Jurassic Park River Adventure boats

Jurassic Park River Adventure is a beloved classic attraction in operation at Universal Studios Orlando. As the name suggests, this is a water thrill ride where guests board a raft and enjoy a scenic trip down Jurassic Park’s own river. Through eye catching scenery and past large, animatronic dinosaur statues, concluding with a heart-pounding near miss with the iconic T-Rex herself, this ride has become a fan favorite.

However, this beloved attraction is beginning to show its age, with many of the animatronic dinosaurs no longer functioning or obviously deteriorating. Fans of this ride have lamented its current state in the park and fear that Universal could pull the plug on the River Adventure once and for all.

Jurassic Park River Adventure boats
Jeremy Thompson, via Wikimedia Commons


Two incarnations of the original river ride continue to operate in Orlando and Japan, with the original Hollywood version being transformed into Jurassic World: The Ride in 2018. This decision has been met with mixed reviews with complaints about the new incorporation of screens and a sometimes-functioning Indominus Rex animatronic facing off against the T-Rex during the climax.

Although the ride in Orlando has seen better days, there’s still a large fan base for the nostalgic attraction. Very few believe the park would be a better place without the Jurassic Park River Adventure, even if it isn’t a must-do for every family.

So, how can this classic attraction be saved but also brought up to date with the rest of the park? The best solution can be found overseas in Universal Beijing and it’s own unique Jurassic World attraction. Unlike the River Adventure, the Jurassic World Adventure swaps the boat ride vehicles with a similar vehicle to those used in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Transformers: The Ride. With an impressive mix of animatronics, physical sets, and screens, the dinosaurs come to life before the guests’ very eyes.


                                                                                  video by Theme Park 101

Perhaps the standout moment of this attraction comes with the life-size Indominus animatronic that seems to chase the ride vehicle. If Universal were to bring the same quality animatronics and scenes back to the States and incorporate them into the refurbishment of the River Adventure, it’s possible the decision could extend the Jurassic Park ride’s lifespan for the foreseeable future.

This would, of course, be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor resulting in a lengthy refurbishment period, but with the River Adventure averaging a 32-minute wait time, it’s far from the most in-demand ride in the park at the moment.

Regardless, it would be a shame for this classic ride to be put out of operation for a lengthy duration, but to preserve the potential longevity of the ride it may be the most promising route Universal creatives could take.

Whether this ride is refurbished or left the way it is to endure as long as possible, only one thing is certain — this beloved attraction deserves better than the state it’s been left in all these years. For Jurassic Park and Universal fans, this ride is a classic that deserves a place on Universal’s roster as long as possible.

What do you think the future of the Jurassic Park River Adventure could hold? Do you like this attraction the way it is now? What changes would you make if given the opportunity? Let us know in the comments!


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