Hold onto your butts, folks. Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg gave plenty of input when it came to bringing Jurassic Park to life onscreen and at Universal Studios, but that didn’t mean he was willing to take part.
Universal Studios Florida recently debuted its new VelociCoaster ride earlier this month, inspired by the film, timed to the milestone 25th anniversary of the theme park’s first Jurassic attraction: “Jurassic Park: The Ride.”
When “Jurassic Park: The Ride” first opened at the Universal Studios Hollywood in June 1996, Spielberg, 74, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about his involvement in bringing the onscreen world to our world. And while he was an integral part of the process from the beginning, he wasn’t willing to take a ride on the roller-coaster and conquer his fears.
“I’ve gone up to the point of no return and I returned down the stairs. I don’t go on those 85-foot straight down water drops,” Spielberg told ET at the time in a resurfaced interview. “I guess I’m a director. I demand total control. And for those two and a half seconds of the drop I am out of control. I’m not willing to give that up yet.”
“Jurassic Park: The Ride” combined a “Jungle Cruise” experience as riders floated past animatronic dinosaurs before plunging down the track thanks to its “shoot-the-chute” big drop. Spielberg praised the park’s design team for developing such a show-stopping drop. He said, “I didn’t design the water drop. That was the geniuses over at [Universal Creative] and they did a great job on the whole ride.”
After Jurassic World was released in 2015 and its sequel in 2018, Universal Studios gave the 1990s-era attraction a makeover to match the movies that starred Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. “Jurassic Park: The Ride” reopened in July 2019 with massive renovations, updated animatronics, new themes, and a new showdown between the T-rex and the Indominus Rex prior to the big drop.
While the director’s fears stopped him from taking the plunge on “The Ride,” Pratt, 42, didn’t let his own fears stop him from trying out the updated version. Pratt told ET in July 2019, “I rode it today and [I was] not cool. Made the total ‘fear face.’”
At the attraction’s re-opening, the Guardians of the Galaxy star exclusively told Us Weekly that his son Jack was also excited to try out the ride. “He’s really excited,” Pratt said. “I think we’re going to try to do it this week. … If there’s any kind of movie or theme park ride that can get you cool dad points, it would be this one.”
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