What’s that in the sky? Is that a meteor heading for Primeval Whirl? For the better part of year rumors around changes coming to the Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland USA have been as abundant as the stars in the sky. Recently, rumors around a replacement for Primeval Whirl have been entering the atmosphere on a continual basis. Should the dinosaurs be taking cover? Are we in for another Ice Age? We’re channeling our Dr. Seeker, let’s investigate that rumor!

The Background

In one of the best or worst themed lands at Walt Disney World, depending on which Disneyphile you ask, is an attraction that has a variety of not so favorable nicknames. When Primeval Whirl was added to Dinoland USA it served two purposes, first and foremost it matched the Imagineer’s desired themeing. Themed around a pop-up style carnival, the off the shelve coaster fit the rinky dinky, slightly scary, attraction to a “T”.

Beyond the themeing, the off the shelve coaster served a second purpose. The attraction was designed for easy maintenance, as parts for the attraction were readily available.

Passholder Insights: Just outside the entrance to Primeval Whirl is a Goofy meet ‘n greet which usually has shorter lines.

Primeval Whirl is a time-machine coaster. It has a “back in time” theme which might be the Chester and Hester cheesy response the Dino Institute’s Time Rover experience. Photo by Donald Fink.

Where It Started

Jump in your time rover, we’re heading back to the beginning. On June 17, 2019, Primeval Whirl shutdown unexpectedly without a timeline to when the attraction would reopen. Speculation started to spread around why the attraction closed without notice, as Walt Disney World traditional publishes expected closure dates for refurbishment.

Over the summer Primeval Whirl remained closed as more details surfaced. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, the attraction closed due to a part needing replacement. On the surface, this should be an easy fix, as one of the key reasons the attraction was chosen is that it’s an off the shelf ride. Unfortunately, the company that created the attraction is no longer in business and according to Jim Hill, Disney World has to create a part, as no additional parts are available.

By the end of September, Primeval Whirl began testing the ride with the new part. According to cast members, the attraction will move to a seasonal attraction.

Passholder Insights: Every morning in Dinoland USA Donald Duck leads an opening ceremony for the Dig Site at 10 am.

What Could Happen?

With a move to operating seasonally, it’s rumored that Primeval Whirl could be on its way out. We’ve seen similar patterns with Stitches Great Escape at the Magic Kingdom as well as the Wonders of Life pavilion in Epcot, which is becoming the new PLAY! pavilion. With these attractions, the first step was a move to seasonal operation followed by longer and longer periods of closure, until the attractions were permanently closed.

Passholder Insights: Hidden in the trees by the entrance of the Dinosaur ride are a couple of chipmunks in dino costumes.

What Could Replace It?

The original plan for Dinoland USA did not include Primeval Whirl as an attraction. In its place was a roller coaster called The Excavator. Themed as the excavation site used by the Dino Institute to create the museum, The Excavator would be a thrill ride similar to Big Thunder Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Guests would race through the dig site around the leftover equipment and dinosaur skeletons on a train that’s marked “unsafe”. Unfortunately, the project was filed away and the area was later used for Primeval Whirl. Disney Imagineers have been known to bring back concepts that were filed away. Many Disneyphiles are crossing their fingers for this to happen.

Beyond bringing back the original plan other rumors around changes to Dinoland USA have surfaced. The two getting most traction are moving the Indiana Jones Intellectual Property (IP) from Hollywood Studios to the Animal Kingdom or using a recently added IP with Ice Age.

Passholder Insights: The Animal Kingdom is usually the busiest in the mid-morning and tends to get quieter towards the end of the night.

Our Thoughts

For Primeval Whirl the writing is on the wall. In the DVC Duo house, we believe it’s only a matter of time before we see major changes to Dinoland USA. With the recent breakdown of the attraction, it has more than likely accelerated the decision. Our best guess is that we hear something towards the end of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. According to Jim Hill, updates to the Animal Kingdom will follow the updates to Epcot. We’ve got our fingers crossed we see the Excavator!

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