Why DINOSAUR Isn’t What You Think It Is

When DINOSAUR opened in Animal Kingdom back in 1998, it was originally named “Countdown to Extinction.” The name was changed in May 2000 as a tie-in to the then-current Disney movie, Dinosaur.

Originally, the attraction was called Countdown to Extinction

This dark ride is not to be confused with the friendly, family-fun dark rides over in Fantasyland, nor are its dinos like those from the now-extinct Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This attraction comes with a height restriction for a very good reason. Some think it should come with an age restriction, too!

Not For Infants or Those With Health Complications

The most obvious reasons you shouldn’t take small children on this ride is the height restriction. You must be 40 inches tall to hop on board the EMVs, or Enhanced Motor Vehicles. The so-called “time rover” cars are basically motion simulators on wheels.

Photo taken during DINOSAUR

The result is a roller coaster ride that jerks, jolts, and leans to give you the sensation of rocky terrain, or in this case, racing through space and time. We don’t recommend this ride for anyone with health problems that could be exacerbated by these kinds of movements. Speak with a cast member prior to heading through the line if you have any questions about whether you’re fit to ride or not.

Truly Terrifying

If the rough ride wasn’t thrilling enough already, Disney adds in the immersion aspects to make you feel like everything around you is real. Maybe it’s the darkness and the flashing lights disorienting you, but the lifelike movements of the dinosaurs is enough to make your skin crawl.

It starts out with a friendly herbivore to test the waters. Then, you’ll progress through a few meat-eaters, each one more threatening than the last. All the while, you’re trying to outrun the asteroid said to wipe out all the dinosaurs on Earth.

The scariest moment is during the photo op, where a hungry Carnotaurus appears right next to your time rover looking for a pre-extinction appetizer. You! If Disney World kept records for which attraction makes the most kids cry, it would probably be DINOSAUR for this very spot.

Education in Disguise

Another part of the DINOSAUR attraction that many miss is the educational aspect.

Dinosaur skeleton in the waiting lobby of the attraction

OK, when you’re on the ride itself, you’ll be hanging on for dear life and may be too scared to actually absorb anything. But if you pay attention while you’re waiting in the queue, you just might learn a few things. The waiting area is filled with fossils and artistic renderings designed to inspire the paleontologist spirit in you. During the preshow, you’ll encounter some terms that you probably haven’t heard since your high school Earth Science classes, like the time periods. And check out the gift shop on your way out. There’s plenty to browse through, and maybe you’ll feel inclined to pick up a book or science kit to take home with you. You never know what you might find.

Have you ridden DINOSAUR? Share your thoughts with us below. Find out more about the attraction in our guide to DINOSAUR.

When you’re in Disney, don’t forget to tag us @allearsnet in your photos!

Dinosaur Ride

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for AllEars.net since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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4 Replies to “Why DINOSAUR Isn’t What You Think It Is”

  1. I have been riding Dinosaur since the beginning, it is one of my favorites in Animal Kingdom. Yes, it throws you around a bit, but that is what I love about it, the wildness of the ride. I think as long as you do not have any serious health issues or back problems, it can be great for any age or person young at heart!!!

  2. This is one of my 12 year old daughter’s favorite attractions. I always tell friends visiting for the first time to WDW that it is similar to Indiana Jones ride in DL, as in the vehicle and experience with how the vehicle moves you through the attraction. We try not to miss it.

  3. The author writes, “If Disney World kept records for which attraction makes the most kids cry, it would probably be DINOSAUR…..”. And I write, “if Disney World kept records for which ride makes the most grown ups cry, it would be It’s A Small World.” Or the car ride to the ATM to pay for your vacation.

  4. I’ve ridden this since it first opened. It is a little rough in spots (just hang on), but this 72 year old still has a blast riding it! Is it scary? If I could have ridden this at (dinosaur-obsessed) age 10, it would absolutely have scared me — and then I would have wanted to ride again!