Islands of Adventure
The Pharos Lighthouse, the icon of Islands of Adventure
|Slogan||Live the Adventure|
|Location||Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Theme||Islands of Adventure|
|Operated by||Universal Parks & Resorts|
|Opened||May 28, 1999|
Universal's Islands of Adventure, commonly known as Islands of Adventure, is a theme park located in Orlando, Florida. It opened May 28, 1999 along with CityWalk as part of an expansion that converted Universal Studios Florida into the Universal Orlando Resort. The slogan for this theme park is "Live the Adventure" (1999–present).
The park's overall theme is that of a journey of exploration, where guests depart from a main port to visit six other distinctly themed islands, all emphasizing adventure. On June 18, 2010, the seventh island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (themed to the popular Harry Potter franchise) officially opened at the park, its largest investment since opening. In 2011, Islands of Adventure hosted approximately 7.8 million guests, ranking it sixth among United States parks and tenth worldwide.
Like Universal Studios Florida next door, Islands of Adventure has not limited itself to Universal's own library. In fact, with the exception of The Lost Continent, Port of Entry, and Jurassic Park, the remaining park areas are based on characters licensed from rival studios, many of whom did not own theme parks of their own. Some of these include Seuss Landing (Dr. Seuss Enterprises), The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Warner Bros.), Toon Lagoon (Jay Ward Productions and Paramount Pictures) and Marvel Super Hero Island (Marvel Entertainment).
Before Islands of Adventure was built, the site was originally planned as a shopping mall called Galleria Orlando. Plans were first drawn up for the mall in 1985, but it was ultimately canceled in 1990.
Preview Center 
During the construction of the park, Universal opened a Preview Center (known as the Islands of Adventure Preview Center) at their adjacent Florida theme park. Opening 2 years before the new theme park, the Preview Center was designed to give guests a sneak peek at some of the themes and attractions for Islands of Adventure. The attraction was located in the Paradise Theater building located in the New York section of Universal Studios Florida, next to the Kongfrontation attraction. In the attraction, guests would walk through various rooms themed to the various "Islands" in the new park. The final room stated when the Islands of Adventure park would open, and showed guests Universal's future plans for the Universal Orlando Resort. The Preview Center was closed shortly after the opening of Islands of Adventure.
Islands of Adventure had a soft opening beginning March 27, 1999 during which visitors could preview the park at a discounted price while the staff conducted a technical rehearsal and worked on the "finishing touches." During this soft-opening, guests were informed that attractions might open and close throughout the day without notice and that some attractions might not be open at all. Initial plans were to open the park in mid-May, but this was ultimately delayed until May 28, 1999.
After the enormous capital expenditure required to build Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, and the resort hotels, Universal sought to overtake nearby Walt Disney World in attendance. However, with the addition of the second park, new resorts, and entertainment district, the resort was named Universal Studios Escape. Essentially, it seemed that visitors were confused by the name, assuming that Islands of Adventure was a new area added to the already-existing Universal Studios Florida theme park. For the first two years, attendance did not rise as expected. By 2001, the marketing was re-vamped, clarifying that Islands of Adventure was indeed a second, completely separate park with new rides and attractions. Universal Studios Escape was renamed Universal Orlando Resort, and ended up being the only resort in the Orlando area to actually have an increase in attendance after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
- 1991: The first concepts for the Islands of Adventure park are conceived by MCA Planning and Development. Known as "Cartoon World", the park would feature rides and attractions based on DC Comics, Dr. Seuss and Warner Bros..
- 1993, June: Universal releases the blockbuster film, Jurassic Park. Its success resulted in a Jurassic Park section being included in the park plans.
- 1993, September 16: Universal announces plans to add a second theme park and several resorts at their Florida complex.
- 1995: Construction was expected to begin on Islands of Adventure.
- 1997: Construction actually begins on Islands of Adventure. Shortly after, the Islands of Adventure Preview Center opened at the adjacent Universal Studios Florida, replacing The Screen Test Home Video Adventure. It allowed guests to preview all six original islands at Islands of Adventure and their rides and attractions within. The Preview Center also included Universal's plans for an expansion into Universal Orlando Resort.
- 1999, March 27: Islands of Adventure begins soft openings.
- 1999, May 28: Islands of Adventure is officially opened with a grand opening ceremony, with the islands Port of Entry, Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon and Marvel Super Hero Island. The Islands of Adventure Preview Center at Universal Studios Florida is closed shortly afterwards.
- 2000, May & June 29: Flying Unicorn and Storm Force Accelatron debut in the park's The Lost Continent and Marvel Super Hero Island areas, respectively.
- 2000, December: The annual GrinchMas event begins in the park's Seuss Landing area.
- 2002, October: Universal's Halloween Horror Nights event is held for the first time ever at Islands of Adventure. Each "island" is transformed into a different twisted world: Port of Entry into Port of Evil, Seuss Landing into Boo-Ville, The Lost Continent into Island of Evil Souls, Jurassic Park into JP Extinction, Toon Lagoon into Treaks and Foons and Marvel Super Hero Island into Island Under Siege.
- 2004, October: Halloween Horror Nights is held in both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.
- 2006, June: Sylvester McMonkey McBean's Very Unusual Driving Machines is rebuilt into a new concept, and officially opened as The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride.
- 2007, May 31: Universal Studios and Warner Bros officially announce Islands of Adventure's seventh island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, at a joint press conference, with an expected opening of late 2009 or early 2010.
- 2008, July 7: The Flying Unicorn, as well as the Enchanted Oak Tavern, are both closed due to Harry Potter construction.
- 2009, September 16: Universal officially reveals the Wizarding World's attractions, including Zonko's, Honeydukes, Owl Post, Dervish and Banges, Ollivander's Wand Shop Experience, Frog Choir, Triwizard Spirit Rally, Flight of the Hippogriff, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods and Dragon Challenge, which will replace the then-still operating Dueling Dragons rides.
- 2009, October: Oh, The Stories You'll Hear! opens in the park's Seuss Landing area.
- 2010, March: Mat Hoffman's Aggro Circus debuts in the park's Toon Lagoon amphitheatre, the theater's first show since Mat Hoffman's Freakin Crazy Stunt Show in 2002.
- 2010, May 5: Dueling Dragons is closed for its final transformation into Dragon Challenge. Ice is renamed Hungarian Horntail and Fire is renamed Chinese Fireball.
- 2010, June 1: The Wizarding World begins soft openings for the general public.
- 2010, June 18: The seventh island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is officially opened with a grand opening ceremony. The area is Islands of Adventure's biggest investment since the park's opening.
- 2010, December 13: After five years, Triceratops Discovery Trail is finally reopened to the public for a limited time, speculated to further remain seasonal during peak season.
- 2011, January 1: One of the roofs on Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls catches fire, causing immediate evacuation of the ride. The ride resumed normal operations on March 3, 2011.
- 2011, May 19: Universal announces a major refurbishment of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride, with plans to re-master the ride film in High-definition as well as to update the ride's technical system and to replace all of the projectors with new 3-D digital projectors.
- 2012, March 8: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man re-opens after refurbishment.
Former attractions 
As with almost any amusement park, older attractions are sometimes removed to make way for newer ones. At Islands of Adventure, some have simply been closed with no replacement like Island Skipper Tours while others, like Poseidon's Fury, were changed from their initial concept to the attraction that operates today.
Islands of Adventure consists of seven themed "islands," only one of which utilizes movie tie-ins with Universal Pictures. They are, in clockwise order from entry, Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing.
Port of Entry 
Port of Entry is the park's main entrance and is home to many shops and services, including Guest Relations, aptly named The Open Arms Hotel. The park's iconic centerpiece, Pharos Lighthouse, is also located within Port of Entry. Each night, this real, functioning lighthouse sends out a bright beam to lead visitors to and from the park's gates. Like many theme parks using the "hub and spokes" format, this entry Island contains no rides, and is primarily noted for its restaurants and shops. Its main features are the Confisco Grille restaurant, one of two full-service restaurants in the park, and the Islands of Adventure Trading Company, the park's primary gift shop. An attraction information board, featuring live wait times, is located near the shore of the lagoon.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from Confisco Grille, Croissant Moon Bakery, Cinnabon, and Arctic Express. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Islands of Adventure Trading Company, Ocean Trader Market, DeFoto's Expedition Photography, Port of Entry Christmas Shoppe, Island Market and Export Candy Shoppe, and Port Provisions.
Marvel Super Hero Island 
Marvel Super Hero Island has rides inspired by Marvel comic books, and focuses primarily on thrilling rides. The island features such Marvel characters as Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and some villains such as Doctor Doom, MODOK, Magneto, Green Goblin, and Kingpin.
Many characters are owned not just by Marvel but have visual licensing deals with other companies. Spider-Man and some of his supporting characters are owned by Marvel, but they have a visual licensing deal with Sony. The X-Men and Fantastic Four and some of their supporting characters are owned by Marvel, but they have a visual licensing deal with Fox. Also, Hulk is owned by Marvel but has a visual licensing deal with Universal.
In late 2009, The Walt Disney Company (Universal's biggest competitor in the theme park market) announced that it had sought to acquire Marvel Entertainment. Universal announced that Marvel's new ownership would not affect Marvel Super Hero Island, and Disney CEO Robert Iger acknowledged that Disney would continue to honor any contracts that Marvel currently has with Disney competitors. In March 2012, Iger revealed that Disney had begun preliminary concepts of incorporating Marvel's properties into their parks, although no major negotiations with Universal were announced. Hong Kong Disneyland has since announced an expansion to their park featuring characters from the Marvel Universe.
Marvel Super Hero Island is notable for its unique, comic-book styled architecture. Many of the building interiors are created in what could be considered comic book perspective, with exaggerated lines and angles. Meanwhile, many exteriors are painted in a special paint which appears to change color based on the angle from which it is viewed - sometimes purple, sometimes orange. Perhaps most notably, the buildings are all labelled generically, as one would expect the buildings in the background of a comic panel to be: "Store," "Shop," "Food," and "Comics," instead of detailed names and logos.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from Cafe 4, and Captain America Diner. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Spider-Man Shop (The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man), Marvel Alterniverse Store, Comic Book Shop, and Oakley.
The Incredible Hulk greets guests as they enter the lagoon with an attention grabbing roar . Hulk is a high speed steel roller coaster which has a top speed of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h). Storm Force Accelatron is a teacups ride themed after X-Men. Doctor Doom's Fearfall is a pair of S&S Power Space Shot attractions themed after the Fantastic Four. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a 3-D simulator ride based on the character Spider-Man. The ride is set in New York as Spider-man defeats The Sinister Syndicate from taking the Statue of Liberty. Meet Spider-Man and the Marvel Super Heroes is a meet and greet attraction, where guests can meet super heroes including Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops and Rogue, Spider-Man and Captain America.
Toon Lagoon 
Toon Lagoon is geared toward both kids and adults, and is based on the characters of King Features Syndicate and Jay Ward. The area focuses on water-based rides (hence the name) and features 3 counter-service restaurants: Comic Strip Cafe, Blondies, and Wimpy's. The Island is rigged with dozens of water props that squirt at visitors and can be interacted with if so desired. In addition, visitors have the option of further soaking those who are riding on board water rides by squirting them with water guns, activating water cannons, and more.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from Comic Strip Cafe, offering Italian & Chinese Cuisine, Burgers & Dogs, and Fried Chicken & Fish. Blondie's, home of the famous Dagwood, Cathy's Ice Cream, and Wimpy's, a seasonal quick service restaurant serving hamburgers, chicken fingers and other related items. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Gasoline Alley, Betty Boop Store, Toon Extra, and Cyber Connect Internet Access.
Toon Lagoon features three main attractions. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls is a traditional log flume combined with roller coaster track based on the old cartoon & movie Dudley Do-Right. Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, is a river rafting water ride themed after Popeye the Sailor saving Olive Oyl from Bluto. Me Ship, the Olive is a kids' playground built in and around Popeye's ship. The three levels of the ship all contain a variety of interactive elements including cannons and hoses which can further soak riders on the Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges ride. Mat Hoffman's Aggro Circus is a live seasonal BMX stunt show, at the Toon Lagoon Theater, which operates during spring break and summer.
Jurassic Park 
Set just after the time of the Jurassic Park movie. The area has some thrilling rides and has discovery-based exhibits. The characters of John Hammond and Ian Malcolm even put in an appearance from time to time. The Island takes place under the guise of the "real" Jurassic Park: a theme park / zoological park focused on dinosaurs. As such, the area is filled with the attractions and exhibits one would find in the "real" Jurassic Park.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from Pizza Predattoria (at Jurassic Park Discovery Center), The Burger Digs (Jurassic Park Discovery Center), Thunder Falls Terrace (Jurassic Park River Adventure), and The Watering Hole. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Dinostore (Jurassic Park Discovery Center) and Jurassic Outfitters (Jurassic Park River Adventure).
Jurassic Park features five main attractions. Jurassic Park River Adventure, constructed by Superior Rigging & Erection, is a water ride that is based on Steven Spielberg's hit film Jurassic Park and Michael Crichton's novel. The Jurassic Park Discovery Center is a large, interactive, dinosaur-themed museum based upon the Visitor Center from the film. Pteranodon Flyers is a steel suspended roller coaster manufactured by Setpoint USA. Riders join the queue located within Camp Jurassic. Pteranodon Flyers features three, two-seater cars suspended on a track. Camp Jurassic is a children's play area centered around an imported 50-foot (15 m) tall Banyan tree. Triceratops Discovery Trail (formerly Triceratops Encounter) is a seasonal walkthrough attraction where guests can get up close and interact with a full-scale animated replica of a Triceratops, while a "veterinary technician" performs a semi-annual exam on the Trike.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter 
Officially opened to the public on June 18, 2010. On May 31, 2007, Universal Orlando announced that it had secured the rights from Warner Bros. and from British author J. K. Rowling to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Islands of Adventure. The 20-acre (81,000 m2) island features attractions, shops and restaurants set inside such locations as the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade Village and the iconic Hogwarts castle. Ground breaking began in 2007, with the official opening scheduled for June 18, 2010 as announced on March 25, 2010. As part of the promotion for the then-upcoming area, a behind-the-scenes documentary on production of the park section is included on the Blu-ray and DVD release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from The Three Broomsticks Inn, a restaurant with typical British dishes, The Hog's Head Pub, where you can sip on spirits and drinks inspired by those in the Harry Potter stories, and the Butterbeer Cart where guests can enjoy the delectable frozen or cold butterbeer. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Zonko's, Honeydukes, Owl Post (a working post office), Dervish and Banges, and Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods (at the exit of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey).
In the Wizarding World, there are five main attractions. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the section's signature attraction, is located inside Hogwarts Castle and takes guests through scenes inspired by the Potter books and films. Dragon Challenge, previously known as Dueling Dragons, is a pair of intertwined inverted roller coasters. Flight of the Hippogriff, previously known as ''Flying Unicorn, is a Vekoma junior roller coaster. Ollivanders, is an interactive shopping experience based on the Harry Potter Ollivanders wand shop. There is also a singing Frog Choir and a Triwizard Spirit Rally held in the town center. These events feature Hogwarts, Beauxbaton, and Durmstrang students.
The Lost Continent 
This island is themed to ancient myths and legends, and is divided into two smaller sections. The first section is ancient Arabian marketplace called Sinbad's Bazzaar, while the second is mythological Grecian-Atlantis-style Lost City. Formerly, the Lost Continent included a medieval section, Merlinwood, but much of that area was rethemed for the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Today the area contains two live-action shows. This land is also home to Mythos, which was voted winner of best theme park restaurant by Theme Park Insider for six successive years between 2003 and 2008, and one of two full-service restaurants in the park.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from Mythos Restaurant (Poseidon's Fury), The Frozen Desert, and Fire Eater's Grill. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Treasures of Poseidon (Poseidon's Fury), The Coin Mint, The Pearl Factory, Historic Families - Heraldry, Star Souls - Psychic Reading, and Coat of Arms.
There are three main attractions in the Lost Continent. The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, a live-action stunt show located in the ancient Arabia section. In front of this show is The Mystic Fountain, that entertains and interacts with guests. Poseidon's Fury is an indoor special-effects show located in the mythological Greek section.
Seuss Landing 
Seuss Landing is specially geared towards small children and is based on the works of author Dr. Seuss. It has several Seuss-themed attractions. There is also a Green Eggs and Ham Cafe and Circus McGurkus restaurant. One of the unique characteristics of this area is, like in the books, there is not a single straight line anywhere. Palm trees, curved by the winds of Hurricane Andrew, were even installed in the area to continue this theming.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops. Food and beverage items can be purchased from Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous (The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride), Green Eggs and Ham Cafe (Opened seasonally), Hop On Pop Ice Cream Shop, and Moose Juice, Goose Juice. Merchandise items can be bought from a variety of themed stores including Cats, Hats & Things (The Cat in the Hat), All The Books You Can Read (The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride), Snookers & Snookers Sweet Candy Cookers, and Mulberry Street Stores Trading Co.
Seuss Landing includes six attractions inspired by Dr. Seuss' books. The Cat In The Hat is a dark ride that takes guests through the Dr. Seuss story of the same name. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride is a twin-tracked tour above and around Seuss Landing. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a spinning ride with a musical riddle that will help riders escape water-spitting fish. Caro-Seuss-el is a Seuss themed carousel. Oh, The Stories You'll Hear is a stage show based on the Dr. Seuss books and characters. If I Ran the Zoo is an interactive play zone for kids.
Park characters 
Islands of Adventure has a number of costumed characters. The following is a list of characters that can be seen in the park:
|Seen in Marvel Super Hero Island||Seen in Toon Lagoon|
Universal's Express Pass 
Several attractions in Islands of Adventure allow guests to utilize Express Pass. This pass admits users to a separate line for the attraction, which is given priority status when boarding. Express Pass is not a virtual queuing service. Instead, passholders may enter the "Universal Express" line whenever they wish. This pass is not included with park admission.
See also 
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- "Islands of Adventure". Universal Orlando Archives. The Florida Project. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
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- Jackson, Jerry (May 1, 1990). "Major Bows Out Of Galleria Plan Entertainment To Be New Theme". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- futureboy107. "Islands of adventure Preview Center". Video. YouTube. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- "Universal To Offer Soft Opening For Islands Of Adventure". March 23, 1999. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
- "Islands Of Adventure Technical Rehearsal May Continue". May 4, 1999. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
- "Islands of Adventure Announces Grand Opening Date". May 13, 1999. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
- "Universal Orlando Resort History".
- Schneider, Mike (July 5, 1998). "Theme Parks Set in Motion Around Conference Tables". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- "COMPANY NEWS; Universal to Expand Park in Florida". New York Times. September 16, 1993. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- Cronan, Carl (September 15, 1997). "Disney Finds Another Way To Keep Visitors Entertained". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- "Islands Park to Debut May 28". Lakeland Ledger. May 12, 1999. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- MacDonald, Brady (May 19, 2011). "Universal Studios Orlando plans 'Despicable Me' attraction and digital upgrade to Spider-Man ride in 2012". Los Angeles Times.
- Brady McDonald (August 31, 2009). "How the Disney-Marvel deal affects Universal Studios theme parks" (PDF). The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Dawn C. Chmielewski (March 14, 2012). "Walt Disney plans to deploy Marvel superheroes at its theme parks". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Disney Parks Might Soon Add Marvel Characters". Huffington Post. March 20, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- John Tsang (27 February 2013). "The 2013-14 Budget - Promoting Tourism Industry". Hong Kong Government.
- "Storm Force Accelatron (Islands of Adventure)". Parkz. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- Islands of Adventure. "Jurassic Park - Dining". Universal Orlando Resort. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- Islands of Adventure. "Jurassic Park - Shopping". Universal Orlando Resort. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- "Services". Superior Rigging & Erection Company. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- "Challenging Disney". Ocala Star-Banner. April 4, 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
- Dean, Bill (May 21, 1999). "With opening, complex now rivals Disney". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
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- Majendie, Paul (May 31, 2007). "All aboard for the Harry Potter rollercoaster". Reuters. Archived from the original on June 2, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
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- Travis Reed (September 15, 2009). "Universal reveals details of new Harry Potter park". Associated Press. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
- Mythos Restaurant picked for fourth successive year ThemeParkInsider.com
- 2007 'Theme Park Insider Awards' announced Theme Park Insider
- Disney, Universal split 2008 Theme Park Insider Awards Theme Park Insider
- "Seuss Landing". Universal Orlando. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- "Cat in the Hat Ride". Universal Orlando Resort. Retrieved July 11, 2009.[dead link]
- "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report". Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report". Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original on June 2, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "TEA/AECOM 2010 Global Attractions Report". Themed Entertainment Association. 2010. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report". Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Islands of Adventure Official website
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Official website
- Islands of Adventure at the Roller Coaster DataBase