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Islands of Adventure


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#1 Ryan Shrout

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 07:52 PM

Some time next week, I'll be hitting up IoA for the first time since the Potterverse transformation was completed. Be looking for lots of pics and an in depth park review with special attention being paid to the new area.

This side of eternity is short - make the most of it.

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#2 TexasCyclone

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 01:54 AM

Some time next week, I'll be hitting up IoA for the first time since the Potterverse transformation was completed. Be looking for lots of pics and an in depth park review with special attention being paid to the new area.


Awesome I'll be going on the 14th-15th!
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#3 Tyler Carlton

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 11:43 AM

I was just there on Wednesday, but the Forbidden Journey was down all day. I was pretty disappointed, but back to back walk-ons on Dragon Challenge made up for it.
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#4 Ryan Shrout

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:51 PM

Dude, that sucks that Forbidden Journey was down. I honestly, wasn't nearly as impressed with the ride as most people seem to be. The ride system, though unique, just has too many limitations. It also proved to me that Universal still can't theme a dark ride to the same level as Disney. The film sections were great but the animatronics really weren't anything special. It also seems as though the ride vehicles just aren't capable of providing a truly thrilling ride. The can give you more in a compact space than anything else can, but its no coaster.

I should have pics and a details TR up within the next week or so.

This side of eternity is short - make the most of it.

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#5 Vater

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:42 AM

I haven't ridden Journey, but I can't even imagine comparing it to a coaster. Spiderman (I assume the closest thing to Journey that I can think of) is probably one of the best rides I've been on, and is in so many ways better than a coaster, and in others, not so much. It's like comparing apples to filet mignon.

You're the first person I've heard that wasn't enamored with Forbidden Journey, and that includes several Disney freaks. Perhaps you were expecting too much?

What about the rest of the area? Looks spectacular in pics.
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#6 The BeastFan

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:53 AM

I'm assuming you (ryan) are a veteran Dragon rider as well. How do the current colors compare to the old colors? (I know its a shade change, still curious none-the-less) In that same breath, how does Hulk look now? (I think it was re-painted recently as well)

#7 Ryan Shrout

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 04:16 PM

@ Mike, I actually prefer the new Dragon colors. They're a shade darker and won't fade out as quickly as the new one. As long as I'm speaking of the Dragons, the new queue line has some nice new effects, however it can't match the original. The station building though does have some fantastic silhouetted projections on the ceiling screen of dragons flying about menacingly. Oh, and Hulk is looking much better. Its rather obvious the parts that have been painted and the parts that haven't. The mist tunnel under the pedestrian bridge was primered when I went so its probably green by now.

@ Vater, I agree entirely that Journey much better relates to Spiderman than any coaster. I new that going into this, however in my mind, I was expecting more of a robocoaster. There are no fast moments on the ride however, just some semi-forceful direction changes. Between Journey and Spiderman, I actually prefer Spiderman. Why? Because it is entirely projection based. The walls are real, but everything is is projected. The projection sequences on Journey were spectacular. It was like a combination of Soarin' at Epcot with the old Back to the Future ride. The best part imo, is the technicality to how its done, as I'm sure that the image on the projection screen (which does wrap around you to an extent) must move with your vehicle along the track. I'm assuming that a group of 3-4 cars follow one set of projections, just enough room between them so that no one is seeing double. Where Journey lacked however was the Animatronics sections. There was a dragon head that breathed "fire" but didn't really move, there were some spiders illuminated by strobe lighting, but also didn't really "attack" you. The whomping willow offered the most motion of any of the animatronics, an also imo provided the "scariest" part of the ride involving a close encounter similar to the effects on Escape from Pompei @ BGW. The dementors in the finale were the biggest dissapointment imo. They simply couldn't live up to the horrifying images portrayed in the books and the movies. I feel that if this section had been done with the projections, they could have made it work, but trying to replicate those being with animatronics just didn't work.

This side of eternity is short - make the most of it.

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#8 Coasterholic14

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:19 PM

I'm assuming that a group of 3-4 cars follow one set of projections, just enough room between them so that no one is seeing double.

I talked about this in my blog a while back after going to the park, but it is actually a "carousel" system. Basically, multiple dome-shaped screens set each coming outward from the same central axis. That screen setup is constantly rotating with a track that rides around part of it. Basically, the "car"/arm moves "into" the projection screen and rides on a track around the "carousel" setup with the screen rotating about an axis along with it. Image from hollywoodnews.com:
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#9 Ryan Shrout

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:46 AM

Wow, thanks for that Brandon. That explains alot. Especially the extreme lack of motion during those portions, since the mini-domes are so small. Then again, because of being surrounded by the projection, you get that imax sensation and it tricks your eyes into thinking you're moving more than you really are.

This side of eternity is short - make the most of it.

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#10 Ryan Shrout

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 03:47 PM

Well its been a bit longer than I had intended, but finally here is the long awaited PTR.

Got to the park about 30 minutes after opening.
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The day began full of clouds and a little colder than I had anticipated.
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On the plus side, the overcast skies really set the proper background for the snow covered town of Hogsmead.
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We actually had light crowds throughout most of the park. Because everyone was here!
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The line never went under and hour all day. On the plus side, Dragon Challenge was only a 20 minute wait!
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While, I'm the new theming just can't live up to the old stuff, they did do a good job of adding in details that really help to tie everything in the the Harry Potter franchise.
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And here it is, the coveted Triwizard Cup!
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Rode Ice (Hungarian Horntail) first, then ran right back around for Fire (Chinese Fireball)
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The line for Forbidden Journey was still over 2 hours at this point (and reaching into Jurassic Park!) so we ran back to the front to check on Hulk.
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Only a 30 minute wait so we jumped in line. Add 10 minutes for the front and then were off!
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Having hit all of the coasters once, we decided to run back to the car, eat and early lunch, and hope that crowds would die down as the real lunch rush hit.

We returned to the park under the gorgeous summer sun, and spectacular lighting for photos. More coming when I find the time.

This side of eternity is short - make the most of it.

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#11 Ryan Shrout

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 09:41 PM

Alright, time for part two. Reemerging from the parking garage, we were happy to note that all of the morning's clouds had dissipated, leaving us with nothing but beautiful Florida sunshine.
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And few things look better in such exquisite lighting than freshly painted coaster track.
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Back in Potterverse, Forbidden Journey still had a super long line, so on to Flight of the Hippogriff to credit whore and let lunch settle.
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This really is one of the better kiddy coaster's I've ridden (and comes in as credit #115)
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Upon exiting, I saw it was time for one of the Harry Potter street shows.
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It was a nice diversion for the masses of people in the area.
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But, back to why I spent $80+ today, COASTERS!
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Oh, have I mentioned that I love my new 14 MP camera I bought myself for Christmas?
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After another round of Dragon Duelling (or challenging), we debated getting on the newly re-opened Dudley Do-Right's.
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But decided against getting wet. Instead we went back to the front and found Dr. Doom a walk on!
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Then Hulk was only 15 minutes!
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With such a short wait, we ran back around for another ride.
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One final shot of Hulk.
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With everything at the front clearing out as people headed to Mardi Gras, we though that maybe this was our chance for Forbidden Journey.
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The wait was 45 minutes, but since it was shorter than we'd seen it all day, we hopped in line.
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Once past the greenhouse, the line was super ornate and detailed.
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The talking portraits were alot of fun to listen to.
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The ride itself underwhelmed me a bit, but I think I went into it hoping too much. Not a roller coaster by any means, it was more like a high tech Spiderman with lame animatronics and a great exterior.
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As the sun went down we ran for one more trip on the Dragons.
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Overall it was a great day, and I quite enjoyed all of the new Harry Potter stuff (minus the huger crowds that it brought. Even the shops had lines to get in!) Hulk's repaint looks splendid, and I actually prefer the new darker colors on Dragon Challenge, even though the queue lost some of its appeal. I also got a new credit which is semi-exciting. You can see all of the rest of the photos I took in the IoA 3/7/11 photo gallery in our Park Gallery article. I leave you with this teaser of an upcoming photo contest, and the promise of more PTRs to come from me throughout the year. Thanks for reading.
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This side of eternity is short - make the most of it.

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#12 The BeastFan

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:24 PM

Wow! The B&M trio look gorgeous now! I'll admit I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan, but having seen a few movies, the area looks exquisite. Great TR and 'NICE' to all the re-rides and lineless-ness you encountered. :lol:

#13 Tori Finlay

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:03 PM

Excellent pictures! I keep hearing tell of the crowds, but I really wanna get down there. It's beautiful!
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