Navigating Space: Finding Your Way Through “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man”

Amongst many of the Universal Orlando Theme Park’s attractions that feature a detailed queuing experience, that of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride is particularly notable for numerous reasons. Through multiple choices in the queue’s spatial design, the environment immerses its inhabitants in settings from the Daily Bugle, the newspaper at which Peter Parker (Spider-Man) works.

In particular, the designers sought to emphasize/follow Peter Parker’s presence in the workplace so much of the queue is based in his office. In order to communicate an average office, the room is filled with ordinary paraphernalia that one might expect within a journalist’s workspace like a computer, recent newspaper, books, etc. The objects are all placed in positions that suggest use; the computer is turned on, the books are messily arranged like they’ve been looked through, a coat hangs on the coat hanger as though someone was recently in the room, and the chair isn’t fully pushed in as if someone had been sitting in it just moments prior. Similarly, multiple images and clippings are pinned to boards surrounding his desk which look similarly pedestrian until one observes that the contents of said clippings are all villains and their activities. Though this might appear to be ordinary to any journalist within a comic book universe, the designers of the space utilized the viewer’s background knowledge of the room’s owner and placed the clippings with the intention of indicating Peter Parker’s secret double life. Such subtle implications of Peter Parker’s dual identity as an average journalist and a crime-fighting superhero were enjoyable to find in a fairly ordinary office since a tour of any workspace is typically expected to be an entirely blasé experience. However, I found the lighting and coloration of the room to take away from its standard nature since green walls and dim lighting are not what I expect in the average office. Rather, bright fluorescent lights and white walls would seem more appropriate in communicating the experience of a workspace that one would be able to find anywhere.

Another focus of the ride’s queue is Peter Parker’s darkroom. The space was near pitch-black save for sparse red lights which were strategically positioned as they would be in a real darkroom. They shine down on objects that one would understand belong to a photo lab, thus providing a realistic experience to the viewer. However, the red lights and surrounding darkness contribute a dangerous/threatening atmosphere to the room in addition to the developing photos of villains. In this manner, the darkroom is similar to the office in its subtle indication of Peter Parker’s dual identity as well as through the direct contrast that they present to each other: the mild, pedestrian office and the dark, secretive photo lab. Thus, I found the darkroom to be a convincing and immersive experience that I would not change.