The dinosaurs will soon be celebrating at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. That’s because this year will mark the 20th anniversary of the addition of the beloved animal-themed Disney park to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. If you’ve visited Animal Kingdom before, no doubt you’ve walked under the huge “Dinoland, U.S.A.” sign as you’ve walked through the park. But have you ever stopped in to Dinoland and taken in all it has to offer?
There are more than just Disney dinos in this exciting land. At Dinoland, U.S.A., you’ll go back in time. You’ll take a spin at more than one attraction. Play in the sand. Play on the playground. Slide down the slides. Meet your favorite Disney characters, win prizes at a carnival and see bones, bones and more bones! You haven’t experience Dinoland, U.S.A. yet? Here are 10 reasons you’ll be glad you stopped by next time you’re at Animal Kingdom.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work with a paleontologist? Have you imagined what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth? And have you ever dreamed of seeing an actual dinosaur? If you answered yes, and if you also think you have a knack at time travel, you’ll want to reserve a FastPass+ time for DINOSAUR, a thrilling dark ride back in time aboard a rugged time rover. Your mission: to race back to prehistoric times and bring back to the present an Iguanodon, in an effort to save it from extinction. You’ll have to be fast, be brave and be willing to risk it all before a meteor shower renders you and your team extinct as well.
9. Primeval Whirl
DINOSAUR isn’t the only attraction at Dinoland, U.S.A. for the time travel enthusiast. Primeval Whirl is a fun family coaster aboard a time-machine that spins, curves, u-turns and drops. Imagine the Mad Hatter Teacups at Magic Kingdom on a twisting, turning and dropping track—all while heading back in time!
8. Finding Nemo – the Musical
This show is not your basic theme park musical! You’ve never seen a musical like this one, thanks to some spectacular puppetry. Swim along with Dory and Marlin as they search for Nemo. Will they find him? Just where could Nemo be?
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7. The Boneyard
This fun play area was designed to look just like a paleontologist’s dinosaur dig site. Kids can climb rocks, cross rope bridges and even work to unearth the bones of a woolly mammoth. There’s a maze with covered slides, a Jeep for pretending and playing and lots of shaded areas with fans and music. It’s fun for kids and parents alike.
6. TriceraTop Spin
This attraction functions similarly to the Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Flying Carpets of Aladdin attractions at Magic Kingdom. Fly high or fly low in a four-person dino-inspired gondola that you control. From on high, you’ll see amazing vistas of all of Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama.
5. Goofy and Pluto
Just outside Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, Guests can meet Goofy and Pluto, who are playing the role of paleontologists. They sign autographs and pose for pictures with Guests in front of a giant postcard that reads, “Greetings from Dinoland, U.S.A.”
4. Donald Duck
At Cretaceous Trail inside Dinoland, U.S.A., you can meet Donald Duck. He’s been hard at work on a dino dig, but he always has time for photos with fans! Be sure to have your autograph book and pen ready!
Step inside this dino-inspired quick-service restaurant and enjoy American favorites like angus burgers and fries, sandwiches, hot dogs, chili dogs, tossed salads and more. Every children’s meal comes in a pail with a shovel for that post-meal dino-dig!
2. Fossil Fun Games
Step right up! Step right up! Who wants to win? Hit the mark and win a prize! If you love carnivals and county fairs, you’ll love Fossil Fun Games. It’s perfect for every member of the family and conveniently located right in the center of Dinoland, U.S.A. Come one, come all!
1. Chester and Hester
Just who are Chester and Hester? Those names are seen in Dinoland, U.S.A. But who are they? Well, as with most attractions and themed lands at Disney World, there’s a story. Sometimes a backstory, and Dinoland, U.S.A. is no different. The story goes that years ago, in 1947, when there was nothing more in this area of “Diggs County” than an old fishing lodge, fossils were found and authenticated by a group of paleontologists. They realized the value of the find and soon purchased the old lodge and the surrounding land. An elderly couple, simply known as Chester and Hester, owned a gas station nearby. They soon noticed that professors, students and other inquisitive people were flocking to this area. So they did what any red-blooded Americans would do—they created an amusement park and souvenir shop right there along old Highway 498 to strike it rich themselves. Why, with all the visitors coming to town, they could make a fortune, right?
If you love dinos, time travel and roadside carnivals, Dinoland, U.S.A. ought to be on your Disney World bucket list. Who knows, maybe you’ll unearth the next prehistoric find!