Jurassic World ride

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Jurassic Park attraction was in dire need of an upgrade, and it’s finally getting one in the form of Jurassic World – The Ride, a revamped version of the old attraction which will incorporate elements from the new movies. That revamp includes a new addition that allows the ride to respond to inclement weather – something I’ve never seen done in a theme park ride before.

And thanks to a new press release, we know the new ride will also incorporate actors from those films: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and BD Wong are reprising their roles. 

This marks the first time Pratt, Howard, and Wong will be appearing as their characters for a theme park attraction. The press release says the characters of Owen Grady, Claire Dearing, and Dr. Henry Wu “will shed light on their interactions with the dinosaurs along with facts and information about the imposing prehistoric creatures that first roamed the earth more than 65 million years ago.”

Seeing these characters in this context might be cool for some visitors, but for me, the most interesting aspect of the new ride is that the design team at Universal Studios Hollywood collaborated with the Industrial Light & Magic to create a digital Mosasaurus for a new Aquarium Observatory section, and that section will be responding to real-world weather changes. I’ll let the press release explain how it works:

For the first time, JURASSIC WORLD fans will have the chance to see this impressive creature and become immersed within her massive Aquarium Observatory. Appearing to span over 60 feet in length and tipping the scales at over 30K pounds through stunning state-of-the-art visual effects, the Mosasaurus is a sight to behold as she moves just inches away from guests throughout her glass enclosure filled with the equivalent of 3.5 million gallons of water.

Universal Creative collaborated with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to bring the Mosasaurus to life and to capture the realism of her underwater environment using a combination of spectacular visual effects and cutting-edge technologies, including the use of motion parallax, a technique that shifts the guest’s perspective of the Mosasaurus as she moves throughout the tank.

The team also employed a series of lighting enhancements allowing the aquarium to intuitively shift from day to night, as well as visual changes to the environment during inclement weather, thus creating a variety of visual scenarios guests can experience based on when they experience the ride.

The closest thing I can think of in terms of weather-related theme park technology like this is the Skull Island: Reign of Kong ride at Islands of Adventure, which has an area in the beginning of the ride which goes outdoors, but the ride skips that area if it’s raining outside. In the case of this Jurassic World ride, I’m guessing if it’s raining outside, it will appear as if it’s also raining on top of the digital water on the screens inside the Aquarium. Providing new lighting schemes and digital effects within the ride itself seems like a brand new thing, but please correct me in the comments if you can think of an exception.

As for the ride itself, it’s very similar to the one theme park regulars might already be familiar with:

Once guests pass through the queue, they will board specially designed rafts that will navigate the lush environs of dense vegetation and traverse new areas besieged with towering dinosaurs meandering at just an arm’s length away. Encounters with such docile creatures as the Stegosaurus and Parasaurolophus will quickly turn awry as predatory Velociraptors and Dilophosaurus begin to wreak havoc, turning guests from spectators to prey. When the Tyrannosaurus rex begins to battle one of the attraction’s new ferocious dinosaurs, the rafts will spill down a treacherous 84-foot waterfall as the sole means of escape.

You can get a brief look at what the Mosasaurus tank looks like at the :50 mark of this trailer we published last month. Jurassic World – The Ride opens sometime in Summer 2019.

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