Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure

Associated parks:
None

Monday, April 3, 2006 3:33 AM
I just did a one day stint at IoA during spring break and, as always, the park never fails to amaze me. There's nothing new (anymore), and yet still some of the most fun you can have in a park.

Incredible Hulk:

Truth be told, this coaster never really delivers a bad ride...ever. Honest. For an inversion machine, it still flows pretty nicely from element to element and the pacing through each and every one of said elements is absolutely phenomenal. The trains always run smooth, though maybe a bit rowdy for a B&M, but seriously...when it comes to fluidity of motion, even a crummy B&M has 90% of the other steelies in the world beat, hands down. The line, for once, never exceeded 30 minutes and in one instance, I was on in 10, even with the spring rookie ride ops sending out trains with multiple rows of two riders apiece. Fantatsic ride, and it remains one of my top 5 B&M projects.

Dueling Dragons:

Again, very difficult to have a bad time on either track, but this time around, the dragons didn't quite pack the punch they did during my first visits to IoA. Again, likely due to trainee ops, the trains never really synched up as well as in the past on both the lift hills and the courses themselves. For example, only the rear 3 or 4 rows of the lead train had any interaction with the other ride during the head-on loop stunt. However, individually, the rides both delivered well, running fast and pleasantly hard through all the inversions and other elements. I don't care what anyone says, I know Fire is faster, but Ice track is still by far, my favorite. I'm a sucker for a good cobra roll, I guess.

Jurassic Park River Adventure:

To this day I haven't really figured out what to call this thing, so for simplicity's sake, I'm going with what my buddy JJ said, referring to it as "the best f***ing waterflume in the world!" ...Works for me. As much as I've ridden this ride, and as much as I think EVERY time I board, "This is gonna get boring soon..." this ride just continues to rock me 6 ways to Sunday. I'd go so far as to recommend this over several actual coasters I've been on. The special effects and the dinosaurs never seem like much until I find myself on the ride again, oggling each and every "specimen" like I had been dropped into some time vortex. Then, of course, is the big finale. As far as I'm concerned, any ride that throws you over a cliff after a head-on encounter with a 40 foot T-rex is just fine in my book. Growing up is overrated, and Jurassic Park is underrated. It's rides like these that make me remember why I love themed attractions so much in the first place.

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman:

Eh, it was new and innovative, and yes, still excites me to a very resonable extent, but the novelty begins to wear off after a point here, mostly due to the relative lack of any real physical activity. However, the 3-D vision combined with excellent effects such as the Doc Oc Ray chasing you down the alley and the fireballs created by bombs exploding all about you lend something good to the experience. However, for the quality of the ride it delivers, the lines is just too damn long half the time...30-60 minutes all day long. This is definitely worth a ride and a re-ride too, just maybe not in the same visit.

Popeye's Bilge Rat Barges:

I love water rides! No tricks here, nothing fast or fancy, just a big round boat and a s***load of water rarin' to get inside and personally aquainted with you. The Popeye, toony theming throughout the ride lends a bit of a storyline, but usually, everyone is too focused on whatever hydro-torture device is lurking around the next bend to really pay much attention to the Popeye robot getting ready to sock Bluto in the kisser. Not a thriller, but definitely entertaining, especially when, as it was this time, it's 80 degrees outside. I love water rides!

Sadly, that was the extent of my ride variety, as rerides adn a single day visit limited my timeframe available for thrills. However, the trip also yielded a great fajita lunch at the meditteranean/east europe themed grill up front near the Hulk, a set of Marvel superhero shotglasses, and a WICKED action photo of me and JJ throwing down with Captain America. SCORE! Also, aside from seeing Dudley Do-Right's water flume closed for maintenance, I also saw the construction of what looked to be a nearly completed, monorail-style kid's ride in Seuss Land that winds in and out of nearly every building and attraction in that section of the park. I believe I saw a due date for sometime this summer...I wanna say...June? July? I forget, but that ought to be cool...even if it IS for the wee ones. ALl in all, the park just stuns me with how thrilling the same rides and shows and shops can be over and over again. It really stands as a testament to how much really good themeing, something not found in alot of parks nowadays, can skyrocket the park's appeal. I love this place, and strongly recommend, as I have before and will no doubt do in the future, that anyone who reads this and has the means goes as soon as possible.

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Monday, April 3, 2006 9:30 AM
Hulk suffers from nasty springs on the guide wheels especially. I suffered some serious head bashing on one ride (really hurt my industrial) and I was pissed. You can see certain cars shimmy laterally all over the place when you sit toward the back. It's the only thing holding back that ride, because it's really a fantastic layout.
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Monday, April 3, 2006 11:39 AM
Nice T.R. I never wrote one of my own back when I went in early March, but it was horrible weather. I got the first ride out on Hulk but then it closed, later I marathoned it and Dragons. I found Hulk to be running great (1 train in the rain, no wait). When the train was empty you'd get a shaky ride in the back, but full it was glass smooth. The dragons were running great, fast, and intense and it was like a water ride with all the water being slung around (zero-g roll was nuts).
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Friday, April 7, 2006 1:55 PM
I agree with Jeff, except for the "fantastic layout" remark. I rode Hulk twice in early March and I thought it was unusually rough for a B&M. I was surprised as my rides back in 2001 were really smooth.

Nice trip report. I agree with your overall assessment of the park. It's incredible.

Kyle

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Friday, April 7, 2006 4:14 PM
My biggest problem with Hulk is the back section after the break run, the opening launch, heartline twist, cobra roll and vertical loop are amazing but the ending section is just a let down, the ride no longer flys through the track but just coasts throguh. I wish Hulk would not change back into Bruce that fast.
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