Multi-themed Islands of Adventure

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The temple of Neptune at Islands of Adventure

Street scene at Islands of Adventure

Patrons conversing with a talking column in front of the

Sinbad theater at Islands of Adventure

Multi-themed parks try to turn the internal competition among their themes into a source of excitement.

Disney regiments their themes; the Magic Kingdom groups futuristic, historical, fantasy themes together into "lands," so that you can be drawn to different but related historical themes and, when tired of that, move to a different set of themes.

At Universal Studios Islands of Adventure all the themes are fantasy, but they have been grouped by origin, so that one area refers to pop culture (Marvel Super Heros such as Spiderman), while another area (Lost Continent) offers folk tale themes (Sinbad, Greek Gods), another features cartoon characters, another dinosaurs, another Dr. Seuss stories. (See the park's interactive map.)

These different areas are strung like pearls along a path surrounding the inevitable lake. Disney's areas have more paths connecting them (except at Epcot). Each tries to orchestrate your encounters and direct your attention.

The borders where the customer meets several themes at once are productive rather than destructive. The collision entices, and even while it steers you carefully it gives you a sense of being in control. You can survey the fixed menu and choose which world you will enter.