Universal Orlando Reboots The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

The Webslinger's ride at Marvel Super Hero Island in Florida gets a major upgrade, transforming it into one of the best theme park attractions of all time.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Back in 1999, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride debuted as part of Marvel Super Hero Island in the Islands of Adventure theme park; which is located in the Universal Orlando Resort. The Spider-Man ride places fans in a Daily Bugle vehicle called "The Scoop" as they follow (and sometimes assist) the wallcrawler while he takes on the Sinister Syndicate; which is comprised of Doctor Octopus, Hobgoblin, Hydro-Man, Electro and Scream.

Last May, Universal Orlando announced that the Spider-Man ride was being temporarily shut down for a dramatic upgrade to 4K digital high-definition animation, along with a more advanced 3-D projection system. The revamped attraction reopens tomorrow, March 8 for the general public. But earlier today, CraveOnline was given an advance look at the new upgrades; which more than lived up to the adjective "amazing."

The basic storyline of the ride remains the same, as The Daily Bugle owner J. Jonah Jameson recruits riders to unwittingly serve as his news team during a citywide emergency. The line queue takes riders through an empty Daily Bugle newsroom to underscore the idea that all of Jameson's regular reporters have fled. One of the new touches is that fans will now have the opportunity to pose at one of the Bugle's news desks while waiting in line.

But the changes to the ride itself are far more impressive. Aside from the same voiceovers from the original incarnation of the ride, the audio has been completely replaced and remixed. There are also perfectly blended live elements like water and heat at certain moments in the attraction when the riders are threatened by the villains.

The new animation is incredibly detailed and far more life-like. It's not photo-realistic, but the characters look and move in a more natural way. The 3-D effects are also stunning in the way that they seamlessly tie the animation to the live-action elements of the ride itself; which creates an immersive experience that is unmatched by any current theme park attraction. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man sets a new bar for all Dark Rides.

Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee was also effusive with his praise for the revamped ride. “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was so wonderful before,” related Lee. “But now – with all of the new technology that’s been added – it is indescribably spectacular.”

Lee actually makes multiple cameo appearances during the attraction, but it will take a keen eye to catch them all. Here's a quick hint: one of the Stan Lee appearances occurs during a sight gag that seems to be a reference to the Broadway play, "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark."

As mentioned earlier, visitors to Universal's Islands of Adventure will get their first chance to experience the new upgrades on Thursday, March 8. “We took an incredible theme park ride experience and made it even better,” said Universal Creative's Senior Vice President, Thierry Coup. “If you have been on this attraction before, then it will seem like the first time. If you have never been on it, then you will simply be blown away.”