In the wake of Universal Studios Hollywood’s announcement of a Jurassic World-themed ride coming in 2019, many fans have been left to wonder what will become of Jurassic Park in Orlando. Recent developments have begun to point to the direction of major changes coming not only to the Jurassic Park: River Adventure attraction, but also the entire area as a whole. In this article, we will break down the possible upgrades and changes guests may see soon in Orlando, and we will also discuss the latest rumors and evidence in the theme park community.
Jurassic Park is widely considered one of the most ground-breaking and influential films of all time. One can argue that the franchise is as popular now as it was 25 years ago when Jurassic Park first debuted in theaters. Needless to say, the saga has a massive following, and that showed in Jurassic World’s box office numbers. With the sequel trilogy in full swing, it makes sense to feature elements from the films inside the various Jurassic Park areas/attractions around the globe. There is a variation of the River Adventure ride in every single Universal destination, making it a staple amongst their most famous attractions. Universal Studios Hollywood does not have a land dedicated to Jurassic Park, but rather a small section devoted to just the ride and the surrounding area. An overlay into Jurassic World in Hollywood would not be as complicated as it would be in Orlando considering there is a much larger themed land encompassing Orlando’s attraction. While there has not yet been an announcement on Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park ride closing soon, insiders believe the same overlay into Jurassic World might be coming. What would that mean for the rest of the land?
If we are to believe the rumors of the Jurassic Park River Adventure closing sometime after summer, then we must assume both coasts will get virtually the same experience. The new story will be set during the events of the first Jurassic World film, featuring the deadly hybrid dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, breaking loose while you are on the attraction. Having the ride take place within the timeline of Jurassic World would mean the land around it will also need a facelift. We could see several of the buildings receive updated color schemes and facades to match the architecture found in the film. Of course, one can expect to see the iconic gates be swapped out for the ones seen in the newer films. In fact, leaked concept art from Universal Studios Beijing (discovered by Themeparx) shows a full Jurassic World-themed area complete with these new arches. The biggest question mark lies with the Discovery Center. The iconic building can be seen across the lagoon as soon as you enter Islands of Adventure. The massive structure holds a shop, restaurant, and an entire interactive area on the lower floor. Any changes made to the exterior would most likely result in the Discovery Center closing for quite some time. Whether or not Universal decides to make it look more like the mountain-shaped Innovation Center from Jurassic World remains to be seen. Also, the inclusion of more immersive street elements, such as the Spinosaurus paddock in Universal Japan, would go a long way toward making the area feel more “alive.” Beyond cosmetic changes, what else could Orlando be receiving? Recent rumors point to an entirely new attraction coming to the land in the very near future.
The strongest rumor in the last few months regarding Jurassic Park has been about a new attraction being built. Almost everyone is in agreement that a new coaster could be added to Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park, and not just any coaster, but a wooden one. Currently, the city of Orlando has two wooden coasters, and each is found at the two FunSpot locations nearby Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. A highly themed wooden coaster would be a unique addition to Universal, as it would be their first in any of their parks. In recent weeks, evidence has begun to snowball regarding this possible new coaster. Markings have been spray-painted onto the supports of the Pteranodon Flyers attraction and have been spotted in guest areas. These markings are also sprayed onto the support bolts for Pteranodon Flyers themselves, meaning they were inspected recently. At first, some believed that the ride would be torn down (as markings like these are the first signs of construction); however, it seems more likely the supports have been inspected to see if they can withstand nearby demolition. Another piece of evidence supporting the inspection theory is the structure has received a new paint job in the last few days (not something that would happen if they were being torn down). All indications as of right now point to the Camp Jurassic playground area not being torn down for any future update to the land.
The biggest news came in the form of a permit first discovered by Inside Universal forum member MagicMagicMagic and has since been reported by multiple outlets. Dubbed project 791, the permit calls for the demolition of several structures within an area roughly 1.36 acres in size beginning on June 1st. The one plot of land that fits that description is the now-defunct Triceratops Encounter attraction, which is expected to be the site of the new Jurassic-themed attraction. As for the Raptor Encounter, it is rumored to be moved temporarily to a new location as the current area sits right in front of the demolition zone. It has been speculated that not only will Blue (the main raptor from Jurassic World) arrive in Orlando as she has in Hollywood, but also that the new location for the Raptor Encounter will be on the waterfront of the Jurassic Park area in front of the Discovery Center. Survey markers wrapped on trees near the waterfront seem to indicate that space will be made for something down there, so the new location makes sense.
As for the coaster itself, a raptor theme has been the most consistent rumor. This makes sense given the importance raptors play in the new trilogy. Potential manufacturers have ranged from GCI (Great Coasters International), who is known for making fun wooden coasters perfect for all ages, to Rocky Mountain Construction, who is known for their unique and intense steel/wood hybrid coasters. Given the very small space they have to work with, it is very possible that this new coaster will travel all throughout the land, not unlike the Flying Dinosaur coaster found at Universal Studios Japan. Alicia Stella of orlandoparkstop.com makes this very point in her recent Jurassic Park video. While some may view that as an eyesore, it is one of the more logical conclusions given the limited real estate in Jurassic Park. The coaster could also utilize the space in front of the Discovery Center since it does not have a great deal of pedestrian traffic anyway.
It seems that Universal Orlando’s Jurassic Park area has many changes on the horizon. While it is still unclear if a Jurassic World-focused overlay will come to the River Adventure attraction, a new ride seems to be around the corner very soon. This addition will be great for a land that has not received a ton of attention in recent years outside of the Raptor Encounter. As more news trickles in, we will have a better understanding as to what’s in store for the land; whether or not it means some simple updates with the classic Jurassic Park we all know and love, or the shiny and futuristic Jurassic World as seen in the movie. Only time will tell. Stay tuned to Attraction Insight for all the latest regarding Jurassic Park and other news around the universe.
DISCLAIMER: This article is tagged as a rumor. Please be aware that the information in this report can change or may not have been planned at all. Attraction Insight shall not be held accountable for the accuracy of any rumors.