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Review: Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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!

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!

Atmosphere

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.

Outside

Outside

And the fabricated history of DinoLand USA and Restaurantosaurus is fascinating. For the complete story, check out this history of the area. (You can read part two here.)

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…

Outside View of the Airstream

Outside View of the 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!

Ordering Area

Ordering Area

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.

Lighting

Lighting

Carve out some time just to meander while you’re here. There’s just so much to take in.

Decor

Decor

Homey kitchen items are stored close by, ready to be put to good use.

Kitchen Stuff

Kitchen Stuff

Check out the pictures and other mementos that the students have displayed.

Decor

Pictures, Postcards, and Knickknacks

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.

Seating

Seating

My favorite spot remains the area affectionately known as “The Hip Joint”. Ha ha!!

The Hip Joint Sign

The Hip Joint!

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!

Gymnasium Seating

Hip Joint Seating

There’s plenty of seating here as well.

More Gym Seating

More Hip Joint Seating

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.

So. Much. Detail.

So. Much. Detail.

Some of my favorite items are road signs that students have liberated (and added to!) throughout the years.

Speed Limit Sign

Speed Limit Sign

And be sure to check out the detail on the dartboard!

Dartboard

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.

The Gym and Airstream

Looking into the Airstream

It’s fun to see some of the original touches of the trailer, like the door. Not functional, but still cool. :-)

The Airstream Door

The Airstream Door

The centerpiece of the trailer is this vintage jukebox. Happy Days, anyone?

Jukebox

Jukebox

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.

Jukebox -- Up Close

Jukebox — Up Close

So…which is your favorite? It’s Hall & Oates, isn’t it? I knew it.

More Jukebox Selections

More Jukebox Selections

But no worries…if you or the students get tired of those songs, there are plenty more 45s stashed away.

Decor

Shelves in the Airstream with Cool Knickknacks and 45s

Seating here is cozy. And exceptionally cool.

Airstream Seating

Airstream Seating

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!

Eats

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.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

My personal favorite here is that oh-so delish Chicken Nugget Platter! The Angus Bacon Cheeseburger also gets positive reviews.

After you order and receive your food, visit the beverage station to fill your cups.

Soft Drink Selections

Soft Drink Selections

Choose from the standard assortment of Coke Products.

Soft Drink Selections

Soft Drink Selections

There’s also Iced Tea, Hot Chocolate, and Coffee available.

Iced Tea

Iced Tea

Coffee and Hot Chocolate

Coffee and Hot Chocolate

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.

Lettuce and Tomato

Lettuce and Tomato

Pickles and Onions

Pickles and Onions

Salt, Pepper, and…Vinegar? For the fries, I’m thinking.

Salt and Pepper

Salt, Pepper, and Vinegar

Dips, such as Ranch Dressing and Honey Mustard, are perfect for dunking, well, just about anything!

Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing

Honey Mustard

Honey Mustard

Supplies of Ketchup, Mayo, and Mustard are plentiful as well.

Condiment Pumps

Condiment Pumps

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.

Wildberry Lemonade

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.

Mac and Cheese Hotdog and Fries

Mac and Cheese Hot Dog and Fries

The flavors complemented one another well, and it was filling for sure.

Mac and Cheese Hotdog

Mac and Cheese Hot Dog

We also tried the vegetarian entree — the Black Bean Burger, served with a side of Fries.

Black Bean Burger and Fries

Black Bean Burger and Fries

The meatless burger is flavored with Southwestern spices and is served with Cheddar Cheese and an Avocado Spread.

Black Bean Burger -- Under the Lid

Black Bean Burger — Under the Lid

The cheese was mostly melted by time I was ready to dig in.

Black Bean Burger -- Under the Pattie

Black Bean Burger — Under the Patty

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.

Black Bean Burger -- Cross Section

Black Bean Burger — Cross Section

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.

Animal Kingdom's Chocolate Mousse

Animal Kingdom’s Chocolate Mousse

Animal Kingdom's Cheesecake in a Glass

Animal Kingdom’s Cheesecake in a Glass

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. :-)

Overall

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!

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9 Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    My family loves this place! Last summer we snuck in before it opened to use the bathrooms. Well, we ended up having condiment cup-fulls of rootbeer (the things you do for your kids…) and exploring the place with no one else inside. A lot of fun!

  2. Sandra says:

    This has become our usual place to eat at AK since Tusker House stopped being CS. We have tried Pizzafari (pretty good, nice seating and theming), Y&Y CS (the only things we liked were the egg rolls and the Yak Attack–the food was not good), and the late lamented Picnic in the Park. We haven’t done Flametree yet; it doesn’t offer the kinds of foods my family would eat (besides the meat). They used to have corn on the cob as a side, and it would be nice to have a veggie kabob or similar instead of just fruit for non-meat eaters.

    I actually like the veggie burger here, especially after adding some toppings from the bar. My son lives for the chicken nuggets, and my husband has done okay with the burger, although he is not a fan of Angus beef. Good theming and always a place to sit out of the heat.

  3. Aaron Newton says:

    Still a favorite but I gripe everytime I go in about the shrimp po-boy. It needs to return!!!

  4. We refuse to go back since the veggie sub-osaurus was eliminated from the menu. Ugh. It was replaced by a generic veggie burger. :(

  5. JoAnn says:

    I tried it for the first time in November. My mom and I split the black bean burger. I would get it again.

  6. Alan says:

    It seems to me this place needs a signature item, something you cannot find anywhere else on the property. The menu looks more aimed at families than someone looking for something unusual. I would stop for a Safari Amber on a hot day. Or a cold day in winter for that matter.

  7. Matt says:

    We ate there in January for the first time, and loved it. I was looking for something a bit on the small/light side, so I got the corndog nuggets. They were good, I wish they were available in more places.

    It will be on the list for future visits.

  8. Monica says:

    The thought that the soda machine is left unlocked and accessible while the place is closed and guests are allowed in to use the restroom is disgusting. In a comment above someone admitted to stealing soda, but what about the guests who might touch the nozzles with unwashed hands or deliberately tamper with the machine. I would not eat here and will reevaluate all places with a “self-serve” option.

  9. Kiljoy says:

    Sod the food,

    the Decking area outside facing towards the dinosaur ride is one the finest places to have a drink if your child is asleep.

    Since it’s right next to a wall on the edge of a park the only traffic is a mickey mouse going by to change out of his costume, other than that its silent (normally no one goes out of the back exit, not that it’s normally that busy anyway), peaceful and a fantastic place to have a few beers.

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