You may be familiar with the rides and shows at Universal Orlando, but did you know that the resort offers some secret attractions that aren’t listed on any guidemap? We’re going to be taking a look at some of Universal’s hidden gems, starting with one of our favorite free behind-the-scenes experiences in the parks: the Skull Island: Reign of Kong Temple Tour at Islands of Adventure!
Currently, all theme parks, cruise lines, and other attractions are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We at The Unofficial Guides hope all our readers and their loved ones, as well as all attraction employees, remain healthy and safe. Without intending to trivialize the current crisis, we will continue to post positive stories about the parks, in hopes of bringing their magic into your home as a welcome distraction during these trying times. For the latest updates, read our guide to cornoavirus and the theme parks.
If you want to feel like a VIP but can’t afford the fare, Universal generously offers unpublicized free backstage tours at several attractions to any guest who inquires (subject to staff availability). Tours are available at Men in Black Alien Attack, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida, as well as at The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic Park Discovery Center, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure.
At Reign of Kong, this free experience is referred to as a “Temple Tour.” If you want to take a Temple Tour, ask the team member greeting guests outside the entrance of the ride if a member of the expedition team is free. Availability of the tour varies with staffing and is not guaranteed. They are conducted on request and don’t depart on any set schedule, but your best bet is to ask during mid-morning and late afternoon.
During my Temple Tour, I was lucky enough to be guided by Keith, an experienced Kong team member who led me through the attraction’s complete queue, providing technical details and pointing out hidden secrets along the way. Even if you were to walk the whole standby line alone, you’d be unlikely to catch all the details in the darkened corridors, and guests who use the single rider or Express entrances will miss them entirely.
Here are a few of the intriguing questions that are answered during a Reign of Kong Temple Tour:
- How do the ride’s autonomous trucks stay on track?
- What is the connection between the ride and Peter Jackson’s 2005 film?
- Where can you find an artifact from an extinct Universal Studios Florida favorite?
- Exactly how many skulls are in the queue, and what do they all have in common?
- What is the name of the animatronic worm near the boarding area?
At the end of the tour, I got to see this fact sheet, which provides even more fascinating details about the attraction:
Now, here is the best part: At the conclusion of the Temple Tour, if you are lucky, you’ll be able to climb aboard a safari truck without having to wait in the standby line!
Finally, if your little explorers are still just a little too short to take the trip to Skull Island, you should ask for one of these certificates, which entitles them to an expedited ride once they grow tall enough.
If you can’t wait to take a Skull Island: Reign of Kong Temple Tour in person, watch our POV video of the full experience:
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.