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    Raptor Encounter

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Description And Comments

Just when everyone thinks that Disney has a lock on the meet-and-greet market, between its talking Mickeys and Frozen sisters, Universal does the impossible - breeds a live velociraptor and makes it pose for pictures! Okay, it isn't actually a real dinosaur on display just outside the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. In fact, it's an amazingly realistic puppet, created by Michael Curry (who has also worked on Disney's Lion King and Finding Nemo musicals) and brought to life by talented performers.

Several times each hour, the blue siren lights around the sunken predator paddock signal the arrival of Lucy or Ethel, the park's new semi-tame stars. A game warden briefs one family at a time regarding proper safety procedures (convey calm assurance, move in slowly, and try not to smell like meat) before they step up for a photo. Don't peer too closely over the edge of the raptor enclosure; you'll spot the cleverly camouflaged legs of the puppeteer inside and spoil the illusion. A Universal photographer will take your picture with his or her camera (included with My Universal Photos packages) or your own, and selfies are also encouraged—just don't be surprised if the dino snaps when you say, "Smile!"

Touring Tips

The Raptor Encounter has quickly become quite popular, and with limited capacity and little shade, this can become an unpleasant wait. Appearances begin around 10 a.m. and run continuously until 6:45 p.m., with brief breaks about every 20 minutes to rotate raptors. Ask a team member stationed outside the paddock entrance approximately how long your wait will be before queuing. Universal installed greenery at the exit to block passersby from snapping photos, so if you want to see the dino you’ll have to deal with the line. Don't try to touch the raptor, or you may come home minus a hand; surreptitiously feeding your offspring to the dinosaurs is also discouraged by management.

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