Disney’s Animal Kingdom is so much more than a glorified zoo. One of the best areas to explore is Dinoland! Dinoland has so much to offer from rides to characters, here is my guide to Disney’s Dinoland USA.
Where is Dinoland?
After a short crossing from Discovery Island, the Animal Kindom’s main hub, guests enter DinoLand U.S.A. beneath a 50-foot-tall brachiosaurus straddling its entrance.
A lot of people think Dinoland doesn’t fit into the theming of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In some ways, I agree. It is very carnival-like and though dinosaurs are prominent, there is very little education going on unlike other areas of the park.
Did you know that there is a backstory to this area? It’s a land with a past that dates to 1947 and the discovery of dinosaur bones by an amateur fossil-hunter. Realizing the importance of the find, the bone-hunter contacted some scientist friends who banded together to purchase the site in Diggs County (a fictional county where Dinoland USA is taking place), which included an old fishing lodge.
For over 50 years, the story goes, the fossil-rich site has been inhabited by scientists, volunteers and grad students who have left a paper trail around the site of notes, theories, questions and answers about the lives of the vanished creatures. With a palpable sense of humor and rebelliousness, the site is open to the public as a “fossil discovery park” under the ownership of The Dino Institute. The Dino Institute attracted a lot of tourists.
You will notice the names Chester and Hester prominently in Dinoland. No, there aren’t any Chester and Hester Disney cartoons or movies. This storyline is completely made up just for the area. Chester & Hester, who owned the Gas Station, wanted to capitalize on all those tourists and made a cheap, made-in-a-day attraction/carnival to take advantage of those tourists.
Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama is themed after the roadside tourist traps of the past.
Dinosaur is a dark, action-packed ride that takes you back in time. You first enter a standing theater room where you are instructed on what your mission is when you travel back to space. There’s only one problem—the giant meteor that wiped out life on Earth is on the way!
After the short little film, you wait to board the Land Rover. Then you are taken on a bumpy, jerky roller coaster of a ride where dinosaurs may jump out at you. It is a little intense and may scare little ones, and some adults too, lol.
- Fastpass: Yes
- Interactive Queue: No
- Height Requirement: 40 inches or taller
- Plus-size Friendly: Yes
This ride is similar to Dumbo, but you are flying in a dinosaur instead. If you’re seated in the back row, you can direct how high or low you fly by moving an onboard lever up or down. If you’re sitting in the front row, maneuvering a joystick will tip your dinosaur forward or backward.
- Fastpass: No
- Interactive Queue: No
- Height Requirement: any height
- Plus-size Friendly: Yes
Chester & Hester’s Dinorama Fossil Fun Games
Right in between Primeval Whirl and Triceratops Spin you will find several Carnival-type games. These games are part of the roadside attraction story of Chester and Hester. The games look fun but are not free to play. There are prizes though, but they are more along the lines of carnival prizes than Disney merchandise you would want.
In keeping with the carnival theme, the Fossil Fun Games area also includes a curved carnival mirror, painted photo backdrop, concession stand, and a picture booth.
Digging into the past is something done quite literally at The Boneyard playground. Presented as the original dig site, this rambling open-air space, rich with replica bones, fossils, and reconstructed skeletons, is the place to excavate fossilized findings and slip, slither, slide and crawl through a discovery-oriented play-maze of skeletal remains of Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and other giants of the dinosaur age.
This playground is really neat and a great place for parents to relax and catch some shade. There are a lot of benches to sit on and the play area is pretty big.
Dinoland only has quick-service restaurants.
This is the place in Dinoland to grab some yummy ice cream treats such as ice cream cookie sandwiches and cool hot fudge sundaes.
If you are looking for a typical lunch or dinner, then Restaurantosaurus is where you need to head. They have burgers and nuggets that will satisfy your hunger. There is seating indoors and out.
At Trilo-Bites you will find beverages including grownup ones like the Smokey Bones Chocolate Shake with Bourbon and candied bacon! They also have some Buffalo Chicken Chips that are really tasty. No inside seating but there are a few benches outside of the little shack.
I have always found Dinoland to be a great source for pin trading since it is one of the less popular areas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Boneyard Cart
- Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures
- The Dino Institute Shop
Do you head to Dinoland during your Animal Kingdom day or is it something that you skip? Let me know in the comments.
Let’s Explore More of Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
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