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by FloridaDiva

* Here at Tips from the Disney Diva, we are dedicated to bringing you HONEST reviews about Disney experiences. This article is an honest review about a Walt Disney World Attraction*
So, as a HUGE Disney fan I have to admit that my favorite attractions are the ones where the Imagineers have gone full tilt and have managed to transport guests into what feels like another world. True classics like Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Indian Jones at Disneyland have always left me in awe of the detail and magic that can be created when imagination is set free. So, it was with eager anticipation that I took my kids to ride Dinosaur, at Animal Kingdom, for the first time.
The queue is modeled to resemble a dinosaur museum complete with fossil encrusted rock walls and a massive dinosaur skeleton as its centerpiece. My boys were entertained and kept busy as we waited and talked about its resemblance to The Royal Tyrell Museum not far from where we live.

Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept it…

Things got even more interesting as we entered the briefing area where we learned we were about to board  a time travel vehicle and experience the cretaceous period first hand. We began to eagerly anticipate the tour and the excitement built as Disney added its usual charm by having the briefing hacked by a mad scientist type. He informed us that he was sending us to a particular point during the cretaceous period in order to bring back a live specimen that he was convinced held the key to understanding the extinct species. The problem? It happens to be at the same time that a meteor shower caused their extinction. The mission is dangerous and there is only a small window of time to locate the specimen and return safely with it.
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? My boys and I thought so too and we happily climbed aboard our time travel vehicle when our turn arrived. We buckled up and entered the time tunnel that glowed eerily with it’s pink neon lights before we were jostled (literally) back in time. And then…it sucked.

Wait…This isn’t What I Signed Up For!

It’s dark. In fact, it’s so dark that in most places you struggle to see what’s making the grunts and growls around you. You get glimpses of what I can only assume are amazing animatronics peering at you through all that foliage. So why didn’t they hurtle you back through time between the hours of 8 am to dusk you ask? Because they want to scare the living dung out of you; and the dark makes that easier.

But wait, it gets worse. Soon the meteor shower begins and good lord, the noise! The ear splitting, cover your ears urging assault on your auditory senses. When the meteors start to fall and the jeep begins to speed through the unpaved terrain that would have naturally existed  at that time, you can’t help but to uncover your ears and hold on to the bar in front of you for dear life. But then your ears begin to ring in pain from the screeching beasts, the roar of the giant predators and the whistling of the meteors that are now whizzing by your head; so, you let go and cover your ears again. But wait, your back side is quickly sending signals to your brain that says, “What the h-e double hockey sticks are you doing to me?” The not nearly padded enough seats are now doing a little dance with your bottom as you bounce up and down and it becomes too uncomfortable to ignore so you, once again, uncover your ears in order to try and brace yourself a bit to stop your arse from complaining. But your ears, no your butt, no your ears…and on it goes.

Is it Over With Yet?

I found myself suddenly envying Ursula and her abundant arms as I shouted encouraging words to my boys. “It’ll be over soon!” and “Hang in there, almost done!” were the most repeated phrases, although, it was as much for my benefit as it was their’s as I felt responsible for putting us all in this assaulting situation to begin with.Suddenly it was my responsibility to keep morale high until we saw our way through to the end of this horrific mission.

Finally, we were sucked back through time into the present for our own safety and returned to the loading dock. We hauled our battered bodies out of the car and stumbled out into the bright Florida sun where we stood gawking at one another, speechless. That is until the ringing in our ears was pierced by the delighted squeals of the youngest, 6 year old brother, who was babbling incessantly about how that was the best ride ever, and how we just had to go again. This, coming from the same child, who just moments before had put his own life in jeopardy by slinking to the floor in fear on Expedition Everest. Myself and his 2 older brothers flatly denied his request as we dragged him to the nearest bench to take a few minutes to pull ourselves together again.

Bottom line? If each of us had one vote to give, for a total of 4 stars, this would have received 1 star; albeit an enthusiastic one. It was just a massive disappointment. Too much noise, too uncomfortable, too dark in many spots to see enough in order to appreciate the effects. The ride has immense potential to be an absolute classic like the attractions mentioned above, but they need to lower the volume and have vehicles with much better suspension.

The designers of this attraction forgot the golden rule in creating the perfect atmosphere, which is really what Walt’s vision was all about anyway…never take the easy way out. Rather than creating tension and excitement by letting you see the danger, or be spooked by beautiful sounds of nature being broken by the low growl of a nearby predator; or, by making you jump in surprise from a sudden meteor whizzing by, they went with what can only be described as cheap thrills. By tossing you about like a numbered ball in a bingo tumbler at the nearest old folks home and by maxing out the volume on the sound effects as if you were a hard of hearing resident of that old folks home; they only manage to make you feel  like you belong in the aforementioned old folks home…achy, deaf and confused. I could have experienced the same effects if I’d stayed at home, got in a cardboard box and had my boys toss me down the stairs while they screamed loudly. Such a serious disappointment.  

Footnote: A conversation with my fellow Divas and Devos has revealed that the popularity of this attraction is about 50/50. Also, to be fair, I visited the attraction a year and a half after my first encounter to give it another chance, and I discovered, I was right the first time.

There are numerous warnings for this ride.
People with back, neck or heart problems are discouraged from riding, although I suspect if you don’t suffer from any of those things, this attraction may cause them.
Pregnant women are not allowed to ride, unless of course you’re overdue and are looking for an innovative way to become induced.
Children may be scared by the darkness and loud noise; as will mom.
Believe it or not, this ride allows wheel-chaired guests to transfer.