When I’m in the mood for a “wild” lunch, I love to head to Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Seriously — it’s one of my favorite counter service spots in all of Disney World!
[dfb-restaurant id=”116″ align=”right”]
This enormous restaurant, located in DinoLand USA, is super-themed…but you really have to look hard to see some of the great sight gags and imagineering details.
I recently met a friend for lunch here. It’s always fun to stroll around — I find something new every time I visit. But Restaurantosaurus usually boasts some interesting choices on its menu. I love their Chicken Nuggets, but who knows?…I may surprise you today!
Time to check in and see what’s new!
While visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may be tempted to write off Restaurantosaurus as just another fast food joint. That would be a mistake. There’s more to this place than just food. The quirky themeing transforms the eatery into an attraction.
But for now, here’s the short version: Restaurantosaurus began life as the cafeteria for college students participating in a dig nearby. To subsidize their grant income, the students opened the Restaurant (isn’t that a great name?) to the public.
And where did the additional “osaurus” in the name come from? It seems that this is a running gag perpetrated by those zany college kids. Look around, and see if you can find just how many instances in which “osaurus” has been added to words. But the granddaddy of them all is, of course, adding it to the name of the restaurant.
The dormitory and restaurant grew over time, with residents adding whatever sound structures they could to expand the space. And just when you thought there was no use for that old Airstream…
Step inside, and you find the main hall, which houses the kitchen and ordering area. You can see it gets pretty busy during peak times. This picture was taken when the restaurant first opened for the day!
But before we settle down to consider our selections, let’s take a look around. Be sure to check out the lights. They’re one of the few design elements that feel like they’re here on purpose, rather than being scavenged. With the little dinosaur cut outs, they’re intricate and interesting.
Carve out some time just to meander while you’re here. There’s just so much to take in.
Homey kitchen items are stored close by, ready to be put to good use.
Check out the pictures and other mementos that the students have displayed.
As with other Disney restaurants, Restaurantosaurus is most likely much larger than you realize at first. There are several seating areas, all themed as different rooms. The feel is that the building was expanded over time.
My favorite spot remains the area affectionately known as “The Hip Joint”. Ha ha!!
This student hangout houses a half-court gym and lots of recreational equipment. And to expand seating, here’s where you’ll find that Airstream we spied earlier. It’s adjoined to the room and playing host to my favorite seats in the house!
There’s plenty of seating here as well.
You’ll find a stash of games and a stereo system that you just KNOW was cranking out the hits a decade or two ago. The rocks are cool, too — each left behind by students through the years. The fun sayings are worth a read.
Some of my favorite items are road signs that students have liberated (and added to!) throughout the years.
And be sure to check out the detail on the dartboard!
And now we’ve arrived at my most favorite place to sit when dining at Restaurantosaurus — inside the Airstream! But even if you don’t sit here, be sure to have a look around.
It’s fun to see some of the original touches of the trailer, like the door. Not functional, but still cool. 🙂
The centerpiece of the trailer is this vintage jukebox. Happy Days, anyone?
And you knew the song selections were gonna be awesome. You knew that, right? Note that they’ve chosen all fun, dino-era-friendly song titles! End of the World? Sixteen Tons? Awesome.
So…which is your favorite? It’s Hall & Oates, isn’t it? I knew it.
But no worries…if you or the students get tired of those songs, there are plenty more 45s stashed away.
Seating here is cozy. And exceptionally cool.
There are lots of other fun details here. Seriously, you could spend hours taking it all in. Be sure to check out pictures in our previous review. But for now, let’s check out the food!
One of my favorite features of Restaurantosaurus is the fact that it’s still low-tech. You won’t find touchscreen ordering kiosks or LCD menu boards here. The menus look like chalkboards and you talk to real, live people to order your food.
The menu here is small, but this is your go-to spot in Animal Kingdom if it’s classic Disney theme park food you’re after.
After you order and receive your food, visit the beverage station to fill your cups.
Choose from the standard assortment of Coke Products.
There’s also Iced Tea, Hot Chocolate, and Coffee available.
Your food comes unadorned (with a few exceptions; we’ll talk about that in a minute). But you’ll find plenty of ways to dress up your sandwiches and such at the Condiment Bar.
Salt, Pepper, and…Vinegar? For the fries, I’m thinking.
Dips, such as Ranch Dressing and Honey Mustard, are perfect for dunking, well, just about anything!
Supplies of Ketchup, Mayo, and Mustard are plentiful as well.
I began my meal with something a cut above the fountain drinks — the Wildberry Mango Rum Lemonade. A good balance of tart and sweet, I enjoyed it. You can also get a non-alcoholic Wildberry Lemonade.
We chose a few items we haven’t tried yet on this visit. One entree we sampled was the Mac and Cheese Hot Dog, served with Fries. I’ve tried a similar version before and enjoyed it. This was a fun option, but the bun was HUGE! Much longer than the dog itself.
The flavors complemented one another well, and it was filling for sure.
We also tried the vegetarian entree — the Black Bean Burger, served with a side of Fries.
The meatless burger is flavored with Southwestern spices and is served with Cheddar Cheese and an Avocado Spread.
The cheese was mostly melted by time I was ready to dig in.
All in all, the flavors and textures were good. No way did I feel like I was getting something as hearty as a cheeseburger, but it was a nice, lighter approach. That said, it was a bit dry and crumbly.
The desserts here — Chocolate Mousse and Cheesecake in a Glass — are widely available throughout Animal Kingdom. While I passed on them during this visit, I’ve tried both, and they’re actually pretty good.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet end to your meal and aren’t craving a special treat, they’re worth your time and the calories. Hey, it’s vacation. 🙂
Ah, another fun visit to Restaurantosaurus is in the books. I can’t help visiting this spot on nearly every Walt Disney World trip. And really, why should I? Because this isn’t just a fast food joint. It’s some of the finest Disney storytelling that you’ll encounter. And what’s so impressive is that you’re completely immersed in the story.
Go here. Even if you aren’t a fan of Legendary Chicken Nuggets, I’d encourage you to visit. Get a drink or a dessert or something. Or just wander around, and enjoy the rich detail all around you. If you love the genius of Disney, I promise it will be worth your time.
Do you visit Restaurantosaurus for the eats or the atmosphere? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite thing about this totally unique spot!