While Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand, U.S.A., area may be going extinct, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate this awesome attraction while it’s still around! Here are seven radical things about Walt Disney World’s dynamic dark ride, DINOSAUR.
7. Spot the Dino
Walt Disney World does a fabulous job setting the scene for this attraction before guests even arrive at the entrance to DINOSAUR. The area leading to the ride, consisting of serene paths through jungle-like greenery, is populated with several dinosaur statues, some of which guests can actually sit on for photos.
Whether you want to pose with Pachycephalosaurus, gallivant with Gallimimus, or roar with raptors, there’s a fun photo op for every member of your party!
6. Imagineers’ Hidden Homage on DINOSAUR
DINOSAUR initially opened as a ride called “Countdown to Extinction,” the same year Animal Kingdom opened, in 1998. After the movie “Dinosaur” was released in 2000, the ride’s name was changed, along with some details in the attraction itself.
But guests with sharp eyes will be able to spot some tantalizing evidence of the ride’s former life. When you’re in the loading area, look for a wall that reads “SECTOR CTX-WDW-AK98.” This is the Imagineers’ homage to the ride’s previous name (CTX), Walt Disney World (WDW), and the year the park opened (AK98).
5. Paleontology Paradise
DINOSAUR is typically the first ride we head for upon arriving at Animal Kingdom because there are usually no lines. But there’s so much to see during the ride’s queue that we end up wishing for a line. You’ll encounter fossil exhibits, life-size casts of various dinosaurs, prehistoric skulls, and the towering Carnotaurus skeleton.
There’s detailed information on the exhibits, as well as expansive murals and dioramas of prehistoric life. So even if you can’t ride first thing in the morning or don’t have a Lightning Lane, don’t worry – kids and adults alike will be thoroughly entertained while waiting for their DINOSAUR adventure!
4. Star Power
Disney’s Dinosaur has to be one of our favorites for pre-show star power alone. Wallace Langham (technician David Hodges in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) is the Dino Institute staff member who dismantles your vehicle’s safety protocols and sends you on your mission, Dr. Seeker.
The iconic Phylicia Rashad (Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show) as Dr. Marsh prepares you for your journey through time. And then there’s Bill Nye (AKA “The Science Guy”), who appears during the queue to set the tone for your adventure, narrating the theory of the extinction of the dinosaurs.
3. Chased by a Carnotaurus
You’ll encounter the ride’s scariest dinosaur, the Carnotaurus, several times during the attraction. A huge, roaring, spiky carnivore with a head full of horns, he is made even more terrifying by strobe effects. Disney used advanced audio-animatronics to make the Carnotaurus seem absolutely real and trust us, you will not doubt that he is!
The scariest encounter is at the end of the ride when the Carnotaurus lunges directly at your vehicle, and it’s not clear if you’ll make it back to the present. It’s one of our top terrifying moments in Walt Disney World. We dare you to keep your eyes open for the whole ride (your ride photos will tell the truth)!
2. Marvelous Mesozoic Merchandise
As an adult dinosaur fan, it can be difficult to find dinosaur-themed merchandise not geared toward children. The Dino Institute Shop is perfect for dinosaur lovers of all ages.
You’ll find toys of the dinosaurs featured in the ride, excavation kits, apparel for men, women, and children (including a Carnotaurus-shaped hat I couldn’t resist that has since proven quite a conversation starter), books on prehistoric times, posters, gems, and more. Take a minute to read the cartoons on the tees and maybe find the perfect gift for the dino lover in your life!
1. The DINOSAUR is in the Details
As with any Walt Disney World ride, it’s the details that make a difference in Dinosaur.
Next time you ride, pay attention when Carnotaurus roars at you – you’ll notice that the entire vehicle shakes. Guests are shaken or bumped around quite a lot on Dinosaur, including over the neck of a sauropod; watch for her dirty look, and if you’re in the back two rows, wait for the bumps she’ll give you in return.
Finally, look at the yellow, red, and white pipes above the loading area; budding chemists will know that the characters on the pipes are the chemical makeup for mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise (perhaps a nod to the fast food chain that originally sponsored the ride).
What’s your favorite part about the DINOSAUR attraction? Let us know in the comments!