I was fortunate enough to attend the Employee Preview of "King Kong" last night at Universal Studios. I have to say that the event was very organized. They handed out wristbands at the entrance to redeem for your free shirt, meal and dessert. Only King Kong and the new Special Effects Stage Show were open for the preview.
These were the shirts handed out for the event
The line was very long for the tram, but was moving quickly due to the number of trams running. We only waited about 20 min.
Not sure if this will be on the actual tour, but as we rode to "Skull Island" a video aired showing the events that lead up to this day. First a history of "King Kong" in the movies was shown. They then showed a behind the scenes look at the construction of the original King Kong attraction. Then the infamous Universal Fire of 2008 that wiped out Kong. Finally, fake news clips of mysterious foot prints that have appeared around various LA landmarks over several days. We then arrive at the present day and carange outside of Universal Studios (From the commercial spot currently airing). Peter Jackson then introduces us to the new "King Kong 360-3D" attraction.
Now for the attraction itself: **(SPOILERS)**
**(END OF SPOILERS)**
You roll into a giant sound stage made to look like "Skull Island" on the outside. Once inside Peter Jackson appears again on the video screen reminding us to put on our 3D glasses.
You sit in the dark for a few seconds when suddenly the giant IMAX screen comes to life and you're surrounded by lush jungle with several raptors looking at the tram. They give chase and it really feels like the tram is speeding away. Then out of nowhere two T-Rexes crash the party so to speak and one of them grabs a raptor and begins to devour him. As he crunches down on his meal, water (blood) sprays on the tram. Suddenly the other T-rex spots the tram and begins to attack. Just when things look bleak, KING KONG flies in and takes out the attacking T-Rex. Suddenly its the T-Rex fight scene from the movie playing out all around you!!! The tram gets knocked around and sprayed with water as T-rex saliva goes flying from the punches Kong is throwing. One T-rex is taken down for good as the ground starts to give way on one side of the tram. The tram lurches to the side and on the screen you see the remaining T-rex has taken out one of the cars from the tram (its actually kinda funny when you see it) and the poor tourists inside are screaming for help. Kong scrambles to the other side and saves the falling tram and knocks the T-rex away to save the tram you are riding on from falling over as well. Kong stares you down, roars and pounds his chest triumphantly as the screen goes dark and the experience ends.
All in all, I thought it was great addition to the tram tour. The technology is impressive and although it might not be the same thing as seeing a almost for real King Kong, I have to say the 3D movie is very well done and exciting.
My only gripe is the transition (as the In the Parks King Kong review stated) from dark screen to jungle. It really is jarring and hopefully they find someway to make it more seamless as you really are caught by surprise.
Also not sure if it was only because it was a soft opening, but the operator of the giant screen is sititng right there as you roll in. Like I said hopefully it was only because he was there to make sure everything went off without a hitch for the soft open.
Other than those two minor things, I loved it and I'm happy that "The King" has returned!