Welcome back ThemeParkHipster! We can’t wait to talk to you today about one of the best hidden secrets in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park…the Primeval Whirl roller coaster!
Tucked away in one of the most exciting and stimulating areas of Animal Kingdom, Primeval Whirl is the most unique attraction you’ll find in DinoLand U.S.A. The cute carnival themed section of Animal Kingdom.
So, if you’re a fan of little roller coasters that pack a punch- with sudden drops, rapid turns, and unexpected spinning, then Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom is the perfect ride for you!
And today we’re going to tell you all about the ride’s history, trajectory, and hidden tips and tricks. So what are you waiting for?
Let’s get started!
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History of Primeval Whirl
While Animal Kingdom itself famously opened on Earth Day, (April 22), of 1998, Primeval Whirl did not join the park until 2002.
And even though it was late to the Animal Kingdom ride lineup, Primeval Whirl was in fact the first roller coaster in this park and the first spinning coaster on Disney Property.
Since its opening 18 years ago, Primeval Whirl still maintains the same look, feel, and theming today. The only real change this ride has endured since opening is becoming a seasonal attraction in September 2019.
So, do be sure to check this ride’s operational status on the day of your Animal Kingdom visit before penciling it into your plans.
What to Expect on Primeval Whirl
Similar to Space Mountain, the Primeval Whirl queue eventually splits into two separate lines that lead to separate roller coaster tracks. However, unlike Space Mountain, both sides of the roller coaster track are identical, meaning there’s no need to “try out” both sides.
The perk of this roller coaster being double sided is a quicker wait time and the thrill of watching cars pass each other in opposite directions!
Also, similar to the way in which the Haunted Mansion ride in Magic Kingdom loads and unloads, these four passenger cars never stop moving.
And while they do progress at a relatively slow pace on the loading platform, you do need to be aware and alert when it’s your turn to approach the coaster car and take your seat.
Because each car holds four riders with a lap bar, be prepared to get pretty comfy with your fellow passengers. And if you have a preference of sitting in the middle or on the end, be sure to voice this ahead of time as passengers must enter the car in a single file line via one door.
Once seated, the ride begins at a relatively slow pace as your car slowly drifts to the bottom of the first hill for your turn to ascend.
During this time you will hear the usual safety instructions via voiceover, reminding you to stay seated and keep your hands in the vehicle at all times.
How tall is Primeval Whirl?
You’ll then ascend the first hill (about 43 feet high) through fantastical archways that introduce you to the ride’s theme.
You’re going back in time to the moment before the meteor hit that caused the dinosaurs’ extinction!
Now that you’re at the top of the ride’s largest hill, you won’t drop immediately like a typical roller coaster. Instead you stay up on the 43 foot high track and enjoy sudden twists and turns in a zig-zagging fashion throughout campy dinosaur scenes.
After the initial four or so zig-zags your car will drop, turn, and then drop again. It’s after this second drop (of about 30 feet) that your car will now begin spinning at random.
While the spinning is not extremely fast it is randomized, so you can’t predict when it will start or stop!
Your car might then complete the rest of the track forwards, backwards, sideways, or somewhere in between…who knows?!
After a couple more quick, sudden drops and turns, your car will eventually slow down and arrive at the unloading platform.
Overall, this Jurassic ride to the past will take about two minutes and is sure to be filled with laughs, screams, and surprises!
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3 Easy Tips for Riding Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom
Now that we have the basics, let’s go through a few tips to make the most of your trip.
1 – Plan Your Trip to Ride Primeval Whirl
In September of 2019, Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts announced that Primeval Whirl would become a seasonal attraction.
This means that it will only be up and running during the busiest times of year (presumably the summer and holiday season).
So, if you have your heart set on riding Primeval Whirl, do a bit of research first to make sure it will be open on your planned Animal Kingdom visit date.
The Walt Disney World Go website or MyDisneyExperience App should tell you everything you need to know about this ride’s fluctuating operating schedule.
2 – Know the Right Time of Day to Ride Primeval Whirl
If you happen to get in all of your must do’s at Animal Kingdom in the early morning (we recommend the Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest, and Pandora) or have them reserved via Fastpass+, then we suggest hitting up Primeval Whirl and DinoLand U.S.A., afterwards.
This is because DinoLand U.S.A. is primarily a less busy area of the park, as it is more geared towards younger children.
So, you likely won’t have to fight off crowds to get on rides like Primeval Whirl and enjoy the DinoLand U.S.A. atmosphere.
Additionally, because Primeval Whirl has 13 relatively fast moving roller coaster cars that seat four people at a time, the wait time is usually rather swift.
Especially if you plan to go as a single rider, odds are you won’t have to wait very long.
So the bottom line?
Visit DinoLand U.S.A. to ride Primeval Whirl in between Fastpasses or once all of your favorite attractions are out of the way.
And maybe even more importantly, don’t go on Primeval Whirl right after eating…the quick twists and drops aren’t very forgiving on a full stomach, if you know what we mean.
3 – Know What to Expect on Ride Primeval Whirl Even if You’re a Thrill Seeker…
Known as a “Wild Mouse” style roller coaster (very similar to Sand Serpent, formerly Cheetah Chase, in Tampa’s Busch Gardens Theme Park), Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom has lots of sudden turns and dips.
So, if you’re an adrenaline junkie, we highly recommend sitting on one of the edge seats.
Because the seating of this ride is configured as a straight row that can hold up to four passengers, the seats on either edge are the perfect place for any thrill seeker to sit.
This is because you feel as though you’re hanging off of the roller coaster track, making the twists and dips that much more exciting!
However, if you’re more tentative to try out this ride, then we would recommend sitting in one of the two center seats.
This way you will feel a bit more secure and might not feel the whipping sensation of the ride’s twists and turns as harshly.
What to Know Before You Go
Now that you have a good understanding about this Animal Kingdom ride, let’s go through a few Frequently Asked Questions.
Where in Animal Kingdom can I find Primeval Whirl?
Primeval Whirl is located in Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand U.S.A. This section of the park can be found by entering Animal Kingdom and going straight until you see the Tree of Life.
Once the Tree of Life is directly in front of you, turn right and you will see the grand “DinoLand U.S.A.” sign welcoming you in no time!
Primeval Whirl is located on the left hand side of DinoLand U.S.A, but while you’re there be sure to check out the carnival games and Goofy and Pluto meet and greet too!
Is Primeval Whirl scary?
Primeval Whirl is certainly not as scary as some other rides in Animal Kingdom, like Expedition Everest, but it’s also not as low key and calming as rides like the Kilimanjaro Safari.
While it is a relatively small roller coaster, that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its surprises and thrill factor.
If you can handle sudden drops (the largest being 30 feet) and turns, then you’ll likely enjoy Primeval Whirl. Especially, since this Animal Kingdom coaster doesn’t go upside or go faster than 30 mph.
But if you prefer calmer rides that progress at an even predictable speed, then this might not be the ride for you.
Should I go on Primeval Whirl if I have back or neck problems?
The Walt Disney World Website warns:
“WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride…”
… and we would have to agree.
Because of how suddenly and frequently this ride turns, even guests without back or neck problems report feeling a “whiplash sensation” after riding.
So, if you have chronic muscular pain or discomfort, this might not be a ride we would suggest to you.
Should I get a fastpass to ride Primeval Whirl?
In our opinion, it is not necessary to fastpass Primeval Whirl. The line is typically fast moving (it can load 1400 people per hour) and the ride in itself is certainly not a “must do.”
Cute and fun, yes. But an Animal Kingdom staple? Most people would say no.
Instead, most guests reserve their Animal Kingdom fastpasses for the Kilimanjaro Safari, Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, or Na’vi River Journey, and we would have to agree.
What is the height requirement for Primeval Whirl?
You must be at least 48” to ride Primeval Whirl. Additionally, this attraction offers rider swap, which is the same as Universal Resort’s child swap program option.
If you’re not familiar with rider/child swap, it’s primarily an offering designed for parents who would both like to enjoy a ride, but have a child/person in their party who does not fit the rider requirements.
One person in the party is able to enjoy the ride, while the other stays with the non-rider, and then they can switch. This way all able guests can ride the attraction while the child/non-rider can still be supervised.
Overall, Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom is fun, exciting, and cute!
Many love the novel, “cheesy” design of this ride and claim it’s a “must do” every time they visit Animal Kingdom. On the other side, some believe it’s more exciting to look at rather than spend time riding.
The best way to figure that out for yourself is to head to DinoLand U.S.A. and watch Primeval Whirl do it’s thing a few times.
But be warned: the drops and spins look quite a bit more tranquil than they feel to the riders!
Overall, the electrifying vibe of DinoLand U.S.A.’s carnival games, boneyard dig, and occasional character dance parties shouldn’t be missed, whether or not you decide to give Primeval Whirl a go.
And because of that we want to know what’s your favorite part of DinoLand U.S.A. in Animal Kingdom? And is Primeval Whirl a must-skip or must-do?
We can’t wait to see what you think in the comments section below!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
Gina is a former Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line Cast Member who enjoys reliving the magic by writing helpful tips and tricks for future guests!
Check out more about her Disney adventures and writing endeavors at www.ginaarfi.net.