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Review: Animal Kingdom’s Restaurantosaurus

I’ll admit it — this is one of my very favorite counter-service restaurants in Walt Disney World. Where else can you find this level of detail and theming while dining on the best chicken nuggets in the world?

Atmosphere

I have an unnatural love for Dinoland in the Animal Kingdom in the first place, and the extremely detailed theming and story behind Restaurantosaurus always makes me want to spend an hour or two just wandering around and looking at all of the decor in the different rooms.

Outdoor tables

The story behind Restaurantosaurus lies with the graduate students/paleontologists who live in the building. You’re not likely to see them, but you sure will see evidence of them. Who do you think “re-named” the restaurant and hauled those chairs and coolers up to the roof to enjoy the sunshine?

Throughout the restaurant, you’ll learn more about the students and their work.

Be sure to look closely, though — there are plenty of classic puns and jokes that you might miss if you don’t actually read the messages written! This is why I love this place — a rich sense of true Disney theming, even down to a level that most guests will never take the time to see.

Theming inside

These students are full of pranks, fun, and tradition. Check out the “Golden Trowel” award, given each year to the student who has the most finds during that year’s dig.

And these memory-filled painted rocks left behind by those students who have gone before. Many of these hold political and entertainment references to the years they represent!

Student Rock

Of course, you won’t forget who’s living here when you see theming like this! Pretty gross, but, hey, they’re college kids, right?

And I love the dino heads on the walls…

Behind the counter, you’ll get the fun feeling of a well-used kitchen — accented with stuffed dinosaurs of course…

Theming behind the counter

So once you get your food, you have lots of choices of where to dine. We’re creatures of habit, so we always try to get our favorite table.

It’s in a room dubbed “The Hip Joint” (whomp, whomp), which looks to be a rec center for the students, complete with a half basketball court.

Basketball Room

And attached to this room is a real, live Airstream trailer. From the outside, it looks like this:

Eat here!

And our favorite table on the inside is this one:

Seating

The jukebox is located in the trailer as well, featuring slightly re-vamped songs like “Puff the Magic Dino,” by Peter Paul and Mary; and “All Dug Up” by Elvis Presley. ;-)

Jukebox

You can see why Disney nerds like me absolutely love this joint. 2719 Hyperion has a great piece about this room, if you want to check it out.

Eats

Food here is standard counter-service fare, though we’re excited to see they’ve added a shrimp po’ boy, a dig site salad, and a veggie sub recently!

click on image for larger version

click on image for larger version

click on image for larger version

click image for larger version

click image for larger version

We, of course, had to go for our favorites. Which I think is OK, because I haven’t featured Disney’s counter-service nuggets on this blog as of yet, I don’t believe! This is shocking, since I love Disney’s nuggets — seriously, I do. They have super-breading on them, so they’re always crunchy. And the slight bit of spice on them makes me always want to take a few bites without any sauces or condiments.

Restaurantosaurus Chicken Nuggets

The bacon cheeseburger was quite good as well. Not to dry at all, and while many folks don’t like the new whole wheat buns, we’re OK with them. The do fall apart easily, though, so go easy on the condiments…

Restaurantosaurus Bacon Cheeseburger

And though we didn’t try them, I stealthily snapped a few shots of the Dig Site Salad, the Veggie Sub, and the sand pail kids’ meals for you!

Dig Site Salad

Sand Pail Kids' Meals and Veggie Sub on the Left

Note that the desserts look just as…well…sub-standard as many other counter-service desserts do. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Personally, I’d rather head over and get a paw print brownie or a Zebra Cupcake from Kusafiri Bakery!

Restaurantosaurus Desserts

Remember when I mentioned condiments up there in the burger section? Here are a few shots of the wonderful world of toppings at Restaurantosaurus! Remember — the toppings bar is “complimentary,” so you can use as much or as little as you want of these items.

Mustard

Toppings

Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles

Condiment Bar

Salt and Pepper

Sauces

And this counter-service location also has its fountain drink machines outside of the kitchen, so guests serve themselves.

Beverages

Drinks

Sadly, that self-serve policy is not the case with the beers on tap — that one on the right is Safari Amber, a beer made exclusively for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge. :-)

Draft Beer

Overall

I love Restaurantosaurus. You obviously know that by now, but I’ll just keep on recommending it.

While Flame Tree Barbecue is clearly a counter-service favorite in Animal Kingdom and Anandapur Local Food Cafes is a winner as well, I’ll secretly choose Restaurantosaurus every time. It’s just too hokey and fun to not want to head back and see what you missed the last time.

Plus… there are NUGGETS there!!

How often do you head over to Restaurantosaurus? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below!

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25 Comments

  1. Jonas Å says:

    I have never been, but I’m thinking it’s a good lunch option this June! =) From what I understand the selection with the condiment option reminds me of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe which I find to be an excellent option (not fantastic, but certainly affordable and filling).

    -J-

  2. canadianslovewdw says:

    we tried this restaurant last year, because Flame tree was cloesed.. i had the shrimp po boy .(the only entree you dont have a pic of) and it was good. and yes the themeing is great

  3. Dana says:

    We used to love Donald’s breakfast here- but since it closed, we haven’t been back. I agree- I usually head toward Flame Tree or Anandapur Local Food Service- some of the best CS food in *any* park in my opinion! I may have to stop in when I’m down in a few weeks though after this glowing review!

  4. Aaron Newton says:

    We love the theming there too! My favorite piece is a Dinosaur Jr concert poster print signed and numbered by Frank Kozick. Every time I see it I’m tempted to rip it off the wall and make off with it, hahah!

  5. Griffin says:

    Went here last year for lunch. I don’t know. All I can really say is I won’t ever go back in there. The chix nuggets had this weird fatty stuff going on with them. The honey mustard was way more mustard then anything else. And the sodas had an awful plastic taste to them. I have heard that that means the soda machines need to be cleaned out, not sure about that one way or the other. But the taste was so off putting we lost our appetite :( Also, when we went it was very quiet but yet it took a long time for our food to be ready. The only one thing that that we really enjoyed was the CMs at the counter. They were great at talking to our 6 year old, so he didn’t get too bored with our long wait. Next time I am really looking forward to trying Flametree or something different.

  6. vanessa says:

    I’m with you Griffin as well. Last time I went, our burgers and fries were cold =( I seem to always have bad luck at counter services. It also depends on who’s working I suppose. As for yak and yeti counter express, BARF! That was the worst food I’ve ever tasted in my life. We had a big group so we got one of each and the only thing that was decent was the lo-mien. The egg roll was okay too. I still like flame tree and pizzafari the best. I haven’t been to pizza fari in a while though and if they changed the pizza to the pizza that they have in Pinocchio village house, then that will be a shame.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE THEME THOUGH! Amazing and folks should really go check it out even if they wont eat there. I love the root beer floats too from next door at Dino Bites. YUM!

  7. Greg says:

    We went to Restaurantosaurus once. It wasn’t a good experience. The park was packed. It was lunch time, so there was a line just to get into the place. The cast members had a dead-eyed expression. They were too tired to try to spread any magic. I remember feeling bad for the girl at the register. She was trying, but it was too much for her.

    The food was okay. Not as good as McDonald’s. This was back when they served McDonald’s fries. But my burger was cafeteria level. Which is true of most counter service bergers across property. It was edible but as a rule, I avoid counter service Disney burgers these days.

    Since the place was such a zoo (pun intended) we had to sit outside. No elaborate theming for us. Even then, finding a spare table and chairs was a major ordeal. I just barely made my way through the crowd back to my family without spilling anything. Total time to get the food was about a half hour and it was barely above room temp.

    This is basically just a case of trying to eat lunch at noon on a day the park was busy. But we haven’t been back to DAK since, so we haven’t given Restaurantosaurus a second chance.

  8. Janna says:

    First, I thought you were joking about loving the nuggets. Now that I know you’re not, I may sample one (my older son, a Disney adult at the ripe, ol’ age of 12…pretty much only

  9. Janna says:

    (grrr – typing on the iPad can be an adventure)

    …eats chicken nuggets and pizza at Disney) on our next trip.

    I love the Dining Plan menu with the options and how many to choose, etc. Are all of the CS places switching to this?

    Finally, I haven’t been to this restaurant since Donald’s breakfast left either. It was a must-do when it was here but it’s not a must-do at Tusker House for us.

  10. luvmychaos says:

    We were planning on eating here(there?)in Dec since our 3 1/2yr old loves all things dinosaur..What is the best times of day to go there to really “enjoy” the atmosphere & not get forced to an outside table due to crowds?

  11. Alan says:

    I think this food is on a par with other CS places. The food has good days and bad days. On a good day a po’boy and a safari amber in that atmosphere can be just fine.

  12. canadianslovewdw says:

    on a side note.. when we go to disney if the line ups are long.. i stand inline and my wife and daughter go start the search for a table. that way by the time i get the food they have a table…

  13. Scott says:

    A shrimp poboy? Interested, but skeptical as to how good it actually is.

  14. Jeff Pepper says:

    Hi AJ–

    Thanks so much for the link!

    Restaurantosaurus is almost an attraction in and of itself. Thanks for giving it the attention it deserves!

  15. Awesome review! And that booth table in the trailer is our favourite too, we’ve only visited once but by some stroke of luck we got that table!

    I hope to visit Restaurantosaurus again on our next visit to AK :)

  16. JoeyV says:

    I’m so glad you took a picture of the packets – I was worried I couldn’t salt my fries to taste….

  17. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I’m sorry, I know this is a heretical thing to say among the WDWfoodies, but I kind of miss this place being a McDonald’s. It is the one place in WDW that a McDonald’s theme makes sense. I mean they WOULD be there, after all.

    I know it’s just me. I accept that.

  18. Lisa says:

    I was excited to see this place has sweet potato fries and was so excited to try them after the Expedition Everest Chalenge on Saturday. Unfortunately they were completely lacking any flavor and probably the worst sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. Despite being hungry I didn’t even make the effort to finish eating them. I wish I had known to check out the theming. Maybe I’ll go back to take a look, but I won’t bother with the food. I do agree about the fantasic paw print brownie though! Yum!

  19. jdh says:

    I agree with you on Restaurantosaurus. The chicken nuggets are made from real chicken, not pre-formed chicken like most fast food. We also love the easy refills and condiment bar. My husband always gets the burger and loves it. It’s usually easy to get in and find a table. Most Disney QS desserts are not worth eating. I would much rather have a fruit option and usually ask for grapes as a substitute.

  20. Kim says:

    This is my FAVE counter-service restaurant in Animal Kingdom too. I love Dinoland!

    And that table of yours? We sat there back in the day of Donald’s Breakfastoraus!!

    I had the veggie sub in January and it was absolutely delicious. I’ll be going back there.

  21. Rose says:

    We like it here! We have probably eaten here 25-30 times but we didn’t even know that the trailer actually was used! Kinda cool because we own a campground. We usually go to the left and sit near the condiments bar. Next time we will make sure to check out the other side! Thanks for the great review.

  22. James (Disneynorth) says:

    Sooooo disappointed to see they still don’t have Cherry Coke at the soda dispenser….

  23. Gabo says:

    This review i excellent but…
    When was this review made?
    Does are not the prices and menus of May 2011.

    Thanks.

  24. AJ says:

    Gabo — The menus are from October 2010, I believe.

  25. Yuri says:

    AWWW, my restaurant! Such i great time to be there! :)
    well, I can totally say the shrimp’o'boy was one of the best there! and the dig-site salad!

    So sad they changed the menu! guess I’ll have to go to work back there, hahaha.

    Yes, it was packed oftenly, especially since the finding nemo show. Lunch time during the holidays season was crazy! But I loved and still miss it.

    Glad to know there are people recognizing the restaurant’s Cast Members. They were the best!

    Rock On people, and “dig ya later”! :)

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