A complete departure from all of the other areas of Animal Kingdom, DinoLand USA stars all things prehistoric. From whimsical cartoon dinosaurs to life-size T-Rex replicas to unique paleontological merchandise to time-travelling thrill rides, there’s something here for dinosaur lovers of all ages. Here are ten things you’ll love about DinoLand USA.
1. Finding Nemo: The Musical
You won’t find any dinosaurs at Finding Nemo, and we’re not quite sure why it’s in DinoLand USA, but we can’t get enough. This 40-minute show tells Nemo’s story on stage through music, and it’s the most elaborate of any Disney stage shows we’ve seen. You’ll fall in love all over again with your favorite Finding Nemo characters as they’re brought to life with spectacular puppets, amazing acrobatics, and original songs. We also love that it’s inside, and air conditioned!
2. Boneyard Fun
This is the ideal place for any budding paleontologists in your party! (Or even full-grown paleontologist-wannabes, as adults are also allowed to play.) Along with an extensive playground area, caves and a ropes course, there’s a sandpit filled with bones and fossils, so guests can conduct their own excavations. We love the life-size dinosaur bones scattered around, just beckoning climbers of all ages!
One of our favorite thrill rides in Walt Disney World, Dinosaur is an intense dark ride through the Cretaceous in a time machine. You’ll search for an Iguanodon to take back to the present, fleeing a variety of dinosaurs as you go. Our favorite dinosaur on the ride is the Carnotaurus, a huge, roaring, spiky carnivore made even more terrifying by strobe effects. The special effects are great on this ride, as are the celebrity voices and appearances in the pre-show (listen/watch for Bill Nye, Phylicia Rashad, and Wallace Langham)!
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This DinoLand USA quick service restaurant serves up a dollop of dinosaur fun! Themed as a paleontology dorm-and-lab-turned-eatery, it’s full of dinosaur fossils, bones and dig gear – you’ll feel like you’re on an excavation! Take a stroll through the various rooms and watch for pterosaurs suspended from the ceiling, prehistoric artwork on the walls, and jokes and puns left behind by the paleontology students.
5. Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama
Within DinoLand USA is a miniature dinosaur-themed park area for the whole family. It’s a rainbow-colored land filled with midway games and rides. You can try your hand at ring toss, water gun shooting, basketball toss, derby racing, mallet games, whac-a-mole, and others. Even more fun, the games have delightful paleontological names like Comet Crasher, Fossil Fueler, and Whac-A-Packycephalosaur.
6. TriceraTop Spin
Part of Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama, this spinning ride is similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant at the Magic Kingdom. Cartoon comets fly by and prehistoric creatures pop up. You can even control how high your ride vehicle (an adorable triceratops) flies, and tip it back and forth with a lever. We love that the vehicles seat four people, allowing family members to ride together.
7. Primeval Whirl
Another spinning ride within Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama is Primeval Whirl a roller coaster themed as a time machine. You’ll ride back to prehistoric times through the jaws of a dinosaur, to twist and turn your way past meteors and cartoon dinosaurs on this carnival-style coaster. The ride vehicles themselves spin around unpredictably, so no two rides are the same!
8. Photo Opportunities
It’s not a listed attraction in DinoLand USA, but take our word for it – prehistoric photo opps are one of the most entertaining ways to enjoy your day at Animal Kingdom! As you walk through DinoLand USA, you’ll find primitive-looking plants that would have been at home in the Mesozoic Era. And poised along paths and hiding in plants, you’ll find a variety of dinosaur statues, many of which you can climb on and pose with, for some pretty stellar selfies! So take your time when wandering around DinoLand USA – you never know what you’ll find around the next bend!
If you’re hitching a ride on a time vehicle in Dinosaur, you can’t miss the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton just before the ride’s entrance. This is Dino-Sue, which replicates the most complete (and largest) T-Rex specimen ever found. Dino-Sue is fully 40 feet long and 13 feet tall, and was named after the paleontologist who discovered the original skeleton: Sue Hendrickson.
10. Mesozoic Merchandise
Once you’ve had your fill of photo opps, midway games, excavations and dinosaur rides, make sure to stop by one of DinoLand USA’s many shops for some one-of-a-kind prehistoric souvenirs. This is one of the most fun parts of this area of the Animal Kingdom! From woolen Carnotaurus hats to satirical dinosaur tees to educational books to prehistoric plush toys, you’ll find all the dinosaur merchandise you could ever want at the DinoLand Cart, the Dino Institute Shop, the Boneyard Cart, and the Dino-Rama Cart.