the island, “Mysterious sounds pierce the air and you hear chanting. And then — you confront an enormous temple wall, complete with carvings and images that seem to pay homage to something you cannot quite comprehend. The temple’s massive wooden doors slowly open, revealing a labyrinth of caves.”

Inside, the team finds a battle between enormous creatures who then turn on the expedition. Kong appears, “enormous, earth-pounding presence — bigger, closer and more overwhelming than you can possibly imagine. But is he friend or foe?”

In addition, Universal has set up a website, http://mythexplorer.com/, to tell the story, one episode at a time, of adventurer Erin Ryder and her exploration of Skull Island. Only the first episode is available so far.

Marjie Lambert: 305-376-4939, @marjielambert

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