Jurassic World: The Ride Opens — Here’s What We Thought Of It

When I was a kid I had an Annual Pass to Universal Studios Hollywood for a summer. Every Saturday Myself, along with a group of Friends, would descend upon the park and go on every ride multiple times. By far my favorite of those attractions was Jurassic Park: The Ride. So it goes without saying that when Universal set out to revamp it and, basing it on the more recent films, they had big shoes to fill where I was concerned. 

Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies to ever hit celluloid made by my favorite Director of all time. When it was announced back in 2013 that Universal and company was hitting the “soft-reboot” button on one of my favorite franchises I, like many others, had my doubts; but in 2015, when I experienced what became Jurassic World, I was blown away by the film. 

Fast forward four years and one “meh” sequel later to the grand opening of the ride, and I found myself having the same doubts I did back in 2015. Could this new version of the ride honor what came before while creating a new, exciting experience for guests? Well, since LRM was invited to the Grand Opening of said attraction this week, let’s find out.

Jurassic Opening Ceremonies

After a small red-carpet with some of Jurassic World’s cast and crew, we were sent to a roped-off area where we could watch the opening ceremony in front of the looming Jurassic World Gate. Food and drinks were provided as well as brief encounters with dinosaurs and celebrities. 

An audience formed in front of the ride as the film’s Director Colin Trevorrow shared a heartwarming speech. He was particularly thankful for two people whom he wished could have joined him on stage; Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton, the former being in New York City to shoot his West Side Story remake and the latter having passed in 2008. 

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Producer Frank Marshall were also in attendance. At one point Pratt even had to tame is Dino co-star, the fierce Velociraptor Blue. Getting to briefly speak to each of these celebrities last night I can easily confirm that, not only are they some of the sweetest people in Hollywood, but their love for this franchise is worn on their sleeves. 

So, with the words “Welcome to Jurassic World” and the iconic roar of the T-Rex, fireworks erupted in celebration of the official grand opening. 

Jurassic Ride

I knew we were going to get wet when I saw the ponchos set up on the table just before the ride’s queue. We were urged to put them on as we approached the loading zone. Once on the boat, we strapped in and set off. There was nothing really different about this whole process versus the old version except the color schemes; grey and blue rather than old yellow and red. 

It wasn’t until the ride finished climbing the initial lift-hill that I realized this was no simple re-skin. Flanked on either side by aquarium tanks, we come face to face with that of a giant Mesosaurus, who ate a great white shark as if it was a tic-tac. The splashes from the Meso spilled over the tank on directly on top of our boat (good thing we had those ponchos). 

The next two Dino encounter were revamped versions of the Stegosaurus and Parasaurolophus from the old version. Each one of these animals seemed intent on making sure we got wet, one even shooting water from its mouth at us like a giant Super-Soaker. This seems to be the only part of the ride that was left virtually the same. Although, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that these creatures seemed, at the very least, updated.

The Raptor paddock is still there but they have a new neighbor, as the very next thing you will see is the Indominus Rex’s paddock with the doors knocked down and a bloodied Pterodactyl that must have got in the Indom’s way. Red warning lights and a message from Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) informs us that the Indom has indeed escaped and to hang on. 

Gone is the ever failing Jeep that would dangle, then drop over the side of the wall in this area; but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of action to keep us entertained here as we continue up the lift hill. More video screens with Owen (Chris Pratt) warn us to keep still as to not become a meal for the animals. I love that this version of the ride features actual characters from the film as I believe it was missing in the previous version.

Although the whole ride is impressive, the top of the lift is where the Triceratops-Crap hits the proverbial fan. It’s also, I think, the most altered part of the attraction. Gone is the industrial themed area and, to my surprise, you’re now in what looks to be another foliage-filled habitat. This is where my boy, Blue (Old School reference) is waiting for us. Blue is a completely life-like animatronic character that actually surprised me. I think he could be the most life-like of the whole thing. 

Also in this area is the Indom who comes face to face with the iconic T-Rex before our very eyes. Just before the two go to fight we are plunged down an 85-foot drop into the splash-zone where a wall of water crashes down onto us, baptizing us by this behemoth of a ride, never to be the same again.

Jurassic Activities 


But that’s not all, my dino-lovin’ buddies! Some of your favorite experiences around the attraction is back and fully made over; Jurassic Cafe was looking all shiny and new with a new selection of tasty bites that, although I didn’t get to taste, looked to be a much-needed improvement upon the old menu. In addition, the ride’s gift shop is back and packed with merch from either Jurassic Park or World

New additions to the area such as Isla NuBAR (which is as the pun suggests; a bar), a new Dino-Play area for the kids where they can excavate dino fossils, and three new heart-pounding dino encounters featuring Blue, a Baby Raptor, and a massive, lumbering, life-like Triceratops. All this will have you feeling as if you have left Hollywood behind and have somehow made your way into the real Jurassic World.

Jurassic Final Thoughts

So, as the film did before it, Jurassic World: The Ride surprised me by being just as, or more, fun than the original. And like the film, this ride not only creates new thrills, but honors the legacy that came before it. I highly recommend you don’t miss this incredible experience; but if you do decide to ride it, definitely know: YOU WILL GET WET. That said, bring a swimsuit or plan for it to be the last ride before you head home.

If you’ve ridden the ride and loved it, or if you disagree with me and hate it, hit me up at @indy_filmmaker on twitter and tell me how you feel.

Are you looking forward to visiting Universal Studios Hollywood to experience Jurassic World? Or do you think the attraction was better left Jurassic Park? As always let us know how you feel below!

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