Islands of Adventure Maps

By | Wednesday, May 26, 2021 Leave a Comment
Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure theme park is notable in comic circles for featuring a section devoted to Marvel superheroes. I recall it opened to a fair amount of hoopla back in 1999, but I haven't heard a whole lot about it since. There was some discussion about what would happen with it around the time Marvel was bought by Disney, but when the answer turned out to be "nothing changes" it dropped off most people's radar again, I think. And then again in 2010 when they opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which helped boost attention to the park as a whole. It went from being the 15th most-visited theme park in the world to the 7th.

Anyway, of some interest are these park maps from 1999 (when they first opened) and 2006. Interestingly, the actual illustration doesn't seem to have changed in that time, but the treatment is significantly different.

Of course, comparing it wwith a current map (PDF), they've obviously added the Harry Potter section (and shrinking some of the Lost Continent area; Poisiden's Fury seems to really be the only attraction from that section remaining) and the Jurassic Park land has been blurred off a bit to a King Kong/Skull Island section (which is really just one ride).

The newest map (as well as the 2010 update) is an entirely new illustration of the park, but they've taken the exact same approach as the original, duplicating not only the angle and projection but the basic illustration style as well, although the newer map does seem to black line delineation between elements. I can understand keeping the same orientation, with the main entrance in the bottom center, but I find it interesting that they've also kept the same illustration style for over two decades now. With as infrequently as theme parks change physically (building a new roller coaster ain't cheap, after all!) I'd think they'd at least take advantage of having to update the map to take a different approach to the illustration to give the impression of keeping things fresh and new. The illusion of change, and all that.

Anyway, just some curious finds in various internet archives. One of these days, I'll actually get to the park and be able to check it out for myself in person!
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