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Non-Disney Theme Parks
Topic: New Favorite Theme Park

Sat 10/8/2011 5:30a
While Epcot will always remain a sentimental favorite, by any objective criteria Islands of Adventure is the best Theme Park I've ever visited. The WWOHP is absolutely spectacular; HP and the Forbidden Journey is so far beyond any other attraction I've experienced that I never would have imagined something like that was even possible. The expanded Fantasyland won't beat it and I sincerely doubt that Avatarland will. WWOHP not only "kicked it up a notch", it defines a whole new scale of measurement. While I've enjoyed the Potter books and movies, I'm certainly not a drooling HP fanboi. WWOHP is just TRULY that GOOD!
Sat 10/8/2011 5:38a
Great to hear! As I say, Disney lives on it's legacy, the rest of the world however is catching up and exceeding. Have a great time.
Sat 10/8/2011 8:41p
So true, RT. I'm not even a follower of the Potter series, and I was blown away by the level of detail in WWOHP.
Tue 10/11/2011 7:14a
I'm with you, RT. Just got back from along weekend at UOR and IoA continues to impress.

Some parts needed some paint (mostly Seuss Landing) but I saw maintenance managers pointing those areas out for fixing.
Tue 10/11/2011 2:57p
Now that I've been home for a few days my memories of IOA and Universal Studios have had a chance to "season" a little... my opinion remains the same. It is currently my favorite theme park.

Iím sure part of that is due to what I've long claimed about others... the excitement of WDW or just about anything else fades after many repeat visits. Out of all four WDW parks, there are only a handful of attractions that I would truly miss if for whatever reason they were closed when I visited:

Haunted Mansion
Peter Pan

Tower of Terror
Midway Mania

Expedition Everest
Kilimanjaro Safari

Spaceship Earth
Test Track
Mission Space

Meanwhile, at Universal I really look forward to:

The Mummy
Men in Black
Terminator 4-D
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Incredible Hulk
Jurasic Park River Adventure
HP and the Forbidden Journey
The pleasure of wandering around the WWOHP
Dragon Challenge
Poseidon's Fury

Plus there are several attractions in Toon Lagoon and Seuss Landing that I want to try that I didnít have time for during my recent visit.

I'm sure if I had seen all these attraction as many times as I've seen the WDW attractions, they would become stale too. But my most recent visit to the Studios before last week was 1999 (our final Orlando trip before buying DVC... those tricky devils!) and I had never been to IOA before. Obviously the "newness" is a factor in my decision.

I think when we visit next year I will still buy a singe-day ticket to Epcot... I do still love that place!
Wed 10/12/2011 10:51a
^^^I'm with you again, RT. I'm sure it has to do with having a lot less room to spread things out and less parks and such, but each of the parks at UOR has a killer line-up chock full of rides I can't imagine missing when in Florida.

Disney overall probably has the same amount for me, but Universal is cheaper and more convenient to experience all of them in a few days.

Also, Trip, I notice you didn't go on the Toon Lagoon rides. Pop-eye is a must next time you're there. Definitely the best raft ride I've encountered. But be careful, you will get SOAKED.
Wed 10/12/2011 11:45a
I was a big IOA fan from the beginning, long before they put in Harry Potter. But, with my kids being under 8 it wasn't the best park for a family visit. Disney still beat them there and even the original Studio Park is more family friendly.

As they get older my guess is that we will be spending more time at IOA.
Wed 10/12/2011 11:51a
<Pop-eye is a must next time you're there. Definitely the best raft ride I've encountered. But be careful, you will get SOAKED.>

That's actually why I don't consider it the best. To me, half the fun of such rides is wondering IF you'll get soaked or just damp, and WHO in your circle of compadres will get zonked.

On Popeye, there's never any mystery. You all get soaked to the skin. Every time. Otherwise I really like it, but that's a major flaw for me. GRR, Shipwreck, the one at BGW - also nicely themed, and far more random.

<Obviously the "newness" is a factor in my decision.>

I think that's right, RT. I haven't seen HP and it looks great, but when I've visited IOA - though it was certainly a step up from Six Flags - it had just one splendid attraction (Spiderman), two pretty good coasters (though once you leave the station, you might as well be at Six Flags), one good show, some "well done attractions of their type" (e.g. Popeye, Dudley Do-Right, Dr. Doom, Jurassic) and then some pretty standard stuff, wrapped up in theming that ranges from the terrific to the so-so.

Compared to DL which has any number of splendid attractions (POTC, HM, Indy, Splash), others I can't imagine missing (Peter Pan, Mr. Toad, Columbia or Twain, JC), 3 milder but fully themed (and thus ultimately more enjoyable) coasters, FAR better live entertainment and great theming nearly everywhere... I just can't see saying that IOA is a better park. I'm very keen to see HP and I'm sure it elevates the park, but even so. I think it's very easy to take DL's venerable E-tickets for granted, having ridden them so many times, and I think you kind of realized that after your initial gush.

That's DL, of course. WDW is another matter and I can see why USO might be cutting into that market.
Wed 10/12/2011 3:17p
Disneyland is a different bird than the Magic Kingdom.

At the MK Space Mountain is rough to the point of being painful. Big Thunder is a pretty lame coaster... especially when half the animatronics aren't working. To me a coaster is a COASTER first and foremost... themeing is a definite plus, but above all it has to stand on it's own as a coaster. The WDW coasters just don't do that. R&RC is good but WAY too short... totally inferior to Universal's new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (at the Studios). WDW's best coaster is Everest, but even that would have a hard time standing on it's own as a coaster... the wonderful queue and show building is what makes it enjoyable.

POTC is a classic attraction, but frankly after seeing it probably 50 times it bores me. I always see it out of respect, but can't say that I'd miss it terribly if it were closed when I was at the park.

Don't underestimate the WWOHP... it truly is beyond anything I've ever seen from Disney. I went there expecting to be underwhelmed... I figured nothing could live up to the hype I'd heard. It lived up to it and EXCEEDED it.
Wed 10/12/2011 7:22p
"Disneyland is a different bird than the Magic Kingdom. "

Oh absolutely. And I'm not underestimating HP. I thought it looked great and the majority of reviews I've read say the same.

I was reacting to your calling it your favorite park. IOA when I saw it didn't come close to DL (and only barely beat out BGW) so for HP to vault it into #1? I don't think it would, though obviously it would come closer.

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