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Orlando/SoCal Theme Park Showdown: Jurassic Park vs. Jurassic Park

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Published: October 13, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Let's switch back to Universal for the next round of the Theme Park Insider Orlando/Southern California Showdown. This time, we'll match up Universal Studios Hollywood's Jurassic Park - The Ride versus Universal Islands of Adventure's Jurassic Park River Adventure. Which is your favorite between the two versions? Consider whatever details you'd like - setting, decor, ride, narrative, or whatever petty individual bias you'd like to throw into the mix. The vote will be open for 24 hours.

Universal Studios Hollywood's Jurassic Park - The Ride: Lower Lot

Universal Studios Hollywood's Jurassic Park - The Ride

Universal Islands of Adventure's Jurassic Park River Adventure: Jurassic Park

Universal Islands of Adventure's Jurassic Park River Adventure

The differences? Jurassic Park - The Ride debuted at Universal Studios Hollywood in June 1996, the new flagship attraction for the park's Lower Lot. This Vekoma flume ride offered a five-minute riff on a dinosaur-themed "Jungle Cruise," where something, of course, goes terribly, terribly wrong. The Orlando version opened in May 1999 with the rest of Islands of Adventure.

The theme and basic structure of the two rides are similar, with one exception. At certain times of the year, Universal Studios Hollywood flips a switch (actually, I don't know exactly what they do) and turns on new programming for the ride which makes it much, much wetter. Here's what I wrote about the enhanced Hollywood version, after riding for the first time in 2007:

I have never gotten wetter on any theme or amusement park ride than I did today on Jurassic Park. The ride takes no mercy on its guests, with water streams, waterfalls and geysers soaking everyone on board before your boat ever gets to the final drop.

It's really become a theme park convention that animals spitting water on boat rides always miss the boat. The boat always turns at the last moment to avoid the water.... These were the conventions established by the Jungle Cruise, Jurassic Park's obvious inspiration, but JP willfully violates them all.

Frankly, I was a little perturbed at the beginning of the ride: 'What? Don't they realize that they're breaking the rules here?" But after a very short while, I gave in and enjoyed the absurdity. As well as the cooling soak.

Is that a good thing, or bad? That's up for you to debate. Feel free to further break down the match-up in the comments.

Other Showdown winners:

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on October 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM
I voted Hollywood. The Orlando version is in disrepair. Plus, Hollywood's includes the Barbasol embryo can lying in a pool of mud as an Easter egg toward the end of the ride. Nice touch.
From Dominick D on October 13, 2011 at 1:47 PM
Never been on either, but would I rather be around a studio themed area or a Jurassic Park land when I look around? Voted for IOAs
From Dominick D on October 13, 2011 at 1:47 PM
Never been on either, but would I rather be around a studio themed area or a Jurassic Park land when I look around? Voted for IOAs
From Nick Markham on October 13, 2011 at 3:49 PM
Dominick, how have you never been on the one in IOA if you are constantly going there? It is one of the star attractions of the park!
From Dominick D on October 13, 2011 at 4:54 PM
Im scared of that 85 foot drop! Might try it next time I go if i dont chicken XD
From 50.74.11.90 on October 13, 2011 at 6:05 PM
I like Hollywood better for it's inclusion of the ford explorer sliding down the wall and other easter eggs like mickey mouse ears floating in the water near the raptor cage. I appreciate that there's a whole land devoted to Jurassic Park at IoA, but this is really the only ride in that section, which is disappointing.
From Andrew Carrieri on October 13, 2011 at 7:01 PM
The drop on Jurassic Park looks worse than it is:the T-Rex on top is scarier than the drop itself. Plus, the huge boats minimize the thrill--you also get less wet than you would expect.
From steve lee on October 13, 2011 at 7:24 PM
I haven't ridden the West Coast version, so I'm abstaining from voting. That said, I've seen video of California's version and I have to admit the jeep coming down seems far more dramatic than the crate-o-raptor.
From 204.128.192.4 on October 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM
Going even further east -

I've ridden the versions in Orlando, Hollywood and Japan, and definitely the best of the three is the one in Universal Studios Osaka.

From Mostly Anonymous on October 13, 2011 at 7:39 PM
I'm lucky enough to have been on three versions of the ride - Universal Studios Osaka is by far the best!!
From Manny Barron on October 13, 2011 at 10:19 PM
It is easily Hollywood. Both are great and do the legendary movie justice but the falling jeep version gets my vote.
From 50.14.173.112 on October 14, 2011 at 8:07 AM
California's version is the better one. The aforementioned jeep is much more effective than the cheap crate in Florida. Plus, the T-Rex attacks twice at Hollywood.
From Eric G on October 14, 2011 at 1:25 PM
I don't understand how the Islands of Adventure version could win. The cutbacks on this version of the ride were disappointing. The Jeep falling down the wall is a great effect missing in the Florida version. Also, the added encounter with the T-Rex in the show building, plus a longer build up in the early portion of the ride.

The only advantage to Islands of Adventure is the fact that the River Adventure is within Jurassic Park, instead of just an attraction within the Studio.

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