Florida Guide > Disney Parks
DINOSAUR AT ANIMAL KINGDOM
I have to say that the Dinosaur ride is my all time favourite, and it is the one we make a beeline for as soon as we arrive at Animal Kingdom. The walk up to the Dinosaur Institute is quite impressive, with huge statues of dinosaurs on each side of the path. If you are lucky and there is no queue then you will walk straight into the institute, which is a domed building with a very large dinosaur outside. Don’t forget to take your camera, as there are some good photo opportunities along the way. The institute itself is very realistic, and purports to be a research facility and discovery centre. As you wind your way through the building there are interesting displays, telling the story of dinosaurs, and you will see fossils and fascinating artefacts, which will keep you occupied as you wait for the main attraction.
However, the excitement really begins when you are taken through the doors into a briefing room, where Dr Helen Marsh, the Institute Director, gives you an informative talk about how the dinosaurs are believed to have met their demise. It appears that a mighty asteroid hit the earth and created a devastating nuclear winter. This destroyed plant life, and with no food to eat, the dinosaurs simply became extinct. She tells us that we are going on a gentle ride, back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, long before the asteroid destroyed them forever.
But, of course, nothing at Disney ever goes to plan, and it is when we meet the scientist, Dr Seeker, who is a bit of a rebel who has already been in trouble with Dr Marsh, that we realise that we could be in for an exciting time. Dr Seeker has a very different plan. He wants to transport us back to the end of the much more dangerous cretaceous period, as he wants us to help him rescue the last iguanodon, and save it from extinction, before the huge asteroid hits the earth. It is a dangerous plan, and one which meets with opposition from Dr Marsh. At this stage, we are introduced to the time vehicle which is to be the means of our journey back to the age of the dinosaurs. However, Dr March pre-empts Dr Seeker’s perilous mission and forbids him to venture back in time, locking the time machines. But, in true Disney fashion, nothing will stop Dr Seeker from carrying out his hazardous plan, and by this time, we can hardly wait to start our adventure. He overrides the codes and, hey presto, we are on our way.
Of course, there are dangers ahead as a huge and destructive asteroid is imminent, not to mention the carnivorous carnotaurus waiting to devour you along the way! As the doors finally open, we are led down to the area where the time travel machines are waiting – large, 12 seater Time Rovers. We like to sit at the front as you get a much bumpier ride, and appear to be even closer to all the action. The safety bars come up, and the Time Rover moves swiftly off into the time tunnel, lurching up an incline, shooting through blinding flashing lights, projecting us through the doors in pitch darkness, and back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, millions of years ago!
Now is the time to really hang on tight – and even though we have done this ride several times I still get that heart pounding feeling of anticipation as we set off. The Time Rover hurls us through a stunning pre-historic environment, with unexpected encounters with various dinosaurs – a flesh eating dinosaur lunges at you, whilst the flying pterodactyl swoops down and nearly eats you. There are stunning special effects, and the animatronic dinosaurs are very realistic as they move and shriek. As we stop and start, pitch and roll our way round this vast primeval forest we are chased by the angry carnivorous carnotaurus, who is determined to catch us.
Of course, it is not without danger, and nothing goes entirely to plan. All the time we can hear Dr Seeker as he relays instructions via the time-linked radios. The Time Rover accelerates rapidly, through darkness, and strobe lights, twisting and turning, bumping and jerking its way towards the final encounter with the dinosaurs, just as a meteor shower threatens to annihilate everyone. Will we escape and fulfil the scientist’s dream?
Then, all too soon, you are home at the Institute, safe and sound – but what is that sitting in your Time Rover?
As you leave via the shop, where there is dinosaur memorabilia to suit every taste, you can view the photograph taken at the height of the ride. But we are usually already walking briskly back to the entrance to ride it all again. There is so much to see that you really need at least two rides to appreciate all the subtle nuances. Don’t miss this one, and use your fast pass if it starts to get busy.
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