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One of IOA's original headliner attractions, Jurassic Park River Adventure is inspired by a scene in Michael Crichton's original Jurassic Park novel. In the River Adventure, guests board tour boats for an aquatic through the grounds of Jurassic Park. Everything is tranquil as the tour begins, as the boat floats among large herbivorous dinosaurs such as ultrasaurus and stegosaurus, along with prehistoric-looking plants and the occasional geyser.
To no one's surprise, something goes horribly wrong, and your tour boat is nudged off course by a dinosaur at exactly the most inopportune time: just as you're floating past the vicious raptor enclosure, whose gates have been mysteriously unlocked and left open. Before you have time to ask what OSHA's inspectors really do during the day, your boat is climbing through the inside of the raptor facility amid the destruction and carnage wrought by the escaped animals. Your first face-to-face encounter with a T-Rex is also your last, as you find rescue by plunging 85 feet (the tallest such drop in Florida, and a world record when it was built) into the river below.
The drop is a doozy; the scenery, background music and ride narration are all done well; and Jurassic Park River Adventure is overall one of the more immersive attractions in the entire resort. But the dinosaurs are fewer in number than at this ride's California cousin, and those it has look increasing arthritic, despite repeated refurbishments of their faded skins.
Riders don't get as wet on River Adventure as they do on Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges or Dudley Do-Right's Whipsaw Falls. Though the boats make a huge splash at the bottom of the 85-foot drop, you can stay relatively dry if you are sitting in an interior seat; sitting behind a larger person and keeping your arms down can help. Still, bring a poncho or plastic bag if you want to keep as dry as possible; paid lockers are located inside the queue. There's a viewing area to the left of the ride's final, big drop, where you can see how wet riders are getting, before you decide to ride.
A Honolulu reader thinks Jurassic Park doesn't pass the smell test:
The Jurassic Park ride is a lot of fun—so fun, in fact, that you won't realize how truly HEINOUS the water that drenches you during the climactic splashdown is until much later. We sat in the front row for the ride and got soaked. Three hours later, my girlfriend and I realized we reeked.
Young children must endure a double whammy on this ride. First, they're stalked by giant, salivating sometimes spitting) reptiles, and then they're sent catapulting over the falls. Unless your children are fairly hardy, wait a year or two before you spring the River Adventure on them.
Because the Jurassic Park section of IOA is situated between to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Skull Island, the boats may experience heavy crowds earlier in the day. Try to ride before 11 a.m.
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Here's roughly how many minutes you'll wait for Jurassic Park River Adventure at each Islands of Adventure Crowd Level.
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