You know, I'm kinda glad. Universal is a park with little room to change. I would hate for them to tear King Kong out in favor of something else, but if it burned to the ground, then I'm more willing to accept the loss and move onto the next big thing.
I too, have a weird connection to the great Kong. My parents had an independent business in the early eighties that already was working in NoCal. My stepDad decided to investigate into Orange County and so, for one long weekend, we flew out.
My mother was bored at the hotel and was tired of going to Disneyland (!!!) and decided, at 5am, that we were going to go to Universal Studios.
So, to avoid early morning traffic (wait, you can avoid traffic in California?) we headed out.
Little did we know, this was the first day of Kong and we were going to be one of the first trams to experience it. Arriving so early, we got that first tram and, along with many, many press agents and photographers, I was, supposedly, one of the first to see King Kong's rampage.
What a shame that they've already announced not to expect Kong back. I expected no less, as it's an older attraction, but if the animatronic from Orlando's ride still existed, it would be a cost savings to rebuild, but I guess not.
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I always loved how "real" it all was and how the fear it induced was definitely real. The news reporters and police made it really seem as if the situation was out of control. Then actually acknowledging the tram going through brought the realism even higher.
Also, they built up the suspense. You could never actually see Kong until a minute into the ride. All you saw was the destruction and chaos, which really brought you into the panic of it all before you actually saw him. Very effective!
Nothing can replace the feel of this soundstage and because it was relatively new (compared to how old the lot is), I'm sure Universal will not bring it back since they are even less nostalgia-oriented than Disney. It's really sad because we've already lost the Falling Bridge and Icy Tunnel (that Mummy stuff just doesn't fly with me), now we have to face losing King Kong as well.
The first time I went to Universal in 1989, it had a HUGE effect on me. It's probably because I was 10 and was old enough to realize what was happening, unlike my first trip to Disneyland where I was in a stroller. King Kong and Jaws, not to mention the falling bridge, all terrified me!
I saw USF when it first opened and was amazed at attractions like Kongfrontation and Jaws. Kong was better there, and I'm surprised they took it out, I felt it was better than a lot of things that Disney does. I felt Jaws in Florida was one of the best theme park rides ever, in Hollywood it's so lame. Kong also was not as good in Hollywood, though I'm very sad to see it go. I feel Uni has done some things, especially large scale AAs better than Disney. Do you remember the Fievel/American Tail show at USH some years ago? It had articulated heads and if I remember correctly, a huge cat hand that was very well done. My point is that spectacular attractions like Kong are being abandoned in favor of 'high tech' attractions, I think to the detriment of theme parks as a whole.