Florida Theme Park Tour: Part 3 Islands of Adventure

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 1:08 AM
We toured this park over three days (January 26, 27 and 29). Our first visit was with the entire group and we experienced everything that a 5-1/2 month pregnant woman can, plus a couple extras. Our return visits were to experience the amazing thrill-rides, and they are definitely worthy.

Coasters:

Incredible Hulk - It's well themed and the launch with immediate inversion is exciting. The ride was smooth in the first half and slightly rough in the corkscrew sections towards the end of the ride. On the morning of the 27th, we rode in the very front. Later in the day, I had contact problems and had to return to our locker, so my wife and our other coaster nut companion rode it again in the back row. They said it was much better in the back. We rode it again on the 29th (the only time we saw it with 2-train operation) in a middle seat, and it didn't seem much different to me.

Dueling Dragons - We rode the very front of both Fire and Ice. I preferred Fire because it has an extra corkscrew element near the end of the ride, but my wife and our coaster nut companion both preferred Ice because they felt the view of the fly-by's were better from that train. They were both really good coasters. The theming of the queue area is excellent. The only disappointment was that this theming doesn't continue through the ride. The coaster ride was practically over a parking lot. Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa was definitely a better themed coaster.

The Flying Unicorn - It was a relatively fast turning family coaster. Like a lot of family coasters, the train is long and slow, but the curves are under-banked and riders are tossed side-to-side. It was OK for us and most kids loved it (except for the one whose mother forced him to ride). But we weren't going to waste time re-riding it like most of the kids.

Pteranodon Flyers - It looks neat, but the line was very long and they wouldn't let us in without kids. (Not that we would tolerate a 45 minute line when we could just walk on Dueling Dragons.)

Non-Coaster Attractions:

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman - A simulator ride with a 3-D show. It sounds simple, but it's not. It's by far the best attraction at Islands of Adventure. I preferred it even to Montu at Busch Gardens. My only advice is to try and ride it in the middle seats. The seats on the left and right have high walls that block some of the 3D effects. (My wife was not enthusiastic about her first experience, sitting in the left-most seat, but when we returned she sat in the middle and raved about how much better the ride was.) You have to try it. It's better than the coasters. Trust me! :)

If I Ran the Zoo - Yes, it's just a distraction of plastic animals from Dr. Seuss's imagination, but we were feeling childish and loved it all.

The Cat in The Hat - A great ride for most kids and adults. Unfortunately, it's a no-go for pregnant women because the 'couch' spins several times throughout the ride.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish - I should have paid more attention to the song before riding. I thought we should follow the songs instructions to stay dry, but the song lied, and we were perfectly lined up for several squirts of water. It would have been a blast if the temperature was over 60.

Caro-Seuss-el - A neat carousel with unique creatures. Our pregnant companion rode one of the benches, which also moved gently up and down.

Poseidon's Fury - A great show, but you are always standing. We had a very enthusiastic guide, which made the show even better. We got a bit damp, but not obnoxiously wet. The fire helped keep us dry too.

The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show - A good stunt show, with lots of sword fights, swinging from ropes, water spraying the audience, and fire to dry us off. No giant boulders or airplanes like Disney's Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, but the stuntmen (and stuntwomen) did a lot more stuff.

Jurassic Park Discovery Center - Just like your local science museum, but with bigger dinosaurs and better merchandise. Some of the computer stuff was neat, but it was slow and we quickly became bored and went seeking new adventures.

Camp Jurassic - We dropped in for a quick look around. There's not much in this playground for adults, but we took some strange photos of us acting like we're being attacked by dinosaurs. :)

Jurassic Park River Adventure - A very good themed water ride. The story was predictable, but suited the ride very well. Most of the drop is in the dark, so it's not as intimidating as other boat drop rides. And we didn't get too wet (most of the water sprayed around the boat, not in it).

Note: Triceratops Encounter was closed and may not reopen. We didn't ask what was going on, but all the signs were changed and it appeared to be under construction.

Also closed was Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges and Me Ship, The Olive. These were undergoing their annual refurbishment.

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls - At other theme parks, I get most wet on raft rides and least wet on log flumes. I can't imagine a raft ride that would get us more wet than we were after riding Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. There were splashdown areas with banked walls that redirected the spray back into our faces. There were nozzles and sprays everywhere. I couldn't see anything on the final drop because my glasses were completely soaked. Of course, other guests were ready for us and all the cannons along the bank fired perfectly into our log. In addition to the drenching experience, there was a lot of cartoony action scenes with typical Rocky-and-Bullwinkle-style humor. I loved it and even my wife (who hates Rocky-and-Bullwinkle) laughed at it. I'm glad we packed a change of clothes because there wasn't a dry layer on me when I exited the ride.

Doctor Doom's Fearfall - Boring! It's a slow shot up followed by some mediocre bouncing on the way down. Don't waste any time here.

Storm Force Accelatron - It's teacups, just like Dizzy Dragons at Cypress Gardens. Since we nearly made each other sick at Cypress Gardens, we skipped Storm Force at Islands of Adventure.

*** Edited 2/1/2005 6:08:44 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 8:55 AM
Dueling Dragons over a parking lot? You didn't notice the lake? And the trees and such? If you get an overhead, you can see that the lake that runs under the ride is actually shaped like a dragon. Trust me, every last bit of that ride is extensively themed, even if it's a little hard to see.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 9:12 AM
I have to agree with impulsive, the themeing does continue into the ride. He allready mentioned the trees and dragon shaped lake. What about the awesome castle wall foot chopper on the Ice side? While I agree that when your at the top of the lift, you can see some lots and stuff but what is Universal going to do? I think that the courses themselves are themed pretty well.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 9:26 AM
Nope, I didn't notice the lake or the trees. Throughout the course, I was always watching for the other coaster, anticipating the fly-bys. The only time I really looked around was on the lift hill, and I wasn't impressed. I guess I'll have to ride again to see what you guys saw.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 10:10 AM
You shoulda waited for the Flyers. When your kids get too big, you'll have missed it forever.

We went during spring break, when the wait was an hour and a half. When we finally got to the station house, Da Midget blew chunks on the floor (and to this day, we still don't know why). Playette got out of line to assist, leaving CBaby and I looking at each other. I closed my eyes, sighed, mumbled 'I'm a terrible parent, please forgive me' and stepped over the, uh, obstruction.

I regret nothing. There. I said it.

-'Playa

*** Edited 2/1/2005 3:11:44 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 11:26 AM
Never heard of the dragon shaped lake, anyone know where I can see a pic?
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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 4:32 PM
You could have rode cat in the hat if you ask the operator they will turn off the spin for you.

The parking lot is the employee's parking area I believe. I wish they had the room to have continued the theming on that side also. But I like to get a peek backstage also.

Triceratops Encounter is closed for good what they will put there is not known yet (rumors flying)

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 5:16 PM
Ice is a winner in the front seat just because of that wall next to the cobra roll. That's insane.

I think Doom is one of the best S&S rides out there, because of its relatively low height. CP's Power Tower can't even remotely deliver that much forceful airtime.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 10:59 PM
I agree, I generally dislike launch towers, but Dr. Doom's is pretty good to me. The airtime is nice, and it's not just on a deck, you're blasting out of the building.

Too bad you missed Popeye though, it's a great rapids ride, and its location near Ripsaw Falls makes for a drenching 1-2 punch.

I prefered Ice because of the zero-G roll, which to me, is much better than an airtime hill (at lest on an Invert). But, I don't think that the themeing was lacking, at all.

Did you find the back row on the Hulk to be a bit rough? I thought it was certainly bearable, but not as glass-smooth as the front rows.

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Thursday, February 3, 2005 12:32 AM
I've ridden lots of different drop towers, including some that launch you out of the station and / or launch you back down. Dr. Dooms Fearfall just seemed underpowered and slow. Maybe our group ate too much breakfast that day...

Kevin, thanks for the Cat-in-the-Hat no-spin tip. My friends will love to hear that.

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Friday, February 4, 2005 11:42 PM
If you think you got wet on Ripsaw Falls, you would have been soaked to the bone had you ridden Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges. You were lucky it was closed. Last summer I rode PBBRB near closing time- big mistake!! They were giving re-rides galore, so I ended up going three times in a row without getting off. Let's just say I sloshed my way back to my hotel room. The Bilge Rat Barges was easily the wettest ride I have ever been on in any theme park.
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Saturday, February 5, 2005 2:46 AM
Yea, I got off of Ripsaw with a bit of dryness left on my shorts, but after Bilge Rat Barges, everything on my body was soaked (the re-ride didn't help either, but by that time, it didn't matter much)
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Saturday, February 5, 2005 3:30 PM

The Cat in The Hat
- A great ride for most kids and adults. Unfortunately, it's a no-go for pregnant women because the 'couch' spins several times throughout the ride.

The spinning has been toned down now on the ride though, when riding it back in May last year, it was no way as bad as I remember it 2 years previously.


Pteranodon Flyers - It looks neat, but the line was very long and they wouldn't let us in without kids. (Not that we would tolerate a 45 minute line when we could just walk on Dueling Dragons.)

You can ride it without kids, but you have to go to the ride within the first hr of park operation, otherwise they will likely always refuse you entry. I was allowed to ride it in the morning once with no problem and with a small queue, but rides later in the day proved to be difficult. However it seems staff have different rules, One one day I went, they allowed anyone entry despite a 50 min queue, but on the next day I went, they wouldnt allow entry with a big queue, ODD

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Saturday, February 5, 2005 7:06 PM
Try working at P-Flyers entrance. It sucks. If I was able to speak 20 different languages, it may have been 10% better.

I disagree about Doom being unintense. I like the "inside" loading also.

The ways Popey gets you wet is evil, especially durring the lift.

Ripsaw Falls has the best drop of any ride, imho. It is scary as heck.

Nice TR.

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