The popular Dinosaur thrill ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is set to undergo major changes in 2024, transforming into an all-new attraction themed to Indiana Jones.
Overview of Dinosaur Ride
Dinosaur first opened in April 1998 alongside the opening of Animal Kingdom, under the name Countdown to Extinction. The intense dark ride takes guests on a turbulent journey through a primeval landscape populated with realistic dinosaur audio-animatronics. In 2000, the attraction was renamed Dinosaur to promote the Disney animated film of the same name. However, beyond the new name, no major changes were made to the ride experience itself.
Key facts about Dinosaur:
High-speed dark ride thrill attraction
Features encounters with large dinosaur animatronics
Originally named Countdown to Extinction when park opened
Renamed in 2000 to promote Disney’s Dinosaur film
Uses enhanced motion vehicles for a turbulent, jarring ride
Has a run time of approximately 3.5 minutes
Popular E-Ticket attraction with consistently long wait times
New Indiana Jones Theme for 2024
In September 2023, Disney announced a major overhaul is coming to the Dinosaur ride and surrounding DinoLand USA area in 2024. Concept art reveals plans to retheme the attraction around Indiana Jones, the beloved adventure movie franchise. The ride system and track layout will likely remain the same, but with refreshed scenes, special effects, and animatronics fitting the new Indiana Jones theme. This change ties in with a larger transformation of DinoLand into a new South American rainforest land, drawing inspiration from movies like Encanto and the Indiana Jones films.
Details on Planned Changes
While details are still limited, we can expect the 2024 refresh of Dinosaur into an Indiana Jones ride to include:
New Storyline and Queue: The ride’s storyline, scenes, and queue will be updated to follow an original Indiana Jones adventure, with Dr. Jones recruiting guests to join him on a quest deep into the South American jungle.
Enhanced Animatronics: More advanced audio-animatronic figures and larger dinosaurs will populate the new scenes, likely with improved movement and effects compared to the original dinos.
More Immersive Environments: Disney concept art shows lush jungle environments and ancient temple ruins, making for a more vivid and movie-accurate experience.
Special Effects Upgrades: With Disney’s latest technology, the ride’s lighting, sound, and special effects will receive major enhancements to ratchet up the thrill factor.
Merchandise & Dining: New Indiana Jones merchandise and themed dining options will debut alongside the refreshed ride.
History of Dinosaur/Countdown to Extinction
As one of Animal Kingdom’s original E-Ticket attractions, Dinosaur has remained popular since debuting with the park in 1998. The ride was originally conceived by Imagineers as a spiritual successor to the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland, using similar enhanced motion vehicles and a turbulent, fast-paced ride experience. The original storyline focused on traveling back in time to retrieve a dinosaur before a meteor impact.
After two years of operation, Disney decided to retie the ride to the Dinosaur movie releasing in 2000 by renaming it from Countdown to Extinction to the simpler Dinosaur. Aside from the name change, few major updates have occurred over the ride’s 25-year lifetime. The newly announced 2024 overhaul will represent the first top-to-bottom transformation for this legendary Animal Kingdom attraction.
Overview of Indiana Jones Attraction
A quick run-through of the Indy attraction:
Popular thrill ride located at Disneyland in California and Tokyo DisneySea in Japan
Uses enhanced motion vehicles to take guests on a turbulent ride through ancient temples and ruins
Highly themed queue and environments inspired by the Indiana Jones films
Originally opened at Disneyland in 1995 as “Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye”
Nearly identical version opened at Tokyo DisneySea in 2001 as “Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull”
Board a 12-person enhanced motion vehicle for a fast-paced, turbulent dark ride
Experience sudden accelerations, drops, spins, and other movements that simulate a high-speed mine cart
Encounter snakes, spiders, rats, skeletons and other creepy effects
Dodge traps, lava pools, and a giant rolling boulder
Ride features randomization technology for a different experience each time
History & Details
Ride conceived as a successor to the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland Paris
Originally planned as a walk-through queue with boat transport from Jungle Cruise
Collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and George Lucas
Features connections to the Indiana Jones films in queue props and Easter eggs
Attraction expanded size of Adventureland by 33% when opened
Regularly receives enhancements and upgrades to improve the ride experience
Both use enhanced motion vehicles (EMVs) with motion bases that pitch and buck to simulate rough ride movements
Nearly identical track layouts and ride paths
High speed turbulent dark rides with sudden accelerations, drops, and spins
Encounter animatronics, lighting, and sound effects
Dodge obstacles and threats throughout
Theming & Story
Adventure through exotic environments like ancient ruins and temples
Quest/mission storyline to accomplish an objective
Prominent thrill characters (Indiana Jones and dinosaurs)
There are also some key differences:
Indiana Jones features more elaborate queues, sets, animatronics
Richer connections to the Indiana Jones films vs Dinosaur movie
Overall more immersive environments and effects in Indy rides
But the underlying ride system and track layouts are strikingly similar, with comparable ride experiences. This is likely due to cost savings measures by building attractions around the same infrastructure.
The refreshing of Dinosaur into a new Indiana Jones thrill ride promises to breathe new life into one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions. Ride enthusiasts and Indiana Jones fans alike have much to look forward to with this long-overdue reimagining debuting in 2024. From lush new environments to enhanced dinosaur animatronics and thrilling effects, the new Indiana Jones Adventure ride aims to set a new standard for Disney thrill ride experiences.
It anchors the complete transformation of DinoLand USA into an immersive South American rainforest land. While beloved for over two decades, the existing Dinosaur ride experience has grown dated in recent years. The 2024 enhancements will ensure this E-Ticket attraction thrills theme park guests for years to come with a reinvigorated, movie-accurate adventure that lives up to the legendary Indiana Jones franchise.