Primeval Whirl Review at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Primeval Whirl Opened On: April 18, 2002.
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Location: You’ll find Primeval Whirl in Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama in DinoLand USA. It’s located across from TriceraTop Spin in the middle of the area.
Extra Magic Hours: It’s officially on the list of morning Extra Magic Hour attractions. However, Primeval Whirl is currently a seasonal attraction. It only operates during the busiest times of year. This typically includes the holiday weeks of Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and potentially a couple of other very busy weeks. Pull up the Primeval Whirl page at DisneyWorld.com here and change the date on the right to the day of your visit. The page will show the potential operating hours and whether it will be open for morning EMH on a particular date. At this point, it’s unlikely that it will be.
Ride Length: 3 minutes.
Type: Spinning Roller Coaster.
Similar To: Nothing at Walt Disney World, thankfully.
Requirements: Must be 48” tall to ride.
Scary Factor: Medium to high. While the ride is technically slower and less “intense” than other coasters like Expedition Everest and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, the spinning and abrupt turns/stops can be more than a little disconcerting.
It also feels like you’re higher up in the air than you’d probably like given the fact that it looks like there aren’t any guide rails.
What to Expect: Primeval Whirl is a short, spinning, “Wild Mouse” type ride that seems like it belongs in a carnival or roadside attraction rather than a billion dollar Walt Disney World Park.
But this is precisely what Disney wanted, and it fits in with the overall theme of the area, which is full of other carnival games and rides.
The story behind it is that Chester and Hester, local entrepreneurs, wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the nearby dinosaur dig. Primeval Whirl is themed to be a cheap knockoff of the much more spectacular DINOSAUR attraction nearby. Purportedly, that ride actually transports people back in time. When visitors arrive and inevitably can’t get anywhere close to where the action is, they head for Chester and Hester’s instead. Of course, at Disney World, guests have the option of visiting both rides. The nearby DINOSAUR is much more spectacular.
The biggest problem people have with Primeval Whirl is that it’s extremely jerky. The attraction can also stop abruptly, causing the head and body to snap back and forth against the restraints.
Anyone prone to neck or back pain should avoid this ride at all costs. Despite potential jerkiness, it is a fun ride and the theme is distinctly funky. Just hope that you don’t have kids who want to ride again. You likely won’t.
Check out a full ride-through video here for a better idea about what to expect.
Where to Sit: Each vehicle seats a maximum of four people side-by-side in a semi-circle.
That’s a full car coming down the short drop. There are two sides to the vehicle with one lap bar shared between the two people on each side. If you would prefer the ride to potentially spin less, try to even out the weight on both sides of the ride vehicle. For example, have one adult and one child sit on each side, rather than two children on one side and two adults on the other. This may result in the ride spinning less. It also may not have much or any effect. Conversely, load one side heavier if you would like the vehicle to spin more. There is no way to manually control the amount of spinning like at Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom. The ride does what it wants.
FastPass+: Yes, it’s the lowest ride priority. With waits that build slower and peak lower than most other attractions, it makes more sense to book FastPass+ for headliners like Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest in advance.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
Just the wait in line.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 12 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability: Primeval Whirl is more likely to be available than any attraction other than It’s Tough To Be A Bug, assuming that it’s operating in the first place. Remember that the ride is now seasonal and is only open during the busiest weeks of the year.
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: Try to ride before 9:30am, after 7:30pm, or with FastPass+ in the afternoon.
Oops: Reverchon Industries, the amusement ride company that Disney purchased Primeval Whirl from, filed bankruptcy in 2008. They closed down all manufacturing and operations at that time.
Primeval Whirl may be the most despised ride on property, with millions of guests swearing it off forever over the years. On the plus side, it’s only about 90 seconds long after the initial lift hill. The people sitting with you will also likely be having an even worse time, whether they’re related to you or not. That can be entertaining in its own right. Riding it is a major mistake with any kind of neck or back problems. I always exit my vehicle with some sort of newfound (physical) pain.