| Reader, you may not be able to visit Orlando, Florida and go on the Spider-Man ride, but if you read this page and watch the special one-minute Quicktime movie at its end, I hope you'll feel like you've just BEEN ON the Spidey ride at "Islands of Adventure"!
And if you are planning to travel this Halloween, you might want to consider taking a trip Orlando, to go on the Spider-Man ride, part of Universal's"Islands of Adventure" theme park (entrance to the ride pictured left.)
"Islands of Adventure" is located on the southeast side of Orlando, 10 minutes north of Walt Disney World. It's not actually islands, but a group of several interconnected mini-theme parks with a small lake in the middle (see the map pictured right -- click it for a larger version).
The "islands" at "Islands of Adventure" include Dr. Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, and my favorite island, Marvel Superhero Island. This area features such attractions as the Hulk Roller Coaster, Dr. Doom's Fearfall, a shockingly understocked comic book store, and the subject of today's DIAL B for BLOG -- the world-famous Spider-Man ride! (Entrance to the ride pictured top left.)
THE DAILY BUGLE OFFICES WAITING AREA
Due to the sometime LONG lines, most theme park rides have entertaining waiting areas that reflect the ride. The waiting area for the Spidey ride is supposed to be the offices of the Daily Bugle, the newspaper where Spider-Man works in his secret identity of Peter Parker.
The waiting area has lots of desks, old manual typewriters (what are those?!?), hats, coats, and a bulletin board plastered with supposed Bugle clippings and "photos" of Spider-Man taken by Peter Parker. I wasn't able to tell who drew these pics, but I did detect a heavy John Romita influence. Reader, who do YOU think drew them? Anybody know? Check out the Spidey vs. Rhino "photo," pictured, and take a guess.
Color television sets mounted above the desks play random clips from old Spidey cartoons (pictured below right), unfortunately, the animation is not the series with the classic Spidey theme song, its a bland later edition.
All this is designed to introduce those poor, wretched souls who are not familiar with comic books to the Spider-man universe. It also amuses the audience while they wait (sometimes for over an hour or more) to enter the main attraction -- the actual Spider-Man ride itself, which might be described as a 3-D, multimedia, simulated roller coaster thrill ride. There is no other attraction like it. In fact, no other attraction even comes close!
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RIDE
Riders climb aboard a 12-passenger vehicle, and journey through what looks like the ravaged streets of New York City. In addition to traveling from scene to scene, the computer-controlled vehicles are capable of motion, and they move in synch with the filmed action projected on dozens of screens throughout the ride.
Riders all wear 3-D glasses, because the filmed sequences, which feature Spidey and his rogue's gallery, are all presented in 3-D. As you can kind of tell from the Photoshopped picture on the right, it looks to the rider like a full-sized, three-dimensional Spider-Man has just landed on the front of their car!
The 3-D is not perfect, it's not like virtual reality, but it's definitely the next closest thing. It may not be the Danger Room, but it's guaranteed to give you a thrill unequaled by any other ride.
Suddenly, Spidey zooms off, and the Hobgoblin hurls a flaming pumpkin! As he does, real, actual flames -- that's right, REAL FIRE -- almost singes the hairs off riders' skins! Hyrdo-Man blasts you with water, and riders are sprayed with REAL water! Doc Ock smashes his way through a brick wall, and bricks go flying right at the riders. It's real enough to make most people throw up their arms and duck for cover!
The final sequence simulates a drop from the top of a skyscraper. It all looks and feels real -- but in reality, your car never leaves the ground. It's like a roller-coaster that doesn't go up or down, yet seems to. It's all done with remarkably effective, special-effect trickery.
THE UN-AMAZING SPIDEY GIFT SHOP
When this truly amazing ride is over, you're let out into the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man Gift Store, where you can choose from a truly Unamazing collection of crappy Spidey merchandise (pictured left and right). It's mostly bad T-shirts featuring generic Spidey art. There's also a can of "Webbing Formula," and rows of cheap Spider-Man hats. This gift shop, like ALL the gift shops on Marvel Superhero Island, is geared for the general public. It doesn't even sell Spidey comic books! (Or at least it didn't when I was there.) Comic book fans will find little in this shop to buy, and much to scorn.
THE SPIDER-MAN RIDE QUICKTIME MOVIE!
Click the link below to see a one-minute Quicktime movie featuring rare bootleg footage of the Spider-Man ride shot by me, Robby Reed, the creator of this blog, during the actual ride! The footage looks "blurry" -- that's because it's a 3-D movie, made to be viewed with 3-D glasses. Without them, you'll see multiple images. (And unfortunately, wearing a pair of 3-D glasses while watching this video doesn't work.)
Also, I deleted the soundtrack to the ride (featuring Spidey's narration, villainous voices, and various sound effects) and replaced it with the classic Spidey Theme Song. You won't see the entire ride, just a few highlights, like the "Doctor Octopus breaks through a brick wall" scene pictured right. The video is only a minute long -- I don't want to spoil it for those who may actually go to Universal's "Islands of Adventure." This Quicktime movie gives only a small taste of what the real ride is like. Enjoy it, reader -- and Happy Halloween!