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20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About DINOSAUR, DinoLand U.S.A.

By Cassie

DINOSAUR is the lead attraction in DinoLand U.S.A. and is a rocking and rolling experience that takes you back in time. It is one of those attractions that you don’t want to miss (unless you are a young child and you are scared to death by dinosaurs.) SPOILER ALERT: below is a description of the full attraction.

The “story” is you are visiting a center of Dinosaur studies called The Dino Institute which at one time was a top secret research facility. You enter the attraction through their Lobby which houses educational displays relating to the world of the Dinosaurs, including real fossils, and skulls of Anchiceratops and Albertosaurus.

Then the queue opens into a very large rotunda where you see a full-size skeleton of carnivorous Carnotaurus dinosaur, one of the most feared in Dino history. The fully articulated Triceratops horridus skeleton was discovered, dug, and donated by Dr. W.R. Garstka. There are large murals, fossils and dioramas. There is narration by Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Next we are directed to the research control center where we meet   Dr. Marsh (played by Phylicia Rashad) and Dr. Seeker (played by Wallace Langham) who represent two scientists. We are told that an asteroid field, six miles wide, and traveling 60,000mph, collided with Earth and is believed by some scientists to be the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs. Dr. Marsh begins the video pre-show by telling us we will be taking a peaceful journey to the early Cretaceous period and that “the secrets to the future are truly found in the past”. Next, Dr. Seeker confirms that we have been chosen to board a CTX Time Rover that will take us into the past, but he is sending us to the late Cretaceous period. You soon discover that you are not just on any trip back to the past, but one designed to help you bring back a 3.5 ton “Iguanodon”, that Dr. Seeker has formerly tagged on an “unauthorized field trip”. We are told that this is a very mild-mannered dino who the scientists want to save from extinction. Sounds like a noble cause, right? The problem is, you are being sent back to the same time the meteor shower that hit Earth, the one responsible for the Iguanodon’s extinction …yeah, the SAME time as the giant meteors hit the Earth. The project just became a little trickier and perhaps you no longer want to be a part of this adventure? Well Dr. Marsh returns to the lab just in time to hear what time period you were told you were going to, and she interrupts to say, no, this cannot happen. Why? Because the coordinates for the CTX Time Rover are firmly set to a quiet period. Dr. Seeker says, she is right and shows on the display that he cannot get in to change those coordinates. As soon as he continues his instructions regarding using the seat belts, Dr. Marsh leaves the area and Dr. Seeker returns to tell us that he has indeed reset the coordinates and we will be off to get that Iguanodon. He tells us we will be back “before the meteors hit the atmosphere.”

Exiting the pre-show we descend staircases to the underground loading area. We board our Time Rovers and head back in time through a “Time Tunnel”. We quickly transport to the time of the dinosaurs and emerge into a dark jungle with very bumpy paths. We are 65 million years in the past! We see a “Styracosaurus”, a leaf eater, knocking down a tree very close to the ride vehicle, and then we go through several turns and come across a “Aliormus” looking for food. He has a Champosaurus in his mouth with the legs and tail jiggling as he attempts to get out of there. A “Velociraptor” is soaring above us looking for food.

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We see another herbivore, the Saltosaurus, but it is clear the meteors are coming in rapidly. The computer warns us we must abort and return immediately. We move quickly through the jungle where we see two Cearadactylus perched. Our vehicle dives down, avoiding a collision with the flying Pterodctyl.

Meteors start crashing down around us and the computer warns of heavier meteors coming. We are running out of time. Deep in the jungle we hear a terrible roar from something that must be very large, that does not sound like the mild-mannered Iguanodon we are searching for. We turn to see the fierce “Carnotaurus” looking at us, and he is hungry, and agitated. He lets out a huge roar that blows your hair back (and this is when the ride photo is taken). We definitely need to get out of here. Our wheels spin a bit in the mud but then they find traction and we speed off.

The computer tells us we only have a few seconds before meteor impact and Seeker attempts to abort the mission in fear that he will not get you back. He fears he is too late and repeatedly says “We’re not gonna make it!”

We see the Iguanadon, it is holding up a falling tree that would crush us if he lets go, we escape but as we return to the lab we see our Time Rover in a security screen and also the dino we went to rescue. We hear Dr. Seeker thank us and announce “I knew we’d make it! Along with one Dino, extra large.” He them excuses himself to go find the Dino who is now exploring Dino Institute “before security does.”

Some of the dinosaurs you meet on the ride are displayed outside The Dino Institute in the form of statues or on advertising signs. Take a walk around to see them all.

Track: The track is similar to the one at Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye attraction.

Vehicle: called Time Rovers, are 12-passenger EMV-Enhanced Motion Vehicle whose operation is synced with the show scenes. It is the ride vehicle itself that is programmed to pitch, dive, lift, to feel as if it is responding to things the Time Rover runs over in the road, like the dinosaur’s foot. Disneyland’s “Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye” uses the same vehicles and even a similar track layout.

Gift shop: There is a nice gift shop at the exit of this ride that has stuffed dinosaurs that you meet on the ride, books, photo frames, t-shirts, hats, safari-style bags, pins, and more themed merchandise. The ride photo purchase area is here as well.

TIP: Come first thing in the morning or near the end of park hours to walk on the attraction with little to no wait time. You can get a FastPass+ for this attraction if you plan on coming during the rest of the day. If you have family not riding there is a nice shaded waiting area at the exit, near the gift shop, where they can wait. I often wind up here while my kids ride a couple more times.

CHARACTER MEET & GREET: Donald Duck, decked out in his explorers outfit, is available on the Cretaceous Trail to meet you and for you to take photos with. Don’t miss the Dino Land Dance-a-Palooza with Rafiki, Chip and Dale at the entrance to Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama.

The closest restaurant is Restaurantosaurus (serves Salads, Sandwiches, Vegetarian Burger, Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Sandwich, Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog, Desserts, and Beverages)   You can grab snacks at Dino Bite Snacks (serves Ice Cream treats, Floats, Churros, Cookies, Chips, and Beverages-Great ice cream by the way!), Dino Diner(serves Snow Cones, Cinnamon Glazed Nuts, Chips, Beverages) and Trilo-Bites (this location has a menu that seems to change from day to day. Currently they are serving Ice Cream, Waffles, Floats, Milkshakes and other Beverages.)

There are restrooms located just down the walk from the exit of Dinosaur, or near the entrance in Restaurantosaurus.

Cast Members are dressed as Dino Institute workers

Other cool things about DINOSAUR: Check out the pipes that are above the loading area, don’t they look like something you often see? Condiments? Yep, the pipes are red (Ketchup), yellow (Mustard) and white (Mayonnaise). If you have taken chemistry you would recognize the characters on the sides of the pipes as their chemical makeup. Is this an Imagineers nod to McDonald’s who was one of the sponsors when the attraction opened? At the time of the design of the dinosaurs the Carnotaurus was just discovered so Disney changed from a Tyrannosaurus Rex to the Carnotaurus to stay up-to-date.

ATTRACTION DETAILS:

  • you will get bumped around on this ride, and at one point you “bump” over a long neck “Saltosaurus” dino who gives you a dirty look and for those in the back two rows gives you some extra bumping in retaliation.
  • Riders must be at least 40” tall.
  • Dark, Scary, Small Drops, Thrill ride, loud, turbulent, flashing lights, and may be too frightening for young children.
  • You travel back to the late Cretaceous period
  • Ride is 3 minutes long
  • 12-passenger EMV-Enhanced Motion Vehicle
  • 9 Audio-animatronics viewed on ride and they are the largest AA made.
  • When the Carnotaurus roars at the vehicle, the vehicle itself shakes.
  • Originally named: Countdown to Extinction
  • Other dino-themed attractions nearby are The Boneyard dig site and playground, and TriceraTop Spin and Primeval Whirl in Chester and Hester’s DinoLand.

ATTRACTION TIMELINE:

  • Opened April 22, 1998, the same day as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as “Countdown to Extinction” and the name of the dino you were searching for back then was called an “Aladar”
  • Sponsored by McDonald’s 1998-2008
  • DINOSAUR the film was released May 19, 2000 triggering the name change to “DINOSAUR”, replacing of the logos, statue of Styracosaurus at the entrance was also changed to a statue of an Iguanodon. Since more children would be interested in visiting the attraction, due to the film, the Time Rovers movements were changed to be less intense and Disney also changed the audio to be less frightening for children. For instance, after the first encounter with the Carnotaurus you originally heard loud foot stops and roars as if they were pursuing the vehicle, now you hear them but it is quieter, implying that you are putting some good distance between you and them.
  • April, 2005-30-year old man lost consciousness when exiting the attraction after riding, and later died. He had a pacemaker and a heart condition. After investigation the ride was deemed to be operating normally and not the cause of death.

RATING: 5 Smiles/5

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.