When Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, it became the first new theme park designed by the company not to be based around a working movie studio. Instead of hiding attractions in enormous soundstage buildings, Universal instead opted to locate them in a series of heavily-themed "islands".
Just as the Imagineers do at rival Disney's parks, Universal Creative decided to pack those islands (and the rides that they host) with hidden details. These go completely unnoticed by the majority of guests - but they add an extra dimension to the experience of visiting the park for those that are aware of them.
Here are 25 hidden secrets to look out for on your next visit to Islands of Adventure. Let us know of any we've missed!
25. Unorthodox building techniques
To create the curvy facades in Seuss Landing, Universal employed a material more usually employed for thermal insulation purposes: Styrofoam. Almost everything was made of the material, with artists taking large chunks, attaching them to the fronts of the buildings, and then carving them with chainsaws initially and then with dull knives to create the final image.
24. A message from a Sneetch
Step on the footprints outside Snookers & Snookers Sweet Candy Cookers, and you’ll hear a message from a Sneetch.
23. The hidden troll
Stand near the bridge behind Mythos, and you may hear a troll underneath it!
Step on the dinosaur footprints in Camp Jurassic – they’ll roar at you!
21. The hidden embryos
In Jurassic Park, the villainous Dennis Nedry hides dinosaur embryos in a container disguised as a can of Barbasol shaving cream. Look out for the can inside the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, tucked away on a shelf.
20. The gag trail
Head down the small trail to the right of Me Ship, The Olive. This is packed with gags such as a miniature “school” of fish.
Look on the ground at the entrance to Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. You’ll see the outlines of the Doctor’s unfortunate previous victims! And they aren’t just any victims – those are the imprints of the Fantastic Four.
18. A hidden message
Look out for a message on the manhole cover that you plummet towards at the end of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
17. The creator
Pay close attention during The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and you may spot Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee, who appears three times during the ride.
16. More than a lighthouse
The Pharos Lighthouse, located within Port of Entry, acts as the park’s icon. The functioning lighthouse is based on the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.