Lucky The Disney Dinosaur
You are probably wondering who Lucky The Disney Dinosaur is. Is he some new plush you can buy at World of Disney? Is he a mascot for Dinoland USA? Is it a character from Dinosaur the movie?
No. Lucky the Disney Dinosaur is the first free-roving audio-animatronic ever created by Disney. He is very life like. He actually walks on his own and pulls a flower cart behind him. He blinks. He moves his head from side to side. He responds to guests. While he obviously isn’t real he is real enough that guests who saw him wondered if they were at a Disney park or Jurassic Park.
Lucky made his very first public appearance at The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles on August 28, 2003. He has made park appearances at Disney’s California Adventure, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hong Kong Disneyland. These appearances came to an end in 2005. Lucky showed up at D23 in 2009 and since then has largely been in hiding. Occasionally he will show up for Adventures By Disney guests.
His most prominent appearances were the ones at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here he would walk down the streets in Dinoland USA and amaze guests. Lucky was a temperamental star though. Some days he would keep his scheduled appearances and some days he would not.
Why Is Lucky Pulling A Flower Cart?
While Lucky the Disney Dinosaur was great to see there was one thing that left a question in many (especially younger) minds. Why is Lucky pulling a Flower Cart?
While Imagineers could craft many answers to quench the curiosity of children the truth is pretty simple. The only way Lucky could walk was if he was light weight. Unlike most audio-animatronics he was not plugged into to a power grid. He had to bring his own power with him. Batteries weight a lot and would have prohibited Lucky from walking. So they put the battery along with the computer that controlled him in a cart and had him pull it with him. To hide what he was really pulling Disney made his battery cart into a “flower” cart.
Why Isn’t Lucky Appearing Anymore?
Lucky was a prototype so he was never intended to be a full time addition to any of the parks. Because he was a prototype he was not very dependable. Some days he was scheduled to appear he would work great. Some days he would have a break down and not be able to make his appearance.
Those failed appearances, as you might imagine, tend to upset guests who are wanting to see him. So Disney took him out of the line-up and placed him in semi-retirement.
Wait I Saw Lucky Just the Other Day!
Unlikely but not impossible. What you probably saw was Val. Val was involved in a test run for a new character meet and greet. Val bears a striking resemblance to Lucky but without the flower cart. Val doesn’t need it because she is not a true audio-animatronic. Instead she is a real person wearing an audio-animatronic suit. The person does the walking and the suit does the talking.
The two videos below do a much better job of illustrating the differences than Grumpy can!
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This is Lucky
This is Val. While impressive in her own right she is no Lucky.