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!


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.



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.



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.

Kitchen Stuff

Kitchen Stuff

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


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.



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 [Read more…]

Review: Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando

OK, I totally have ANOTHER awesome waffle sandwich to share with you today!!

And you can find it in an unlikely location…the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort. Nestled in Bonnet Creek, within the main gates of Walt Disney World, it’s a great mix of convenience and refinement. Plus, there are some seriously killer views of Disney’s theme parks from its balconies.

Today, we’re grabbing a casual lunch at the resort’s main lounge — Peacock Alley.

Peacock Alley Menu Cover

This spot’s namesake is the fashionable Peacock Alley of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City (the original was given the name due to the colorful peacock feathers the ladies wore in their hats); but while it’s elegant, you can definitely choose this location for a relaxed and casual lunch.


Everything about Peacock Alley makes me want to take a deep breath, sink into a comfortable chair, and relax. The cool colors and motif of peacock feathers surrounds you throughout (even on the carpet!).

View of Peacock Alley

The view is of the Waldorf’s pool area and golf course. And you  may even catch a glimpse of Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!


There is a luxuriously appointed bar on one wall, and there’s even a peacock etched in the mirror.

Peacock Alley Bar

Check out this awesome [Read more…]

Guest Review: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in the Magic Kingdom

Join me in welcoming guest author Katie McFarland Roth with a review of Cosmic Ray’s – a futuristic eatery in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. Enjoy!


Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is a great counter-service option available in the Magic Kingdom. The portions are heaping and the food is pretty good (for quick-service).

In general, Cosmic Ray’s is a pretty chaotic place to eat. There are always people zooming in and out; and trying to get to the toppings bar with your tray of food is sometimes more dangerous than when Simba was running with the wildebeests.

Word of advice: if you’re traveling in a party with more than 1 person, send 1 person off to find a table for everyone!

Cosmic Ray's Sign

It can be nuts trying to find a place to sit during busy mealtime hours. Almost as nuts-y as trying to find the entrance doors to this restaurant!

Cosmic Ray's Seating -- and Sonny Eclipse!

Something new to me was the graffiti wall in the restaurant that patrons liked writing their hometowns on! I wonder if they start fresh every day? Maybe every hour with the traffic this place gets!

Graffiti "Wall" ...with very surprised photo subject!


There are three different areas, or “bays,” which people can order from; Chicken (#1), Burgers (#2), and Sandwiches (#3).

Ordering Area at Cosmic Rays

There aren’t very many main dish options at each station (4-5), but considering there are [Read more…]

Review: Golden Oak Outpost in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland

Looking for some quick eats while touring Disney World’s Frontierland? Are the lines at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe formidable? We have just the stop for you: Golden Oak Outpost.

Located near Splash Mountain, the little counter service stop offers a couple of hearty entree options as well as a few desserts.

I’ve stopped here several times on my travels, especially when this used to be the home of McDonald’s French Fries in Magic Kingdom (“There’s Gold in Them There Fries!”). But I’ve never done a review for you, so let’s get started!


Golden Oak Outpost sports the same rustic, Wild West feel that you encounter throughout Frontierland.

The name — Golden Oak — is a reference to Walt Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch in California. The name is found elsewhere at Walt Disney World in the ultra upscale neighborhood of single family homes that are being built adjacent to Fort Wilderness Campground nearby.

Golden Oak Outpost at Magic Kingdom

Seating for Golden Oak Outpost is all outside. There are several tables and stools grouped next to the tiny quick service spot.

Outpost Seating

If it’s pouring rain or way too hot to sit outside, head over and [Read more…]

Guest Review: Riverside Mill Food Court at Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Please welcome guest author Emma Stewart as she reviews the Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside Resort in Walt Disney World!

Imagine you’re strolling through the bayou twilight: crickets chirping, fireflies glowing, a water wheel spinning lazily next to the river.

Stroll on up just past the water wheel and around the corner, and you’ll find a cheerful-looking building that is the perfect spot for dinner.

Welcome to Riverside Mill, the food court at Port Orleans Riverside Resort. Now when it comes to food courts, usually you’ll just stick to the one at whatever resort you happen to be staying . But my family will often make an extra trip just to enjoy the Mill’s cozy charm and delicious entrees.

Riverside Mill from the Outside.


The dining area at Riverside Mill is quite spacious, with lots of lofty wooden beams. The most striking part about it is the mill apparatus that stretches over the drinks station and all the way to the other side of the room, where the water wheel is right outside the windows.

The Dining Area.

The cogs and wheels above you turn lazily, and it feels like it could be a real, working mill! In fact, as far as the more engineering-minded persons in my family have been able to discern, it seems to be a working mechanism that does turn the water wheel outside!

Mill Workings over the Beverage Station.

The dining area is carpeted, which is unique for a food court and may be what makes the space feel so cozy.

I also love the mismatched chairs grouped around every table. Back by the window, furthest from the food service area, there are two big round tables tucked away – my favorite spot!

A Moss-like Carpet adds to the Riverside Ambiance.

Riverside isn’t one of the resorts that tends to attract huge conventions or tour groups, so the food court is usually very quiet and relaxed. Though depending on when you go, you may find yourself singing and dancing along with the cast members up by the cash registers!

There’s a pre-recorded loop with a very charismatic voice that invites you to get up and join in on the Riverside celebration. The song goes: “It’s time to clap our hands (Clap! Clap!) down at the Riverside!” Then the next verse goes: “It’s time to slap our knees down at the Riverside!” and so on. Really cute!


The Riverside Mill is your typical market-style Disney food court, so there are multiple stations where you can order different eats – sandwiches and wraps, hot foods from the grill, or pizza and pasta.

Salads and Sandwiches, Straight Ahead!

Comfort Food!

Sandwiches Ready to Go!

At the pasta station flames sizzle up out of the pan as the chefs cook up your order right before your eyes. They have a create-your-own option where you can pick and choose exactly what sort of pasta [Read more…]

Top 12 Salty Snacks in Walt Disney World — What’s Your Favorite?

We talk a lot around here about Disney’s sweet snacks, and with good reason: nothing says indulgence like a bit of Disney ice cream or a monster cupcake.

But everyone knows that sweet snacks are even better with a salty chaser! ;-)

Salty indulgences abound at Disney World, too! And we think it’s time to give them their day in the spotlight!

So without further adieu, we’d like to take a brief look at some of our favorites in our salute to the Top 12 Salty Snacks in Walt Disney World!

Disney Popcorn

Alrighty, folks, we have to start with the obvious one: Popcorn.

How can you discuss Disney World salty snacks and not mention it? In fact, how can you go to a Disney park and not end up munching on this snack favorite?

We love popcorn in all its personalities — from the standard bucket you buy as soon as you walk into Magic Kingdom, to caramel corn at Big Top Treats or Karamell-Küche. And when popcorn started popping up on Disney menus a while back, we were all for it!

NEW Disney Parks Popcorn Boxes!

But the best version remains that classic Disney popcorn box full of buttery (flavored) yellow kernels of fluffy goodness. Do yourself a favor and don’t leave without trying a box.

Chicken Waffle Sandwich

Over at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, you’ll find a lovely little assortment of waffles to satisfy your salt craving.

What? You ask. Waffles = salt? When they’re in the form of waffle sandwiches — they sure can be!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich in Disney World

And my favorite when I’m satisfying a savory craving is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Sweet/spicy chicken with a touch of coleslaw offers a treat with complicated flavors, but a sure comfort food factor.

The perfect combo of sweet, salty, and slightly spicy, this sandwich will leave you full, happy, and ready to tackle the rest of those Disney miles! Just know that this thing can be uber messy, so bring lots of napkins!


I dearly love a plate of nachos, don’t you? And when I’m in the mood for this Tex-Mex treat, I head to La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.

Nachos with Cheese, Beef, and Jalapenos at Cantina de San Angel

The salty trifecta of chips, plastic cheese, and seasoned ground beef is perfection! And if you’re looking to add to it — try washing them down with a margarita, of course!

Want some less-fussy nachos? Head over to Casey’s Corner for an awesome version with just nacho cheese — or with chili and cheese! We’re also fans of the versions at Big River Grill and ESPN Club on the Boadwalk. Where do you find your favorite nachos in Disney World?

Tomato Basil Soup

If you’re in the mood for a good bowl of soup (fitting during the relatively cold Orlando days this past weekend), then head to Pinocchio Village Haus for their [Read more…]

Review: Cookes of Dublin in Downtown Disney

Located in Downtown Disney beside Raglan Road and Hole in the Wall Bar you’ll find the unassuming, but awesome!!!, Cooke’s of Dublin.

Styled as a traditional fish and chips shop, the menu is a veritable treasure trove of goodies. And we’re not just talking bacon, cheese, fried stuff, and candy bars…we’re talking the epitome of bacon, cheese, fried stuff, and candy bars!!

(OK, I’m selling them seriously short, they ALSO have great salads and grilled wraps, so be sure to read on and give them their due even if you’re NOT a lover of cheese, bacon, fried stuff, and candy bars.)


The decor of Cookes, both inside and out, is vintage and traditional. Except for the steamy Florida humidity, you really might think you’d stumbled into Dublin.

Cookes of Dublin Mirror Sign

Inside, this is a tiny, skinny little shop with very minimal seating (that’s code for “go to Cookes at an off time so that you get a seat).

The indoor seating consists of a few highboy tables and some mixed booth and chair seating. There are a few tables outside as well. The reason for this is pretty simple: Cookes considers itself a “take away” establishment. They don’t really expect you to hang around. ;-)


And if you want to know more about what Cookes is thinking, they make it plain with this philosophy hung on the wall. You know right up front that there might be a bit of a wait, but that it will most likely be worth it.


The ordering area is pretty typical of a take away spot. But I kind of love the [Read more…]

Be Our Guest Restaurant Kids’ Menu Food Pictures

Recently, we drooled over these yummy Be Our Guest Restaurant food pictures from the adults’ menu at Disney World’s most highly anticipated restaurant!

Beast's Castle - the Home for Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant will soft-open on November 19 (with an official debut on December 6) in the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland. And today, we’ve got a food photo preview of the kids’ menu, featuring grown up tastes in kid friendly flavors!

Delicious options are plenty, although the Disney chefs have not included kid-favorite chicken nuggets or pizza. Rest assured, the entrees will be appealing to kids while allowing them to dine like grown-ups.

The sneaky chefs are doing their best to make sure your kiddos eat healthy while they’re in the park: “We’re making the ketchup from scratch using carrots,” said Walt Disney World Executive Chef Lenny DeGeorge. “And the meatloaf also has vegetables and bulghur wheat, so kids are getting their vegetables and whole grains and don’t even realize it.”

Let’s take a look at those food pics!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Kids’ Lunch Menu Pictures — Counter-Service

On the counter-service lunch menu, turkey meatloaf is made fun by its Mickey-shaped presentation!

Turkey Meatloaf

A carved turkey sandwich is served on multi-grain bread with sweet potato wedges and peach applesauce. Even without fries, this dish is sure to be a kid-pleaser!

Carved Turkey Sandwich at Be Our Guest

Another selection is the roasted pulled pork. It’s served with [Read more…]

Guest Review: Pinocchio Village Haus — Now With Flatbreads!

We’re welcoming back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of Pinocchio Village Haus. And since the new menu was recently revealed, we’ll also include a review of one of the new flatbreads available!

After recovering from One More Disney Day, I headed back into the Magic Kingdom where I found myself exiting Mickey’s PhilharMagic to the realization that I was starving.

That’s when a Cast Member with a puppet waved at me, and I knew what I had to do.

No strings!


Tucked between the new Fantasyland construction walls and it’s a small world, Pinocchio Village Haus is a bit confusing. It’s in Fantasyland, and the food is Italian, but the restaurant itself is based on the Bavarian architecture that Walt and Lillian Disney were so fond of.

Pinocchio Village Haus

In fact, it’s set in a little German village, where there’s oompah playing over the speakers and you order lunch in what appears to be a charming courtyard.

Once you’ve got your food in hand, it’s time to [Read more…]

Review: Captain’s Grille Lunch

Welcome Aboard at the Captain’s Grille at Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort!

While this restaurant flies mostly under the radar for most folks, it does offer decent food and — even better — an easy-to-get table even if you don’t have reservations. Most of the time you’ll be able to walk right into Captain’s Grille and be seated, but it always pays to make reservations just in case.

I had a bit of a surprising meal here… read on to find out why!


Captain’s Grille is one of those “lost” mid-priced Disney resort restaurants, which makes it a relatively quiet and calm place to grab a bite!

Themed similarly to the Yacht Club Resort, Captain’s Grille features model sailboats and subdued nautical decor coupled with light wood furniture.

Dining Room Seating

The theme is nothing to write home about, and the restaurant is open to the lobby as well as the surrounding walkways through the hotel. You may hear a bit of [Read more…]