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DINOSAUR’s Potential Replacement at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

DINOSAUR attraction in DinoLand U.S.A.
Credit: Disney

Change is on the way for Walt Disney World’s fourth theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With news of an entire land replacement, fans are left to speculate the potential replacement for the iconic attraction, DINOSAUR, located in DinoLand U.S.A.

dinoland usa entrance

Credit: Becky Burkett

A brand-new Indiana Jones-themed attraction could be the new anchor attraction to replace DINOSAUR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as Disney’s Parks President says the new attraction would be in keeping with Animal Kingdom’s storyline.

Goodbye, DinoLand U.S.A.?

It was the news in September 2023 that many Disney World enthusiasts dreaded hearing. DinoLand U.S.A., at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will ultimately close to make way for a completely new land.

Mixed responses of “Say it ain’t so!” and “It’s well overdue” were heard among diehard fans of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and, more specifically, of Dinoland U.S.A.. Disney shared plans for the removal of Chester and Hester’s old stomping grounds to make way for a brand-new themed area of the park called The Tropical Americas.

animal kingdom dinoland usa entrance sign

Credit: Disney Parks

DinoLand: A Themed Land With a Huge Fan Following

DinoLand U.S.A. has been a guest-favorite area at the Walt Disney World Resort since it opened with the park on April 22, 1998. Fans of the prehistorically-themed land have enjoyed the DINOSAUR attraction, as well as TriceraTop Spin, the Boneyard, and the now-removed Primeval Whirl attraction for more than 25 years, and news of its demise hasn’t gone over well with many of them.

animal kingdom disney primeval whirl attraction at dinoland usa

The now-removed Primeval Whirl attraction at Dinoland, USA/Credit: Becky Burkett

While the news was met with sadness and even frustration by many of Disney World’s frequent guests who love the dino-themed land inside the resort’s fourth gate, others met the news with a fresh perspective on what might be in the works for the new area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and those who are looking to the stories of Indiana Jones for clues about the new land’s major attraction are reportedly “digging in the right place,” if you’ll pardon the excavation pun.

Indy vs. DINOSAUR

During a press preview for the long-awaited opening of Hong Kong Disneyland’s World of Frozen, Disney’s Parks and Experiences Chairman, Josh D’Amaro, teased an Indiana Jones-themed replacement for the DINOSAUR! attraction, which has served as DinoLand’s signature attraction since April 22, 1998 – the first day of operation for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

animal kingdom tree of life

Credit: Disney Parks

Related: Dinoland, USA is Going Extinct as Disney’s Parks President Talks About What’s Coming Next

“I think I actually played some music, didn’t I?” D’Amaro teased, referring to his presentation at the Destination D23 event in September 2023, during which he revealed an artist’s rendering that depicted an Indiana Jones-style temple situated in place of the current DINOSAUR! attraction.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, D’Amaro talked further about plans for an Indiana Jones presence in the location that is currently DinoLand U.S.A.

D’Amaro talked briefly about a piece of concept art that was originally shared at the Destination D23 event in September 2023, saying that the artwork was not a final piece. But he did say that the image depicted in the artwork, which shows DinoLand U.S.A. revamped into a wholly new land with a tropical Americas theme, shows “where [execs’] heads are” as the discussions about new plans for the area continue.

new themed land to replace dinoland usa

Artist concept drawing of new land to replace Dinoland, USA, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Credit: Disney

“We’ve got so many stories to tell,” D’Amaro explained. “We have so many things we want to make even better in the theme parks. My plan is to continue to share that with the guests. I know people are like, ‘My gosh, I can’t believe he’s saying this. Is he serious, is he not?’ The answer is, we are absolutely serious.”

The concept artwork depicts themes with nods to PIXAR’s Coco (2017) and Disney’s Encanto (2021).

D’Amaro touted The Walt Disney Company’s September 2023 announcement about its plans to infuse $60 billion into Disney’s Parks around the world over the next ten years to–as Disney CEO Bob Iger explained it, “turbo-charge” the parks–a decision that has angered many on Wall Street.
walt and mickey sculpture at hong kong disneyland

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

“We know what this business is capable of, we know what our fans expect of us, and we’re going all in,” D’Amaro continued. “You’re going to see more and more of that. As we make our way through some of these ideas, some of them will become real, and we’ll say that’s specifically what we’re going to do, but I want our guests to be on the journey with us.”

Fans Left to Wonder About Indy’s Role in the Park

In the days following news of DinoLand U.S.A.’s eventual demise at the Destination D23 event in September, fans began to question just how Disney would try to use the stories of Indiana Jones at Animal Kingdom, a park that has been devoted to specific themes and principles, including wildlife conservation since it first opened more than 25 years ago.

kali river rapids at disney's animal kingdom park

Credit: Becky Burkett

Related: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Missing the Mark In Its Conservation Efforts

Would those stories be in keeping with the theme of the park as a whole? Would they add to it–or worse, detract from it?

In response, D’Amaro, who previously held the position of Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, said he wasn’t ready to dive “deep into” specifics about the addition of Indy at this time but said that he remained optimistic about guests’ reception of ideas for the new themed land and attraction.

“Animal Kingdom is about exploration and adventure,” D’Amaro explained. “I was fortunate enough to have run that theme park, so I know how special it is, and I think there are a lot of stories that we can [use and] stay true to Animal Kingdom and express new properties in there, and that’s what you see us starting to do.”

A Carbon Copy of a Disneyland Attraction From 1996?

indiana jones adventure ride at disneyland california

Credit: Disneyland Resort

It’s important to note that DINOSAUR is an opening day attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that debuted in 1998 using a ride system very similar to the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction that opened at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, in 1996.

As such, some fans have speculated that an Indiana Jones-themed attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom might be a carbon copy of the one at Disneyland, though there’s been no confirmation of this as of the time of this publication.

As always, we will be sure to keep Disney Dining readers updated as we learn more about what’s to come for DinoLand, U.S.A., and the iconic attraction, DINOSAUR.

Are you excited about the changes ahead? Let us know in the comments! 

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

2 comments

  1. I grew up at Disney, we got the cups with Mickey, Goofy and Donald with archeological dig sites when we went and we would always eat at the Dino themed restaurant where I took pictures with the Dino’s outside and ate my dino-nuggets. Dinoland was my childhood and I would give anything to keep it; those Dinosaurs have already been extinct once and Disney brought them back so I only ask they don’t go extinct again.

  2. I love Indy replacing Dinoland. I always thought Dinoland was so poorly done and Indy is one of the best Disney attractions ever developed. The ‘how does it fit’ question is irrelevant. Disney will make it fit and staying true to some perceived opening day vision for the park is silly. EPCOT evolved and so can Animal Kingdom. A tropical Americas land with Inday and Enconto is brilliant and the best idea Disney has had since Galaxy’s Edge. I can’t wait for this to happen. I wish they would also build an animals discovery trail as found in Africa and Asia. The animals from that region would be amazing including llama and alpaca, sloths, various monkeys, parrots, crocs, condor, and chinchilla. Let’s build it Disney.

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