Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Early Dinosaur Concept Art

   Certainly the most frowned upon area of the entire Walt Disney World resort is the Dinoland USA section of Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Though a lot of the hatred is unwarranted due to severe misunderstanding, it stinks to see such a charming area get the short end of the stick.
   Considered by many an "E-Ticket" worthy attraction, Dinosaur (originally Countdown to Extinction) is another greatly misunderstood attraction.  People complain that it is TOO dark and TOO loud and TOO bumpy, but in a park severely lacking in thrill rides this is a welcome addition.  Imagine the park on opening day with NO Expedition Everest! Where would your hatred be then, friend?

   Here are some very early concept drawings for the original attraction, circa 1993:






From The Making Of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park:
      Walt Disney Company CEP Michael Eisner felt the dinosaur safari lacked excitement. In the summer of 1993 he suggested using the budget to make an E ticket for DinoLand U.S.A. The attraction would move indoors, becoming a jolting, lurching, thrilling dino encounter.  Changing combinations of effects would ensure that guests never saw the same show twice.  The Imagineers went back to their concept for Dinoland U.S.A., itself - the conflict between chaos and order, authority and disobedience, youthful, creative minds vs. stodgy, controlling brains, and the park's overall theme of the weakness of technology in the face of nature - and began to work out the details for Countdown To Extinction. 




2 comments:

  1. I can't believe the silliness of people who enter a queue for a thrill ride in the dark, walk past all the warning signs and then complain that the ride's too loud, dark and bumpy. I suppose they also complain that Expedition Everest goes too fast.

    Indy's one of my favorite rides at DL, and when I finally get to DAK, Dinosaur is one of my top priorities!

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  2. My complaints about Dinosaur are more deep-rooted. I absolutely without question consider Indy my #1 favorite dark ride and indeed, favorite ride period. It's the grandness; the detail; the truly paralyzingly scary legend of looking into Mara's eyes; the "interactive" beginning; the queue. Literally everything about it is so incredibly detailed.

    I was excited for Dinosaur and refused to read or believe the disparaging comments people have. The technology is astounding, and I knew that the park could do fantastic things given the EMVs and a license to go with something truly dark (in nature, not lighting) and a little more "Universal Studios" than Disney's normal storyboarding.

    What I disliked about Dinosaur (aside from the usual complaints) is that it felt very 2-D. I thought there was a really disturbing amount of black-light for a ride that was otherwise so poised to feel "real." I was EXTREMELY disappointed by the finale - I think Universal did spectacular with their T-Rex in the two Jurassic Park rides in the U.S. - an intimidating approach and an almost-impossibly close encounter with a lifelike AA. I expected nothing less from Disney's take on the finale of Dinosaur, and instead got a black-light, static, paper-maché-style head that literally just rolls out over the car - no motion, no "bending over" for that close encounter, nothing...

    I understand that Disney had pitted a team at DHS against a team at DAK to come up with the best use of Indy's EMV in Florida and that one thing lead to another until DAK got the technology. But even there, I have to raise complaints - could DAK not have worked in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Golden Python" in a new South America area? Even an exact clone of Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Asia? Why fix it if it's not broken? I understand that budget cuts and the film tie-in have a large part to play in Dinosaur's state, but it feels like such a missed opportunity...

    Indiana Jones in Disneyland is THE E-ticket. By your own account, Dinosaur is "considered by many as an E-ticket worthy attraction." That is truly a shame, because the technology alone means this ride should be un-missable for guests, but the lackluster attention-to-detail on the ride itself makes it feel less than it could've been. In my opinion, WDW could still benefit MASSIVELY from a clone of Indy, be it at the Magic Kingdom or DHS. Even Epcot in an India / South America pavilion in World Showcase or an Adventure pavilion in Future World.

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