Jurassic World ride opens quietly but makes big roar with new tech

LOS ANGELES (DPA) – 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. It 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,” Mr Thierry Coup, senior vice-president of Universal Creative, said.

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.

Long lines did not appear to discourage park-goers who rode the new attraction recently.

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

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