Dinosaur (originally named Countdown to Extinction) is a dark ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Guests board vehicles called Time Rovers and are taken on a turbulent journey through primeval scenes populated with audio-animatronic dinosaurs. Though the ride ties in with the Disney movie of the same name, it was opened before the release of the film. Originally named Countdown to Extinction, the ride's name was later changed to "Dinosaur".
Guests enter the Dino Institute, a once secret research facility. After moving through the queue area, which features real dinosaur remains, they are taken to a room where they watch a pre-show video. The ride's pre-show film director is Jerry Rees, best known for his animated film The Brave Little Toaster. It was written by Steven Spielberg, with Reed Smoot as Director of Photography.
In the video a woman, Dr. Marsh, announces that the guests are about to board Time Rovers that will take them on peaceful tours of the early Cretaceous period. However, a male scientist, Dr. Seeker, cuts off Dr. Marsh and, from his laboratory, informs the guests that he plans to send them to a time towards the end of the late Cretaceous period so that they can rescue an Iguanodon from extinction. The screen displays footage of the dinosaur, whom the guests will identify as Aladar from the film. Dr. Marsh overhears Dr. Seeker and enters his lab, arguing that the mission is too dangerous, as the time the guests would be sent to is extremely close to the time when the meteor that supposedly killed the dinosaurs hits. After Dr. Marsh has left, Dr. Seeker says that he has hacked the time travel systems so that the guests can go to rescue the Iguanodon.
The guests exit the pre-show area and proceed down a staircase to the underground loading area. Disney staff dressed as Dino Institute workers stand at control panels for the Time Rovers. Through windows in the walls (actually projection screens), guests can see that the room is surrounded by lava. Guests board a Time Rover and the vehicle proceeds around a corner and inside the time tunnel. Lights flash around the guests, then the lights go out and a field of stars appears on the walls. After the guests have passed the stars, the lights fade in on a prehistoric jungle around them.
The Time Rover drives through the jungles, seeking for Aladar, guided by Seeker. The top half of the rover shakes to simulate rough terrain. The set liberally utilizes dry ice and fiber optic meteorites. Through gaps in the trees, a twilight sky can be seen.
A Styracosaurus near a volcanic vent leans against a tree, pushing it dangerously near to the vehicle. An Alioramus digs in the ground for prey, then pulls out a large lizard whose legs and tail wiggle in the rasp of the dinosaur's jaws. A mother Parasaurolophus watches over her young and a lone Velociraptor stands on a ledge in search of prey. Suddenly, Seeker locks the rover's autopilot on a homing signal that he thinks will lead the guests to the Iguanodon. They take off at a rapid speed through the jungles, but the dinosaur they come to stop in front of is not the Iguanodon, but a dangerous Carnotaurus.
The rover speeds away frantically, jerking left and right, the tires screeching, and they come to a stop near a peaceful herbivore, Saltosaurus. Seeker insists that they keep moving, or else they won't be able to make it back to their own time before the meteor hits. The Time Rover enters a clearing in the jungle where a thunderstorm rages behind the trees and where two Cearadactylus chicks are perched. The vehicle goes down a drop just in time to avoid a collision with a larger, flying Cearadactylus. As the guests fall down the drop, they startle a group of small Compsognathus, who leap over the guests' heads.
They come to a stop in an apparently empty clearing, but then lights flash to reveal the Carnotaurus. The dinosaur walks toward the vehicle, and the guests flee from the predator and take many left and rights turns, only to meet up with it again. For the first time, the Carnotaurus raises itself to its full, intimidating height and roars so loudly that gusts can feel the Time Rover shaking. A bright light resembling lightning (actually the flash of a camera taking a picture of the guests, which can be viewed after the ride) flashes as the Carnotaurus roars. The vehicle drives away again and Seeker tries desperately to abort the mission, but to no avail.
The rover proceeds down a path where large trees are tipping toward it. Aladar is struggling to hold up a log so that the guests can pass under. They pass Aladar, who is presumed to be following them. The Time Rover's computer announces that there are only a few seconds to spare before the meteor impact. Seeker, unable to initiate the time travel sequence fast enough, warns the guests to brace themselves. The boom of the meteor resounds through the jungles and a flash of light from the impact briefly illuminates the area so that the guests can see the Carnotaurus lunging toward them. The Time Rover plunges down a slope into complete darkness, then once again, stars appear on the walls. Lights come on so that the guests find they are inside the time tunnel. They exit the tunnel and see on a television screen that Aladar is wandering the halls of the institute. Seeker thanks the guests for their help and, humorously, he must leave to find the Iguanodon "before security does."
Shortly after the release of the film on May 19, 2000, the attraction underwent many changes. Though originally named "Countdown to Extinction," its named was changed to "Dinosaur." The original logo was taken down from the entrance building and replaced with a new sign from which protruded a small statue of a Carnotaurus. The original statue of the Styracosaurus in front of the building was taken away and replaced with a statue of Aladar. Now that the attraction was marketed as a tie-in to the film, more children would be riding. Because of this, the movement of the enhanced motion vehicles was changed to be less intense and the ride was also given a less frightening soundtrack. In the original soundtrack, after the encounter with the first audio-animatronic Carnotaurus, the footsteps and roars of the dinosaur could be heard directly behind the vehicle, giving guests the feeling that they were being pursued. Now, during the same moments of the ride, the roars of the Carnotaurus can be heard far behind the guests, implying they have safely escaped. Many people disagree with this change since it ruined the ride for older audiences.
In April 2005, 30-year-old Ryan Norman of Mooresville, Indiana, lost consciousness shortly after exiting the ride and later died. He wore a pacemaker, and Norman's parents said he had a heart condition. An investigation showed the ride was operating correctly and was not the cause of Norman's death.
Grand opening: April 22, 1998 (Opened with Disney's Animal Kingdom)
Previous attraction name:Countdown to Extinction, changed shortly after the Dinosaur film was released (which was on May 19, 2000).
Show length: 3:10
Height Requirement: 40" (102 cm) or taller
Interacts with Pal Mickey
Location: DinoLand U.S.A.
Ride system: Computerized ride vehicle, termed EMV (Enhanced Motion Vehicle), which are synced to show scenes
Uses the same technology and shares a similar track layout as Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
Features: Appearances by actors Wallace Langham and Phylicia Rashad.
According to Research and Documentation Manager, Carol Lee, discovery of Carnotaurus came as Disney was planning the Countdown to Extinction attraction. Original plans called for Tyrannosaurus Rex, but Disney responded to the latest news by incorporating Carnotaurs instead.
Even though Tyrannosaurus Rex is not featured in the attraction, one of its relatives, Alioramus, does appear in the ride where it's seen feeding on a crocodilian-like reptile.
Raymond, Disney's fully articulated Triceratops horridus skeleton that is located in the attraction's pre-show area, has a nameplate that misspells the name of the archaeologist who found, dug, and donated it. The nameplate reads "Dr. W. R. Gartska", when it should read "Garstka".
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Dinosaur (Disney's Animal Kingdom). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.