The Thrilling Trip Through Time on DINOSAUR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Sitting in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom guests will find The Dino Institute, a "one-time secret research facility and museum" that's home to some spectacular fossils and fossil casts. The attraction queue winds you through the research facility as Bill Nye narrates your journey. During the pre-show guests learn that they are about to board time rover vehicles and be sent back to the Cretaceous period for a peaceful tour. However somewhat unexpectedly the plans change and a different mission is assigned - a more dangerous rescue mission.


Guests climb into their Time Rovers, which look to be military type transports that accommodate 12 guests each in three rows of four people. The cars are actually Enhanced Motion Vehicles, that "drive" less than 14 miles per hour down a slotted track, with the motion felt by the guests being created by hydraulic simulators that are programmed to enhance the feeling of speed and action. The same platform is used at Disneyland on Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Disneyland. In fact, the ride vehicle track is also identical to its Disneyland cousin, with only the theming and dynamic programing of the cars' motion being different.

Stunning Fossils and Fossil Casts from Real DinosaursStunning Fossils and Fossil Casts from Real Dinosaurs

The rovers head off around a corner and lights flash around the guests, a field of stars appears, and then they find themselves immersed in a prehistoric jungle. The vehicles drive through the jungle looking for the tagged iguanodon, guests come perilously close to several other species of audio-animatronic dinosaur going about their daily business. Suddenly the iguanodon's beacon is located and the time speeds off to rescue and the adventure really gets exciting!

Dinosaur Fans Will Love Spending Time in QueueDinosaur Fans Will Love Spending Time in Queue

Dinosaur opened in April 22, 1998 as Countdown to Extinction, but after the release of Disney's movie Dinosaur in 2000, the attraction went through a name change and some small programing changes to make it less scary to children who might want to enjoy the attraction. When "casting" the dinosaurs that were to inhabit the ride, Disney's Imagineers picked the fierce Carnotaurus to be the villain. With his pointy horned head and plentiful sharp teeth, the ferocious looks the Carnotaurus meant Disney has its star of the show.

Time Rovers in DINOSAURTime Rovers in DINOSAUR

Though not a traditional rollercoaster, DINOSAUR is a fun romp through the prehistoric era with ride effects that toss guests about, it definitely requires the seatbelt. To ride guests must be at least 40 inches in height, and there are medical warning signs posted because it's a dark, scary, and a bumpy ride in the time rover!

Thanks so much to Loren Javier for use of DINOSAUR images through Creative Commons. Have you been on DINOSAUR? Is it a must do or s kip when you visit Disney's Animal Kingdom? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Randy Bagwell wrote on Thu, 10/29/2015 - 20:25:

Randy Bagwell's picture

Animal Kingdom is my favorite Disney World park and I have ridden Dinosaur several times over the years. On a visit last week, I found that the ambient lighting in Dinosaur was so low that I couldn't see anything. I know it's a dark ride but I couldn't see the jungle at all, just flashes of the dinosaurs as they were highlighted for a second as you passed them. Getting thrown around in the blackness without seeing the scene was disappointing to say the least.

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