The Islands of Adventure That Never Was Part 7 – Joker’s Madhouse Roller Coaster

Today we bring you never-before-seen concepts of an attraction that was proposed for Islands of Adventure back in 1992! This was years prior to the park opening in 1999 when Universal was courting DC Comics instead of Marvel to be used for its own unique land. Longtime readers of Theme Park University will remember we covered many concepts for Islands of Adventure in their early stages that never saw the light of day. From a Popeye dinner show to a RipSaw Falls log being split in two, to a Batman-themed suspended roller coaster!

As I understand it, Gotham was going to be a major part of Islands of Adventure and even then, only a section of the DC Comics land would have been in the park. Within Gotham, you’d have the gleaming city as it’s depicted in the comic books. This is where you’d find the Batwing coaster we covered before. However, if you go down a back alley behind Gotham City Hall, you’d find the following entrance.


A huge figure of The Joker was down a side street that you’d encounter. Guests would wait for the eyes to roll down to face them, then the mouth would open and they’d enter the queue just as water squirted out of the flower on his lapel.

As an aside, the above image is actually from the new Warner Brother World in Abu Dhabi.  While The Joker’s mouth doesn’t open or close, nor is he animated in any way, it just goes to show you that good ideas never die. This is a very similar concept to what was proposed for Islands of Adventure. Will the new ride in Abu Dhabi be similar to what I’m about to show you? We will have to wait and see!

The queue for Joker’s Madhouse roller coaster was actually quite clever. Once inside, you’d find yourself in the Joker’s warehouse.

This is where he creates and stores the props and gags used to fight Batman and other characters within Gotham. As guests traversed through, they could actually test out his diabolical inventions before boarding the coaster.

Joker's Madhouse Roller Coaster Islands of Adventure

Joker’s Madhouse was going to be a wild mouse coaster with some pretty extensive theming.  Riders would board “Jokester Roadsters” and it turns out, Joker’s twisted sense of humor extended onto the ride itself. Every show scene is some sort of twisted sight gag designed to be one of Joker’s “traps” that guests fly through in their ride vehicle.

After the first drop, cars careen through a scene with a someone smashing mallets all around them and your car careens through just in time before one strikes their car.

In the next scene, playing cards and linking rings swirl around the track as the car dives into a magician’s top hat.

Once inside the top hat, the car is inside a spinning vortex tunnel towards a spinning spiral disc.

As we come around the corner, a jack-in-the-box pops out next to the Roadster and fires a clown gun. A blast of Co2 and confetti envelopes the car as it heads uphill.

The next thing you know, Joker’s Madhouse erupts into flames and the ride vehicle would have weaved through falling wooden beams, flames, and explosions.

As it turns out, the flames were just another one of Joker’s tricks. We now speed through his mouth again, this time as a playing card.

Looking ahead, there is a dead end sign just ahead of the guests and it looks like the track ahead has been torn apart!

As expected, this was another one of Joker’s gags and the mangled track in front of us was just a mirror. Whereas the real track would have taken riders for one final drop before reaching unload. Pretty cool, eh? Believe it or not, that’s not all! Come back to TPU soon and we will give you the lowdown on a completely unique post-show walkthrough filled with unique DC comics characters!

Pretty cool stuff. As we all know, in the end, Universal ended up courting Marvel comics instead and the rest is history!

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