My son T’s favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World is the T-Rex, located in the Marketplace in Downtown Disney. He likes it much so that I have (on multiple occasions) had to show him YouTube videos of the restaurant just so he could get his dinosaur fix. To be fair, he has wanted to be a paleontologist since he could say the word…and when you combine life-size animatronics dinosaurs with macaroni and cheese, you have a real hit!! J and I on the other hand are not as big of fans. Atmosphere I would give it a 10, but food, well, not quite as high.
This restaurant is actually celebrating its 4th anniversary at Downtown Disney this fall. It is part of the Landry Restaurant family – the same group that brought us Rainforest Café. The T-Rex is quite similar in idea – lots of life-size prehistoric animals, the occasional meteor shower, and several different rooms/areas that represent different habitats. They have an underwater area in the bar complete with a huge octopus, an ice age area where you sit inside an ice cave, a fern forest, a geo-tech room, and the “fire area” where the meteor shower is most visible. As far as prehistoric animals goes, it features tyrannosaurus, apatosaurus, triceratops, mammoths, stegosaurus, parasaurolophus, and multiple pterosaurs, sea jellies, large insect models alongside a pachycephalosaurus, a 13-foot wide octopus, and 2 fish tanks. The décor is very well done, and you can walk around taking pictures of the moving dinosaurs, so that is pretty cool. If you do go, and if you have little kids that do not like storms or loud noises, just be aware that there is a meteor shower every 20 minutes or so, and it gets loud. You can take them into the bathrooms though; the sound show doesn’t get played in there.
As for the food, well, it took me quite a few visits to find an item on the menu that I actually liked. I did find one – the Triassic Tortellini – and it is good. It is tri-color tortellini with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken in an Alfredo sauce (it comes with peas, but I omit them). Pretty tasty! J usually gets the burger (which they can never cook to the right temperature) but this time he tried out the Tyrannosaurus T-Bone, which they still didn’t get right. He likes his steak still mooing – medium rare, and the first steak was closer to medium well to well. They did remake the steak. He said the second steak was ok, and that the seasoning was tasty, but the steak itself was chewy – not something you would expect of a $30 plus dollar steak.
Dessert on the other hand was delicious! We have never gotten it before, but since we were on the dining plan, we tried it out this time. J got the Ice Age Indulgence, which was layers of ice cream sandwiches, fudge sauce, whipped cream and Heath Bar Crunch, and I got the Cosmic Key Lime Pie. Both were large and very good.
T always gets the Cosmos Cheesy Macaroni, which comes with piece of flat bread with cheese on it. For dessert, he tried out the Saber-Tooth Sundae – which was a chocolate chip cookie covered in ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was devoured pretty quickly and given double-thumbs up!
In addition to the restaurant, T-Rex has a Dino Store with all sorts of dinosaur related goods – t-shirts, toys, and even a Build-A-Dino store. We have gotten two different dinosaurs from this store and they have both held up very well. It is the same company as Build-A-Bear, so in addition to building your new buddy you can dress him/her as well.
There is also the Paleo Zone, which is a great outdoor dinosaur dig area that will keep your kids busy for hours if you let it. Go can on an archaeological dig, pan for treasures in Discovery Creek, and learn about prehistory on the Paleo Screens. Best thing about this no-shoe area is the sand they use – doesn’t stick to clothes. Wish I had that at home!!
We go to this restaurant every time we are at Walt Disney World – mostly because of T. If your kids love dinosaurs, this is the place to be. If you like the Rainforest Café – double bonus, you will be right at home. If you don’t like either of these things – well, maybe look for somewhere else to eat.
Planning Tip: T-Rex accepts the Disney Dining Plan this year, but in 2013 they will not be participating. Reservations are definitely needed for this restaurant.