Universal Studios tells stories in their theme parks in a fundamentally different way than almost anyone else in the theme park business. Rather than have riders rehash the “greatest hits” from their attractions based on movies, Universal creates an entirely new adventure for guests to experience that often takes place, in terms of a timeline, just after the film ends.
Take, for example, Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure. The entire land was created as a mini-theme park just after the first film ends. The Jurassic Park River Adventure, for example, is a concept that actually took place in the book, not the movie. It was created specifically to not rehash the iconic Jeep ride in the movie, but rather to give guests something entirely different to keep them on their toes.
Presumably, this new version of Jurassic Park was opened in Orlando thanks to John Hammond’s love for these creatures… as well as his drive to make a buck. As Mr. Hammond (played by Sir Richard Attenborough) explained in the River Adventure pre-show, “Our Orlando park is better than ever… following that set of problems that occurred in Costa Rica a few years back…”
If you recall, the final scene in the first film was a helicopter shot of everyone (alive) fleeing Isla Nublar just off of Costa Rica because the dinosaurs had taken over and it was no longer safe. Which begs the question: How did this Orlando version of Jurassic Park come to be? While it may be possible that they loaded down boats with tranquilized dinos, it seems far too dangerous and not quite safe.
In my opinion, the answer lies with a single prop somewhat hidden inside the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. If you recall, during the original 1993 film, Dennis Nedry (played by Wayne Knight of “Seinfeld” fame) decides to steal some vials of dinosaur embryos stored inside the Jurassic Park laboratories to sell to an outside company called BioSyn. Dennis used a Barbasol men’s shaving cream can that was modified to come apart and store about ten different embryos.
As karma would have it, Dennis Nedry ended up losing control of his car while driving in a catastrophic thunderstorm trying to deliver the Barbasol can and he crashed into a dinosaur holding pen. Who could forget the Dilophosaurus who ended up killing him while the Barbasol can slowly slid down a small bank and was covered with mud never to be seen again?
Unless, of course, you visit the Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Islands of Adventure. Once you head downstairs and test your dino trivia in “You Bet Jurassic,” you can check out the laboratory where every so often you can see a baby Velocaraptor being born right in front of you. Not so coincidentally, just behind the glass, somewhat carelessly places on a medical push cart is that very same Barbasol can that once carried all those embryos. Coincidence? You be the judge.