DINOSAUR at Animal Kingdom Ride Review at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
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Opened: April 22, 1998, under the name “Countdown to Extinction.”
Location: In the back of DinoLand USA and to the left of Restaurantosaurus, up this path.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning.
Ride Length: 4 minutes.
Type: Dark ride.
Similar To: Test Track and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland.
Requirements: Must be 40” or taller to ride.
Scary Factor: High. Dinosaur is one dark, loud, bumpy ride. Although there are no drops more than a few feet, and the vehicles don’t move particularly fast, this may still prove to be a more intense experience than Expedition Everest, and the scariest ride at Animal Kingdom.
Here, one dinosaur is devouring another in near pitch-black conditions. Fortunately(?), the camera probably sees better than you will. In recent years, Disney has added transitions to several scenes and improved the lighting, which has gone a long way to making the ride “feel” more cohesive and not just a bump ride in the dark.
Is It Too Scary? DINOSAUR is not for those who have had problems on other Disney World attractions. If Haunted Mansion or Tower of Terror caused so much anxiety that the kids were worried and whimpering throughout the process, consider skipping Dino. Also, don’t visit this attraction early in the day if your child is prone to fear or easily rattled. It may “shut them down” for the rest of the day, and they’ll be apprehensive about riding other attractions, no matter how innocuous they appear. People have left comments over the years attesting to this below.
The atmosphere that the ride creates is one of danger, panic, and pure terror as riders try to avoid meteors, dinosaurs, and ultimately, their own extinction. For some reason, they’ve also beamed you back in time during a meteor shower in a roofless vehicle. The ride is relentless and there is little time to stop and remind your youngster that they’re safe. Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom is also much rougher than Test Track at Epcot or other comparable rides, and you may want to think twice if you run the risk of injuring your back or neck. Most adults and older children will enjoy the ride, or at least not be frightened during it. Because of how dark and jostling the ride is, filming it is difficult, but you can pull up this video to get a better idea about the experience.
What to Expect: Dinosaur is located in the “Dino Institute,” at Animal Kingdom which is an elaborately themed queue area with authentic dinosaur fossils.
After you move through the queue, you will be taken to watch a short video where your mission is explained. Once the pre-show concludes, you’ll move to the next area, where you board a 12-person “Time Rover” vehicle, each if which has three rows with four people sitting in each. Once strapped in, you will embark on your wild ride through time and space.
Speedy Preshow Exit: After the pre-show video, a door on the opposite side of the room will open. This hallway leads to a set of stairs down to the loading area. If you’re in a hurry, move all the way across the room and stand next to the doors. With how quickly vehicles load, the last person to exit the pre-show will only wait a couple of additional minutes compared to the first person who leaves, but every second may count when it comes to life and death.
Where to Sit: Each row seats four people in individual seats with individual seat belts. Seating isn’t particularly important here, though the two seats on the sides of the front row afford the best view. The vehicle will also bounce you around a bit less up front. The back row will feel like it’s tossed around the most.
It may be best to put the nervous in the middle seats because they will be furthest from the dinosaurs that appear off to the sides of the vehicle. The ride is so dark that most of what you’ll be able to see will be off to the sides when the vehicle momentarily breaks.
Look to the right when you see the carnotaurus near the end of the ride. You’ll want to take advantage of MagicBand technology here. At the ride exit, Disney no longer automatically displays the photos on screens like they do at a lot of other rides. If your on-ride photo isn’t beamed to your My Disney Experience account via a MagicBand, you’ll need to talk to a cast member to get the photo properly linked manually.
This Ride Feels Familiar: The track and ride vehicles are exact replicas of the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland.
FastPass+: Yes – moderate priority. Most people will prefer to book Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris in advance. FastPass+ for either of those rides will save more time and availability is more limited.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
FastPass+ users will hurry through this main queue area, but so will most guests visiting during a recommended time.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 18 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability: With its hefty hourly capacity, Dinosaur distributes a lot of FastPass+ experiences each day. On the day of your visit, there may initially be very little or no availability. Luckily, FastPass+ for Dinosaur become available more often than Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and most other rides. Refresh persistently and a time should become available, particularly in the afternoon and evening.
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: Before 10am, after 6pm, or with FastPass+. Dinosaur may open or close before the rest of Animal Kingdom. Double check the Times Guide if you’re planning on visiting during the first or last hour of operation. It’s more common that the ride closes an hour before the rest of the Park.
Josh’s Take: Dinosaur is a thrilling ride that may be too intense for younger riders and too bumpy and jerky for older riders. The ride is also so dark that it’s difficult to see what it is that you’re supposed to be so scared of at times. It remains recommended because it is one of the Park’s major attractions, but be aware of the possible detractions and consider skipping it if it isn’t a good fit for your group. Youngsters and those who are too short may prefer to spend their time at The Boneyard playground nearby instead.
WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME: Technically, the attraction is named “DINOSAUR” in all capital letters, not “Dinosaur.”