A park of discovery, a park of adventure, a park of innovative technology, a park of elaborate storytelling—Islands of Adventure opened back in 1999 as Universal’s first park that didn’t follow the studio format. Islands of Adventure has captured the hearts of countless parkgoers for being a special destination in many ways.
Only a handful of Islands of Adventure’s opening day attractions have closed since the park opened a quarter of a century ago. Poseidon’s Fury has now joined that group, being sealed off and becoming defunct as of May 2023. In its own way, Poseidon’s Fury captured the discovery, adventure, technology, and storytelling Islands of Adventure has been praised for, all in a single experience.
Poseidon’s Fury, though it survived several decades of operation, was far from consistent. The attraction has a frantic history, with wild unrealized concepts. It even shut down at the turn of the millennium within only a year of its opening day. The story was overhauled, and the show’s effects were adjusted before reopening anew in 2001. Despite these extensive changes early on, the revamped Poseidon’s Fury operated mostly untouched for more than 20 years.
Poseidon’s Fury was one-of-a-kind, inspiring, and—most importantly—it’s missed. I have an ocean’s worth of emotions to pour out. Because of that, I’m here to celebrate The Lost Continent’s longest-running attraction and the final one to sink: Poseidon’s Fury.
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What Made Poseidon's Fury Legendary
When people say a ride is “unique,” the word they might be looking for is “special” or “impressive.” To be “unique,” that attraction has to be truly one of a kind—unlike any other attraction. There are thousands of roller coasters and dark rides out there, and quite frankly, many are pretty similar. They function in similar ways and typically use common effects. But, I can honestly say Poseidon’s Fury is unique in the truest definition of that word. How many attractions are actually unique?
I won’t claim to know every ride or show of the face of this earth, but I can’t think of another attraction like Poseidon’s Fury, especially at such a large scale.
To recap really quickly, Poseidon’s Fury was a guided walkthrough attraction that took guests on an archaeological journey into the Temple of Poseidon. These age-old chambers awakened battles between Poseidon and his foe, Lord Darkennon, who was desperate for the Greek god’s trident and the power it contained. The tour was filled with adventure, mystery, comedy, incredible effects, and some of the worst on-screen acting in any theme park attraction; it was perfect.
No description could do this attraction justice. No video could capture the surrounding sights, sounds, and smells. Nothing can compare to being there in person, but let’s try. Here’s what made Poseidon’s Fury so special, starting from the beginning.
Poseidon’s Fury had one of the more impressive facades out there. As water flowed and mist rose, the glorious ruins of the temple made any guest stop and admire the sight. The long-winding pathways to the temple were an adventure, passing by the remains of an impressive statue that would’ve been hundreds of feet tall before crumbling away.
Some may argue this attraction's facade was greater than the actual experience; I disagree, but that opinion is a testament to how stunning the exterior was.
Poseidon’s Fury had one of the more striking and dramatic facades out there. As water flowed and mist rose, the glorious, crumbling ruins of The Temple of Poseidon made any guest stop and admire the sight. It was imposing with its towering trident, and it was grand with its glorious ruins in the distance past a spread of rubble.
The landscape had a lot of depth, with quite a bit of distance from the pathway to the entrance of the temple. Its layers of stones, small lagoons, and winding foot trails made for a wondrous journey even before stepping into the temple. The thematically collapsed statue of Poseidon, taking inspiration from the ancient Colossus of Rhodes statue, would have stood hundreds of feet tall if still intact. Even fallen to pieces, the figure was extraordinary and set the tone for the expedition inside.
Universal has created some fabulously detailed and convincing queues, especially since building The Wizarding World. The queue for Poseidon’s Fury stands up to the resort’s more breathtaking queues.
Inside the Temple of Poseidon, the sights were realistic, yet imaginative—believable, yet unbelievable. With some suspension of disbelief, it felt like walking through an ancient temple. The cold stone walls, reliced artifacts, and artful murals added intrigue to the discoveries to be made ahead. Plus, it was great for some much-needed crisp air conditioning in a blistering theme park.
The presentation was made complete with the queue’s beautifully composed original soundtrack. Its mystifying chords amplified the resounding mystique around you.
I honestly believe this queue was among the best at Universal Orlando. It evoked realism and adventure in ways few queues could accomplish. As much detail as the queue had, the attraction itself had even more. Every crevice was intricate, with gorgeous visual displays no matter where you looked. The setting was only the beginning.
The story of Poseidon’s Fury crescendoed in such a satisfying way through the very end. It began with the unexpected absence of the group’s tour guide: the illustrious and fictitious Professor Elias Baxter. An intern named Taylor clumsily tried their best to lead a tour at the last minute. As a guide, Taylor was unprepared, underqualified, terrified, overwhelmed—and hilarious the entire time.
Having a live team member leading the walkthrough experience gave it such an engaging and personal touch. By progressing through the story along with Taylor, guests formed a bond with them, every freaked out step of the way.
That connection made every guest feel like they were part of a larger-than-life moment. An ancient battle reawakened before our eyes as an unsuspecting hero, Taylor, saved the day. The same Taylor who became everyone’s friend, who had no idea what to do but made everyone laugh the entire way—that Taylor.
That connection with Taylor, and their relatable dotty courage, made the story inspiring and rewarding.
I’ll never forget doing Posideon’s Fury once it reopened after a lengthy refurbishment. As the climax hit and the show wrapped up, Taylor stood by the exit, wishing us all well on our way out. One little kid shouted with so much enthusiasm when they saw Taylor, screaming, “You did it Taylor! You saved us!”
That broke me. That’s what themed entertainment is all about. The kid was just old enough to understand what was going on and just young enough to think it was all real. Where else can you get that feeling? I can’t imagine the emotional high that kid felt, but it sent goosebumps up my arms and tears to my eyes.
Between Poseidon’s reassuring words and the magic unleashed throughout the experience, this attraction really captured me in a way no other can.
When you think of phenomenal engineering in a theme park, you may think of a hi-tech animatronic or a gravity-defying roller coaster. Poseidon’s Fury has been praised for its clever design, but what made it uniquely impressive from an engineering standpoint was its 40-foot-long water vortex. Bursts of water were pumped out at up to 100 mph in one of the more memorable moments of the attraction.
Walking through the vortex was like walking through a parted Red Sea; it was a miracle to see, with rushing—and I mean rushing—water all around you. The roaring sounds, damp smells, glowing blues, and humid air combined for quite the experience.
Guests saw this powerful effect turn on in real time as a part of a truly transcendent reveal. A temple wall transformed into a passageway, and the bumbling guide suddenly stood with grace and pride, awaiting the journeys ahead.
Still one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken in a theme park. Will miss this attraction so much, Taylor was always a dream role to play. Hoping to make one last journey into the temple before it is sealed off forever. pic.twitter.com/LvFOnijnN4— Banks Lee (@BanksLee) April 11, 2023
The water tunnel wasn’t the only spectacle Poseidon’s Fury had to offer. The final chamber, which seemed to have no way out, transformed within seconds. In a flash, the walls lifted to uncover an aquatic arena, going from a cramped room to a wide-open scene where Poseidon and Lord Darkennon faced off.
This age-old showdown had a blend of genuinely spectacular effects—such as water tricks, blasts of fire, bright projections, and beaming lasers—as well as some of the most laughable theatrics ever. The mood of the show up until this point had been somewhat tense but also lighthearted under Taylor’s clumsy lead; that all washed away with the over-dramatic on-screen performances of Poseidon and Lord Darkennon. The acting couldn’t possibly be taken seriously, and the costumes were even worse.
But that’s part of what made Poseidon’s Fury what it was. I do wish that finale were higher quality, but what would Poseidon’s Fury be without a bit of campiness?
Say what you want about the on-screen acting, but the show as a whole was entertaining and had a thrilling finale. To top it all off, the room reappeared at the end. The four walls around guests completely changed while everyone stood exactly in place.
My experience may be different than yours, but I heard oohs and aahs at this moment every time I did Poseidon’s Fury. Guests were always audibly amazed at the room transformation, and the crowd enthusiastically applauded when the show ended. That’s what I’ll remember about Poseidon’s Fury; it never ceased to amaze, even if people didn’t expect the journey inside that tremendous facade.
The Team Members
Attractions with team member interactivity are becoming endangered. Think back on attractions like Jaws, Kongfrontation, or even The Great Movie Ride. Yes, those rides were great on their own, but they were especially wonderful because of the person making it all possible. That’s what makes a ride like Jungle Cruise a fan-favorite, and in this case, Poseidon’s Fury.
No two tours were the same. All the different Taylors (and yes, they were all named Taylor) reacted differently to every situation, made different jokes, and brought their own personal touches to each performance.
Thank you to all the team members who made Posideon’s Fury possible, from the creatives who built it, to the research assistants who were there every day, to the technicians who kept it up and running, to the team members who refurbished it, and to all the amazing Taylors—everyone. Thanks for the memories.
Smislands of Adventure (Scott C style) Part 3: Poseidon's Fury (Poseidon, Lord Darkenon, & Water Tunnel) pic.twitter.com/xeXxJ46l6Q— SONDER QUEST (@SonderQuest) May 2, 2021
A Lost Land
Thanks for a Quarter-Century of Memories
Poseidon’s Fury will come a year short of its 25th birthday, but what an incredible two-plus decades it has been. This also may be the first step of The Lost Continent becoming fully defunct forever.
That land had no Harry Potter, no Minions, no Jurassic Park, or no household characters whatsoever. The Lost Continent was an original land based on myths and legends, but as its final operating attraction sinks, the land seems to be drying up while new waves are in store.
Out of all of Islands of Adventure’s lands, The Lost Continent has seen the most change. The land was chopped in half about a decade after opening to make room for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Since then, The Lost Continent—ironically—has slowly lost its identity as attractions closed one by one: The Flying Unicorn, now operating as Flight of the Hippogriff; Dueling Dragons; The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad; and, out of the blue, Poseidon’s Fury.
The Lost Continent was an extension of what Islands of Adventure is all about—open-ended adventures that inspire creativity and wonder. The Lost Continent wasn’t directly tied to deep lore where you had to watch an entire multi-film movie franchise to appreciate it; The Lost Continent simply existed for all to enjoy and explore in their own ways.
It’s not every day that an opening-day attraction closes for good. Don’t take your favorite attractions for granted. Experience them as often as you can and absorb every detail. You never know when it could be gone for good.
Islands of Adventure has been pretty fortunate to have stayed mostly close to its original form with new additions sprinkled in. As for Poseidon’s Fury, with the temple now sealed, always keep the parting mantra of Islands of Adventure in mind: The adventure lives on.