Dining Review: The T-Rex at Downtown Disney

August 31, 2012 Cheryl 3
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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.

I’m a T-Rex (roar)…I’m a Tyrannosaurus

August 15, 2012 Cheryl 0
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That might be a song from PBS’ Dinosaur Train, but today it is a fitting, since we had lunch at the T-Rex in Downtown Disney.  This is T’s favorite restaurant – so 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 (we were in the Ice Age Room).  The décor is very well done, and you can walk around taking pictures of the moving dinosaurs, so that is pretty cool.

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.  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 today he got 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 are on the dining plan, we did today.  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

Next we were off to Hollywood Studios.  We had a lot of fun on the Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster rides.  Toy Story Mania is a 3-D ride where you play arcade type games (ring toss, break the plates, etc) and try to get the highest score.  It is very popular, with wait times of up to 90 minutes today.  Star Tours is the Star Wars ride, and a must do for our family.  This is also a 3-D ride that simulates you flying in a space ship.  With the updates they did to the ride, there are now 54 different possible combinations, so the chances of getting the same ride twice are pretty slim.  Today we escaped from Storm Troopers, went to Hoth, saw Yoda, and then ended on Coruscant.  It was a new combination for us, so T was pretty excited!!  The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, however, didn’t go over as well with him!  It is an indoor ride that starts off super fast and heads into a crazy ride through Hollywood, and goes upside down and through lots of twists and turns before your arrival at the Aerosmith concert across town.  Maybe in a few years he will feel differently!

Between the rides we got to see the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade, which features (as you can guess from the title) all of the stars of the Disney/Pixar films.  It is a fun parade, with lots of colorful floats, dancers in bright costumes, and the song “I don’t want to work” played quite a few times.  Something new this year – right before the parade starts they actually do a flash mob, where guests are taught a few dance moves and then do a huge performance on Hollywood Blvd. The flash mob was lead by Disney Cast Members who “filmed” the event.  It was surprisingly popular with well over a 100 participants. Fun!

We are huge character signature fans so we always plan on stopping in the Art of Animation building to see what characters are around for Characterpalooza.  Today The Queen, Rafiki, Mary Poppins and her Penguin, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Chip and Dale were there in addition to the regulars (Sorcerer Mickey, Pooh, and The Incredibles).  We already had everyone’s signature, but it is always fun to see who is going to show up.  Jake (from the Neverland Pirates) was outside though, so we did stop over to see him.

Tomorrow we are off to EPCOT.  We are having dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion, and I am hoping to check out Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure.