Over the summer, the newly redesigned Jurassic World water ride opened along with new dinosaur experiences on the lower lot of Universal Studios Hollywood! My family was invited to check out the new offerings and received complementary Universal Express tickets (more on that later). Typically, we usually don’t spend too much time on the Lower Lot since my kids are too short to ride the attractions. However, we literally spent our entire day exploring all the new dinosaurs! Here’s how we spent our time:
NEW Dinosaur Meet and Greet Encounters
Blue the Raptor has a new permanent meeting location just to the left of the elevators. You can enter the line where it says “Raptor Encounter”. The meet and greet takes place during one of her “training sessions” and you can walk up to her for a photo. If you’re not brave enough to get that close to a dinosaur, you can also observe from a safe distance. It’s always fun to see how many guests she can sneak up on and scare!
Juliet the Triceratops is one of the new dinosaurs that you can meet! She is walked out with her handler on the path near the Raptor Encounter. After she slowly makes her way out of the gates, she usually stops near the base of the escalators. Once she stops, the handlers will welcome you to pet her gently. You can attempt to take a picture with her, but since there is no official line, the guests rush her all at the same time.
Baby Raptors also come out with their trainer! There are a couple of different babies, but we met the raptor named Tango. Again, there are no official lines for these meet and greets, so the best way to meet them is to follow the trainer. The trainer will usually do a few training activities and allow guests to pet the baby raptor if she’s ready.
Dino Play Area
Right next to the entrance of the Jurassic World ride is a playground! The entire area is enclosed and is supervised by trainers. Since there is only one way in and out, you don’t have to worry about your kids running away in different directions. This area has slides, a climber, a huge walk through obstacle course, and a shaded fossil area. The best part is that it’s surrounded by misters to overcome the heat. My favorite part was the musical chimes where you can actually learn how to play the Jurassic Park theme! Since we took advantage of the child rider switch, we spent a good portion of our time at Dino Play.
The Jurassic World Ride
The main attraction: the new Jurassic World water ride! Formally Jurassic Park, this ride has been updated with new special effects (the water dinosaur is awesome!) and animatronics. The wait times can be extremely long (typically about 2 hours), so I definitely recommend purchasing the Universal Express ticket. It’s not much more than a daily admission (just about $70), but it allows you a fast lane pass to every ride in the park, including Jurassic World. Since we only had one day to explore Universal Studios, it was nice not having to spend the majority of our day in lines. If your kids aren’t able to ride Jurassic World, you can also view some dinosaurs on the world famous Universal Studios Hollywood Tram Ride!
Is it worth visiting if your kids are too short (or scared) to ride
100 percent yes! If your kids are into dinosaurs, they will LOVE spending the time being amongst them. The meet and greets alone are worth it to visit and your kids will likely want to close out the Dino Play Area. The food at the Isla Nu Restaurant is my favorite in the park so definitely plan to be there for a meal!
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