Since Islands of Adventure is such a great theme park, there really isn’t too much to talk about. That actually sounds pretty stupid. What I mean is that giving commentary on the experience at the park isn’t very interesting when everything goes right for the most part. And considering I’ve already given a pretty thorough description of the park, I have to be cautious to not delve too far into the realm of redundancy.
That being said, the day’s events can be summed up fairly easily in three steps.
One, the Triceratops Encounter was closed. In all honesty, this was the sole reason I came back to Florida. The upside to this was seeing a southern man trying to buy beer. On Sunday. At ten in the morning. “We’re sorry sir, we can’t sell beer until noon,” the attendant told him. “Ahl be back layter,” he replied.
Two, our final ride on Ripsaw Falls lasted about twenty minutes. This was due to the fact that the ride got stuck twice, the first time we were stuck for only a few minutes, the second time we sat there for about ten minutes. Finally, right as we were going up the hill leading to the final drop, the high point of the ride, it got stuck again. And we were escorted off. The ride is still one of the coolest looking attractions in any theme park.
Three, well, I don’t really have a third point. But the Cat in the Hat ride is really freaking creepy.
And there you have it, Islands of Adventure, the sequel.
But fear not. The day’s fun might have not been very fun to read about, but the night is something different altogether. Not different in the sense of it being any more interesting to read about, different for other reasons. The night is filled with something not humorous at all. The night is filled… with horror.
Halloween Horror Nights, to be precise.
So we already know that Islands of Adventure is an amazing theme park. Well, its reputation increased tenfold with me after this. A lot of theme parks have Halloween themed events; however most of them are mostly goofy. Some fake cobwebs here, a fake skeleton there, and pumpkins all over the place. I appreciate the effort, I really do. I love Halloween, so the more of this theme I can get, the better. I do, however, take offense to the “spooky” names that are tacked onto these events, “Fright Fest” in Six Flags being one of the worst offenders.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Fright Fest. It’s freezing out, so no one makes you go on water rides, at least at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The atmosphere is good, what with the pumpkins and cobwebs and all. However, there is one major ingredient missing…fright.
Fun, yes; scary, no.
Islands of Adventure, on the other hand, had a very good reputation when it came to its Halloween activities. I talked to a few people (well, one) and heard great things.
So the night I was there, Islands closed early, in order to set up for Halloween Horror Nights. Because of this, we were forced to kill time on the City Walk for a couple of hours. This doesn’t sound like such a problem, having to hang around a tourism oriented area, ripe with restaurants, stores, and other attractions. However, unless you are a big fan of Jimmy Buffett, the City Walk is a horrid place to be stranded.
Finally, Islands was ready to reopen; and, dear God, was it packed. Immediately upon reentry, it was obvious how much better Horror Nights was than any Halloween event I’d been to before. Costumed characters roamed around everywhere, either harassing guests or vice versa, I couldn’t tell.
Right past the entry path to the park was a stage with dancers, towered over by a huge flaming skull. Bad ass. Now, I don’t know much about dancing from experience, but I assume that dancing in one spot for an extended period of time would get tiring and / or boring rather quickly. I tried to see if the dancers were different later on, to see if they got a break, but I couldn’t tell if they were they same people or not. The whole “chained up pirate tramp” outfits confused me.
These girls are probably new employees, who have to go through this theme park boot camp. It could be worse, I guess. I assume that being forced to dance is better than being beaten with soap-filled towels. But I can’t say from experience. The dancing, that is. Once these dancers have been approved, they are able to move on to bigger and better things. Such as unchained pirate tramp dancers.
We headed over to Seussville, towards the first haunted house. Besides overhauling the park itself, the Horror Nights also included a group of haunted houses, exclusive to the event. Certain ones were themed towards whatever island they were located on, such as a jungle themed on the Jurassic Park island.
The Seussville one was not themed. I guess the thinking, and I totally agree, is that a Dr. Seuss themed haunted house would be way too messed up.
The sign for the house said the wait time was approximately fifteen minutes. The estimation was… a little off. We wound up being on line for about forty minutes in the sweltering heat. Making matters worse was the fact that the sky was seriously threatening to rain.
Eventually, we got to the front of the line. The house was inside a big warehouse, and was themed like… a house. You started in the front yard, and slowly made your way in and through the house. I loved the whole thing. The atmosphere was very well done, and was quite scary. Amy, well, she didn’t like it too much.
She disliked it so much that she refused to go into another one. I didn’t want to go in them by myself. Not out of fear, but going on a ride by yourself is like going to the movies by yourself: stupid. I also didn’t want to stand in the long line by myself, sweating and grumbling.
So to balance out the haunted house, we headed towards the least scary, and most lame thing we could find, which was the Bill and Ted musical extravaganza. First of all, Bill and Ted seem like a really random thing to base something like this on. I love the movies, but they aren’t exactly very culturally relevant right now.
Basically the show was a poorly thought out combination of bad humor, music, and very bad pop culture reference, some bordering on offensive.
So that ended eventually.
I’m aware that this isn’t too interesting of a tale; like I said, it’s hard to write about things like this that were enjoyable. Complaining is much easier and more fun. That’s why this is going to be cut off soon, so I can get to the next day.
In summary, the conclusions I came to last year ring just as true: Islands of Adventure is amazing. Halloween Horror Nights, amazing also. Here’s a traveling tip: If you really feel the need to go to Universal Studios, buy a park hopper pass. That way, you can spend a full day at Islands of Adventure. The next day, go to Universal Studios. Then, when you’re finished there by around 2 PM, you can spend the rest of the day at Islands. Boo Yah.
On our way back to the hotel, we were challenged to try new things. Have a “Thirst Adventure” by drinking, uh, Coca Cola. At least it’s not Goose Juice.