As fun as riding Dr. Doom's Fear Fall and NOT riding the Incredible Hulk Coaster was, easily the most exciting and memorable aspect of my visit to Marvel Super Hero Island was the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride.
The basics of the ride is that it's a 3D simulator that it gives you the illusion of motion and impact without actually going anywhere or getting hit by anything. However, Universal Orlando went far above and beyond these rather basic thrills by providing a convincing, dazzling plunge into a comic book world. The experience begins as you stroll into the offices of the Daily Bugle, where everyone's favorite blowhard J. Jonah Jameson is ranting and raving about a super villain takeover of New York City and, as usual, the Spider-Man menace. In order to get information on what's going on, Jonah is deputizing the general public to serve as Daily Bugle reporters and sending us out in tank-like "Scoop" vehicles.
Once we were secured into the Scoop vehicle with our 3D glasses in place, we were off.
SPOILER WARNING: Anyone who's planning on checking out the Spider-Man ride in the near future, and wants to be totally surprised, you may want to avoid reading the rest of the entry.
The ride starts out on a quiet note, as shadows of scurrying rats and Spider-Man are glimpsed through dark alleys and abandoned buildings. As we started to turn a corner, we heard squabbling voices and commotion, then saw a pack of Spider-Man's villains busy disassembling the Statue of Liberty! The fiends! Once they see us, that's when the...er...web really hits the fan.
The first attack comes from Electro, who leaps onto a bridge above us (you can hear his sizzling footsteps overhead), then jumps onto our car with a convincing THUD. After a short, high-pitched evil rant, Electro then plunges a huge electrical cable into the "hood" of the car, violently shaking it as we're "Electro-cuted" (groan). Next comes Dr. Octopus and his snaking tentacles, one of which has flame crackling out of the tip while being held (seemingly) inches from our faces...with the real sensation of some fairly intense heat! The other villains come in quick succession, so I'm less clear on their precise order, but they included a freaky-looking Carnage (a female version of Venom...probably a bit too scary for younger children), a water-spattering Hydro-Man, and the Hobgoblin. Hobby was a bit of a disappointment since was basically just a stand-in for the much more iconic Green Goblin, whose absense in the ride is fairly conspicuous. It was a bit like the Joker not being included in a Batman ride. Hobgoblin tosses a flaming pumpkin bomb into our faces, but for whatever reason, it wasn't accompanied by the sensation of heat they used for Doc Ock....which was another disappointing aspect of Hobby's appearance.
Once all of the main characters are introduced, a good old-fashioned comic book brawl kicks the ride into high geer. The car is seemingly pitched high into the air, while ducking and weaving between buildings, explosions and rampaging supervillains. However, Spider-Man's got our back and saves us from dozens of dangerous close calls, the most thrilling of which is a head-first plunge into the streets below...only to be stopped at the last possible second by a net of webbing (which you can glimpse here on a short Spider-Man ride video).
Needless to say, my family and I rode the Spider-Man ride many, many more times*. Thinking about it afterward, it was fun for me to see them experience a little bit of the "world" of comic books I've been so familiar with for most of my life. The ride was a great "translation" of that world into reality (or pseudo-reality) and despite a few minor gripes, it's an experience I'd highly recommend to anyone...whether they're comic book fans or not.
* I would also highly recommend purchasing Express Plus Passes for any of the days you're visiting either Universal Studios or (especially) Islands of Adventure. These will allow you to bypass the regular lines for separate lines that get you onto rides almost immediately. If you don't get Express passes, expect to wait one to two hours to get into high-profile rides like Spider-Man. The passes are about $20 per person, but are well worth the extra expense. Having not had them the final day of our trip, I can tell you it's much better having the passes to avoiding the staggering lines.