Islands of Adventure
||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (September 2014)|
The Pharos Lighthouse, the icon of Islands of Adventure
|Slogan||Live the Adventure|
|Location||Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Theme||Islands with myths, legends, dinosaurs, cartoons, superheroes, and children's stories|
|Operated by||Universal Parks & Resorts|
|Opened||May 28, 1999|
|Roller coasters||5 (Dragon Challenge is 2 Coasters)|
Universal's Islands of Adventure (commonly known as Islands of Adventure) is a theme park in Orlando, Florida. It opened on 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 themed islands, all emphasizing adventure. Initially, the park had six islands. 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. This is Universal's largest investment since opening. In 2013, Islands of Adventure hosted approximately 8.1 million guests, ranking it seventh among United States parks and eleventh worldwide. The eighth island, Skull Island, is currently under construction, and is expected to open in Summer 2016.
Like Universal Studios Florida next door, Islands of Adventure has not limited itself to Universal's own library. Except The Lost Continent, Port of Entry, Jurassic Park, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong (King Kong), 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).
- 1 History
- 2 Islands
- 3 Park characters
- 4 Universal's Express Pass
- 5 Attendance
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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.
During the construction of the park, Universal opened a Preview Center (known as the Islands of Adventure Preview Center) at adjacent Universal Studios Florida. Opening two 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.
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (July 2013)|
- 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..
- June 1993: Universal releases the blockbuster film Jurassic Park. Its success resulted in a Jurassic Park section being included in the park plans.
- September 16, 1993: Universal announces plans to add a second theme park and several resorts at its 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.
- March 27, 1999: Islands of Adventure begins soft openings.
- May 28, 1999: 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.
- May and June 29, 2000: Flying Unicorn and Storm Force Accelatron debut in the park's The Lost Continent and Marvel Super Hero Island areas, respectively.
- December 2000: The annual GrinchMas event begins in the park's Seuss Landing area.
- October 2002: 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.
- October 2004: Halloween Horror Nights is held in both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.
- June 2006: 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.
- May 31, 2007: 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.
- July 7, 2008: The Flying Unicorn, as well as the Enchanted Oak Tavern, are both closed due to Harry Potter construction.
- September 16, 2009: 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, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods, and Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff, which will replace the Dueling Dragons and Flying Unicorn rides.
- October 2009: Oh, The Stories You'll Hear! opens in the park's Seuss Landing area.
- March 2010: 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.
- May 5, 2010: Dueling Dragons is closed for its final transformation into Dragon Challenge. Ice is renamed Hungarian Horntail and Fire is renamed Chinese Fireball.
- June 1, 2010: The Wizarding World begins soft openings for the general public.
- June 18, 2010: The seventh island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is officially opened with a grand opening ceremony. The area is Islands of Adventure' biggest investment since the park's opening.
- December 13, 2010: After five years, Triceratops Discovery Trail is finally reopened to the public for a limited time, speculated to further remain seasonal during peak season.
- January 1, 2011: 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.
- May 19, 2011: 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.
- March 8, 2012: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man re-opens after refurbishment.
- July 1, 2014: The Hogwarts Express (funicular) Hogsmeade station opens as well as the King's Cross station at Universal Studios Florida, connecting park visitors to both theme Harry Potter theme parks via a full scale replica of the train that appears in the Harry Potter film series.
- August 24 2014: Dr. Seuss's ABC is an alphabet book opened on 2015, the alphabetical ordered from A to Z with 26 biggest blocks in the letters of the English alphabets playground outside.
- May 6, 2015: Skull Island: Reign of Kong is announced as a new area/attraction based on the 2005 film King Kong, opening in the summer of 2016. 
- May 7, 2015: Universal announces a partnership with Nintendo to bring their characters to either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure park.
- May 22, 2015: Raptor Encounter meet & greet attraction officially debuts. 
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. An eighth island, Skull Island: Reign of Kong is currently under construction and expected to open in Summer 2016.
Port of Entry
Port of Entry is the park's main entrance and is home to many shops and services including Guest Services aptly named The Open Arms Hotel. The park's 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.
Marvel Super Hero Island
Marvel Super Hero Island has rides inspired by Marvel comic books.
Marvel Super Hero Island is notable for its 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 confronts guests as they enter the area 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 prevents 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 superheroes including Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops and Rogue, Spider-Man and Captain America.
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 its park featuring characters from the Marvel Universe.
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.
The area is home to a variety of dining outlets and merchandise shops.
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 Dudley Do-Right character. 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.
Set just after the time of the first Jurassic Park film, 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.
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.
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) was 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.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong
This area is currently under construction, expected to open in Summer 2016. It is based on King Kong.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This area 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.
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.
There is also a singing Frog Choir and a Triwizard Spirit Rally held in the town center. These events feature Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang students.
In 2012, The Jaws attraction was demolished to make way for the expansion of the Wizarding World, based on Diagon Alley/London settings from the book. The Hogwarts Express (funicular) connects the two "Wizarding Worlds" in each park. The expansion officially opened on July 8, 2014.
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 re-themed for the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Today the area contains two live-action shows. This land is also home to Mythos, which is one of two full-service restaurants in the park and was voted winner of best theme park restaurant by Theme Park Insider for six successive years between 2003 and 2008.
There are three main attractions in the Lost Continent. The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad is 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 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. As in the books, one of the unique characteristics of this area is that there is not a single straight line anywhere. Palm trees bent by the winds of Hurricane Andrew were even installed in the area to continue this theme.
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.
Islands of Adventure has a number of costumed characters. The following is a list of characters that may be seen in the park:
|Seen in Marvel Super Hero Island||Seen in Toon Lagoon|
|Seen in Port of Entry|
|Seen in Wizarding World
||Seen in Seuss Landing
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 price of this pass is not included in the charge for park admission.
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- Islands of Adventure Official website
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Official website
- Islands of Adventure at the Roller Coaster DataBase