To go or not to go…
When you have only 2 days to spend in Orlando with mind-numbing options to choose from, “to be or not to be” became stale and all you want your Shakespearean mind to ponder on “where to go and where not to go” with ease and also without soliloquy.
In short, I had to choose from 2 amusement theme parks of Universal ( Island of adventure and Universal studio), 1 water park of Universal (Volcano Bay), 4 theme parks of Disney (Magical kingdom, Animal kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood studios), 2 water parks of Disney world ( Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach) along with sea world, Discovery cove, LEGOLand and much much more.
It was obvious I had to plan again if I want to cover everything what Orlando, FL had on offer. Major dilemma was which park to visit; either Universal or Disney world. And again which among them. I choose to ride on both camels; against advisory, however uncomfortable it sounds.
Things to do (mandatory): Check your interest. All the details of the rides along with you-tube videos available on web. Most types of good rides are split in terms of Universal studio and Island of adventure. You can also do both in one day with single-minded obsession, if you can conjure up enough energy and stamina.
I choose to do only one park per day. First was Island of adventure from Universal. In terms of theme of rides, Universal studio and Island of adventure has some differences but core mechanics are almost same e.g. Spider man and MIB ride are different but both share same digital core “fun”.
Monetary note: Based on day of visit, daily ticket fare can vary buy still expect around $130-150 per park per person.
Things to remember: Most hotels nearby provides shuttle services to both Universal studio and Disney world. It is advisable to utilize them. Traffic could become one of the energy draining factor.
As shown in below map, Island of adventure divided into various sections, each having unique theme. Let’s see what was hit and what missed section-wise.
Island of adventure is adorned with peppy and colorful adventure theme such as 80’s and 90’s Spielberg movies. Most of them also had in-built shops and restaurants apart from beautifully decorated facade.
Marvel Super Hero Island
It boasts few of the good scary rides. Superhero fans are in for a treat considering beautifully designed streets. It gave impression of being amidst fight between various marvel heroes and villains. Rides also corroborate the theme by putting g force as core entertaining mechanic. Following were major highlights….
The Incredible Hulk coaster: before you prepare yourself mentally, you are forced out at high speed, “twisted”, turned upside down, fogged and mist-sprayed without any notion of how many times.
Doctor Doom’s Fearfall: Another adult addition which can make you scream out your guts.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man: most unexpectedly amazing digital ride. Effects were cool and immersion was fantastic.
Things to consider: Most adult ride has conveniently placed locker system. Small lockers are free but can not hold backpacks. Big locker can cost you $2.
Another visually arresting theme where streets are peppered with everything cartoon themed. Loved the idea of floating speech bubbles conveniently scattered for in cartoon world. Following were major highlights….
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls: Best water based ride of the park. Period.
Comic Strip Cafe: If you are into comics and also into coffee (which I think is serene combination), it’s always treat to spend sometime, observing passers-by in the cartoon land sipping caffeine to prepare for further sections of the park.
Skull Island: Region of Kong
Only ride in the section based on digital effects has exquisite production value but not enough “wow” factor. BTW those dimly lit Kong cave and corridor where you had to spend more time waiting than been in the ride was peculiar visage in itself. This Kong is based on Peter Jackson’ King Kong.
It never gets old to be in Spielberg’s Jurassic “era”. Core element is animatronics and it pays off in more “believing” effects than its digital counterpart. Following were major highlights….
Jurassic Park River Adventure: is water based short but major ride of this section. Story telling is nicely accomplished and also had one hell of a satisfying “climax”.
Jurassic Park Discovery Center: This is more appealing to those who has Jurassic Park (1993) in their all time favorite movie list (like me). You can chomp off your food observing T-Rex skeleton replica similarly poised as was in the movie.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
Dreams come true for Potter fans. Excellently “production designed” Potter town is clad in “snow” (even in Florida April heat) along with famous wand shop and lot many Potter tidbits.
Things to consider: Die-hard fans of Harry Potter has no other option but to buy tickets of both parks as very famous Hogwarts Express experience needs tickets of both park.
The Lost Continent
Hues of yellow dominating this more of middle-east fairy adventure styled section hosting very impressive Poseidon statue. Interactive theater style show “Poseidon’s Fury” has some good live effects (especially water tunnel) but otherwise no other special mention.
If you know Seuss, you know how pink, purple, orange, yellow and other similar kid attention grabbing colors and its various shades the section dipped in. It’s the most “sugar sweet” , candy-coated part for your child.
All in all, visiting Island of Adventure over Universal studio had never left us with feeling of “missing out” too much or kind of big mistake. It was fun and day well spent.
Date of Visit: 12-Apr-2019