Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Downtown Disney T-Rex Café is Dino-Mite

Downtown Disney, known to visitors from all over for its amazing restaurants and shops, now has a new reason to attract visitors, especially families. The T-Rex Cafe, which opened on October 14th, is more than just a restaurant; it is a complete attraction, with retail, dining, and fun activities for adults and kids alike.

T-Rex, which is owned by Rainforest Cafe owners Landry Restaurants, creates an interactive prehistoric environment, with décor centered on water, fire, and ice. The restaurant has been designed to make visitors say, “Wow,” with an exact life-size replica of a 140-foot long Argentinosaurus outside and a 5,000 gallon shark tank and robotic octopus on the inside. Kids will love the large animatronic dinosaurs ensconced in the walls along with real fossils, and the cascading waterfalls and bubbling geysers make it a nice setting for adults, too. The Geo-Tech and Ice Cave rooms are also particularly neat, with their flaming walls and glowing, color-changing ceilings.

Kids will be able to have fun before or after dinner with the restaurant’s many activities. In the fun and educational Paleo Zone, little ones can learn on interactive screens and play in multiple exploration areas. They can excavate in the "dirt" in the Discovery Dig area, or explore the mine and pan for precious stones, minerals, or fossils in Discovery Creek. T-Rex is a great place for children to act out their curious natures and have fun exploring and learning. And if nothing else, it’s also a great way to get them to burn off the sugar from dessert.

And though it might be easy to forget, T-Rex is, after all, a restaurant. So how is the food, you ask? T-Rex offers a surprisingly wide selection of American fare, including appetizers, soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, meat entrees, and dessert. Think T.G.I. Fridays, but with catchy dinosaur-themed names. The restaurant actually has a wood-burning pizza oven in its “Kitchen of Fire,” and guests have the option of designing their own custom pizza. The Mammoth Mushroom Raviolis are also quite nice, cooked in a lobster cream sauce with Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach. The most creative options on the menu, though, are the seafood and sandwiches, with unique offerings like the Tarragon Chicken Salad sandwich, which includes a Rotisserie chicken pulled and tossed with tarragon, celery, onions, toasted almonds, and mayo on a toasted hoagie roll. And herbivores need not worry – there are some vegetarian options available. There is also a separate menu for children.

T-Rex also features a wide array of souvenirs, apparel, toys, and other dinosaur-related merchandise. Children will especially enjoy building their own stuffed dinosaur friend with the first-ever Build-A-Dino, by the makers of the Build-A-Bear Workshop. It’s not all fun and games just for children, however. T-Rex features a full-service “Shark Bar.”

The 600-seat restaurant has been widely anticipated since its construction began in October 2007. With Walt Disney World’s recent closure of six Pleasure Island nightclubs and their family-oriented replacements nearly two years away, T-Rex is fulfilling a need for dining space in Pleasure Island.

So be sure to stop by T-Rex and have your own prehistoric adventure. And while you’re there, don’t forget to actually eat!


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