Considered one of Universal’s largest endeavors, Jurassic Park…The Ride is one of the largest attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood. Combining the best of Universal Creative (the folks in charge of the park’s creative direction) and Universal Pictures, Jurassic Park embodies the very essence of the slogan “bringing movies to life.”
If you’ve read the book or even seen the movie, you probably already know where this ride is going. If you haven’t, picture this: you’ve just ventured in John Hammond’s theme park and you’re boarding a relatively calm and peaceful boat to tour Jurassic Park. Every assurance has been made to ensure your safety, so you’re all well and good.
Think of this attraction as a rougher, more unhinged version of Disney’s famous Jungle Cruise – but with dinosaurs, and you’re all set. But of course, this being Jurassic Park, things go horribly wrong.
Jurassic Park… The Ride is 5 minutes long.
Yes, ask for assistance. Be aware that you will need to get out of your wheelchair to experience this ride.
Photography and video taping is permitted, but be aware of rampant water effects!
You must be 42” to ride.
The Gate A – or Front of Line – entrance can be found underneath the Jurassic Park arch. As you head through the main entrance, you’ll see a Gate A sign for a special queue for priority access to the ride. Simply show your pass to a Universal team member before you enter.
Yes. Child Switch allows your party to experience Jurassic Park while you wait behind with your child. When your party is finished, you’ll reverse roles – you ride, your party waits. Please read our Child Switch guide for more information on Jurassic Park’s procedures.
Jurassic Park… The Ride contains intense lighting effects, loud noises, large animatronics, a large drop and water effects. Especially young children should exercise caution, while pre-teens may experience some discomfort. Parents may want to exercise strong caution so we recommend reading the intensity meter below for more information.
First thing’s first, Jurassic Park is not a roller coaster. It does, however, feature a 50-foot plunge that may be too intense for some guests.
But the ride itself is relatively tame. Jurassic Park is more of a buildup to the final finale than it is a traditional thrill ride. The buildup portion of the ride does feature loud noises, frightening mechanical figures and water effects, so do keep that in mind. If you’re a fan of coasters, this ride really shouldn’t be that much of a problem for you, but if King Kong 360: 3D was edging on your limits, we’d think hard before boarding.
Jurassic Park… The Ride is a watercraft attraction.
Each boat has 5 rows, with 5 seats per row. Seating is assigned, so be prepared to tell the park employee how many people are in your group. Once instructed to board the boat, head down to the farthest section of your seating aisle. Once everyone is seated, pull down hard to secure the lap bar.
It is perfectly normal and routine if the lap bar does not reach your lap.
We always recommend hitting the Lower Lot in one shot. It’s absolutely hellish to go up and down the StarWay (the escalator bank that separates the Upper Lot from the Lower Lot) multiple times per day. That being said, if you’re going to the park on a crowded day, we’d recommend hitting the Lower Lot rides (including Jurassic Park) either early in the morning or late in the evening.
On a normal day (when the extra water effects are turned off), you probably won’t get too wet unless you sit on the sides of the boat or in the front. However, you will get soaked when the extra water effects turned on, which is typically during the summer or on especially hot days. Speaking of the summer…
During the summer season or on especially hot days, the crew at Jurassic Park are known to switch on the ride’s enhanced water effects. If these effects are on (you’ll see signs indicating the wetter-than-ever overlay), you will get wet.
In the final portion of the queue, you’ll be faced with selecting two lines: Line A and Line B. Both these lines are exactly the same. Jurassic Park simply loads two boats at once, hence dual lines. During off peak days, it is normal for one side to be blocked off from access.
During crowded days, Universal will open up a single rider line. If you’re willing to part with your party, Single Rider will shave minutes off your wait time.
Belongings should be held tightly in your lap or between your feet. Lockers are provided for your convenience. Hats and other loose articles need to be stored away safely.
One of the biggest attractions to ever come to Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic Park remains one of the most elaborate attractions ever created. Question is, how does the ride fare now?
Jurassic Park… The Ride is one of my personal favorites at the park. Introducing and cementing what many consider to be the “golden age” of Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic Park broke new ground in so many respects. Attendance levels reached their peak and the ride represented the successful technological breakthrough of bringing the book and movie to life. And of course, this is after a string of successful rides and attractions (WaterWorld and Back to the Future particularly) that would make their impact in the park known for many years.
So after a little more than a decade long, how has the ride held up? And more importantly, is it worth trying out? Well, after sending thousands of guests down that 50-foot water drop and gaining a few notches up its belt, Jurassic Park has held up moderately well. Through years of refinements and shortcuts for the sake of efficiency, the ride has tamed down, and many argue (including myself) that the ride has lost some of its intensity over the years. For one (and perhaps the most dramatic), the introduction of a new braking system at the bottom of the splashdown has neutered the then infamous splashdown, turning a dramatic soaking into a moderate drizzle for guests. And of course, some of the dinosaurs have lost their natural movement after years of being in the elements – loosening the effect of being fully immersed in the fictional Jurassic Park theme park.
But even then, Universal has tried to compensate. To offset the disappointing splashdown, the park has now implemented water canons and other water effects during the summer (though again, this effect is only on during the summer) among other details. And by far, it’s still one of the most elaborate rides Universal has to offer, spawning carbon copies in Florida and Japan – none of which, by the way, overtake the original.
In the end, Jurassic Park is simply the best combination of live-scale mechanical effects and theming Universal has to offer, and for that it still remains a flagship attraction. I highly recommend you check this ride out.
After almost 17 years, Jurassic Park: The Ride still has the edge on almost anything else in the park. As an avid fan of the book and first movie, I find the ride exhilarating, and filled with clever nods to the plot of the source material. From the moment you step into the line, you feel like you’re in a different world.
While some of the queue videos can be grating after all this time – Gwen I’m looking at you – the videos in the second and third portions of the queue that you can only see during peak season do a wonderful job of giving you the plot of the ride, which is meant to be an alternate universe take on the events of the film, supposing the park did open as planned. The immersion here is great, and for the most part, the video clips from the mid 90s still hold up well. The music in the attraction – all of which comes directly from the soundtrack of the first film – also does an amazing job of drawing you into the mood of each section of the ride.
The ride itself is fairly calm until the final drop, and the water effects – turned full blast in summer and spring, and scaled back in cooler periods – really do have the power to change the ride experience. When the water effects are turned on, people tend to focus more on the water than the attraction itself. When the water effects are off however, the ride takes on a more ominous feel. I prefer this ride in the colder months for this very reason, but I can easily understand why people would enjoy this more as a summer attraction in Southern California’s notorious mid-year heat!
This ride ages as gracefully as an attraction of its kind can, and still manages to deliver a Grade A experience every time. I absolutely recommend it.
I would not recommend this for small children though, as some parts of the ride, particularly the latter three minutes, can be quite frightening. If you have a fear of the dark or faux emergency situations, then you may want to steer clear as well. Aside from these notes, Jurassic Park: The Ride is an all-ages attraction.
Having been on this ride well over 100 times and counting, I can honestly say that it is never a disappointment. Every time I step off the raft, I am excited and refreshed, and it seems like each time I ride I notice a new little detail that the designers worked in. From the floating Mickey ears near the abandoned raft to Dennis Nedry’s infamous Barbasol Cryo-Can, every bit of this ride is a direct call back to the film or book, something that the other incarnations in other Universal parks do not and cannot capture.
While the animatronics do not move quite as fluidly as they did 17 years ago, the park at least maintains them fairly well, re-skinning the dinosaurs and re-tooling the mechanisms as often as they can. This ride ages as gracefully as an attraction of its kind can, and still manages to deliver a Grade A experience every time. I absolutely recommend it.