Poseidon's Fury Original Script - Sept. '95 | Inside Universal Forums
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Poseidon's Fury Original Script - Sept. '95

UniversalCityFL

Premium Member
Jan 28, 2013
510
Hi Guys,

On IOA's 15th anniversary, I've decided to share something that some of you may find interesting. It's an early version of the Poseidon's Fury attraction outline, from September 1995. This has been gathering dust in my closet for quite some time and I don't think it has ever seen the light of day on the Internet, so I figured, why should it be locked away when I can share it with Universal's biggest fans right here on Orlando United?

First, a little history.

Poseidon’s Fury: Escape from the Lost City was the original and complete title of this polarizing attraction in the Lost Continent area, and it’s backstory is almost as mythical as the titans inside the temple.

When Islands of Adventure was being developed in the early-to-mid 90’s, a section of the park devoted to the magical and mythical creatures of yore was the target for a unique experience: a dramatic, walk-through theatre adventure. Several concepts were considered, and the one that nearly began construction was called “Journey to Atlantis”, where a group of park guests would take a submersible vehicle to discover the lost city (good ideas never die, and this concept eventually surfaced elsewhere in a slightly different form). Eventually, the premise of two Greek gods, Poseidon and Zeus, battling each other in a physical effects extravaganza was settled upon.

In true Universal fashion, the creative pitch for the attraction called for the impossible: to transport over 100 park guests to the bottom of the ocean via a swirling water vortex, and then – for the ultimate knock-your-socks-off finale – magically transport them back to the surface and right into the exact room they were previously in. The workings of the latter effect were kept so secretive that during the construction and first year of operation, nobody was allowed to see how the effect functioned – not even employees of other attractions in the park!

After a series of employee previews and soft-openings, the attraction opened shortly after Islands of Adventure opened in 1999. Guests approaching the attraction are treated to one of the most grandiose and dramatic facades of any theme park attraction anywhere – a humungous crumbling temple honoring both fire and water (foreshadowing for what’s inside), and a collapsed statue of Poseidon in the courtyard. The sight is breathtaking. Originally, there was supposed to be some kiddie pools in front of the attraction – sharp-eyed visitors will notice some pathways still exist that lead you directly into the mini-pools that are now chained off.

Once inside, guests are not only treated to ice-cold air conditioning, but a queue of long passages decorated by ancient paintings depicting the story of Atlantis. Looking like lost spirits, Team Members working the attraction had the option to wear one of the more unique articles of attraction costuming: a full, head to toe cloak, complete with hood. Eventually, guests make their way to a small chamber. Out of a hole in the wall, an old man who identifies himself as “Keeper” makes his way to the center of the room and tells a fable about Zeus and Poseidon. The lights would illuminate various parts of the many paintings in the room and they were all elements of the story.
We find out that Poseidon was eventually banished to the sea forever – and he’s pissed.

As you make your way into the next room, the “Oracle Room” we’re greeted by a disembodied talking female head – “The Oracle” in a peaceful and beautiful room flanked by glimmering pools of water. She uses a spell to open up a portal to the bottom of the ocean – Poseidon wants to see us! Using a very sophisticated physical effect, the “cartouche door” twists and turns upon itself, with interlocking rings revealing images and eventually sliding open to reveal the piece-de-resistance – a swirling 40-ft long vortex of water that we actually walk through! High-pressure jets force water at such a high speed that it makes its way over and around you while keeping you dry!

Now, a word about the water vortex – it’s one of the most unique experiences in the park and is the product of Universal’s trademark innovation. Of course, safety is always number one – so if the attraction’s sensors suspect anything is out of line, it will immediately cut power to the jets. Let me tell you, witnessing over 100 people get hundred of gallons of water dropped on them elicits every possible reaction from “that was awesome” to “I want a refund!”.

After passing through the vortex, guest are brought into the final chamber. Our “Keeper” friend – surprise! – is actually Zeus masquerading as a human. He transforms into his omnipotent form. The two have it out in an all-out special effects extravaganza – water, fire, rain, smoke, steam, projections, everything. There were no human actors in the video projections – it was all CGI characters. Zeus eventually defeats Poseidon but destroys the underwater temple in the process. The whole place begins to crumble. Fire and water are exploding everywhere as the walls begin to collapse. In a last desperate attempt to rescue you, Zeus evokes an ancient incantation:

"Ancient titans of Heaven and Earth,
Restore these mortals to the land of their birth.
For mercy's sake I call on thee,
Deliver them from beneath the sea.
Lest not we tend an ocean grave,
I call upon their lives to save!"

A massive fireball and steam blast hits you as the temple goes dark and silent. A couple seconds later, the lights illuminate. Somehow, someway, you’ve just returned the room you were in BEFORE going through the water vortex. Confused and amazed, you leave the temple.

Poseidon’s Fury utilizes some amazing effects and is a beast of an attraction. Of course, big technology can often mean big problems, and the first couple years of operation were no stranger to countless downtimes, missing effects, cancelled shows, and limited hours of operation. You don’t have to be Zeus and Poseidon to know that fire and water effects don’t mix – so when you have them trying to work together all day every day, problems were bound to arise.

And, the effect that the entire attraction is based upon – the room transportation effect – is such an integral part of the attraction’s storyline that if it doesn’t work, the entire attraction would not open. And trust me when I say that for the first year of operation, the entire building had their fingers crossed every time the effect was about to be activated in hopes that all would go well.

Despite the building being a marvelous piece of engineering, the attraction suffered very mixed reviews.

Some guests were enchanted by its mystical nature, in awe of the teleportation effect, and left the attraction with a true sense of wonder and excitement. Other guests left the attraction bewildered and confused, and not even sure when the end of the show was or exactly what they experienced. Perhaps the grand entrance set the expectation too high?

A few years after opening, Universal decided to hire a third party to come in and redevelop the attraction’s storyline with the goal of increasing guest satisfaction (for a very low budget). The storyline was changed: the temple was now being excavated in present day by the Global Discovery Group. Our guide, a young boy named Taylor, takes us into the temple as a story about a coveted Trident unravels. Eventually we meet an uber-villain, Lord Darkennon. Story elements of the previous attraction are blended with the new attraction, and some Indiana Jones-ish type decor was added to the sets. Most regrettably, the surprise room transportation effect does not execute in the same manner and is no longer a centerpiece effect. The attraction’s re-designers urged Universal to change the name from POSEIDON’S FURY since the title was no longer fitting, however, Universal decided to keep the existing name for some reason – perhaps because it would have been to difficult to change existing marketing materials, signage, etc. That being said, the present version of the attraction does score higher ratings, although reviews are still mixed.

Over the years, the attraction has had it’s ups and downs – at some times, being operated without the Water Vortex to save on costs – a rare move for a theme park to operate an attraction without one of its centerpiece effects.

And this ancient myth doesn’t end here – the future of the attraction is still up to the Gods. As Harry Potter slowly takes over island, all that remains of The Lost Continent is The 8th Voyage of Sindbad and Poseidon’s Fury – leaving hardly an island at all. Perhaps the Lost City will be lost once again – or maybe the titans will stand their ground…

Regardless, POSEIDON’S FURY is one of the most unique attractions at any theme park – enchanting, magical, and a true testament to Universal’s “go big or go home” brand. It’s not for everyone – but those that appreciate its allure know it’s one of the most spectacular attractions in Orlando.

And now, here's an early outline for the attraction from September 1955 (4 years before the park opened), back when it was called "Journey to Atlantis".

Happy 15th, IOA!




























 

Cole

Veteran Member
Apr 6, 2014
4,224
Rushmore Academy
Dude if you and I ever meet you are gonna get a giant bear hug. Thank you so much for posting this it was awesome and brought back tons of memories!!!!
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
3,825
Orlando
I loved the original assuming they had a good actor in the role and the audience would shut up and listen rather than babbling in multiple languages over him.
 

UNIrd

Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
6,253
Thank you so much for posting. I think Poseidon's Fury, in both incarnations, is a majorly underrated attraction.
 

Cole

Veteran Member
Apr 6, 2014
4,224
Rushmore Academy
I love the new posiedons fury for all the reasons why people hate it. It's just a blast to watch.

lord darkennon is hilarious and I have no idea why people don't talk about him as they do Paxton on this site. Always screaming, his ridiculous costume and his odd goals makes it just a incredibly memorable performance to me. "GIVE ME THAT TRIDENT!!!!" lol

The scenery is breathtaking, music is just insane John Williams level stuff and the effects are just off the chain. Universal really outdid themselves in that department.

I say the original version was better story wise but the new version is a lot more fun to watch.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,581
Pittsburgh area
Great history lesson!!!..... I enjoy the attraction. It has grown on me & I actually like it more now than the first time, but I only do it once each vacation. A lot depends on the actor. We've had some really good ones, but the first time we had an actor (actress) that played it way too corny. She acted like a hunchbacked elfish troll and was real hard to understand. When the actors are more Indiana Jones ish, it seems to work better. Bottom line is that it may be one of the most beautiful attractions both external & internal. Just love walking through the dark cold catacombs of the queue. Its unique and I hope it remains in the park forever. Lost Continent may be smaller than before, but it still occupies a fair amount of real estate. And the beauty of Mythos & Poseidon are not surpassed by anything, including Harry Potter.
 

ChrisFL

Veteran Member
Jan 31, 2010
1,149
Tampa, FL
.....into the exact room they were previously in. The workings of the latter effect were kept so secretive that during the construction and first year of operation, nobody was allowed to see how the effect functioned – not even employees of other attractions in the park!
Was it really that difficult to figure out? I knew how the effect worked the first time I experienced it...a few days before the official park opening.
 

gator

Rookie
Aug 17, 2009
125
Was it really that difficult to figure out? I knew how the effect worked the first time I experienced it...a few days before the official park opening.
Care to share? I'm still stumped on how it worked, especially since the transformation was so quick and silent.
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
3,825
Orlando
Care to share? I'm still stumped on how it worked, especially since the transformation was so quick and silent.
All you had to do was look up and you could see the how the set pieces dropped between the ceiling panels. It was so spectacular the first time I saw it, and I remember going right back on line to do it again. Between the water tunnel and the room illusion it was just amazing!
 

tsojl2005

Rookie
Feb 11, 2010
118
Orlando, Florida
i see the pieces every time. once your eyes get over that bright flash and the effect show starts, you can look up and see the wall pieces still swaying from where the hoists lift them up that fast. its pretty sweet to see.
 

Cole

Veteran Member
Apr 6, 2014
4,224
Rushmore Academy
i see the pieces every time. once your eyes get over that bright flash and the effect show starts, you can look up and see the wall pieces still swaying from where the hoists lift them up that fast. its pretty sweet to see.
I close my eyes during the flash to get a better look at the effect and let me tell you it is insanely cool. I would love to go on a lights on tour to see that effect better
 

DragonSlayer

Choose Thy Fate...
Premium Member
Jul 18, 2010
951
UK
Really fascinating, thanks for posting Kuribo! I'm firmly in the 'love' rather than 'loathe' camp for Poseidon's Fury; I think the facade detail, general sense of mystery in the queue and the all-round atmosphere are among the best in the industry. I'm sad never to have seen the original, because it sounds even better than what we have now, but in a way I'm fortunate to have nothing to compare it to so I can enjoy today's incarnation for what it is.

Journey to Atlantis sounded incredible though. I wish they'd built that!
 

UniversalCityFL

Premium Member
Jan 28, 2013
510
Was it really that difficult to figure out? I knew how the effect worked the first time I experienced it...a few days before the official park opening.
I suppose it's not insanely difficult to figure out, however it *is* unexpected.

A lot of ingenuity happens during a very short amount of time. Huge motors drop the room shell. Meanwhile, a long exit tube rolls forward on wheels and locks into place to your right, creating a portal for you to exit without seeing the "behind the scenes" of the effect. Sensor pads activate around the perimeter and if they sense any movement, the entire effect stops. Not to mention the bottom few inches of the room shell are actually submerged in water once it's in place. Not to mention all this is timed with lighting and audio (the audio gets loud to cover the sound of the exit portal sliding into place). And this process passes all safety regulations so nobody is unsafe at any time.

All that happens in about 6 seconds.
 

DragonSlayer

Choose Thy Fate...
Premium Member
Jul 18, 2010
951
UK
Huge motors drop the room shell. Meanwhile, a long exit tube rolls forward on wheels and locks into place to your right, creating a portal for you to exit without seeing the "behind the scenes" of the effect. Sensor pads activate around the perimeter and if they sense any movement, the entire effect stops. Not to mention the bottom few inches of the room shell are actually submerged in water once it's in place. Not to mention all this is timed with lighting and audio (the audio gets loud to cover the sound of the exit portal sliding into place). And this process passes all safety regulations so nobody is unsafe at any time.
I did wonder how it worked. So the room shell is pretty much a carbon copy of the actual room from the start? The 'exit tube' explains it all; I was struggling to figure out how this could all work and allow people to get out without realising. Very, very cool.