Universal's Islands of Adventure

Intro / Description

I apologize for not publishing  a post  last weekend.  We’ve had a very busy week with family and the Christmas holiday.  I’ll try to make up for it today with this Central Florida Photo Op review of Universal’s Islands of Adventure Theme park.

Dawn at Hogwarts Castle

Dawn at Hogwarts Castle

Islands of Adventure is right next to Universal Studios and City Walk and is one of the newest theme parks in the Orlando area.  It opened in 1998, and this year (2010), Universal added a new “island” to the park – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  This much awaited addition has been extremely popular and is a must see for Harry Potter fans.

Ollivanders wand shop

Ollivander’s wand shop

The park also has a Port of Entry and 5 other “islands”:   Marvel Super Hero Island; Toon Lagoon; Jurassic Park; The Lost Continent; and Suess Landing.  Depending on your interests these will be more or less appealing to you.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints: The line to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey winds through Hogwarts Castle and has many, many photo ops along the way.  Be prepared so you don’t hold up people or lose your place.  Most of the photo ops are at close range, so use your flash and fire away.

Tripod/Monopod:  I did see one person using a tripod, but I think it’s very impractical.  When you’re inside and need it, you won’t have time or space to use it because you’ll be in a ride queue.  Outside you’ll have plenty of light, and the crowds will make setting up very difficult.  And the less equipment you have to carry on the sometimes cramped rides, the better.

Lenses:  Nothing too extreme is needed – a mid range zoom is enough to capture many fine images at this park. You can use a flash too, so you don’t have to worry too much about fast, heavy lenses.

Best time to visit:  Winter is a great time to visit, since you’ll be blessed with fine Florida weather.  If you time your visit right, you can even see some color in our trees.

Fall colors

Fall colors

Pick a day when no fronts are coming through and you’ll avoid the rain.  If you’re a big Harry Potter fan, you’ll want to research strategies for the best ways to get in quickly to this area – it can get quite jammed with muggles.  We arrived at the park before it opened, made straight for the area and did pretty well.  Other people have had luck avoiding long lines by going late at night just before the park closes.

Muggles crowd in Hogsmeade Village

The muggles crowd in Hogsmeade Village

Other:

Several rides at Islands of Adventure will get you and possibly your photo gear wet.  Take precautions when riding Popey & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, and Jurassic Park River Adventure.  There are lockers where you can store your gear.  I wasn’t comfortable taking expensive camera gear through wet rides or leaving it in lockers, so I made do with my small Canon S90 which I could protect in my pocket.

The Mythos restaurant in the Lost Continent area is rated very highly and has some of the best  theme park food in the world.  It’s also fairly reasonably priced.  We very much enjoyed our meal.

The Tempura Shrimp Sushi appetizer at  Mythos Restaurant

Tempura Shrimp Sushi appetizer

Summary

You can click on any of the photos above to go to Flickr, where you can see a larger version.  The link to the rest of my Islands of Adventure photos is right below.  You can look at all of the photos from our Christmas holidays in this Flickr set.  Thanks for stopping by.

My Gallery / Flickr photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157625691192000/
Website: http://www.universalorlando.com/Amusement_Parks/Islands_of_Adventure/islands_of_adventure.aspx
Address / Phone: Parking Garage:

6000 Universal Boulevard

Orlando, FL 32819

Main Number: 407-363-8000

Longitude: -81.46228

Latitude: 28.47399

View in Google Maps

Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Harry Potter fans can’t go wrong in this point and shoot paradise.

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

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