Monday 11 August 2008

Islands of Adventure: Lost Continent Toilets Are the Park's Hidden Gems

Islands of Adventure Theme Park
Lost Continent Toilet
Universal Orlando Resort
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, FL USA

Where is it?

Head through the Lost Continent area, which contains the thrilling Dueling Dragons coaster, and look for The Pearl Factory, a moderately sized kiosk, set in a faux Middle East bazaar area of the park, where you can buy an oyster that contains a pearl in it (something theme parks tend to offer, for some reason).

When facing The Pearl Factory, you'll see a small passageway to its left. Go down that passageway and you'll come to the bathrooms, which look like they're set into a stone building.

What's it like?

The best toilets in the park and the ones you'll want to go to if you want to experience a spotless, peaceful bathroom experience.

How these are the best is a mystery, however. Yes, they are tucked away and a bit harder to find than some of the other ones. Yes, they are in an area that really doesn't attract lots of kids. Yes, they are one of the furthest facilities from the entrance to the park. But then they are also somewhat close to Seuss Landing (review coming soon), which is one of the park's two big kiddie areas (the other being Toon Lagoon and its horrid toilets). So I' m not sure what to tell you.

Still, these are wonderful facilities. The walls here are covered with a mix of sandstone tiles and elegant mosaic tiles (very reminiscent of the Luxor bathrooms, only more sophisticated and intricate in its tile work).

The floors have that same sandstone tile on them, only with thicker grout lines. Lighting is soft but bright enough so that you don't feel like the shadows are looming.

This isn't the biggest bathroom experienced in the park -- that honor probably goes to the Hulk Coaster toilets -- but they aren't much smaller, maybe a few units shy and that's all. Also, the design here is different than the other IOA toilets, in that the location is shaped more circularly. You enter, and to your left are a set of urinals. Behind them, on the back wall, is a stretch of toilet stalls. On the right wall are the sink stations -- and like the Jurassic Park bathrooms, the walls jet out around the sinks to create little cubbies for them. Very nice.

A large central pillar (probably housing the supply closet) sits in middle of the bathroom, and because of that the walking areas somehow feel roomier than at the other places -- perhaps because the areas around the urinals and toilets and sinks aren't multi-use. Either you're going to go to the urinals and then across to the sinks or you're not -- there's no room for sharing, essentially.

The sinks, urinals and toilets are all white porcelain but are heightened to near-artistic quality thanks to the intricate tile work and mosaic work behind them. Everything I saw was immaculately cleaned and the air was fresh-smelling and not at all dank or tinged with urine, which is sometimes the case with such bathrooms. A wonderful bathroom experience.

Marks out of 10:

9. Easily the best in the park and definitely worth visiting if you're in need. And certainly the park's hidden gem.

Comments to the Management:

Near-perfection. In fact, pipe in a little soft music and you may have yourself something approaching Vegas standards.

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