Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Islands of Adventure: Best Theme Park Ever?

After my EPCOT adventure, I ran around the Magic Kingdom (what most people would call "Disney World") by myself for several hours. However, I will write about my experience there later, as I went back again on Saturday with my husband in tow; I plan to combine the two visits into one big debrief in a single post.

Before we went back to the Disney parks on Saturday, we spent the majority of the day at Islands of Adventure on Friday. This is a theme park that is close in location to (and owned by) Universal Studios Orlando, but is completely separate... you can pay more for a "park hopper" ticket (which we did) that gives you access to both places within the same day. We went to IOA two years ago and absolutely loved it, so I was anxious to go back again this year. As I mentioned previously, the Harry Potter theme park is going to be located within Islands of Adventure and is slated to open in 2010. I was happy with that decision when I heard the news last summer, and am even happier after going back to the park a few days ago. They have done an absolutely incredible job with Islands of Adventure... truly carrying through the themes for each area (Seuss Landing and Toon Lagoon are two examples) in painstaking detail.

In the Marvel Comics Super Hero area, we went on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which was fantastic. They've combined just about every type of ride technology there is for this attraction: you're wearing 3-D glasses as you move in a small car through a city where Spidey is battling villains. He pounces down right in front of you, catches the car in his web after you free-fall from the top of a building, and saves you from multiple attacks by the bad guys. Highly recommended.

When we went to IOA in 2006, a lot of the Seuss Landing area wasn't completed yet. So we made it a point to go on the Seuss Trolley--a slow-moving train that rides above that part of the park while re-telling the story of The Sneetches. We also went on The Cat in the Hat, in which you move and spin through scenes from that famous book. I even got to meet The Cat!

I really enjoyed this area of the park because I've always loved the Dr. Seuss collection of stories, and I got a kick out of the design of everything from the buildings to the trashcans. Here are a handful of pictures from Seuss Landing (clicking on them will enlarge the shot)...

Because of my love for all things magical, fantastical (that IS a word!) and imaginary, I also greatly enjoyed the Jurassic Park area and The Lost Continent. Here are some pictures from those parts of the park...

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun at Islands of Adventure. I'll cover Universal Studios in another post, but I'll end today with the break we took at lunchtime.

We went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, which is located right outside of the entrance to Islands of Adventure. This one was a little different than what I could remember from the one in Vegas... it actually had a volcano that would erupt every once in awhile (after "Volcano" would play over the loudspeakers, of course... you can see the volcano to the left of the pole in the upper-left of the shot).

After eating, we rested a while in the sun on the lounge chairs they had outside... gathering up our strength for the rest of the day.

But MOST importantly, as some of you may remember from my Vegas trip to Margaritaville last summer, I finally bought the pirate plaque I had regretted not getting back then. One day when I have a home office I will hang it proudly on the wall... but for now it's just propped up against my laptop stand.

It makes me very happy, so I'm glad I got it!

- e


Anonymous said...

Yes, IOA is a great park. Can't say as I loved the Spidey ride, though. Did you ride the dueling roller coaster? There's an ongoing debate about whether the fire or ice track is better. I think I preferred ice.

Erika (aka "e") said...

at - I did ride Dueling Dragons a few different times... I couldn't really tell the difference between tracks (and felt like you couldn't easily tell who "won" anyway. I did really like it.

I also rode the Hulk ride which was INSANE.

- e

Anonymous said...

Omg I was looking for that tree restaurant place to take a picture of it. -_- i never found it. I prob took a wrong turn. I also liked that tree place. so cool!