Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Walt Disney World News: Dinoland USA Makeover

My family has been vacationing to Disney my entire life. On these vacations (and long car rides) we have many times asked the question of "If you could remake one section of any park at Walt Disney World, which would it be?" I had the same answer year after year: Dinoland USA. Besides what I think is a top ten ride in all of WDW in DINOSAUR, the land itself just lacks the "magic" that most other sections in WDW have. That "magic" is what makes Disney World, Disney World, and when you were in Dinoland USA, you never once felt like you were in Disney World, but rather an extremely outdated, mediocre carnival. 

Truthfully the entire land felt like it was created to take up dead space in the park. It's the section that screamed "we have all this space, what do we add quickly to fill it up?" Answer? Carnival games and rides. Food stands. Let's add one kick ass attraction (Dinosaur) to attract the crowds.

Unfortunately for our Dino-friends, it looks like extinction once again awaits them.

It was announced at D23 this past week that Disney's Animal Kingdom is aiming to see a major retheme coming to the now Dinoland USA, with the idea of the new region being "Tropical Americas" and have significant inspiration from the movie Encanto. All we have at this moment is concept art of what it intends to look like and no dates or timetables have been stated publicly.

Photo from https://wdwnt.com

Bruce Vaughn, the Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Imagineering, said the project has "a long way to go" if it is to go through, but that they are also "up to the challenge." The beginning of the end for Dinoland USA when they demolished the Primeval Whirl back in 2021, and outside of the aforementioned DINOSAUR ride, you have no reason to go there unless you want a Dino-Dig Ice Cream Sandwich (future Foodie Friday).

Here is a much outdated photo of myself and my younger brother in Dinoland. We have evolved, Dinoland not so much:

Okay, now that the professional J journalism stuff is out of the way, let the Disney fan in me talk. Disney absolutely needs to do this, and it's probably past time they did. Our Disney Six crew had the conversation of the Animal Kingdom becoming not irrelevant, but definitely less important than the other three parks. It is very hard to spend an entire day there in my opinion, even with the potential long waits for Avatar: Flight of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest, etc. I actually think as far as aesthetics and "vibes" go, Animal Kingdom has a good case of being the top dog. It's so unique compared to everything else in WDW, but it has lacked the "WOW" factor, even with the much needed addition of Avatar land. 

This redesign also needs to bring another hit ride with it. Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey are alone worth the trip to the Animal Kingdom, but with Everest beginning to age a little bit, Kali River Rapids being a complete skip for some people, and now DINOSAUR seemingly on its way out, a new, show stopping attraction needs to be a priority for the Imagineer team. It doesn't even need to be considered a "thrill" ride. Just something that you absolutely need to go see and worth the wait while you are in the park. We should have no doubt that the new area will be stunning to look at and blend in with the theme of Animal Kingdom perfectly, because that is what this team does best. I have complete faith whatever direction they decide to take this. The reason being, anything is better than what is there now. 

No disrespect to Dr. Seeker, the Time Rover, and the Iguanadon. You will be missed.

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