Planning a visit to a Universal Studios theme park? I can’t tell you how jealous I am.
While the two United States locations get the most attention, Universal Studios has several international parks. You can find Jurassic Park rides in six Universal Studios theme parks: Orlando, Hollywood, Singapore, Japan, and China.
The Jurassic Park and Jurassic World rides are fantastic across the board. With the flashing lights, gigantic animatronics, screen effects, and loud noises, the experience is a blast for most visitors. Some people who don’t do so well on rides have specific phobias, or those who have small children may wonder: Is the Jurassic Park ride scary?
The Jurassic Park and Jurassic World rides can be scary for some. There are flashing lights, loud noises, waterfall drops, and realistic animatronic dinosaurs that can make the rides scary to some, but they’re not scary for most people.
For those who want a quick summary, I have prepared a table here with my thoughts about how each ride fares.
I do recommend you skip around to find the ride you’re interested in as I cover it in-depth below. Let’s get started!
|Jurassic Park River Adventure
|Orlando, FL, USA
|Orlando, FL, USA
|Orlando, FL, USA
|Jurassic World The Ride
|Hollywood, CA, USA
|Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure
|Jurassic Park The Ride
|The Flying Dinosaur
|Jurassic World Adventure
Universal Studios Orlando
The second Universal Studios theme park to open in the United States, Universal Studios Orlando has three included parks. The Jurassic Park section is certainly more expansive than its Hollywood counterpart. What is there to do here?
The Jurassic Park Discovery Center is a great educational zone modeled after the one showcased in Jurassic World. Here you’ll find interactive games and activities that teach paleontology concepts to children.
There are several shops and restaurants in all the parks so I’ll spare you the details. This article will focus on specifically rides. Orlando does not disappoint in this regard.
Universal Studios Orlando has three Jurassic-themed rides: Jurassic Park River Adventure, Pteranodon Flyers, and Jurassic World VelociCoaster. While the Jurassic Park River Adventure is the most iconic, it’s not the scariest ride.
I’ll break down these rides one by one. Let’s start with the classic Jurassic Park River Adventure.
Jurassic Park River Adventure
The classic river cruise, inspired by Michael Crichton’s novel, goes from serene to terrifying in around seven minutes. The ride starts as your raft enters the iconic gates and you pass an Ultrasaurus in the water.
Soon you’ll get a glimpse at two Psittacosaurus and then a mother and baby Stegosaurus. Next comes the encounter that will spell chaos for your tour.
A Parasaurolophus emerges from the water and sends your raft off course into the path of the park’s predators. First, you’ll face the Velociraptor pack in the Raptor Containment Area.
There is a unique gimmick here of movement in the bushes. A subtle hint of the ambush to come and a neat callback to the movie that builds tension.
A pair of Compsognatus, or Procompsognathus depending on who you ask, fight over a worker’s shirt on the crashed rescue boat. If you’d like to learn more about the actual classification of these critters, we have a great article that explores accurate Jurassic Park dinosaurs.
Your raft advances under a transport crate containing a Raptor. As you ascend the path, the rest of the pack will pursue you. Luckily they stay just out of range.
Next comes the Dilophosaurus attack. They will spit water at the boat, providing a cool effect that references a specific scene in the novel.
Next comes the grand finale with the T. rex. You proceed toward the beast that towers over your raft. This is where you’ll escape, passing under it and plunging down an 85-foot (26-meter) waterfall that ends the ride.
So, is the Jurassic Park ride scary? While the ride is relatively safe, some people may experience motion sickness and dizziness, and those with a phobia of heights or underwater mechanical devices may want to avoid it altogether.
The Jurassic Park River Adventure is a thrilling ride with an end plunge that’s pretty substantial. Due to its design, many people will say the drop feels more like a roller coaster instead of a log flume drop. Honestly, I’d disagree and say it’s so quick you’ll be more stunned than scared.
While in the park you’ll be able to see the drop from others on the ride and hear the screams. It’s a good scare but it doesn’t last long and I’d suggest checking in out at least once.
But what if you have small children who don’t want to take this river ride? Check out Pteranodon Flyers.
This is a slow and gentle swing ride designed for kids. The ride is suspended in the air while your kids fly beneath a Pteranodon.
This ride is of course meant for kids, but adults can accompany children. As you ride, you can enjoy amazing views of the Island of Adventure lagoon.
When it comes to the Pteranodon Flyers, the ride slowly soars and gently swings through the air in comfortable suspended seats. There are no sudden or scary movements, though it is pretty high in the air.
Who can ride Pteranodon Flyers? Riders must be between 36 inches (91 cm) and 56 inches (142 cm). This is somewhat limiting to which children can ride it. Additionally, adults must accompany a child within the height range to ride.
While not a must-ride by any means, it does provide a great view of the park. Just bear in mind that it usually has a long wait time and the ride is over pretty quickly.
If you have a young child who is too scared to ride the other rides but loves dinosaurs, I’d say this makes a great option.
What if you’re a thrill-seeker? Maybe you want a scary ride. VelociCoaster is a perfect ride for you.
Do you want to ride the tallest and fastest ride at any Universal Studios theme park? If so, check out VelociCoaster.
Designed for adrenaline lovers, the ride features barrel rolls, high-speed launchers, and Velociraptor. You’ll traverse the jungle via the Raptor Paddock.
This ride is scary. If you are not a fan of rollercoasters, this won’t be a good one to try.
This rollercoaster reaches a peak of 155ft (47 meters) high and a max speed of 70 mph (113 km/h). That’s pretty dang fast!
If you would like to read more about the VelociCoaster, familyvacationist.com has a great article explaining this scary ride and many common questions. Check it out if you’re curious.
The VelociCoaster is scary, even for people who like rollercoasters. I’d say it’s worth a go if you’re an experienced rollercoaster aficionado. Otherwise, maybe try a few others first.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Home to the original Jurassic Park ride, the Universal Studios Hollywood location has been updated to Jurassic World in 2019. While not everyone is happy about this, the ride still has many callbacks to Jurassic Park: The Ride.
We’ve covered in another article why many fans and critics hate the Jurassic World trilogy, particularly Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World Dominion. While this is one reason for the poor reception of the renovations, I don’t think it’s the primary issue.
The move away from practical effects to simulations on screens is a design choice made on many modern rides. While it makes sense from a maintenance perspective, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Without further ado, let’s discuss the only Jurassic ride here: Jurassic World – The Ride.
Jurassic World – The Ride
Located at Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic World -The Ride takes a more modern approach to the classic river adventure ride.
For starters, to ride you must be at least 42 inches (107 cm) tall. If you’ve got kids 42 inches (107 cm) and 48 inches (122 cm) tall, they must always be in the company of an adult. If you have kids who cannot ride Jurassic World – The Ride, you can always request a Child Switch.
This is where one adult rides while the other adult waits with the kids then you switch. This feature will carry over to many Universal theme park rides.
Are these newer animatronics believable? Well, they’re certainly not fit for the big screen. While great for their intended purpose, I’d expect better technology from this renovation.
The ride follows the same river adventure premise as the Jurassic Park ride. The boat ride starts at the underwater exhibit for the Mosasaurus feeding.
Now I know most people are considering the waterfall drop a the end when searching online for: Is the Jurassic World ride scary? It’s similar to the drop in Orlando, but I wouldn’t sweat it.
The most frightening part of the ride is not the 84-foot (26-meter) drop but the unexpected moment as the ride starts. The ride begins at an aquarium observatory with screens where visitors see the Mosasaurus.
What’s scary about this part is how the massive predator smashes into and cracks the window as water blasts down the 25-passenger boat. Although a brilliant trick, the experience serves as a jump scare with a full splash of water.
For me, this is the worst part of the ride. I prefer the animatronics to the screen display used here. While it’s a more modern approach, it still feels less realistic and like a gimmick that will age poorly.
The experience does get better as all future creatures are animatronic. As the ride continues, you’ll see a baby Stegosaurus welcomed to the park.
Along the way, the boat will dodge some geysers before a surprise visit from a Parasaurolophus. Sound familiar?
This is the same basic path as the older ride minus the Ultrasaurus, reducing the herbivore count even more. An argument for another day, I suppose.
Then an alarm will go off indicating something has gone wrong. When this happens, you should see a crashed Gyrosphere along the path together with two Compsognathus fighting over clothes.
The boat ride will take you to Predator Cove and the Tyrannosaurus Kingdom. You’ll get a surprise visit from a few Velociraptor causing trouble.
The Indominus makes its first appearance, stalking your party. This of course poses a problem for our beloved T. rex and the two soon engage in a battle.
You’ll see flash warning signs of danger ahead and bloody scratch marks surrounding the Indominus cage. You and your party will also hear panic-stricken announcements about the containment failures.
Then the ride will soon plunge you into darkness. Your boat proceeds under the Indominous and abruptly plummets 84 feet (26 meters) down with a splash. During your fall, there is a camera that will take embarrassing photos of you and your party.
I’d say overall, this ride is scary but not too extreme. It’s the only Jurassic-themed ride in Hollywood, so it had better hold its own. I’m sure other rides will come out as Universal continues to push Jurassic World.
What about international parks? Let’s head to Singapore!
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore (USS) was first opened in 2010 and features a Jurassic Park area. This park, while receiving some Jurassic World updates, remains stuck in the era of Jurassic Park 3.
The styling of the park, features on the rides, and the overall aesthetic remains true to an older time. We all know how Universal Studios tends to operate its parks, so it’s probably going to be phased out soon.
Some interesting aspects of this park are the real flames on the Jurassic Park gate, the beautiful Tyrannosaurus and Spinosaurus statues, and the classic artwork from a time when Universal cared to produce quality branding.
For activities, you can try the Amber Rock Climb, which is a fun experience but not too intense. Universal Studios Singapore has three Jurassic Park rides: Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Dino-Soarin,’ and Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer. Let’s start with the classic.
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure
The Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure is almost a direct clone of Jurassic Park The Ride, so I won’t elaborate as much on this section and instead highlight the differences.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the boat is different from the raft found in Orlando. It’s more of a teacup style in shape but it retains a classic color scheme of the Ford Explorers from Jurassic Park.
The first dinosaurs of the tour are an adult Stegosaurus and her baby. Then you’ll float by two Parasaurolophus where one will emerge from the water. Rather than a dinosaur knocking you off course, you’ll be redirected due to a containment breach.
Where this ride distinguishes itself from its American counterparts is speed. The boat moves at a much faster pace along the river, earning its ‘rapids’ title. While not scary, it’s a little more exciting.
You’ll pass by some animatronic Velociraptor and a Dilophosaurus before proceeding into the tunnel to face the Tyrannosaurus family. Here you’ll encounter darkness, flashing lights, and loud dinosaur roars.
The presentation of the Tyrannosaurus is arguably scarier than in other rides, as you encounter three different ones. This is meant to represent the family from The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a highly underrated sequel that we’ve covered here.
The adult female peers at you from an exposed pipe. The coolest twist is the addition of a second T. rex, a baby that stands a few feet from the boat. As you proceed, a male Tyrannosaurus is alerted to your presence by screaming played over the speakers.
Out of nowhere, you are dropped 40 feet (12 meters) as the ride reaches its climax. On your way out, some Dilphosaurus will continue to spit venom at the boat.
So while the ride goes faster and the tunnel seems darker and scarier, the drop is much shorter. For many, the drops are the scariest part of these rides.
I ultimately think this ride is not as scary as Jurassic Park River Adventure or Jurassic World – The Ride. It’s still a good adventure ride and should be the focus of your trip to this park.
What about rides for small children? Dino-Soarin’ has you covered.
Dino-Soarin’ is a ride aimed at children. This carousel has Pteranodon to ride, which is the only tie-in gimmick.
Dino-Soarin’ is not scary at all. The ride operates close to the ground and at a low speed. Although this is fun for children, it may not be worth it for older kids and adults.
The only concern might be dizziness, but you’ll only feel forward motion with a slight curve to the left. Some people who experience dizziness encounter issues on spinning rides, so it’s unlikely that you’ll notice any effects from this one.
The most interesting aspect of this ride is the nostalgic aspect it provides. At the time of release, Jurassic Park 3 was the most recent movie in the franchise, which we’ve covered in depth before. It received a lot of criticism but was a staple of many dinosaur lovers’ childhood experiences.
While it remains a popular creature, Pteranodon was more heavily featured in this era. I’m glad that it remains a part of this ride. If you’re looking for a higher flight, check out Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer.
Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer
Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer is a roller coaster, so it must be scary right? Actually, no, I’d recommend this ride to almost anyone.
Canopy Flyer is a slow-moving roller coaster. It has limited twists, operates at a low height, and is very slow by roller coaster standards. It’s more of a relaxed experience than one for thrill seekers.
Who should ride? While at the park you’ll see it in operation. You’ll have a good idea if it’s suitable for you and your party. I think most people will enjoy it and should give it a try.
The ride is very short, so if you were expecting more you might be disappointed after waiting in line. The view is incredible, so if you have the time you should give it a shot.
We next move on to another great park: Universal Studios Japan.
Universal Studios Japan
Located in Osaka, Japan, Universal Studios Japan first opened in 2001. The park has two Jurassic Park attractions, Jurassic Park: The Ride and The Flying Dinosaur.
Like the other classic rides, this location may receive a Jurassic World makeover in the next few years. As with any older ride, aging animatronics and a decline in recognition of older movies lead to reimagined experiences.
At the time of writing this article, the ride is closed indefinitely. Luckily, it’s not expected to receive a makeover, just renovations. You can learn more in an article posted on insidethemagic.net.
Is the Jurassic Park ride scary in Japan? Let’s cover Jurassic Park: The Ride yet again.
Jurassic Park: The Ride
The ride begins in the iconic river raft, like the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Like the Orlando park, the first animal spotted is the Ultrasaurus in Ultrasaur Lagoon. You’ll next ride past two Psittacosaurus.
Next on the tour is an adult and baby Stegosaurus followed by our classic Parasaurolophus duo that emerge from the water, sending our raft off course. Our Compsognathus friends are still present fighting over a piece of tattered clothing.
The ride proceeds through the Velociraptor containment zone, complete with flashing lights and loud alarms. A Dilphosaurus moves forward to spit at the raft.
The finale is complete with the same style of Tyrannosaurus animatronic as in other parks. You pass under it to the same waterfall drop you’ve come to expect.
What else can you enjoy at this park? For the roller coaster fans, ‘The Flying Dinosaur’ is sure to please.
The Flying Dinosaur
While the ride name is erroneous, I can forgive the mistake. Pterosaurs like the Pteranodon were not dinosaurs.
If you’d like to learn more about the evolutionary relationships of the creatures in Jurassic Park, check out our article on the phylogeny of Jurassic Park dinosaurs.
With that bit of nerdiness out of the way, let’s discuss this ride. Is The Flying Dinosaur ride scary?
The ride reaches an elevation of 151 feet (46 meters) before dropping 124 feet (38 meters) and achieves a maximum speed of 62 mph (100 km/hr). I find that pretty scary.
This ride comes only second to VelociCoaster in terms of pure thrills in this list. If you’re serious about rollercoasters, this will be a great time. For the faint of heart, this ride may be too scary.
Check out this clip above. It gives a good idea of the scale of this coaster.
Next, we’ll move on to the newest location: Bejing.
Universal Studios China
Universal Studios Bejing is the newest and largest Universal Studios theme park in the world. The park opened in late 2021 and has gained a great deal of attention since then.
The Jurassic Park Podcast has a great article about the rollout of the Jurassic World ride. I’ll cover the two rides featured in Universal Studios Bejing: Jurassic World Adventure and Jurassic Flyers.
Jurassic World Adventure
Jurassic World Adventure begins in the Hammon Creation Lab, which fits right into the branding established by the movie. This ride is not a water ride like most of the others.
Instead, you board a vehicle dubbed the All-Terrain Luxury Autonomous System or A.T.L.A.S. You’ve got to love the innovation in the name here, as it could have just been a gyrosphere.
Unlike the Jurassic rides in other Universal Studios parks, this one is not presented in English. Without speaking Chinese you should be able to get the gist of the story, as it follows the Jurassic World movie plot.
Your first encounter reveals the heavy use of screen effects. You see a beautiful shot of the herbivorous dinosaurs in the park moving peacefully right at the start.
As I said earlier, I’m not a fan of this and prefer the charm of practical animatronics. Without being too negative, I think this ride is tastefully done. Luckily, the animatronics are outstanding and make up for any screen effects.
Within a minute of the ride’s start, the voiceover guide announces that you’re being redirected due to bad weather. It’s fine, but it would have been better with a more exciting storyline. I miss the Parasaurolophus.
But this is where the ride takes a dramatic turn. The Indominous rex appears very early in the ride. It convincingly pursues the vehicle.
It looks great in comparison to the aging animatronics at other parks. It may scare many guests due to the sheer abruptness of its arrival.
As you escape, you encounter a mother Ankylosaurs protecting her babies. She swings her tail and hits the car. This would have worked better had it occurred before the Indominous attack in my opinion, but it’s still a good scare.
The ride provides some nice effects that allude to the movie such as a crashed gyrosphere and a spinning East Dock sign. The Indominous continues her pursuit and the ACU team begins to shoot at it.
You proceed forward to meet Owen and Claire. There is an animatronic Blue that looks out to the car with a puzzled expression. The combination of screen effects and practical dinosaurs is done very well.
Claire releases the T. rex and the animatronic battles the Indominous. This also happens on a simulated screen that includes the Raptor Squad. It’s all very impressive for what it’s worth.
The T. rex and Velociraptor team defeat the Indominous without any help from the Mosasaurus this time. The ride abruptly ends here without any dramatic waterfall plunge.
So is the Jurassic World Adventure scary? While it has a lot going for it, it’s not as scary as the classic water rides. Despite this, it has many people eager to give it a try.
Next up, the rollercoaster: Jurassic Flyers. What’s with these names?
Jurassic Flyers is a great first rollercoaster. That said, I would not consider it particularly exciting if it’s not your first.
While Jurassic Flyers is not scary, it does get pretty fast at points. It’s a little more intense than Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer from Singapore, but far milder than The Flying Dinosaur or VelociCoaster. Not bad, but not good either.
A common criticism of this rollercoaster is that they have no dinosaurs on their dino tour. Aside from the name, there is nothing to connect this to Jurassic World. There are no Dimorphodon or Pteranodon present in the aviary that this flies through.
For most of the ride, you get a pretty good view. It still may be the most lackluster ride for adults of any of the Jurassic-themed attractions.
And that’s it for now. Bejing is a new market for Universal, so we will keep an eye out for updates as new rides may be in the works.
Is the Jurassic Park Ride Scary?
When it comes to the fear factor, the Jurassic Park rides are a mixed bag. The rollercoasters are the scariest followed by the rides with a waterfall drop. You may also experience darkness, loud noises, and flashing lights that can be upsetting to some.
The loud sounds in the dark plus the menacing dinosaurs are scary to children. However, the kids will be okay once they make it to the splashdown. Besides that, a few people may experience motion sickness and dizziness.
Unless you have a younger child or a particular phobia, all the rides are manageable for the average person. The only ones that merit consideration are VelociCoaster and The Flying Dinosaur, as these are pretty extreme rollercoasters.
All in all, each Jurassic Park ride will leave you feeling on top of the world. The rides may seem scary when you hear people screaming, but they’re more fun than terrifying.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it provides you with some insight into whether the rides are as scary as you’ve hoped or feared. If you think it’ll help someone else, please share it and leave us a comment to let us know your experience with these Jurassic Park rides!