Universal’s newest theme park ride has officially opened at their California outpost, Universal Studios Hollywood. Just as the Jurassic World movies amped up the original Jurassic Park films to modern-day blockbuster specs, Jurassic World: The Ride takes the 22-year-old Jurassic Park: The Ride and blows it up into something bigger, louder, and more high-tech. And yes, it also injects a large dose of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, just like the movies.
The two stars were the guests of honor at the official grand opening of the ride last night. Also present was Colin Trevorrow, the co-writer of the Jurassic World films, and the director of the first one, along with a variety of Universal execs. Sadly B.D. Wong, whose character Dr. Henry Wu also appears in the ride (and effectively serves as the main connective thread to the original Jurassic Park movie), wasn’t at the opening.
If you’re familiar with the original Jurassic Park: The Ride, parts of Jurassic World will be familiar. It has a similar storyline, with a peaceful boat trip down the theme park-within-a-theme park’s dinosaur-populated river going haywire, and a surprise turn into a building overtaken by deadly dinos. Pratt and Howard’s characters will talk to you on various screens as you travel through the building, at the end of which you’ll come across a huge fight between a T-rex and an Indominus rex. Oh, and then your boat will drop down an 84 foot flume, most likely splashing everybody on board.
Universal didn’t just update this one ride, though. The entire Jurassic Park area has been rethemed to the new series of movies, with the old Jurassic Cafe reemerging as Isla Nu-Bar, and the store getting a facelift. The new Raptor Encounter lets you meet a startlingly lifelike robotic recreation of the velociraptor Blue from the Jurassic World movies, and elsewhere an adorable lumbering triceratops and a tiny baby velociraptor can be found. Early word has it that these dinos are the real stars of the new space, and based on the photos Universal has provided, it’s no surprise why: these things look real.
Jurassic World: The Ride is currently only open at Universal Studios Hollywood. And the original Jurassic Park ride is still operating at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort, if you prefer the classics.