Original Dinosaur Tour: Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions Part 6

Attack Disney Dinosaur Ride Early Concept Art Alternate Ride Vehicle Disney's Animal Kingdom

Dinosaur (former Countdown to Extinction) was planned for Dinoland USA from the beginning of the concept, although originally it was a much different ride than the one we ended up getting to experience.

Welcome to Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions. Today we are exploring the original Dinosaur attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom. If you missed any previous entries in this series be sure to head here to check them out.

A dinosaur-themed dark ride was planned for Dinoland since the earliest stages of the park. It was almost always tied to the same ride system as Indiana Jone Adventure.

The ride was planned to be a journey through the time of the dinosaurs although the storyline and which dinosaurs would be featured were often in flux.

Disney Dinosaur ride Early Concept Art Animal Kingdom

The ride vehicle itself was originally planned to be a dinosaur itself and the ride was supposed to be a lot more intense. It was meant to be the park's real thrill ride on opening day, on par if not more intense than the dragon-themed roller coaster also planned for Beastly Kingdom. It was to rival Universal's own Jurassic Park attraction.

But one thing would forever change this attraction. Disney decided to make a film based on dinosaurs, and it affected the development of this ride. Now it is debated how much the film Dinosaur affected Countdown to Extinction/ Dinosaur. What we know is it did decide what the main dinosaurs in the attraction were going to be, the Iguanadon and the Carnatourus as they were set to be the main dinos in the movie. But the ride still opened as its own thing, separate from the film. 

What isn't known is how much the ride was toned down due to its connections with the movie. There were some changes a few years into the ride's operation, but how much was changed before the ride was even built? The original concept art shows a much scarier experience with blood and dinosaurs up close to you. Yet this was all gone in the final ride.

I would bet this connection with an upcoming animated film led to the violence being toned down in anticipation of a retheme. Many of these scenes were also affected by the budget cuts this attraction faced when it was forced to share a layout with the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction. Whatever scenes couldn't fit in the preexisting layout would not be built.

We already discussed in an earlier article how the Imagineers behind Dinoland USA made many concessions in order to ensure their land secured a budget when put up against Beastly Kingdom and these were all likely compromises made to get the land built. A light connection with an upcoming IP might have been just the thing to put Dinoland over the edge to be favored over Beastly Kingdom.

Disney could have built a different, much more intense dinosaur-themed attraction. It could have been one of two thrilling attractions in a land that lived up to the immersive settings of the rest of the park. Yet the final product leaves much to be desired and isn't worthy of the impressive attractions that it replaced.

Thanks for reading and be sure to come back every Tuesday for more Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions. Check out the rest of the series here and consider checking out other articles about never built Disney attractions at our Attractions From Neverland page. Be sure to come back next week for the next entry in this series, The Lost Mountains of Animal Kingdom.