Islands of Adventure

Misha Khan

Photo by Brett Durda

You ascend 105 feet high, and then suddenly drop, making the leap from zero to 40 mph within a couple of seconds. Hair is flying; jaws are open; hearts are racing, and everyone seems to be screaming his or her lungs out.

“The Incredible Hulk” roller coaster is one of the several rides and attractions at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park where 50 Jacksonville University students visited Saturday as part of the adventure trips offered by the Student Development and Leadership Department.

Opened in 1999, Islands of Adventure mixes the ‘edge’ that made Universal famous with the ‘theming’ that made Disney famous. In fact, some of Disney’s imagineers were hired by Universal to help develop this park. ┬áSteven Speilberg himself also served as a creative consultant. Islands of Adventure is divided into seven distinct areas each offering some of the best attractions in Orlando.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure offers a little bit for people of all ages. One can join Harry Potter and his friends in an unforgettable adventure on the groundbreaking new ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” battle villains on “The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman,” plunge down an 85-foot waterfall to escape the jaws of a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex on the “Jurassic Park River Adventure,” cheer on the heroes as you enjoy the explosive feats of the “Eighth Voyage of Sindbad” stunt show, help save the day as you hurtle down the “Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls” flume ride or spin and whirl through the mischievous world of “The Cat in the Hat.”

The latest addition to the theme park is the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” The Universal Studios website describes this world as a place where one “can pass through the towering Hogwarts castle gates and explore the familiar passageways, classrooms and corridors.”

The ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” the section’s signature attraction, is located inside Hogwarts Castle and takes guests through scenes inspired by the Potter books and films.

The coach bus left for Orlando from the JU commuter parking lot a little after 11:00 a.m. and returned to campus just before 12:30 a.m., allowing students plenty of time to roam the park and even head to Universal Studios for the Mardi Gras parade at 8:00 p.m. Several students returned to the bus with colorful beads around their necks and a smile on their faces.

For junior Codee Fuquay, it was his first time visiting the park, and it couldn’t have gone better.

“Seeing that this was my first time going to Islands of Adeventure, I would have to say, it was a blast,” he said. “I got to ride literally everything that I wanted to, with little to no wait. Even got to ride the Hulk seven times! And price was more than reasonable.”

The trip cost JU students only $30 as compared to the usual ticket prices between $60 and $70. Transportation is included in all the trips offered by JU.

Islands of Adventure proved to be a place of enjoyment for the JU students despite the cold weather. Junior Tanya Singh didn’t seem to mind the weather at all.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “We lived it!”