How is it Monday already!?! My busy weekend, which included my husband and I buying our first house (!!) and moving, probably has something to do with my bewilderment. I’m ready to admit that I almost slacked today and skipped writing this post. I’m tired, and I have a million things still to clean and unpack. But somehow I just couldn’t go a week without posting. I knew I would be washing windows and unpacking dishes thinking about how I should have blogged. So here we are – MUNCHY MONDAY!
This week we are traveling to Downtown Disney – a foodie paradise. Currently there are over 28 various spots to grab a bite to eat, ranging from an AMC Dine-In Theater to an authentically Irish-themed pub, to a Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Soda Shop. You can find table service restaurants and quick service dining, as well as stands offering drinks and snacks. The choices are amazing. Perhaps even more amazing still, is the fact that Downtown Disney is under-going an extensive renovation and expansion that will include even more dining delights. When the project is complete, Downtown Disney will be called Disney Springs.
On our last trip, my family and I ate dinner at T-REX. If you’re familiar with Rainforest Cafe, then you’ll have a great idea what this restaurant is about. Owned by the same parent company, T-REX is a prehistoric dining adventure.
As you approach the restaurant, you’ll see a mountainous structure with a cave-like opening. Perched atop is a very large dinosaur skeleton, green ferns, and palms. Inside, is a prehistoric wonderland. At the front of the restaurant you can locate the bar area, which has an oceanic theme. Behind the bar is a large saltwater fish tank on which a giant octopus is perched, with its tentacles stretching over the blue, water-like ceiling. Colored jellyfish are suspended from the ceiling, mingling with the octopus tentacles. The restaurants tables are nestled into several themed rooms such as an ice cavern and fern forest. While the rooms have individual themes, they are open to each other and one theme flows into the other. Everywhere you look there are animatronic wooly mammoths, giant bugs, and dinosaurs – including a 15 foot tall T. rex. About every twenty minutes there is a “meteor shower,” and the entire restaurant springs to life with movement and sound. With so much going on, this place is a sensory mecca.
With a restaurant that is so focused on entertainment, I always find myself skeptical of the quality of food. I was very pleasantly surprised here. Not to be outdone by the decor, the T-REX menu delivers. The kitchen, appropriately named The Kitchen of Fire, is located behind a long fire pit. On the wall behind the fire pit you can see chickens rotating in a giant rotisserie. The menu is quite expansive, with something for any taste. Most of the menu flavors are true American, though there are some light Italian touches. Food is easily organized into sections: Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Carnivores, Pastas, Burgers & Sandwiches, and Seafood. Mixed drinks can be found in a section labeled “The Watering Hole,” and there are plenty of beer and wine selections as well. Desserts are can be located in “The End is Near.” Each and every item has a clever, prehistoric reference in its name, such as: Fossil Fish-N-Chips, Pork-Asaurus Sandwhich, Layers of the Earth Lasagna, and Jurassic Salad.
On our visit, I ordered the Paleozoic Chicken Sandwich: pizza dough with grilled chicken, lettuce, bacon, Pepper Jack cheese, avocado, tomato, and lemon aioli. It came with my choice of side (french fries!), and it was absolutely delicious. The portion was big, the chicken was cooked perfectly, and it was full of tasty flavors. My young cousins were with us, and one of them was kind enough to give me a bite of their Cosmo’s Cheesy Macaroni. Let me assure you I would’ve devoured any of the unfinished noodles, but he cleaned the bowl leaving me high and dry. Can’t say I blame him.
Open for lunch and dinner, T-REX is a very popular spot to eat. In the busy seasons the wait can be excessive. My family had a reservation, and we still had a fair wait to be seated at our table. That being said, we were also a party of 14 altogether. Bottom line: make a reservation. That goes forever and always, at any Disney dining location.
Between the active theme and the large number of tables inside, this restaurant is noisy. Downright loud, really. It’s hard to hear anyone that is not seated next to you or across from you. Additionally, the meteor shower that occurs every twenty minutes includes flashing lights and thunder-like rumbles that may be frightening to very young children. This is not the spot for a quiet, romantic dinner. But, T-REX is definitely a fantastic place to dine with kids of all ages. Overall, I was really impressed with the environment and food in this unique dining spot. My family and I had a blast.