By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Fridays with Jim Korkis: T-Rex: a Prehistoric Family Adventure

By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

T-Rex: a Prehistoric Family Adventure is a themed restaurant developed by Schussler Creative, Inc. and operated by Landry’s Restaurants that opened on October 14, 2008 in the area that later became Disney Springs.

Steve Schussler, who at the time was also responsible for creating the Rainforest Café and Yak and Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, stated “It will be a great place to eat, shop, explore and discover. It’s exciting that something has been built that has all the creativity and ingenuity of an interactive, educational experience that hasn’t been done before.

(c) Disney

“That’s what really excites me and my team. People will come first for the ‘wow’ factor but they will come back for quality food and service.”

Outside the restaurant is a full-sized replica of an Argentinosaurus at 125 feet long and 28 feet tall, reputably one of the largest dinosaurs to ever exist. Nearby, a parasaurolophus sits in a pond fed by a waterfall with some prehistoric looking plants by it. Inside is a 45 foot long Tyrannosaurus Rex, the largest of the many audio animatronics dinosaurs inside the restaurant.

The interior is based off of a water, fire and ice concept decorated with fossils and large chunks of amethyst.

“It’s a pretty amazing collection of artifacts,” said Keith Bradford, who at the time was vice president of WDW Operating Participants. “Historically and archeologically, it is all correct, so it is a true museum in that sense. It is a true educational experience.”

Each room in T-Rex: a Prehistoric Family Adventure is unique. The Ice Cave has a life-sized fossil replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, an aqua bar with a 5,000 gallon shark tank and a 37 foot octopus with movable tentacles overhead and hanging jellyfish light fixtures. The area also resurrects the woolly mammoth.

The Geothermal region houses the Kitchen of Fire with an open kitchen featuring a giant rotisserie that allows visitors to see meals being prepared. The Fern Forest and Sequoia rooms are the most serene, with canopies of flowers overhead and a docile Triceratops with its infants.

The entire 30,000 square foot restaurant provides seating for over 600. The tables feature designs resembling imprint fossils of fish and other small prehistoric relics. Even the restrooms (She-Rex and He-Rex) are decorated with ancient artifacts.

A two minute long meteor shower comes through each room every twenty minutes amidst waterfalls, bubbling geysers and a fossil dig site, signaling impeding doom for the dinosaurs. The lighting changes, prehistoric animals cry out in alarm and there is a sense of chaos. Even the ice cave seems to start melting.

The PaleoZone offers young guests kids the opportunity to dig for fossils and treasures and check out interactive displays to learn about the creatures in the restaurant. They can play games, watch toon clips, split a geode open, and more. For the menu offerings, creative names in keeping with the prehistoric theme of the restaurant describe tempting food options.

Among the other figures in the restaurant are Apatosaurus, Albertosaure, Stegosaurus, Arthropleura, pterosaurs (including Pteranodon and Rhamphorhynchus), large insects and more.

Attached to the restaurant is a gift shop where guests can build their own dinosaur in partnership with the Build-A-Bear Workshop.

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new books Vault of Walt: Volume 10: Final Edition  Kungaloosh! The Mythic Jungles of Walt Disney World and Hidden Treasures of Walt Disney World Resorts: Histories, Mysteries, and Theming, much of which was first published on this site.


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