2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. Revenge of the Mummy
Written by Robert Niles
Thrills and theme can live together, and the best theme parks find ways to appeal to heart, mind and physical senses by blending thrills and theme in unique attractions. Universal provides two of the better examples of themed thrills with its Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Revenge of the Mummy.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man opened with Universal's Islands of Adventure in May 1999. Disney had introduced a mash-up of a flight simulator unit on a dark ride track with Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure in 1995, but Universal took that platform a step further by adding 3D projection to the mix. If you think that's only an incremental improvement, let's remember that creating the illusion of 3D is dependent upon maintaining a proper visual focal point for viewers. That's tough enough to do in a stationary movie theater. Now imagine doing that for viewers in a vehicle that's not only moving along a track, but bucking and swaying as it moves, too. The perspective and focal point of the 3D image must shift to accommodate those viewers, then seamlessly transition to pick up viewers from the next vehicle, too. Spider-Man not only accomplishes this, but does so in service of a fun, action-packed story that has won raves from Theme Park Insider readers.
Universal debuted Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida in May 2004, with an abridged version opening at Universal Studios Hollywood a month later. Themed indoor roller coasters have been around since Disney's Space Mountain debuted in the 1970s, but with Revenge of the Mummy Universal created the most ambitious blend of a roller coaster with an animatronic dark ride to date. Each installation of Revenge of the Mummy differs from the others substantially, with the Florida original involving film series star Brendan Fraser in a sarcastic subplot that "resolves" with a fun twist at the end. In Hollywood's shorter version, Fraser's gone, but good triumphs over the evil Imhotep anyway. It's in Singapore that Revenge of Mummy fully embraces its dark side, allowing the bad guys a rare theme park win.
(I strongly considered matching up Singapore's Revenge of the Mummy against Efteling's Fata Morgana in this year's tournament, creating a battle of rides with unhappy endings. But Florida's Revenge of the Mummy earned its place in the top 16 with so much support from Theme Park Insider readers over the years, and I didn't want to give Mummy two spots in the tournament, so in the end I decided to go with the more popular Florida version and to leave the rarely-rated Fata Morgana out this year, in favor of a more-often-rated attraction.)
Here's an on-ride video of Florida's Revenge of the Mummy, for those who haven't experienced this version of the ride:
And here's a snippet of the new 4K imagery from Universal's 2012 revamp of Spider-Man:
Time to vote!
Tomorrow: Journey to the Center of the Earth vs. Sindbad's Storybook Voyage
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