Year after year Spiderman constantly receives acclaim from various theme park sites and magazines as the best non-coaster attraction out there. In fact, many also regard it as the best attraction in a park rich in high-quality attractions such as Dueling Dragons, the Hulk, and Ripsaw Falls, just to name a few. Well, the hype was definitely there due to its lofty reputation. So did it deliver? Oh boy, did it ever!
Well back in ’06, I rode Busch Gardens’ Curse of DarKastle and was extremely impressed by the entire attraction. The theming was exceptional and the entire attraction was very well executed and a new concept for me, as the 3-D and complete motion of the vehicles just made the attraction incredible. However, there were various shortcomings that hampered the attraction- namely the horrid audio and confusing plot. Despite this I was deeply in love with the attraction. Not suprisingly, Spiderman was identical, except in that it had a great plot and incredible audio.
Really the experience begins with the very well themed queue that meanders through the Daily Bugle. Thankfully, lines weren’t longer than 20 minutes during my visit, though I have heard that they generally are much worse (close to an hour). Here, the ride’s story line is revealed via newscast- Doc Ock and his evil syndicate has stolen a levitation ray and they have New York’s beloved Statue of Liberty and the entire city at their mercy. Eager for the front page material, riders quickly don a pair of 3-D glasses and are quickly directed towards the loading station to board the technologically advanced SCOOP vehicles to cover the extravaganza. The SCOOP vehicles simply put are a technological marvel and just the sheer amount of technology crammed into that single car is just mind-boggling. One note, I enjoyed the front row slightly better thanks to the unobstructed view, so I recommend at least experiencing the front once.
Once seated in the comfortable vehicles, riders are immediately sent into the action as Spiderman confronts everyone, warning them to take heed of the perilous situation ahead. Each scene is flawlessly executed in terms of audio, visual, and 4-D effects and each has riders confronting one of Spiderman’s various villains. The 3-D effects are just flat-out amazing and the 4-D effects combined with the incredible 3-D effects just make the entire attraction incredibly immersive and enjoyable from beginning to end. For example, when Electro shocks the entire vehicle, riders literally feel the shock as the entire vehicle vibrates wildly, or when Hydro-Man attacks, sending a cascade of water towards riders.
But the second half is where the attraction really shines in my opinion, where riders come face to face with the Hobgoblin who sends a barrage of frightenly well executed explosives towards riders, only to be rescued by Spiderman at the last second. The sensation of flying high above New York City rooftops is flawlessly executed and the action is intense like that of the live-action movies. Arguably the most dazzling effect featured during the attraction is the climatic simulated 400ft plunge that is incredibly realistic. Not only are the visuals and the sensation of speed perfect, but Universal somehow managed to create an incredible stomach-dropping sensation as well. Not surprisingly, in the end Spiderman saves New York City.
Clearly Spiderman is worthy of all the hype it receives as it truly is a special attraction that flawlessly combines impressive visual effects with impeccable audio effects and 4-D effects that can only be attained by those incredible ride vehicles. Personally, it isn’t as good as the major coasters, Ripsaw, and Jurassic Park in my opinion, but nonetheless this truly is a top-notch attraction and easily one of the park’s best. One shouldn’t even consider skipping this breathtaking attraction while at the park since it’s one of those few attractions that delivers in pretty much every single aspect with flying colors.