Pre-Historic Eats at T-Rex
A Disney Dining Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 04/01/2010
Restaurants change, they come and go, and some are more eagerly anticipated than others. As much as I love the food at Disney, I also love good theming. So from the first mention of a new restaurant at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney that would feature dinosaurs, I couldn't wait to see the place, especially as it was coming from the creators of the Rainforest Cafe.
The view from one of the tables in the coral section of T-Rex.
T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure opened back in 2008, only a few weeks before our visit to Walt Disney World that year, but sadly by the time I knew that, our dining plans were all settled. I did look to see how we could incorporate trying out T-Rex, but as we were on the Deluxe Dining Plan and wanted to make the best use of our credits, it proved impossible, as sadly this restaurant isn't on the various Disney dining plans.
However, we were able to take a look inside and what a treat we got! My expectations for this place were already set pretty high and it's very easy to be disappointed in situations like that, but nothing could be further from that. This restaurant has distinct different areas for you to enjoy your meal, with the coral reef, taking you on an underwater journey, to your left as you arrive.
Once you pass through the obligatory shop, which contains your opportunity to build your own dinosaur, courtesy of Build-A-Bear workshop, you'll see the kitchens to the far right hand side, with vibrant fire colors to highlight that fact. Further beyond, the contrast couldn't be more startling, with the ice room, filled with cold colors, such as blue and purple. Just outside the entrance to this is perhaps my favorite part, the collection of woolly mammoths. If only I could adopt the baby woolly mammoth they have here, I'd be happy.
Not only is it adorable, but I was very impressed by the movement in these animals whenever the meteorite storm hits. This storm hits with alarming regularity, something it has in common with the Rainforest Cafe, where you never cease to be amazed by how you can set your watch by the rainstorms in there! These can be a little loud and may be a bit frightening for youngsters not expecting it, but on our visits here, we saw no sign of any traumatized kids, unlike our experiences in the Rainforest Cafe to date.
It was only a couple of months ago that we finally got the opportunity to do more than admire the architecture and actually got to try out the food. At first, when we arrived for our meal, a Sunday lunch, the size of the crowd outside waiting to check in looked exceptionally daunting, but it moved remarkably quickly and soon we were giving our details at the podium. After that, we moved forward, into the restaurant itself, and we were seated exceptionally quickly. We didn't ask to be seated anywhere in particular, although I was hoping for the coral reef area, as I had been very impressed by the theming there. Barring that, anywhere near my baby woolly mammoth would have worked for me. As it was, we were in the coral reef area and spent a long time, not only studying our menus, but everything around us. There's a lot to keep every member of the family spellbound for some time, but fortunately we didn't find the service to be slow at all. We were quickly seen by our server and had the menu explained to us.
The first thing I felt, looking at it, is this is somewhere you need to come hungry. As you'd expect, there were lots of puns on dinosaur names on the menu items, but it was clear that the emphasis was on feeding the hungriest T-Rex. We shared a Supersaurus Sampler and, my goodness, that thing lived up to its name. It was absolutely huge and included spinach and pepper jack queso with tortilla chips, onion rings, Brachiosaurus Bruschetta and T-Rexadillas. The latter two are available separately as appetizers, if your appetite won't stretch to quite this much food to start your meal!
For main course, my attention went to the Jurassic shrimp skewers and again these things turned out to be massive when they arrived! The flavors all worked perfectly together for me and I loved the mango salsa and the Raptor rice it was served with. My husband opted for the "Primitive" braised pork shank, which came with potato gnocchi sautéed with wild mushrooms, carrots, and peas. I heard no complaints from him!
If both these dishes sound heavy, then there is relief, with a selection of soups and salads on the menu, with choices for vegetarians, fish and meat eaters. Burgers and sandwiches are also major draws here and you'll find a full selection of meat, fish, and pasta dishes. It's probably one of the more expansive menus I've seen at Disney in some time, which made a pleasant change, as we had noticed menus at some other restaurants getting much more restricted.
Sadly, we didn't have room to sample dessert, although maybe one day I can try the Chocolate Extinction. With enough for two and a gigantic portion of chocolate fudge cake, along with ice cream, whipped cream, and fudge and caramel sauces. If I'm ever to become extinct, that's the way I want to go!
If I'm completely honest, I really hadn't expected much from T-Rex in terms of food. I had come here more to sample the atmosphere, but the food didn't disappoint at all. The huge portions that were served up meant it wasn't bad value for the money, either. It's certainly somewhere I'd be happy to return to, although I'll be sure to work up a real Jurassic appetite before I do!
T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure is located in the Marketplace area of Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney and is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Updated 04/01/2010 - Article #447
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