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DINOSAUR Review Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Ride entrance plaza. Credit: wdwthemeparks.com

DINOSAUR is a motion based dark ride manufactured and designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The attraction opened with the park with the name “Countdown to Extinction” on April 22, 1998. The ride was renamed “DINOSAUR” in 2000 to help market the film coming out the same year. The attraction is located in the Dinoland U.S.A. section of the park around the corner from Resturantasourus. In this review, I will be describing into the ride experience as well as giving my thoughts on it!

The first thing you will notice is that this ride is in a secluded area. It’s kind of tucked away in it’s own little area in Dinoland USA. When you find the entrance, you will enter on the right side of the plaza. If you are waiting stand-by, you will enter on your left. If you have a Fastpass+ reservation you will enter on your right. Once you enter the main part of the queue, the first room consists of exhibits featuring small fossils and other various facts about dinosaurs and their extinction. The second room of the queue is this museum-like room that consists of a large dinosaur made out of bones and multiple layers of rock that trace back thousands of years ago. Bill Nye the Science Guy will usually share facts and theories about dinosaurs. Once making it through this room, you will be filed into one of the pre-show rooms.

First room in the queue. Credit: wdwnt.com
Main queue area. Credit: easywdw.com

Once everyone is filed into the pre-show room, the pre-show starts with Doctor Marsh, director of the Dino Institute, starts speaking. She says that the institute has created a time rover to take guests back to the days of the dinosaurs. Doctor Seeker then comes on screen as your main guide through this journey. Seeker explains that he is sending you back in time to help him save an Iguanodon from extinction. In order to do this, Seeker has set up the time rover to take but says the Iguanodon is at the end of the Cretaceous Period. In order for the guests to save the dino, the guests have to traverse the entire Cretaceous Period before a meteor hits to save it. Seeker then gives a quick safety briefing before heading into the loading station.

Dr. Seeker explaining the ride in the pre-show. Credit: disneymusings.blogspot.com

After the pre-show, the doors will open and you will head downstairs to the loading station. This station is a double loading station to help increase capacity. You will be put in a row by a grouper and will wait to board your time rover. Once you board your time rover, you will put all loose belongings in the pouch in front of you.

Ride vehicles in the station. Credit: thethemeparkguy.com

After passing the seat belt check, it is time for your prehistoric journey. The first room is a small lab where Seeker tells the guests that he’s ready and it’s time to go. The vehicle than traverses up a small hill filled with bright red lights while also moving from side to side. You are now back in time in the Cretaceous Period and the first dinosaur your vehicle comes across is a Styracosaurus. Then you will pass by a Alioramus, who is seen eating a smaller dinosaur before continuing on. Your time rover then hits some bumps before stopping in front of a dinosaur that Dr. Seeker thinks is the Iguanodon you’re looking for. It turns out it is a man eating Carnotaurus and the time rover than quickly moves forward, dodging the deadly dino. After nearly avoiding being eaten, you will come across a Saltasaurus, who is busy eating plants and not people, so the vehicle continues on. Dr. Seeker than says that a meteor is about to strike in 90 seconds, so your time rover will dodge little rocks that are falling. This is when you encounter the Canotaurus again who this time tries to lunge at the vehicle while also trying to devour the riders. After escaping the Carnotaurus, your time rover finally comes across the Iguanodon just as Seeker is yelling to abort the mission. The vehicle then just barely makes it back into present day before the asteroid hits, bringing back the Iguanodon with it. The ride will then come back to the station and riders will exit to their left.

Aliroamus animatronic. Credit: undercovertourist.com
Saltasaurus animatronic. Credit: easywdw.com
Final Carnotaurus attack. Credit: easywdw.com

After exiting, you will walk up stairs into the Dino Institute shop, where ride and other dinosaur related merchandise is sold.

Dino Institute shop. Credit: disneyworld.disney.go.com

My Thoughts: I think Dinosaur is a really solid ride and a good fit for Animal Kingdom. It’s something Disney still needs as it’s intense while also being very fun at the same time. I like how the Imagineers created a story for the ride that is easy to understand but also is very clever for a dinosaur themed ride. It seems inevitable for a Disney fan like me to compare this ride to Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, which I have been on and uses the same ride tech and layout as this attraction does. I will have a separate review of Indy coming in the near future, but in short Indy is a more well themed and immersive experience than Dinosaur is. Despite this, I still think Dinosaur is a really solid dark ride on it’s own and is worth riding!

Tips: With the larger crowds Animal Kingdom gets now, this ride sees longer waits than it did before Pandora opened. This ride now sees 45-60 minutes on normal days and around 65-85 minutes on a normal day. To avoid these wait times, go within the rides first or last hour of operation, or use Fastpass+. In terms of Fastpass+, it is a tier 2 selection at the park. I would only book this if you are really insistent on getting on this attraction. Also keep in mind that as of recently, Dinosaur has begun closing an hour before official park closing. The height requirement for this attraction is 40 inches. Although if your child meets that requirement, make sure he/she is ok with going on and tell them that it could be scary. I believe this ride can scare a kid enough to have him/her shaken up for the rest of the day. If your child gets easily frightened or is sensitive to loud noises, you might want to avoid this attraction.

Final Thoughts: DINOSAUR is a really good dark ride that fits well within Animal Kingdom. It packs quite a punch and tells a solid story for a 4 minute dark ride. Ride it if your at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and get the opportunity to!

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