We always make it a point to visit Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World. There’s Free Parking, plenty of Disney shopping, entertainment, and oh, the Ghirardelli desserts! It’s a great spot (no admission required) for arrival day at Disney….get the magic started.
But there’s one hidden gem at Downtown Disney if you are a parent. One that I’ll admit I’ve been “this close” to and never seen. It’s located within a restaurant…..and it’s not the restaurant! But, I’ll tell you about the restaurant first….because it’s pretty amazing!
T-REX, A Prehistoric Family Adventure is a must if you have a budding paleontologist in your family like I do.
Serving American cuisine, this restaurant is created by those behind Rainforest Cafe……..only this time it’s Dinosaur-themed. And. Oh. So. Brilliant.
While you are waiting for your table, lounge around the bar area, pictured above. You’ll spot an aquarium, large tentacles, and more in this sea area. Simply stunning. You can also visit the shopping area, which boasts every book and toy that is dinosaur themed. We purchased a Junior Paleontologist hat for our 4 yr old…..been looking for one everywhere. A great souvenir! There’s even a Build-A-Dino area….from Build-A-Bear!
As you’d expect, there are life-size dinosaurs throughout the restaurant…..complete with animatronics. Oh, yes, the T-Rex you’ll see as you walk in comes alive too……..it took a while before my 4 yr old was okay with that. 🙂 Once she got over it, she was quite brave enough to pose with the carnivore for photos!
There are several different dining rooms in the restaurant, each one completely different and spectacular in its own way. Above you’ll see the Kitchen of Fire area. This room featured many winged friends…….like pterodactyls.
TRUE STORY (You Go Girl!): My daughter is a walking dinosaur encyclopedia. The gift shop employees are quite knowledgeable themselves. One young man, in his 20’s, was so excited about my daughter’s interest in dinosaurs. She started to tell him all about the Quetzalcoatlus. He had never heard of this…..and I think he wasn’t believing the adorable 4 yr old. So, he walked over to one of their dinosaur books, and looked it up.
You wouldn’t believe the look on his face. He was impressed.
Future Paleontologist? Just maybe!
We sat in a dining room with all the herbivores…..it was green and nice, but I’ll admit we were a tad bit envious of those in the room just behind us. Fire & Ice! Oh my……..the room would change from blue to red looking like you just got stuck in the ice age. LOVE THIS ROOM!
While this February was the very first time we’ve enjoyed T-REX, the restaurant, we have shopped many times in the gift store. BUT, I’ve never stuck my head outside a little door within the gift shop………a somewhat hidden area. The Paleo Zone.
We spent at least 1 hour here letting my daughter play…………but she would have spent hours and hours if we’d let her. It’s completely shaded and covered so it’s a wonderful escape from the heat if you are there during the summer.
There’s a couple things you can do in this area:
- Purchase small rock/gem packages and then Pan for Treasures outside. We didn’t do this, but it did look like fun.
- Play in the Dinosaur Dig area. Paintbrushes for excavating the bones are provided in the area.
No worries…..plenty of soap and water available! 🙂
You do not need to eat at the restaurant to play in The Paleo Zone! Only downside is that there is no sitting available for parents, but kids cannot exit the area without heading back through the gift shop (love that).
We will be visiting again!
T-Rex is located within Downtown Disney, so you can make Advanced Dining Reservations….and I do recommend it based on the lines!
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