Raves for Universal Studios' new Jurassic World ride

Jurassic World - The Ride has been met with huge crowds, queues up to two hours long and mostly positive reviews from riders.
Jurassic World - The Ride has been met with huge crowds, queues up to two hours long and mostly positive reviews from riders. PHOTO: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD/INSTAGRAM

LOS ANGELES • An old dinosaur proves it still has bite - with new teeth.

When Universal Studios Hollywood closed its ageing Jurassic Park ride in September for an overhaul, the park's research and development team wanted to inject the same big-adrenaline scares and state-of-the-art magic seen in its latest blockbuster dinosaur movies.

But the team also had to rush to finish the ride in time for this year's peak summer tourist season.

Jurassic World - The Ride opened earlier this month after several days of testing with almost no fanfare.

The ride has been met with huge crowds, queues up to two hours long and mostly positive reviews from riders.

"This biggest challenge was to turn it around in a very short accelerated pace," said Mr Thierry Coup, senior vice-president of Universal Creative.

His team turned to some unique visual effects, the latest in animatronics and a few ideas borrowed from existing attractions such as the King Kong 360 3D segment of its Studios Tour.

Park officials declined to say how much they spent to overhaul the 23-year-old ride, which reopened less than two months after its biggest crosstown rival, Disneyland, launched its billion-dollar expansion, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

Although Universal Studios Hollywood has been advertising since April that the ride would reopen at some time this summer, Jurassic World launched on July 12 without the usual hoopla - or even the kind of advance notice that would have given out-of-town fans time to plan a visit.

The Jurassic World attraction is still a boat ride posing as a tour of a research facility where dinosaurs have been brought back to life, thanks to amazing advances in science.

But, like the earlier version, the ride turns haywire when the creatures escape and threaten to eat the visitors.

Early in the ride, passengers on the boat float past what looks like an aquarium that holds an ocean of water and a Mosasaurus (think of a cross between an alligator and a whale).

The sea creature chomps down on a shark and then hungrily eyes the boat passengers before smashing into the aquarium glass, sending water splashing onto the monster's intended victims.

The aquarium walls are actually eight massive high-definition screens - four on each side of the boats - and the Mosasaurus is made to look real, thanks to proprietary Universal Studios technology that changes the images on the screens to reflect the perspective of the viewers in the passing boats.

The technology, known as squinching, creates a 3D effect by making objects that are closer to viewers move faster across their field of vision than objects in the distance.

Long lines did not appear to discourage parkgoers who rode the new attraction recently.

"The effects are really good," said Ms Nicole Sincock, an Australian tourist who rode the attraction while on vacation with her daughter. "I would not be mother of the year if I didn't bring her."

Other riders said they prefer the new ride to the older version.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2019, with the headline 'Raves for Universal Studios' new Jurassic World ride'. Subscribe