Jurassic Park – The Ride was always one of our favorite rides at both Univeral Parks, as it was a lot of people. Again, like so many, Jurassic Park is one of our all-time favorite films, and well while we like the Jurassic World film, it’s a long way short of the original. So the obvious question is how well doe the new Jurassic World Ride shapes up to the old Ride.
Our Jurassic World – The Ride Review takes a look at the New Ride and sees how it compares, has 22 years of technological advancements, allowed the engineers to improve on the experience, or has the overreliance on tech ruined the Nostalgic feel of the ride? We have to be honest that the jury is out and most people fall into two camps, so let’s take a look.
- Location – Lower Lot, Universal Studios Hollywood
- Type – Water Ride, with large drop and Dark Ride themed elements
- Duration – 5+ Mins
- Height Restriction – 42 In
- Average Queue time – 30 mins – 60 Mins
- Single Rider – Yes
- Additional Info – Expect to get Soggy!
What is Jurassic World – The Ride
The Ride is a simple Boat Journey heavily themed around the Jurassic World Themepark. Essentially you are taking a pleasant boat ride around the exhibits and displays in the Jurassic World Theme Park. Naturally, things end up going wrong and the Dinos run amock. Ultimately culminating in the Boat dropping down an 84 ft (25m) drop with a water splash at the bottom.
Jurrasic Park – The Ride
The New Ride is not really a New Ride at all and the layout and ride vehicles are basically exactly the same as before, but the ride experience is altered massively due to radical retheming and new dinosaur models, animatronics, and digital effects.
The Old Ride was so well-loved that it has created quite a lot of backlash and people resist the change and insist nostalgia is better than enhancements. We try our best to embrace change and will happily let go of things IF the updates are an improvement.
We really really love the old ride, and it’s not really for the ride experience. The Boat journey would be pretty dull without the theming and the effects and while the final drop is good, it’s not huge, super-fast, or overly steep, really it’s just ok. What makes it is the theming and story element. These were not just thrown together and the whole experience was worked on in collaboration with Steven Speilberg to ensure it was an experience fitting of the Franchise!
And there were really fantastic elements to the original ride that were just fantastically imagined concepts. However, at other times their constraints of budget, technology, and time were definitely visible and some of the models were frankly appalling.
Some of these have been replaced on the new ride, some have added effects to enhance them, and some have just been touched up a little and largely look the same. As we walk you through the experience below we will compare the elements we think really work and the ones where we think a backward step may have been taken.
One of the retorts to those that have criticized the Changes accuses people of viewing the ride with Rose-tinted glasses and relying too much on nostalgia. We think this is an Invalid claim as there is a lot of the old STILL in there, you can happily enjoy most of the quaintness of the ride. What’s been lost is some serious Story Telling cues and some serious Suspense Devices have been dropped and technology deployed to try and overcome what is actually a real loss in some cases.
The New Ride Just fails on just a few elements but they are the ones that really matter and it drags the ride down as a whole! Let’s get into it!
Queue And Theme
The Queue is pretty dull. It starts well as you pass through the Iconic Jurassic Park Entrance. But inside it actually hits the theme notes perfectly. The theme is A Jurassic World Ride, you are supposed to be going on a boat to see the dinosaurs. So the Queue Line is just that, a Queue Line for a Jurassic World ride! And Jurassic World has not been very thoughtful about their Queue lines!
There are posters and info about the upcoming animals you are to meet, and info on staying safe in the boats. But by and large, it’s a cattle pen Queue and pretty dull.
The Single rider line works really well due to the nature of the 4×5 rows on the boats there are loads of spare seats. The issue is this is a long slow meandering boat ride for the most part and it can be a bit dull experiencing this on your own!
The Fist big change is the Boats, these have radically been altered. They are now Green, instead of Yellow! ok, maybe not be that radical then, but quite noticeable. They still sit up to 25 people in 4 rows of 5 and have a really good throughput.
The lift hill is the same although nicely spruced up as has the first bend. You then approach the Double door in the same way and we still have no idea what is through the “other” door (well we do but we are not going to spoil that!). Then we get to the first BIG change.
The Epic intro theme has been dropped and instead of the Brachiosaurus enclosure, we now traverse a Mosasaurus Tank via a Shark Tunnel. We have mixed feelings here, we loved the Brachiosaurus but really there were pretty terrible, this is where Nostalgia gets confusing sometimes. We loved this part of the ride, but anyone riding without the nostalgia would look at those lumbering hulks and think “They are awful!”
The new tank idea is really neat, and the effect is pretty good if not totally convincing. The Mosasaurus enclosure is shown entirely on multiple digital screens and stalks its prey seamlessly as it moves around the tank and swims under and around the tunnel. If the footage was just a touch higher res and more believable it would be a fantastic addition, and the water effects really cool.
Next up is the Stegasaurus enclosure and this is largely unchanged. The models have been tweaked and touched up and the baby is a little less like a puppet from the Dinosaurs Tv Show. But largely this is the same setup and nostalgia remains intact. You still get the same “surprise” at the end. The two fighting Compsognathus have vanished, which is a huge fan loss, but don’t panic they have just been moved…
This is where the plot really deviates, and not always for the better. In the old ride, the correct path is blocked by a damaged raft, forcing you off into the back lots, in the new version there is no other path and you are simply plunged into a systems failure right by the Raptor enclosure.
We definitely prefer the old ride here, but the new themed Predators Cove is really nicely done, there is very little going on here but it’s clear something very terrible has just happened!
We now get a few cameo appearances from the cast of the Film and we feel they have relied a little too much on paying actors for bland monologues than actually fitting in a few more elements. We are watching Claire Dearing (Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) On some tv screens rather than anything actually interesting.
The first appearance of the Indominous Rex is a little placid. Considering the rage this animal normally portrays he just kinda sits there growling a little. It’s only a head model, but yeah the detail and animatronics are pretty impressive!
You then head up the lift hill, one of the raptor encounters is cut for another Chris Pratt appearance but the second raptor still appears, this time clutching some sparkly electrical cables which are pretty cool. This Raptor was always pretty limp, so the new sparkles are a step up!
The final section really steps up the theming as you encounter several spitting Dilophosaurus and you are attacked from above by the Indominus Rex (Previously the T Rex), next steps up a pretty impressive “Blue” animatronic, and his vocal call warns you of bad things.
We then get a FULL reveal of the Indominus Rex and this is an absolute masterpiece! The motion and detailing on the model make it far more lifelike than any Dinosaur we have seen outside of the films.
As the Indominus Rex prepares to eat you the T-Rex appears from his cave and the two roar at each other as you escape down the 84ft drop to the splash pond below. It’s a stunning set piece and really fitting of the New Films…
… But that is its problem. The sacrifice for this stunning set piece is the brilliance and storytelling of the old ride. The finale of the old ride was pure suspense and then drama, like all good films and rides. There was not much happening but an ominous countdown and the boat looming toward a drop. The focus of the rider was on escape and the impeding exhilaration of the drop. Then at the last second, while you peered down the drop focused entirely on your escape, T-Rex appeared from nowhere plowing through the smoke and water right in front of you.
It was a genuinely magical reveal that stunned first-time riders and was still magical after many repeat rides. The concealment was SO good, you genuinely forgot every time, and then bam out she pops!
This has now gone and the suspense and surprise with it. And what is worse, there is no real need for this as the T-Rex Model is still in the same position and appears the same way, all that has changed was the timing and the lack of a waterfall and smokescreen.
If you bring these back then the ride is really pretty much as good as the old one. The parts it’s lost are small and some were really awful, even though well-loved.
Overall we can’t forgive the ending. It would easily stand up to the old ride if T-Rex appeared in the same manner as old. It might even be more powerful as the riders are focused on the stunning Indominus Rex attacking from the left and then bam from nowhere the T-Rex makes her entrance! The theming for the most part is far more refined and detailed.
The Cameos are unnecessary, this is not Harry Potter where the Cast really is everything, in Jurassic Films the Dinos are the stars! But it’s not a death sentence, you can just ignore them and use the rest-bite ready for the next thrill, and if everything else was in place, we suppose having the actors on set too is no bad thing.
As huge Jurassic Park Fans, the new rides suffer the same fate as the new films, the really clever storytelling elements are lost in favor of special effects and wow factors. We really like the New Films and the New Ride, but the originals are true classics and will always have a special place in our hearts.
While we can always just go back and watch the Original Film, we can’t go back and ride the old ride which is a shame…well actually we can, but it means heading to Florida, and we get the feeling its days are numbered…
Have Yor Say
Let us know your thoughts on the New Jurassic World Ride and how you think it compares to the old Ride. Do you think it’s an improvement or a step backward, and if the latter how far back? Do you genuinely think the ride has been ruined or would a few tweaks save it? Maybe you have ONLY ridden the new ride? How did you find it with no reference points? Whatever your views and opinion just fire away in the comments below!
2 thoughts on “Jurassic World – The Ride Review – Universal Studios Hollywood California”
Such a fun ride! Family loved it!
Yep it is one of our favourites at Universal,
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