I've met a bunch of people (who are not enthusiasts) who have been to IOA and Six Flags was definitely not on their list of describing their experience. It's more than just the rides that makes the trip experience. IOA has an atmosphere that most of the Six Flags parks are sorely lacking.
Oh well! Seems like the people we see have different POV on IOA! The POV you describe is from people who have already been to IOA. Those I know who haven't been usually only go to USF cause "its only rollercoasters". Those stereotypes before someone visit can be sticky... I worked at Epcot for 15 months and we'd have both side of the spectrum: I love this place! No rollercoasters, just family stuff! Other side: I through this was like Islands of Adventure, I want rollercoasters! Another stereotype for Epcot is "no family stuff". Before, yeah... now? The characters are always there, there's the Kidcot stuff (kids make a passport or a mask and they run around the countries and pavillions, adding stuff to it! Its even free), etc.
Still... I can't figure out why IOA does less well than USF! If, as you just demonstrated, the rollercoasters stereotype is not true.
My gf and I are allready planning our next trip there as I type. $749 for three nights with park tickets and I don't feel ripped off in the slightest. It is a great getaway, enhanced by two incredible parks and City Walk. Funny thing is we are staying in FL for the entire week, and USF represents over a third of our budget.
Who in the world are you talking to that thinks that IOA is anything like a Six Flags or that it is just Rollercoasters?
EVERY person that I know that has been to IoA that is not an enthusiast said things like "It's so much better than Six Flags over Whatever" or "They have this ride there called Spiderman", and even "Dr. Doom Rocks!", but most importantly "It's so cool! Everything is themed! Suess Landing just rocks."
So I don't know who you talk to, but I rarely hear anything about IoA coasters from families that go there. Mmmmaybe Hulk (cause, you know, it launches, and they've never done that on any other coaster before).
I've never heard anyone say anything about going to USF and not going "Oh! We went to this part of Universal that was called 'Islands of Adventure', and it was really cool. Much better than Disney."
The ONLY *complaint* I have about IoA is that the last NEW installation was over five years ago, when Flying Unicorn and Storm Force wwent in. I know Jeff's fond of Storm, LOL, but seriously, that's a LONG time between new rides - Disneyesque even...
What they have, is TOP-NOTCH....what they DON'T have, is another flat or two, and of course a WOODEN coaster... ;)
But IoA *was* built for me...so I really shouldn't complain AT ALL... ;)
Playette is a sit-down-and-eat, watch a show and look around kinda person. I am a get-up-and-go-14-hours-a-day-riding-things type.
She's done CP--grumbling every step of the way. She flat-out despises Disney. She's indifferently shrugged her way through one of the best SF parks (SFGAM), basically taking me there as a reward for dealing with her folks in Chitown.
But IOA? First--and ONLY--park that's ever made her squeal the minute she set foot in it. And squeal more. And keep squealing.
Did BGT the next day, the shrug was back. Back to IOA and the squealing resumed.
Mind you, certain other parks come close. USF made her smile a lot. But only IOA brought the squeals.
NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.
I work here at Universal Orlando Resort in the vacations department. I have noticed that they either are surpised that we have two parks or aware that we have two parks and think that UIOA is a waterpark. Another thing is that most people don't know that the "99 Dollar" or "2days get three more days for free" is sold over the phone and that it is called simply "The Bonus Pass".
I did my Florida thing in June. Got the 5 day special that Jeff mentioned. I hit up MK, MGM, Epcot, BGT, USF and IOA. Overall I had the most fun in IOA. Even if dont put anything new there in the next 5 years, I'd still go back annually (time and cash permitting). Spiderman and the Dragons alone is well worth it. Far and away the best themed park IMO. And BTW, great TR Antuan.
I also noticed that people get confused or don't know the parks in Orlando... People buying an annual pass or park hopper at WDW and "making sure" it works at USF. They get all surprised when you inform them neither USF or IOA are part of WDW. Or, they ask when will Spiderman walk in the park... again, all surprised when you inform he is not a Disney character and so does not appear anywhere at WDW.
Also, people with WDW tickets try to use them at USF or IOA or show up with USF tickets at the main gate at WDW, line up at the Guest Relations window and very angrily ask a refund for their USF ticket, since they say they're hotel sold them this ticket and promised em it would work at both USF and WDW! I'm not joking... the at WDW stories, I had em when I worked 15 months at Epcot, in Guest Relations.