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The Megalosaurus, Giganto, Paleozoic T-Rex Review

What is T-Rex? Part Dinosaur, Part Cotton-tini, Part Ice Cave.

Let me explain: if you’re a fan of Rainforest Cafe and other themed restaurants, you’ll love T-Rex. It takes themeing to the max — meteor showers, ice-bound wooly mammoths, a moving octopus bar — it’s all there. And it is what you make it. If you’re expecting gourmet food and bend-over-backwards service, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re expecting a fun, entertaining meal with decent grub and lots to look at — Welcome to T-Rex!

Atmosphere
Located in Disney World’s Downtown Disney, T-Rex is a prehistoric carnival of themeing. Each room has a different focus: an ice cave, complete with shifting colors and an embedded T-Rex skeleton; and undersea room with giant jellyfish lampshades and a moving octopus presiding over the bar; a meteor shower room, where you’d better watch out every 10 minutes or so; a fern forest with giant wasps and a triceratops so big you can seat three parties in his…midsection…? And it goes on from there!

Ice Cave with T-Rex Skeleton

Triceratops Seating Area

Moving Octopus Bar

Octopus Hidden Mickey

Giant Jellyfish Decor and Lighting

Wooly Mammoth

Fiery Inferno (aka kitchen) in the Meteor Room

After first being seated in the Ice Cave, I realized that the wacky blue and red colors of the room would no doubt make the food look unappetizing, both for me and for any pictures I was going to take. So I asked if we could be moved to a spot with more normal lighting and we ended up in the Meteor Shower room. Very cool at first, but after the fifth meteor shower, we were ready to take our leave ;-) Maybe that’s how they turn the tables faster…?

Eats
The menu here is massive, so be ready to read when you get there. You’ll soon get used to the themed food names and eventually start to ignore the “mammoth,” “paleozoic,” “mega,” “giganto” adjectives preceding each entree’s description. (I never did understand what was supposed to be “mesozoic” about mahi mahi… .) You’ll have a wide selection of dishes that you’ll find on just about every other American family chain restaurant these days — mozzarella sticks, burgers, steaks, sandwiches, ribs, etc.

T-Rex even has a wide variety of dino-themed alcoholic drinks, including beers, wines, and mixed drinks. One of these has garnered quite a name for itself in the Disney foodie community — the Cotton-tini. There are three types of cotton-tini: Candy Apple, Cosmo-Paleo, and Tropical — and the drink actually comes with cotton candy nestled inside…

Cotton-Tini and Other T-Rex Drinks

We skipped the spirits this time, however, and put our order in for some Megalosaurus Mozzarella (fried mozzarella) and Dexter’s Dual Dip (tri-colored corn chips with queso for dipping). The Dexter’s Dual dip was supposed to come with Shrimp-Artichoke dip, but since I’m a queso fiend, we ordered two of those instead.

The mozzarella was decent — the cheese was flavorful and the sauce wasn’t too sweet. I liked the two different presentations of the mozzarella.

Megalosaurus Mozzarella

The Dexter’s Dual Dip was unimpressive. The chips tasted stale and the cheese tasted like second-rate, straight-from-the-tin-can “nacho cheese.” Coming from Texas, we were disappointed and ended up leaving a lot of the queso untouched. (By the way, I didn’t become a queso snob until I moved to Texas a while back; chances are this queso would have been completely acceptable had I not been so spoiled by “the real thing” in so many great Tex-Mex joints around here.)

Chile con Queso and Chips in Dexter's Dual Dip

We split a full rack of ribs (called the Mega Mes-o-Bones) for our entree. These were interesting, and probably the best part of the meal. While a bit overdone, they still tasted fine and were enjoyable. The fries — waffle fries — were good. They tasted like mass-produced fries, but, when I’m reviewing, waffle fries are always a good thing.

Ribs and Fries

For dessert, we couldn’t help ourselves. We dove into the Meteor Bites — donut holes with caramel and chocolate sauce for dipping, and the Ice Age Indulgence — layers of ice cream sandwiches, fudge sauce, whipped topping, and heath bars.

The meteor bites were tasty; they were cakey as opposed to light and airy. They reminded me of Dunkin’ Donuts, for those of you who have that chain nearby.

Meteor Bites

But the Ice Age Indulgence was pretty poor. It tasted like old ice cream that’s been sitting in the freezer a bit too long. I have no doubt that this dessert is delicious when it’s fresh, but this definitely tasted “left-over.”

Ice Age Indulgence

Overall
I’m glad I visited T-Rex once, but I’m in no hurry to go back. While the themeing is outstanding, the service was a let-down (very slow) and the food wasn’t anything to write home about. In fact, it was probably worse than what I usually get at my local Applebees or TGIFriday’s.

And don’t be fooled by the kid-friendly decor — this place isn’t cheap. It’ll still cost you $30 for a filet and $26 for a full rack of ribs. Sandwiches will set you back $12-15 a piece. If the themeing is worth it to you, then it might be worth a visit. But, in my opinion, neither the food quality nor the service is good enough to justify those prices. I’d rather take my family to Whispering Canyon Cafe or 50′s Prime Time Cafe for that kind of money. But, as I said, the themeing is something special and might be worth paying for.

Now I know T-Rex has plenty of fans, and I’m eager to hear from you! What dishes do you recommend? What were your positive and negative experiences with this dining spot? Looking forward to your comments!

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21 Comments

  1. Dana says:

    This place must be really bad—you never write a bad review!

    The Ice Age Indulgance is the exact same dessert they serve at Rainforest Cafe, but under a different name. And I do have to say that, when fresh, it is delicious!

  2. Mark says:

    Ive heard this kind of review more than once about T-Rex… and its keeping me from going there. While the pictures look great, it appears that it does not transfer to how it tastes. It does look really cool tho..

  3. Kelly says:

    I can see going if I had a kid who was really into dinosaurs, but until I do, I think I’ll skip it. Way overpriced for what you get.

  4. Sarah says:

    I stopped by here last fall and sat at the bar for a quick bite and drink. I had the Footprints Flatbread which was quite tasty, and since I was at the bar, service was tentative. I’ll be going again next week when I have family in town. My sister wanted Rainforest, but I persuaded her to at least try T-Rex since it’s the same food just with a different theme. At least it’s something new to her, and she can still shop at Rainforest.

    Mark – I’ve heard similar reviews all too often about T-Rex as well. I’m not looking forward to having to sit at a table with a party of 7-8 people if the service isn’t somewhat decent. Hopefully I’ll be surprised!

  5. Great review AJ. I’m glad you saw that this place stinks. Bad, expensive food doesn’t make up for the theme (should also mention it is VERY loud in there). Kudos for calling a spade a spade!

  6. Griffin says:

    We’ve been here twice in two years. The first time it was alot of fun, new, and exciting. The second time it was more of a headache. The food is average chain type of food like you mentioned. But the atmosphere really is neat, unless they sit you in the Meteor room and you get a big old headache like I did… :P We will be going back at the end of August this year yet again, because my son, who is five, just loves it. He wants to add another build a dino to his collection. Eh, i’ll sit through loud noise and average food for one night, just to make him happy ;)

  7. Jeff W. says:

    Not at all surprised to see your less-than-stellar review of this place. Honestly, after enduring eating at Rainforest Cafe once many moons ago when we we’re young and dumb, I really don’t think you could pay me to eat at another Landry’s establishment. Rainforest Cafe is to real food what the Star Wars prequels are to the classic trilogy.

    But I guess it’s fun for families. (Faint praise, indeed.)

  8. Jeff W. says:

    Also, regarding your mozzarella pic: What, exactly, were you expected to do with the glop on the right?

  9. AJ says:

    Dana — Ha! My husband liked your comment about me never writing a bad review! :-) I do tend to like my Disney experiences, that’s true! And while the food itself at T-Rex wasn’t bad, the experience overall wasn’t the best. I figured that dessert should be delicious — it sounds delicious!

    Mark — It’s definitely a cool place, and if you’ve got kiddos with you, it can be awesome exploring the different rooms with them!

    Kelly — The pricing was pretty high in our opinion, but the general thought is that you’re paying for the atmosphere.

    Sarah — Would love to hear your feedback. I know of plenty of situations where T-Rex was just perfect for a family’s needs. Thanks for the tip on the flatbread AND the sitting at the bar to eat!

    Matt — Yes, it IS loud in there! Good point!

    Griffin — Try to get a seat in the giant Triceratops — maybe the tall booth sides in the body cavity will dampen the loud noise from the meteor room!

    Jeff — Ha! The glop on the right is more fried mozzarella — just in “patty” form. You’re supposed to cut it with a fork and eat it that way :-) Not bad, actually!

  10. Watch Me Eat says:

    I ate here once when they first opened. I actually thought the Triassic Tortellini was pretty good, but definitely not worth $17. For those that have been more recently, does T-rex still not include fries with their $15 sandwiches? That was a major turnoff for me…

    The meteor showers happened far too often, but I loved how they were simulating an event that destroyed most life on earth at a family friendly restaurant!

  11. Scott says:

    Sounds like a Landry’s restaurant (Landry’s owns Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex, and a bunch of other restaurants)! I don’t really care to give them my business anymore because they’re all the same: decent theming, less than satisfactory food, and high prices. There are too many other places in WDW to enjoy instead of subjecting myself to another Landry’s fiasco.

  12. Cara says:

    We ate at T-Rex last year for lunch and actually really liked it, and we were suprised that it WASN’T as expensive as we had expected! I got the quesadilla appetizer, DH got a chicken sandwich in pizza dough, and the kids had chicken kid’s meals. If we have some extra $ for an OOP meal (we’re doing DDP), we’ll be visiting T-Rex again this fall :)

  13. Mark says:

    Eaten here many times (because I work for the mouse, mostly, and live here). Usually enjoyable enough, but I’m also one of those guys who loves burgers and if the burger is good, I’m okay. My best friend is also a dinosaur fanatic, so that helps things, down to her wanting to build dinos in the Build-A-Dino section of the store section of T-Rex.

    The burger, and the double sized version, are very good. The doubled sized is absolutely too big to eat in one sitting. The waffle fries are just okay to me, but that’s me comparing them to Chick-fil-A’s heavenly waffle fries.

    The meteor showers do become a bit much, but in a restaurant full of dinosaurs roaring randomly, I can’t complain.

  14. Sambycat says:

    For some odd reason a group of us schlepped over totheother and original Trex in Kansas City about 2 years ago, before this one, which we’ve been to twice. Your review is spot on but I would add:
    A. All the food has the weird bronze age monikers EXCEPT the onion rings. In the words of my buddy Doug “why no love for the onion rings?”. The food is mediocre at best, but if I weresguck there, the burger was alright and I’d fo that route.
    B. Apparently no agineers influenced the decor as I can see kids especially digging all the dinosaurs and I think the under sea bar is kinda neat but the relative scale of everything you see is so wonky I find it distracting! There’s bugs bigger thanbaby dinosaurs and trees that apparently would be a mile high if real. Forced perspective anyone? Anyone?

    And Matt is correct, the volume induced headache you will recieve is part of the schtick there. One non-Trex quibble – define foodie? I take it to perhaps have a bit of perhaps a food snob element to it, as I AM one and would judge anyone who called themselves one and actually ordered that cotton-tini if they weren’t drunk……

  15. Sandra Givens says:

    We went on the same visit as Griffin’s first, primarily to meet Disney friends we only new online. T-Rex is not on our return list unless our son demands it. He has autism, and due to the loud noise level, my husband and I thought we might have to eat in shifts, with one of us taking him outside. However, it turned out he loved the meteor showers (fireworks, he called them), and we were seated right under the octopus so they were not too annoying. But conversation was impossible, defeating part of the purpose of meeting our group there.

    As for the food, it definitely was overpriced for what you get. My tomato soup would have been outstanding had it been the least bit hot. My chicken salad with almonds on croissant didn’t seem to have any almonds, and tasted like something you’d buy out of a grab and go case. My husband’s sandwich was so bad, he couldn’t finish it. He said the cold cuts were filled with fat and gristle. Our son got the burger and he loved it. However, we did have to pay extra for a side of the waffle fries; at those prices, they should at least include a small serving of them. He liked the seasoned fries and ate most of them.

    We did not get alcoholic beverages, but did get a kids’ drink in a souvenir bone cup for our son. He did not like the too sweet frozen drink very much but we still have the bone!

    Griffin treated our party to the Chocolate Extinction dessert, which was quite impressive coming to the table with a smoking volcano on the platter. The brownies, which had caramel and crunchy bits that may have been nuts, were good. There were scoops of vanilla ice cream and some puffs of whipped cream to go with them. This would definitely serve four as dessert!

    Our server was very professional but running his legs off. He did manage to refill our iced teas promptly, and we don’t blame him for the food quality (I could have sent the soup back to be reheated, but he just seemed so overworked). Our bill was about $78.00 for the three of us. So it was fun once, and dino fans would love it, I think, but it doesn’t offer much incentive to eat here again, when there are better places on property for the same or less money.

  16. AJ says:

    WME — The Sandwiches are still served with potato chips, but you can substitute waffle fries for $1.99…

    Scott — That’s kind of my leaning as well, though I keep hearing wonderful things about Rainforest…

    Cara — Good to hear it! Thanks for your menu suggestions, too! How old are your kiddos? Did they enjoy the restaurant’s themeing?

    Mark — Great points! Especially if you have a dino-fan (young or old)! Thanks for the burger suggestions. I just recently tried Chic-fil-a’s waffle fries, but…you’re right. No comparison.

    Sambycat — Maybe the onion rings are just prehistoric in nature and don’t need a moniker? Big laugh from the gut on your foodie quibble, by the way. ;-) When are you coming to Dallas? We’ll go be foodies around here — lots of pretentious food to sample, to be sure!

    Sandra — Thanks for the review on the entrees and dessert — also on the kids’ drink. This might be a good place to come for dessert with a group, but, you’re right, I wouldn’t want to have to try to “chat” with or get to know anyone here. It’s pretty loud and echo-y!

  17. Scott says:

    I’ve never been to the Rainforests in WDW, but I have been to a couple in Texas and the experience was pretty much what you’ve described, except a rainforest jungle theme of course. I’ve also been to “Aquarium” with similar results; cross Landry’s food with a much less impressive version of Coral Reef and that’s the Aquarium.

  18. Nate says:

    The wife and I went to the Rainforest Cafe (at Downtown Disney) one day on our Disney honeymoon. After waiting 10 minutes or so for a table for two, we were seated right next to the kitchen. It was the loudest restaurant I have ever been in (and I’ve been to Blue Bayou and Coral Reef!!). We quickly gathered our things and left.

    Sounds like T-Rex is a lot like that. Thanks for the review—you’ve made it clear this restaurant is not for us. :)

  19. Sarah says:

    Hi AJ & all! I just dined at T-Rex tonight with a party of 7 adults. We arrived around 4:30pm, well before the dinner rush started, and were seated in about five minutes. They first tried to squeeze us at a table for 6 without allowing a chair at the end. That was not going to work so we asked to be relocated and they obliged. They put us in a rounded booth with two chairs at the end (who knows why it was allowed in the other section). There were tables that accommodate 8, but they were in the bar area where they weren’t serving tables at the time. In our party, three people ordered Bronto Burgers, two had Mega Mes-O-Bones, one had Jurassic Shrimp Skewers, and I had the Footprints Flatbread.

    Everyone enjoyed their food. The burgers, to me, looked a little overdone than the medium at which they were ordered, but there were no complaints (although my grandparents likely would never complain). The only problems that occurred were that the one burger that was requested without cheese came with cheese, and I took my first bite of flatbread and chomped right into a chicken rib bone. Hey, I looked on the bright side and at least I knew it was real chicken! I wasn’t going to freak out about it, but they should be more careful shredding the rotisserie chicken since you never know who will be consuming it. Another person may have choked. I tried some of the ribs an the were very tender and not fatty (and the waffle fries ordered along with the meal were very tasty, but I love waffle fries!). The rice that came with the shrimp was a little al dente, but it still tasted good, especially with the mango fruit salsa.

    Now please note we got there before the dinner rush. The line only got longer as we dined. We walked right up to the hostess, but by the time we left about an hour later, the line was past the “dig site” outside the entryway. It certainly was not a fine dining experience, but it was what I had expected for the location at the time it was. Perhaps arriving there at a slightly off hour is what will provide a better experience and food quality (based on some of the horror stories I’ve heard from “normal” dining hours). Oh yeah, and as mentioned many times before, the pricing is high, but you’re paying for “atmosphere”.

    Off to Animal Kingdom and the Studios tomorrow, Magic Kingdom on Friday, and Epcot on Saturday, which is the only other ADR I have set with Coral Reef.

  20. Dianne says:

    We were seated in the Ice Room and it was horrible. You couldn’t see the food. We couldn’t talk or hear each other because the noise was so loud. Our food was ok. Nothing special and not especially hot. Our waitress was horrible. Needed drink refills and never got them. We sat in a place where people crossed, so I was hit in the head several times by elbows. A little girl had a seizure and things got crazy. When we arrived, the host told us to browse the store and they would call our names. After about 20 minutes, we didn’t hear any names being called because you couldn’t hear them, so we had to stand in line for quite a while, even though we had reservations. Will not be going back.

  21. Angie Mozingo says:

    Wow, we must have lucked out. In the last two times we were at disney we went three times (the second and third one, admittedly after it was on the dining plan).

    Our family consists of my parents, my grandmother, my DS6, my sister, my bro in law, her DS10 and DS2. The ages are adjusted for the last visit (last year), the first visit was with same group and the 2yr old was 5 months I think.

    Yes it is fun, and for best enjoyment of atmosphere I recommend three young boys that love dinos in tow. And yes, they ate very well. By the time the food arrived at the tale they were over the general exclamation and were staring and shoveling food in their mouths.

    I we had brilliant service everytime. The food was well cooked, no it’s not going to compete with Boma or Via Napoli, but the burgers are really good.

    As far as deserts, you are doing it wrong. We got the Chocolate Extinction. Firstly it’s delicious. Secondly it’s more than enough for three adults and three young boys, after they have eaten dinner. Thirdly it comes with a cup filled with dry ice, which looks awesome and entertaining to the little ones.

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