This will be the first in a six-part blog series detailing the Bennetts’ biennial trip to Disney World in Orlando. I’ll spend one blog entry on each of the four Disney parks, and two more on the two Universal Studios parks we visited before we hit Lake Buena Vista.
We’ll begin with Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Easy pick for me, as I’ve been a comic book fanatic for the bulk of my life. I have the Amazing Spider-Man #14 — the first appearance of the Green Goblin — locked up in a safe, and I have the Joker — my favorite character — forever etched onto my left shoulder.
So a comic book-themed 3-D ride? You better believe this one was a blast for me.
|Part 5: Hollywood Studios|
|Part 4: Epcot|
|Part 3: Animal Kingdom|
|Part 2: Universal Studios|
|Part 1: Islands of Adventure|
The story has J. Jonah Jameyson, editor of the Daily Bugle in NYC, sending you out in the newspaper’s “Scout” vehicle to get the story of the Sinister Six, led by Dr. Octopus, who are destroying the city. As you move from one villain’s destruction site to the next, Spider-Man shows up to shut them down and save your group from certain death.
Jurassic Park River Adventure. Mary seems to get her enjoyment from park rides by watching the fun our kids have on them, much like I do. So it was easy to see that the family as a whole enjoyed this river raft ride about as much as any other in the park.
The Jurassic Park ride closely resembles the spectacle and attention to detail that many Disney rides do — another big reason Mary probably liked this one a lot — and it was with an open mouth and wide eyes that we rode through the massive wooden doors that were made famous in the ’90s movie.
Our boat navigated through several peaceful herbivores, before it was “bumped” off course by a dinosaur and we were soon dodging raptors that had chewed through their cages and a massive 25-foot Tyrannosaurus rex that bent over and tried to take a bite out of us.
Of course we were able to miss getting eaten by the T-rex because, at that moment, we dove 70 feet down a water slide and barely minded getting soaked by the splash — partly because we “escaped” the monster, and mostly because it was nearing triple digits in the Florida sun.
The Cat in the Hat. This is easily Stephanie’s favorite ride. We rode it about three or four times in 2005 during her first visit to the park, mostly because she was too short to ride anything else, and we probably doubled that this time around.
You have to walk under the popular white-and-red striped floppy top hat to get to the ride, then are treated to a 3-D portrayal of the story made popular by Dr. Seuss decades ago. The ride mixes the physical — a piano slides at you after being pushed by Things 1 and 2 — and the animated — cartoons play for portions of the ride.
My daughter called out parts of the ride before they happened on our first trip through, which was amazing since she was just 3 years old during that last trip.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. This was a ride that Jacob seemed to like because it includes many of his favorite things — bright colors, spinning and water shooting at his head. Since he is autistic, it’s sometimes hard to judge what my son’s enjoying. Most rides he has a smile on his face, and waves his arms and kicks his legs like it’s the greatest thing he’s ever happened to sit his butt upon.
But there was no denying he liked this Dr. Seuss-inspired ride. He sat with his mother in a double-fish boat, and the two of them rose up and down as fish on the outside of the ride spit water streams at them and the other passengers.
There are also a couple great roller coasters — The Incredible Hulk and Dueling Dragons — at this park that the kids aren’t big enough to ride — Mary and I took turns riding them in 2005 — and there are several other great kids rides in Seuss-land worth trying out, including the incredibly detailed Caro-Seuss-el merry-go-round that is filled with Seuss creations.
There are also several solid shows and a few good water rides to help keep cool.
We hit Islands of Adventure on the very first day of our vacation, so we had plenty of energy to run around and have a good time, despite the brutal heat that made long lines tough to sit through.
Coming next: Universal Studios.