Today I'm going to cast my mind back to my day in Islands of Adventure. Now this was a new park to me. The last time I went to Florida I was 13 and I can't remember if this park even existed. This is part of Universal Studios, although a separate park altogether, it's the 'sister' if you like. However they are right next door to each other and kinda merge into one at the entrance, so it's really easy access if you want to switch between the two parks half way throughout your day (this is what we did).
This park was much the excitement for my boyfriend as it has a Marvel Superhero Island, so all things comic and superhero - my boyfriend was in his element. Every so often Spiderman would run across the road when you were least expecting it, and you'd all scurry around him to have your photo taken. The Spiderman ride was actually one of my favourite of this park, SO good and something you know you'd never experience back in the UK. The special effects were amazing and I recommend anyone who is going to definitely check out this ride, no matter how long the queue is. Speaking of queues, we paid an extra $40 to get priority queuing. Most times it benefited us but other times they weren't really needed. The Incredible Hulk Coaster was also in this section - I'm not usually a fan of rollercoasters but this one was different to the rest, and I can't put my finger on why now (because its been too long!) but I remember coming off the ride thinking 'I wouldn't mind doing that again later'.
Toon Lagoon was also a favourite of mine - it was full of larger than life cartoon characters and random animated objects that could be used as photo props. There were little waterfalls that were dotted all over the place that you could either play in or just briefly walk through for a cool down! Toon Town had 2 main water rides - Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls, which was a log flume type right, with a fantastic drop at the end! They also had Popeye and Blutos Bilge-Rat Barges which was a raft ride. This wasn't as good as Dudley's, but was still fun and lasted a long time (which is always a bonus!). I remember getting absolutely soaked on this ride though, and my feet were squelching for a good few hours after! There was also Olive's boat for kids to play on with water guns etc, but for obvious reasons I didn't see this part..
The Jurassic Park section was another one of my faves, purely because of the River Adventure. Its set out just like it is on the film, you go through ponds and random dinosaurs are popping up out of the water. You then enter the lab (or whatever it was! It looked familiar from the film though!) and you see them at work experimenting... you know something is about to happen and your excitement/anxiety builds up as the suspense gets too much.. then... I'm not going to spoil it for you, but lets just say the ending is amazing!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now I've never been a huge fan of this.. I've watched some of the films but I can either take or leave it, so I might not have appreciated this as much as the fans would. However as you can imagine, this part was created just like the film. The Hogwarts Express was there, the castles with the snow topped roofs (full size) and a few rides that all related to the film in some way. I remember riding on these but can't remember too much about them. What I will say though is I was really impressed with how much detail they put into their shops in this section. Every shop was related to Harry Potter, but what was inside the shops for 'decoration' was fab - their window displays were full of jars of (what looked like) green gunk/slime with random fleshy looking things inside, the ceilings of these shops had loads of things attached to them. Magic wands dancing, hands that would grab you.. so much that I can't remember. We actually had dinner in Harry Potter land, and even the restaurants are Harry Potter themed (right down to the food and drink!). Mike got a butter beer (I wasn't brave enough, until I realized it wasn't actually real beer but tasted like icecream soda instead, doh!).
The other 2 sections were The Lost Continent (which contained things like ancient temples, Poseidon etc), and Seuss Landing, which was dedicated more for children.
This park was by far one of my top ones during my stay. It had a good balance of everything, and writing this has helped me to re-live it in my head all over again!
Are you going to Florida this year? Make sure this is on your theme park list!