Welcome to Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole, and today and I’ll be your guide on a trip to a time of “fantastic” voyages and adventures.
A week ago, Universal Studios announced their worst-kept secret: a fourth theme park (well, when you include Volcano Bay, which I don’t, but that’s beside the point) will officially be coming to the resort. Dubbed Epic Universe, Universal didn’t give a ton of information about what IP would be coming to the park, but I would say that Nintendo is all but guaranteed to have a major presence, especially because they already announced that it would be coming to the resort.
Epic Universe will be the resort’s first true theme park since Islands of Adventure opened 20 years ago on May 28, 1999. Looking at this map, it’s pretty incredible to see how much of the park has remained intact to this day. Outside of The Lost Continent area, pretty much every single major attraction from the park’s opening day is still in the park today. What makes this so interesting is that at Universal Studios Florida, just a quick walk away, E.T. Adventure is the only major opening day attraction that is still kicking. Islands of Adventure has focused more on expansion and retheming as seen with Skull Island: Reign of Kong and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as opposed to the destruction next door.
As mentioned earlier, The Lost Continent has seen some changes over the years, the first of which occurred when The Wizarding World opened. Dueling Dragons got a new paint job to transform into Dragon Challenge, based off of the first task of the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. However, not all of The Lost Continent was taken over, with about half of the land area and most of the attractions not undergoing any sort of change.
Today, The Lost Continent is still home to Mythos, widely regarded as one of the best theme park restaurants, and Poseidon’s Fury, a highly-underrated walkthrough show experience that I highly recommend checking out if you’ve never done so before. But one piece that made it through the Harry Potter cuts, though not quite until today, was The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad.
Opening along with Islands of Adventure on May 28, 1999, The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad seemed like a direct successor to The Adventures of Conan from Universal Studios Hollywood. Sure, it wasn’t based on a film, but Sindbad is known enough that people would understand what they were getting into with this stunt show.
Now, I may have called this a stunt show, but that doesn’t give an entirely accurate description of the show. A better way to put it would be “a comedic tale of adventure with some stunts at the end that you won’t actually believe are stunts because they are so boring and anti-climactic.”
Before we get into how bad the show was, I do want to give it some credit for its stage. As you can tell, the stage itself was really detailed, and they did a really nice job utilizing the entire thing. There were a few gags where a character would fall into one part of the stage and then come out somewhere completely different a few seconds later. That aspect kept you looking around the whole time because you never knew where someone would pop out from.
I also liked a lot of the jokes that they made throughout the show, even if most of them were pretty silly and referential. While a lot of these references fell flat with the audience, they kept me chuckling. Sindbad and his sidekick Kabob had a fun dynamic where they played off of each other pretty well at the beginning. So everything was going swimmingly. Well, until the show remembered that it was supposed to be a stunt show.
This picture looks kind of exciting with Sindbad gearing up to face two foes at once. Unfortunately, it’s from basically the only time in the show that has any of our protagonists fighting two people at once. Throughout the show, Sindbad, Kabob and Princess Amoura all had one foe who they faced up against. But very rarely were these fights occurring at the same time. You’d see Sindbad fight a guy for a minute then run off stage to have Kabob appear with his nemesis and so on. So there was this ginormous stage, and we were stuck watching one battle at a time for over half the show. I want to know whose idea that was because they should watch pretty much any other show ever to learn how terrible it was.
Now you may be thinking, I’m sure these stunts must be pretty awesome to justify having two people on stage at a time. Nope! Instead, punches missed by nearly a foot and the swordplay was slow and unenthusiastic. Basically, it was a disaster the entire time and just sooo boring. I really tried my best to pay attention, but it was so difficult to focus in with everything feeling so half-hearted. Honestly, it made me long for the comedy to come back, which is saying a lot because those jokes weren’t great however much I chuckled at them.
I had heard about this fire dive at the end of the show, which sounded pretty cool. Guess what? It wasn’t. The costume that they put on the stunt performer barely resembled the costume of the actress. I get that it needs to be fire-proofed, but I expect just a tad bit of effort instead of completely phoning it in.
Now I may sound a bit harsh, but pretty much everyone who saw the show felt similarly to myself, which makes it amazing that the show managed to stick around nearly 20 years until September 15, 2018. It’s fascinating that despite the near-universal criticism, the show stayed that long, but with nothing planned to replace it, it’s clear that Universal eventually just said enough is enough. Personally, I’m fine with the theater to just sit empty for now so that no one has to be subjected to the show anymore. I’m interested to see what will replace it though because Harry Potter was the logical choice, but with it probably being a part of Epic Universe, it doesn’t look like the most likely candidate. Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure, the replacement will definitely be better than the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad.
With that, here’s your clues for what’s on the agenda for next week.
- This Disney attraction was based on a licensed property.
- The property this attraction was based on was a live-action film franchise.
- If you liked mysterious animals, this show was for you.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.