Animal KingdomThe Parks

10 Facts and Secrets about Disney World’s DINOSAUR!

DINOSAUR! is a thrilling and fun attraction in Dinoland, U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you have dinosaur lovers in your group, this is definitely the attraction for them and gives you a whole different way to see and experience some of your favorites. The Imagineers consider every detail, and this is another perfectly themed example of a great attraction. Here are ten facts and secrets about fan-favorite, DINOSAUR!:


10 – The attraction opened the same day at Animal Kingdom.

That’s right, the original attraction was part of the attractions that were present when the park opened on April 22, 1998. Crazy to think that the original attraction has been around for this long and is still such a fun attraction.

9 – DINOSAUR opened under a different name.

This may come as a surprise to those that didn’t visit the park until after 2000. The ride originally opened as “Countdown to Extinction,” and it just so happened that the dinosaur that you went back in time to search for was then was called an “Aladar.” Disney released the film, DINOSAUR, on May 19, 2000, and thus changed the name of the attraction to “DINOSAUR.” It just so happens that the name of the main dinosaur in the movie was Aladar (Coincidence? I think not!), so now you look for the Iguanodon, which is the breed of dinosaur that Aladar is in the movie. The statue at the front of the attraction was changed to an Iguanodon, instead of the Styracosaurus that was there before. This change allowed for the ride to be related to a Disney movie instead of just a standalone attraction to tie in the theme of the land.

8 – The height requirements changed once the new ride opened.

Since the changes to the ride to be based on the Disney movie, the imagineers and management figured that more children would want to experience the attraction. The Time Rovers’ movements used to be more intense and dramatic than they are as we experience them today. The changes to the movements allowed the height requirements to be changed from 46” to 40” so that more children can experience the fun. That wasn’t the only thing to the change, though, the sounds were also changed to be a little less frightening for these younger riders. The footsteps and roars were toned down so that the dinosaurs didn’t sound as close as they were initially intended to when the ride first opened.

Dinosaur Warning

7 – The smoke machine used on the attraction is quite impressive.

The smoke machine used in DINOSAUR is actually one of the largest smoke machines used in any theme park. Think about that next time you are on the attraction and see all the smoke on the attraction. It takes a pretty impressive smoke machine to power the intense effect and fill the space with smoke. It definitely sets the tone for the attraction.

6 – McDonald’s used to be the sponsor for the ride.

McDonald’s used to be the sponsor for DINOSAUR and the entire Dinoland U.S.A. pavilion. They were the sponsor from 1998-2008. During that time, you could hear over the speaker during the loading area that the time travel was sponsored by the McDonald’s corporation every several seconds. The Restorauntosaurus very close to the attraction also served McDonald’s food on the menu, and you could get fries from a walk-up fry stand. I actually miss the McDonald’s presence from the pavilion sometimes!


5 – A nod to Countdown to Extinction

If you look around during the loading area, you will notice a wall that reads, “SECTOR CTX-WDW-AK98”. This is a nod to Countdown to Extinction (CTX), Walt Disney World (WDW), and the year Animal Kingdom opened (AK98). We love when the Imagineers add this little bit of nostalgia and fun, plus showing respect to the history of the attraction.

4 – Guests used to try to swim in the fountain out front.

It never seems to amaze me the things that guests will try to get away with. When the attraction first opened as Countdown to Extinction, there was nothing around the fountain to prevent guests from being able to play in the water. As more and more guests would enter the fountain, Disney finally decided to do something about it. They added their own barriers to prevent guests from being able to cool off with the Iguanodon.


3 – The animatronics used to the largest in all of Disney World.

At the time this attraction opened, the attraction just so happened to feature 12 of the largest audio animatronics that Disney had ever created in their theme parks. Since then, we have had attractions like Everest that have come along and stole this crown (although arguably the Yeti shouldn’t count since it doesn’t operate correctly). Can you imagine the work that went into creating 12 large audio animatronics, especially ones that were the largest and most complex for Disney at that time?

2 – A jumping dinosaur?

When the attraction was first opened, the Compsognathus dinosaurs actually jumped across the Time Rover’s track. This has been turned off for the dinosaurs, and now they remain static. I don’t remember what it was like when they jumped across the track, but I imagine that it was pretty cool!

1 – Look for the ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise in the loading area.

Well, OK, you won’t actually see ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise in the form you are thinking about. Look up and check out the red, yellow, and white pipes that run through the entirety of the loading area. You will notice that there are chemical formulas written on the pipes. These chemical formulas just so happen to be the chemical formulas for ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise! How cool is that? The selection of ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise was also a nod to McDonald’s when the attraction was created since they were the sponsor.

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Hi! I’m Kristin, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. We vacationed at Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what maked more sense was just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way.
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