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Ride / Dinosaur

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The future is truly in the past!

Dinosaur, originally named Countdown to Extinction, is a ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. It is filled with references to the 2000 film of the same name, as the two projects were co-developed together.

The premise is that a group known as The Dino Institute has successfully perfected time travel and wishes to take a tour group (the riders) to see the Mesozoic. Doctor Seeker, however, wants to send them to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs to rescue an Iguanodon. From there, things fall apart pretty fast...

At D23 2023, it was announced that the attraction would possibly be replaced by an Indiana Jones attraction. Considering the ride is based on the already existing Indiana Jones Adventure, the change is not an unexpected result.

Tropes feature in this ride include:

  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In Countdown to Extinction, when the rover was stuck in mud being menaced by the Carnotaurus, Dr. Seeker had a line justifying the camera flash for the ride photo as a flare (presumably meant to scare it off). In Dinosaur this line is no longer present.
  • And the Adventure Continues: As guests leave, Dr. Seeker leaves to find Aladar, who at that point is roaming the halls of the Dino Institute after having followed the rover through the time portal. Dr. Marsh, meanwhile, coordinates with security teams to contain Aladar while simultaneously searching for Seeker.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • The Carnotaurus in the ride is the size of a T. rex, as in the film the ride is based on, when it should be much smaller.
    • The Compsognathus in the ride are scaly skinned, when they should have feathers. Even worse considering this ride was made after the discovery of close relative Sinosauropteryx.
    • The pterosaurs in the ride, assumed to be Cearadactylus, are bipedal and completely lacking in pycnofibres. An especially jarring contrast with the Pteranodon/Geosternbergia from the movie, which is one of the most accurate pterosaurs ever seen in cinema.
    • As for the raptor, see Raptor Attack.
  • Anachronism Stew: While most of the dinosaurs are from the Late Cretaceous, the Iguanodon is from the Early Cretaceous (The Barremian), the Saltasaurus and Carnotaurus are from the Maastrichtian, Styracosaurus, Alioramus, Parasaurolophus, and Velociraptor are from the Campanian, Coloborhynchus is from the Valanginian, and, worst of all, Compsognathus is from the JURASSIC!
  • Big Damn Heroes: As the meteor finally hits the Earth, a tree falls toward the Time Rover. Quite literally out of nowhere, the Iguanodon you're looking for catches it, saving the Time Rover. Justified Trope: The Time Rover was leading you directly toward the Iguanodon, and Seeker only orders it to abort the mission literally seconds before it shows up.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Bill Nye the Science Guy shows up in voiceover in one of the pre-show rooms.
  • Canon Welding: In Animal Kingdom's early years, the Iguanodon rescued in the ride could also be seen playing in the water by guests riding the short-lived Discovery River Boats after it had presumably escaped its would-be captors at the Institute.
  • The Day the Dinosaurs Died: The tour group are secretly sent back by Dr. Seeker to just before the asteroid is about to hit, instead of the Early Cretaceous as planned, because he wants to rescue one of the last Iguanodon (which did not live close in time to the asteroid impact in real life). He says that you'll be outta there well before the asteroid enters the atmosphere, but, well...
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The ride was originally called Countdown to Extinction when it first opened.
  • Expanded Universe: When the attraction first opened, a pair of tie-in books were released: A hologram picture book about the dinosaurs featured in the attraction with a "Spot the Error" component in the guise of fixing some glitches in the Dino Institute's information databases and a young readers chapter book adaptation of the attraction focused on Seeker's nephew being put on the "Save the Iguanodon" mission.
  • Gentle Giant Sauropod: A sauropod, presumably Saltasaurus, is among the non-threatening dinosaurs on the ride. Seeker even expresses relief upon encountering it.
  • Handwave: How does the time machine work exactly? It's proprietary to the Dino Institute.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted, since this is a dark ride; the ride is pitch black except for the parts that are deliberately illuminated.
  • Meaningful Rename: When the ride first opened in 1998, it was named "Countdown to Extinction." Then Dinosaur came out, and they decided to use the ride to promote the film.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: While it’s never stated which continent the ride takes place on, the guests will encounter dinosaurs from Asia, both Americas, and Europe on their journey.
  • Mythology Gag: The pre-ride film implies that the Iguanodon the riders are after is Aladar from the movie.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: During the second encounter with the Carnotaurus, it chases after the Time Rover. Originally, the sounds that followed implied it was right behind the audience, but after this scared too many audiences, it was changed to sound like the group had outrun the beast. The original sounds seem to have returned, though.
  • Oh, Crap!: The sight of the Carnotaurus charging right towards your vehicle at the end of the ride. In an earlier version of the ride, it was an actual meteor falling right towards the vehicle.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Well, more like get out before the fireball arrives in the first place.
  • Predators Are Mean: While the Carnotaurus and raptor play it straight, Averted by the Alioramus that shows up in the beginning — it's content to feed on the small crocodile in its mouth.
  • Punny Name: Dr. Seeker's full name is Doctor Grant note  Seeker.
  • Raptor Attack: The only raptor to show up (assumed by most people to be Velociraptor) is completely featherless. In all fairness, this ride was made before the idea that raptors had feathers really began to take off, plus if the raptor in question is indeed Velociraptor, then it’s still far more scientifically accurate than the depictions popularized by Jurassic Park.
  • Recycled In Space: With the same ride system and layout, it is essentially Indy with Dinosaurs.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: The Dino Institute's backstory is explored throughout the rest of the land with signboards featuring newspaper clippings and other ephemera. The Time Rover was developed by a lab in the American Southwest called Chrono-Tech that the Dino Institute made a serious investment in.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Carnotaurus. It even tries to attack the riders when the meteor blast wave is right behind it! The Alioramus averts this—it's already eating a small crocodile, and doesn't even look at the riders.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Although Walt Disney World doesn't have a version of the Indiana Jones Adventure, Dinosaur uses the same technology for their ride vehicles, a similar ride layout, and a similar premise (scientific endeavor goes horribly wrong, although that can describe half the E-tickets in the park). It could also be considered an Alternate Company Equivalent to Universal's Jurassic Park River Adventure, which was launched only a few years prior.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Downplayed by the ride's sole tyrannosaur, Alioramus. It's shown devouring a small crocodile, which prevents it from having any interest in the riders.
  • Time Travel: To let guests see real dinosaurs, the Dino Institute has set up a machine capable of sending the Time Rovers to that era in time.
  • Time Traveler's Dinosaur: A group known as The Dino Institute has successfully perfected time travel and wishes to take a tour group (the riders) to see the Mesozoic. Doctor Seeker, however, wants to send them to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs to rescue an Iguanodon. The Iguanodon saved is implied to also be Aladar.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: At end of the pre-show, Seeker says, "And don't worry about that asteroid, you'll be outta there before it even breaks the atmosphere. Trust me, what could go wrong?" Of course, this ends up being Tempting Fate.

Alternative Title(s): Countdown To Extinction