On our recent surprise trip to Disneyworld I wanted to plan a special birthday dinner for our son’s fifth birthday (the reason we were on the trip). I had heard about the recently opened T-Rex Cafe in Downtown Disney (from the owners of the Rainforest Cafe, it had been open since the fall of 2008). My kids love the Rainforest Cafe and dinosaurs are always popular with my three so I thought we’d give it a try.
The restaurant is located at the end of the market portion of Downtown Disney, just before you cross over to Pleasure Island. Visitors are greeted by a large dinosaur skeleton at the entrance. It was a good thing we made a reservation since the wait time when we arrived was an hour and a half.
We arrived early so we could hang out in the gift shop. You could by dinosaur books, hats and shirts; dinosaur place settings and toys and fossils. We picked up some great Dinosaur fossil ice cube trays that I can’t wait to try out. The Cafe also has it’s own version of Build-A-Bear in the form of Build-A-Dinosaur. It seemed to be pretty popular judging by the number of Dino boxes we saw leaving the Cafe and throughout the Marketplace.
As we head over to our table, the hostess walks us past the bar and aquarium dining section. There’s a large fish tank and many automated over sized sea creatures hanging from the ceiling One large table was lit by a giant hanging jellyfish overhead.
Another part of the restaurant was in the lush jungle. Guests ate surrounded by various dinosaurs who moved and roared occasionally throughout the meal. We sat in the Ice Cave, a translucent coloured cavern with icicles hanging from the ceiling. The cavern colour would change periodically. Once it was blue, then it would turn pink. This made reading the menu a little difficult as your eyes had to adjust to each colour change. But during the rest of the evening it was fine. The kids enjoyed it because it made the colour of their drink go from white to blue. The restaurant was very busy and very noisy but I think the Ice Cave reflected the sound more than the rest of the restaurant. But even with that said, I would still request to sit in the Ice Cave on a second visit. It was a completely different experience then just a dinosaur version of the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe is known for it’s interactive storm that erupts in the jungle every twenty minutes or so. The T-Rex offers similar entertainment in the form of a meteor shower. Approximately every twenty minutes the sky in the main entrance fills with scenes from a large meteor shower. The creatures all around the restaurant talk and move throughout the crazy event. The Ice Cave area flashes into bright colours of red and orange.
The food on the menu is similar that offered at the Rainforest Cafe, but with a Dino theme and works from water (drinks), fire (main food) and ice (desserts). The kids menu is also similar in offering pasta and chicken nuggets and mini burgers. But no matter what you eat, you need to save room for the Eruption, a delicious concoction of chocolate brownie, ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Servers bring it to the table with a cup in the centre full of dry ice. The presentation is like an erupting volcano. We ordered it for my son’s birthday finale and it was a perfect dessert for all five of us to share.