Animal Kingdom’s homage to the 2000 CGI film, Dinosaur, is a fast-paced adventure through the past to save an Iguanodon from extinction. The ride – also titled DINOSAUR except in all capital letters to add a bit of excitement – follows the general plot of the film. The name of this ride used to be Countdown to Extinction but was changed to DINOSAUR to promote the film in 2000. The ride’s content was also minorly adjusted to fit with the film.
You and your family will be traveling to the exact day a meteor is scheduled to hit Earth, causing the extinction of essentially all of the living beings on the planet. Your mission is to rescue an Iguanodon via a Time Rover, but the creatures you meet along the way may or may not try to hinder your progress.
Dinosaur Ride Experience
As mentioned, DINOSAUR follows the general plot of the Dinosaur film. Disney adjusted the plot slightly to fit the needs of the ride, but if you’re a fan of the film you won’t be disappointed with the changes. To accommodate for human presence in this world, Disney created the Time Rover, a time-traveling car that takes you back to the time of the dinosaurs. It’s a 12-seat car so your whole family can stick together for the duration of the ride.
Most of your time will be spent careening through a jungle atmosphere. You pick up the pace at moments of intensity, but never roller coaster speeds. There are, though, some small drops and the tone is dark and intense for most of the journey. There’s also an overall sense of doom; simulated meteor showers get progressively more intense as you make your way through the jungle. Because of this, it is not the best ride at Disney World for toddlers. The content can be scary for younger kids, but a good rule of thumb is that if your child is scared of the dark, it may be best to skip this ride.
Loud noises and sudden jumps are also prevalent. Of course, if you are traipsing through the prehistoric world, loud noises are bound to happen. As long as you prepare your child for the intensity, they should enjoy the experience. A good way to mentally prepare them for this ride is to watch the film before your trip. It’s a beautiful film and gives away the scarier elements of the ride. Plus, it’ll get them excited to participate in the story.
If you are bringing teenagers along, they’ll have a great time on this ride. They might have grown up with the film, if they are old enough, and that will really add to the experience. Even if they haven’t, it’s a thrilling ride in an air conditioned building with super cool dinosaurs – all the ingredients to ensure your teen has a fun time on the Time Rover.
DINOSAUR has the option to book a FastPass+, but it isn’t necessary. The wait time ranges throughout the day and has been known to get up to 60 minutes or higher, but that time will be spent indoors and in the air conditioning. If you really want to skip the wait and get straight to the ride, it is beneficially to book a FastPass+, but Animal Kingdom also houses Avatar Flight of Passage, which has a much longer wait time. You’re better off saving your FastPass+ for rides that make you wait in line outside rather than in an air conditioned building. The weather at Disney World is always sure to be hot, so waiting in the air conditioning is a good break from the heat.
Like all rides at Disney, DINOSAUR has its own rules for riders. Along with the potentially unpleasant scariness for young children, there’s also a height requirement children must meet. Guests must be at least 40 inches, or 102 centimeters, to ride on the Time Rover. This is to ensure no one falls out of the car while it’s in motion, though it does not move fast enough or have large enough drops to really worry about falling. The drops are sudden, but never more than a foot or so. You must also have an accompanying escort for children under 7; the escort can be 14 or older.
Flash photography is also prohibited on the ride. This is common courtesy, as other riders are also trying to enjoy the experience. A bright flash in the middle of a dark, spooky jungle ruins the magic for everyone. If you’re going to take pictures or video, make sure the flash is off and try not to get in the way of anyone’s view. Remember that you are not the only rider on the Time Rover and act accordingly.
You have the opportunity to purchase a photo of you and your family on the ride at the end of the experience, so you don’t even need to worry about taking photos unless you want one of the dinosaurs. The photos taken on the ride are quite funny; Disney knows the perfect moment to snap a shot of you and your family enjoying your experience. It’s worth a buy if you want to take home the memory of your experience.
Though this ride is a truly immersive experience, you may find that it is shorter than you’d like it to be. You learn most of the plot of your adventure when you’re waiting in line as opposed to in the ride itself. Your guide, Skeeter, speaks to you over an intercom for the journey, but never actually tells you your mission. This information is learned as you make your way through the line. Disney often incorporates the story of attractions while you’re waiting in line by channeling you through rooms with semi-interactive features. DINOSAUR utilizes this trademark by providing you with your mission statement while you wait in line.
This means that if you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings while you wait in line, you’re probably going to miss your call-to-action. While this isn’t a huge issue, it can be confusing for younger children.
The ride itself takes about 5 minutes, which can be a disappointment if you were hoping for a complete retelling of the film. The 5 minutes are packed with intense sounds and images, so it’s a real thrill ride, but you may leave feeling underwhelmed. And if you waited in line for close to an hour, you’ll definitely feel like you didn’t get the experience you were expecting.
There is something to be said for the quality of a ride over the amount of time it takes to ride it, but DINOSAUR could really be improved if it were stretched out to 10 minutes. You don’t get much of a story as your journey commences, and throughout your journey the intensity quickly takes over any sort of mission statement you had originally.
Is DINOSAUR Educational?
Of all the rides at Disney World, DINOSAUR falls into the category of deceptively uninformative. You don’t learn much about dinosaurs on this ride. Some names are mentioned, but they are spoken quickly and intensely, so they are easy to miss. Other than that, there isn’t much information about what you’re seeing while on the ride. The dinosaur animatronics are very visually pleasing and are accurate to how dinosaurs would have looked, but you don’t learn much about them. At most, you learn if a dinosaur is an herbivore or carnivore, but that is usually self-explanatory when you see what a dinosaur looks like.
Not only that, but you only actually see the Iguanodon, the dinosaur you’re attempting to rescue, once throughout the ride, and it is not named when you come across it. You do pause briefly in front of it, but no information tells you that what’s in front of you is the dinosaur you’re trying to save.
Overall, this ride is less educational than it appears, but is still a good experience if you don’t go in expecting a full rundown of the dinosaurs you encounter.
Summary of the Experience
DINOSAUR is a great ride for kids that are interested in dinosaurs, teens who grew up watching the film, and anyone looking for a quick thrill. To help you navigate through the details, here’s a list of all the pros and cons of this ride at Animal Kingdom:
Air conditioning. You’ll be spending most of your day in the sun at the rest of Animal Kingdom. Of all the parks, Animal Kingdom has the fewest opportunities to take a break in air conditioning. DINOSAUR lets you hang out in the cool for close to an hour, which can reset any sour mood brought on by the heat.
Nostalgia. If you grew up watching the film, or just really enjoy dinosaurs, you’ll have a good time on this ride. The immersive nature of the experience will transport you to another world, bringing back all the memories you have of being a kid who loved dinosaurs. It’s the perfect adventure for the kid in everyone.
Photo opportunities. You’re able to purchase a photo of you and your family enjoying the experience at the end of your journey, allowing you to take the fun home. You can also take photos and video as long as you keep the flash off and try not to disturb the other riders.
FastPass+. If you don’t want to wait in line for such a short experience, you’re able to use a FastPass+ to skip the wait. It can be useful if you’ve got a busy day scheduled and don’t want to miss out on this thrilling experience.
Immersive. While you are on this ride, you will truly forget that you aren’t in the Jurassic period. Leaving the Time Rover will feel like you’re stepping into the future rather than back to the present.
Scary. The biggest downside to this ride is that it’s scary for young kids, especially toddlers. Most toddlers probably can’t even get on this ride because of the height requirement, but if they can they’re sure to have a stressful experience.
Ride length. DINOSAUR is undoubtedly shorter than it should be. Because the wait time can be extensive, the ride should compensate for that by being at least 10 minutes long. Some of the high intensity may be lost, but the story will make much more sense.
Not educational. Along the same lines, it can be disappointing to get on this ride expecting to come away with some information about dinosaurs and only leave with a couple of species’ names. Of course, nowhere states that this ride is educational, but with a topic like prehistoric extinction, it makes sense to include some historical or scientific facts.
All in all, this is a good ride for families seeking a casual thrill. It isn’t as intense as some of the other rides at Animal Kingdom – like Expedition Everest – but provides your family with an interesting experience.
If you only have small kids with you, it may be a good idea to skip this ride unless they’re really itching to go on it. Kids who are afraid of the dark or dislike loud, sudden noises may not enjoy their time riding in the Time Rover. But if you have teenagers or more adventurous kids, they’ll have a good time. Just remember to go in with the knowledge that this ride is meant to be a quick thrill rather than a slow-burner. Even if your Time Rover moves a little slow, you’ll be in and out faster than you can say Iguanodon.
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