Islands at 20 – 2

Upon reaching the end of Port of Entry, you either turn right into Seuss Landing or left into Marvel Superhero Island. We’re gonna start with the superheroes.

Marvel Superhero Island is interesting in that it’s seen some pretty serious changes – multi-million dollar changes – and yet the overall aesthetic hasn’t changed much at all. We’ll start off on the edge and move through…

Storm Force Accelatron was intended to be an opening day attraction, but there were technical delays that caused the mutant-inspired variant of the Mad Tea Party to debut in 2000.

sorry for the potato quality – I actually yanked this off a miniDV tape

It’s a fun enough ride if you’re into twirl-and-hurls. Personally, I can take it or leave it.

Next door you’ll find the Incredible Hulk Coaster, and that one has an interesting story.

Hulk’s entrance, circa 2008

In its original incarnation, the ride’s storyline found the rider “tagging along” with Bruce Banner as he experimented on gamma radiation in an attempt to reverse what happened to him.  As the train prepped for launch, you’d hear him realizing that it wasn’t going to work, and he essentially “hulked-out” right as the train shot out of the launch tube.

Hulk in 2005

In 2015, Universal surprised everyone when they announced that The Incredible Hulk was going to be dismantled and rebuilt.  Along with the rebuild came a modification to the storyline – now guests assume the roles of volunteers looking to be experimented on with gamma radiation.  They’re hit with the radiation in the launch tube, and then we’re right back to “hulking out.”  From a storytelling standpoint, I guess it works well enough.

The rebuilt Hulk in 2019

The rebuilt version is essentially the exact same layout with slightly modified trains (and yes, Virginia, that totally counts as a new credit). The biggest change is new onboard audio that plays music throughout the ride (guess they learned that one from ‘ol Led Zeppelin: The Ride).

Hulk in 2007

Here’s the original train design.

Hulk in 2019

And here’s the new train design. I really like the addition of the headlights.

The new entrance area is a lot more badass, but it also feeds into something that is rather controversial about Hulk (as well as the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster next door at USF). 

Before getting on the ride, all guests have to go through metal detectors.  Nothing metal whatsoever is allowed on the ride.  I’ve never seen a park go to this extreme to police rider behavior.  It seems like this is probably lawyers being lawyers in response to some of the issues Universal had with the Dueling Dragons coaster (google that one yourself).

I don’t mind the policy, but it does make me really think twice about riding.  It’s just a damn hassle.

But honestly, I’m being a tiny bit of a whiny bitch.  It’s a fun ride, and it’s not like I’m one of those idiots who needs to take his cell phone on a ride anyways (though having it on me would make a long line go a little faster – even the single rider line gets bogged down on occasion).

On the positive side, Universal does provide free lockers and they’re easy to get into and out of (unlike the damn lockers in Potterland!).

The flagship ride at Islands of Adventure for the first ten years was unquestionably the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.  Spiderman was heralded as one of the greatest theme park rides ever conceived, and it honestly wasn’t hyperbole.  Simply put, this dark ride/simulator hybrid raised the bar for what was possible in the industry. 

Yeah, this is totally a Universal promotional pic.

The ride received a high definition overhaul in 2012, replacing the film with a remastered version that looks fantastic.   Otherwise, this is largely the exact same attraction that opened in 1999.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

As you pass through the queue, keep an eye open for this tribute to the late Stan Lee (you’ll also see him a few times during the ride – most notably as a truck driver coming at ya).

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