For this final chapter of Favorite Theme Park Images, we return to Universal Orlando Resort. Having enjoyed the 2nd Universal theme park from day one, I’m thrilled to share these Islands of Adventure photographs.
With themed “islands” celebrating classic newspaper ‘toons, Marvel superheroes, and the whimsy of Seuss Landing, vibrant backdrops frame colorful characters. In contrast, earthy enigmas and mystical magic make magnificent image opportunities at the Lost Continent and Jurassic Park.
Even though Islands of Adventure is a relatively young park, it has seen a great deal of change over the past 20 years. Additions to Marvel Superhero Island and Jurassic Park compete for attention with the pared-down Lost Continent (which was split to welcome the Wizarding World of Harry Potter).
Each of these diverse lands lends itself to photographic fun. Even the airy and amusing park entry area, better known as Port of Entry is willing to give up a few snapshot worthy subjects.
Islands of Adventure Photographs
Entering the gates of Islands of Adventure immediately transports guests into another realm. Fantasy facades and amusing accents greet those guests wise enough to look up and around as they traverse the Port of Entry to find adventure beyond. To the left Marvel Superhero Island, Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park summon.
Meanwhile, those who turn right enter Seuss Landing, followed by the Lost Continent and Hogsmeade Village. Each of these themed areas offers thrilling attractions, dining options, and much more. And, of course, plenty of photo ops.
Port of Entry fun
I really love the whimsical attention to detail hidden throughout this scene-setting entryway. Many items beg for closer examination and even evoke amusing reactions.
Islands of Adventure
Seuss Landing, Marvel Superhero Island, and Jurassic Park all have their allure. Passing through these areas definitely offers additional opportunities for images in the Islands. However, for me, most of my time in this park belongs to the area at the back of the park. Perhaps it has me under a spell? But before I get too far ahead of myself, a few images from these fun-filled islands.
Seuss Landing will always remind me of Mom and learning to read (thanks to my parents I was reading the good doctor’s books before entering first grade).
Lost Continent can be a home away from home on a busy park weekend. Along with meeting my wife while working in this area, a very close “friend” still makes appearances and the Mythical Metals Coin Mint (in front of what used to be the Seventh Voyage of Sindbad theater). Keep an eye out for Sir Whackalot (don’t worry the “t” is silent, it IS a family park).
I especially love the “fork in the road” at Poseidon’s Fury!
Before moving on to the main event, Hogsmeade Village, I’d like to share this image of the Enchanted Oak (now the Three Broomsticks)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
As a Central Florida resident at the time, I enjoyed the privilege of entering Universal Studios’ first Harry Potter-themed land: Hogsmeade Village several days before its grand opening.
I was, of course, blown away by the amazing attention to detail. Of course, it didn’t hurt that coincided with getting reacquainted with photography thanks to a new DSLR.
Just as the Magic Kingdom has its focal point in Cinderella Castle, Hogwarts offers a wonderful canvas for projection shows in addition to serving as host to the main attraction (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) AND the area’s centerpiece.
One of the awesome features of ‘Forbidden Journey is that guests can take a “tour” of Hogwarts without experiencing the ride. For me, this offered the ability to take the camera with me (instead of putting it in a locker) and grab some indoor images.
Closing the Photo Book
In as much as the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World inspired me to push the limits of low light photography, Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter helped me hone in on picking up the fine details and telling a story with each image.
I sincerely hope that this series has not only entertained but encouraged those with an interest in image-making to pick up that camera and get out there and take some photographs!
Are you a theme park fan who enjoys snapping photos of your adventures? Which parks and subjects catch your photographic eye?
Source and images: Michael Gavin