Disney World Begins Demolition of Its Most Divisive Theme Park Ride

Another part of Walt Disney World history is facing extinction this week, on the cusp of the resort's 50th anniversary on Oct. 1. Primeval Whirl, one of the more bland thrill rides at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, is being taken down. The ride has been closed for over a year, and Disney applied for a "general construction" permit at the site in August.

Primeval Whirl opened at Animal Kingdom in March 2002 in the DinoLand U.S.A. area of the park. While the rest of Animal Kingdom is detailed and highly themed, DinoLand U.S.A. has the feeling of a carnival area or roadside attraction. Primeval Whirl was the main ride in the area, a rollercoaster themed to time travel. Riders would go back in time to the moment the dinosaurs went extinct and had to outrun the meteor that killed them all. Unlike the nearby Dinosaur dark ride, Primeval Whirl was completely outdoors, so it was a little difficult to get the feeling of the story in the hot Florida sun.

Disney World slowly began phasing the ride out. In 2019, the ride switched to seasonal operation. In July 2020, Walt Disney World News Today noticed that the ride was removed from Animal Kingdom's maps, even though it was still standing. Later, Disney confirmed it would not be re-opening, but the ride continued to sit abandoned for a year. In August, Disney filed for a new construction permit for the area. Construction walls were recently erected around the ride. On Friday, WDW News Today published photos of construction beginning. The chain used to pull cars up the first lift hill was detached from the tracks and lying on the catwalk. Large set pieces have also been removed, although a few of the archways over the tracks are still there.

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It's not clear what Disney plans to do with the area where Primeval Whirl now stands. DinoLand U.S.A. has lasted a lot longer than anyone would have expected, so fans are always speculating about its future. There were theories that something might be coming after Disney said Finding Nemo: The Musical was being shuttered since it is performed at the nearby Theater of the Wild. However, Disney later clarified that the Finding Nemo show is simply being tweaked and will be reopening at a later date.