We had been receiving a ton of questions from readers over the last couple weeks regarding the expected opening timeline for Kings Dominion’s 2022 attraction addition and the various rethemes announced for “Spring 2022.” These questions weren’t without cause either—Kings Dominion has seemingly been avoiding answering any questions about opening timelines on social media. In fact, we weren’t even convinced Tumbili was likely to operate today until earlier this week when we heard a Tumbili media event was being scheduled for the first day of park’s 2022 season (March 12th).
Even still, as of the time of this writing, we have yet to see any official, public-facing communication from Kings Dominion regarding Tumbili’s debut. According to staff in the park today, Tumbili was planned to open to all guests after today’s media event concluded. That said, despite the long-forecast snowstorm, Kings Dominion decided to premier the coaster today. During the media event, the weather forced Tumbili — and ultimately the park, itself — to close early. From what we could tell as onlookers and from talking to people who were invited to the event, only a small handful of media representatives actually got to experience the coaster before the weather closure. In fact, according to ParkFans member b.mac, only 16 people total are rumored to have been able to ride Tumbili today. Do we call a coaster that was supposed to open to the public but actually only gave a couple rides to media “officially open?” We don’t actually know the answer.
There’s even more to that “partially” from earlier, though. While the entirety of the Jungle X-Pedition path area is, in fact, open to guests, a lot of the area’s core elements are still under construction—most notably the Outer Hank’s renovation (Outpost Cafe) and the Congo Thrills overhaul (X-Plorers’ Supplies). While the exteriors of these venues are largely complete, a peak through cracks in the doors reveals that their interiors are still stripped down to the studs. The park’s new Avalanche (Mack bobsled coaster) retheme, Reptilian, looked to be complete, but, likely due to the active snowstorm, it did not operate today.
So, what was actually ready for guests today? Quite a bit luckily! Aside from the seemingly-largely-completed exterior renovations out on the paths, two of the land’s renovated culinary venues, Jungle Market Eatery (Hungry Hippo replacement) and Excavator’s Taters (Inferno Funnel Cake replacement) were operating. The park’s newly-rethemed scrambler, Arachnidia, was also open to guests for the 2 hours the park operated today. Additionally, as previously highlighted, Tumbili was, in theory, ready for riders. That said, we should also mention that there was clearly still some work to do before all of its scenic was ready for primetime.
Before I go any further, I really want to make something crystal clear here: Due to the currently incomplete nature of Jungle X-Pedition, this is not a review. That said, what Kings Dominion is doing here is absolutely incredible. Every inch of this renovation looks to us like a straight and notable improvement over Safari Village. Even better than the broad visual improvements though, the atmospherics and details of this new land are astonishingly great—I’m talking Disney or Universal-level great. The area’s soundtrack, the radio communication sound effects, the murals, the airstrip, the maps and posters, the props and signage—this is legitimately top-tier stuff and I couldn’t possibly be more excited about this project.
The absolute triumph that is this overhaul is honestly why I’m so worried about the current state of Kings Dominion marketing. Before just a few days ago, there was no expectation that Tumbili, let alone the rest of Jungle X-Pedition, would be open today. No one I know expected it to be anywhere near complete and we were all anticipating a Spring 2022 opening as is still advertised on the park’s website.
That is what makes this whole opening day mess so baffling to me. Even before the snowstorm, there was no expectation of Tumbili or Jungle X debuting today. Why Kings Dominion would push forward with the opening despite the unfinished state of Tumbili, the thoroughly incomplete surrounding land, and the snowstorm that prevented the operation of the land’s core attractions, I literally cannot fathom. Even ignoring all of today’s chaos, why Kings Dominion’s website and social media still have not made clear what is and isn’t open and when guests should expect various Jungle X-Pedition elements to debut is truly beyond me.
I must admit that I have never worked in the marketing department at an amusement park. That said, it really seems to me like the absolute most basic element of such a position is conveying to guests when new rides are slated to debut. How Kings Dominion has failed to inform even its most passionate fans about the state of their new roller coaster melts my brain. What is currently open and what is coming soon should be plastered all over the park’s website and social media pages. The fact that any of this is still a question is just, honestly, embarrassing. And again, the product is incredible. The communication surrounding it, however, has been unimaginably bad.
Regardless, now that all of that is out of the way, how about some photos? Given the difficulties associated with shooting during a snowstorm, don’t expect these images to be anything to write home about. They should, however, give you a pretty good idea of the current state of Tumbili and Jungle X-Pedition. Enjoy!
First up, the centerpiece of the first phase of Jungle X-Pedition, Tumbili! The queue clearly isn’t finished yet (some railings and shade structures are missing), but overall, from what we can tell from outside the ride area, this is a gorgeous S&S 4D FreeSpin—almost certainly the most beautiful one in the world. The landscaping around this coaster is quite impressive too—love to see thematically-correct flora!
As you can see in the photos above, the main structures on the Tumbili site, the operator booth and the maintenance building, are also incredibly well themed. When everything is completed and we’re actually able to enter the queue, we’ll be sure to document all of Tumbili’s theming more thoroughly. The park has done a truly phenomenal job here!
Next door to Tumbili is this year’s Jungle X-Pedition coaster retheme, Reptilian! The new logo and signage are to die for, the coaster’s new colors look great, and the new train wraps are every bit as quirky and weird as I had hoped. I also love that they kept the exit tunnel here—it really adds a lot to the “curb appeal”—especially with its new, darker gray color. This is a fantastic-looking overhaul for one of Kings Dominion’s best!
This year’s other attraction retheme, Arachnidia, has another gorgeous new sign and a fresh new paint scheme too.
General Jungle X Theming
The real strength of Jungle X-Pedition isn’t in the land’s attractions though, it’s in its theming and environmentals. As with Tumbili, when everything is completed some point this Spring, we’re going to have to circle back and document all of this more thoroughly. There are just so many details worth capturing. Make sure you take your time strolling through here next time you’re at the park!
Though the interior of Outpost Cafe looks to be far from complete, the exterior is well on its way!
The story is the same here. Like Outpost Cafe, on the outside, the X-Plorers’ Supplies building looks great, but on the inside, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Loving all of the aesthetic alterations to the façade though!
Jungle Market Eatery
The former location of Hungry Hippo hasn’t really changed much. It does have a new marquee and a few new menu items though!
The old Inferno Funnel Cakes location has received a really nice facelift, a whole new menu featuring fry-based dishes, and some gorgeous murals on its side wall!
There are also a number of smaller, newly-renovated snack and drink booths throughout Jungle X.
Alongside the debut of Jungle X-Pedition and Tumbili, the park released a ton of new merch relating to the coaster and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any Reptilian merch though—that seems like quite the oversight given how great the coaster’s new branding is! That said, we’re still waiting on our Apple Zapple merch too…
And since I know someone will ask, no, we didn’t see any Tumbili or Jungle X pins for sale yet.
Maps & Posters
I know only the most hardcore Kings Dominion fans have made it to this point in the article, so I’ll give you all what you’ve been waiting for: close-up shots of the maps and posters posted throughout Jungle X-Pedition. First up, the new posters.
Please sell those prints Kings Dominion—especially the throwback ones! They’re gorgeous!
Two different Jungle X features map designs were featured prominently throughout the land. First seems to be aimed at actually providing useful directional information to guests. That one can be found below.
The second design is likely to be far more interesting to our readers though. It appears to be a lore-focused piece that may even include hints at future Jungle X-Pedition phases (note the list of temples in the bottom left)!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this quick photo tour around Jungle X-Pedition, as it currently stands! KDFans will be back at Kings Dominion tomorrow (March 13th) to hopefully get our first ride on Tumbili. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on that front! Also, if you’re as passionate about this thematic overhaul as we are, consider joining the discussion over on our partnered forum, ParkFans! We have threads dedicated to both the Phase I Jungle X-Pedition overhaul and the rumored subsequent phases in the years ahead!