There’s a distinct sense of incongruity that you experience when crossing the “Olden Gate Bridge” into Dinoland U.S.A. Part carnival midway—Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama features themed-up versions of basic state-fair rides like the TriceraTop Spin and Primeval Whirl—and part playground (The Boneyard), this area of Animal Kingdom is clearly geared toward younger audiences. To that end, there’s a live puppetry and dancing show, Finding Nemo — The Musical, that’s sure to please the elementary school set.
All of this makes the presence of the Dinosaur ride something of a horrifying anomaly. After getting the kids all hyped up on the majesty and mystery of dinosaurs, they’ll certainly be curious to hop on board this adventure. Bill Nye the Science Guy hosts visitors to the Dino Institute, where he invites them to hop on board a time machine to go back to the time of the giant reptiles. Of course, things go awry, darkness falls, meteors begin raining from the sky, and a giant carnivorous dinosaur begins chasing your vehicle.
This ride is loud, dark, and incredibly intense, all of which is great for grown-up thrill seekers. For kids? Not so much. Recently rethemed and, unbelievably, toned down from its original incarnation to incorporate elements of Disney’s animated flick of the same name, Dinosaur should be approached with all due caution by those accompanying brontosaurus-loving young children.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition