(October 14, 2008 - present)
History and photos of the T-Rex Cafe restaurant and store in the Marketplace at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World.
On October 14, 2008, a dinosaur-themed restaurant and store opened on the edge of the Marketplace at Downtown Disney. Its name is T-Rex Cafe, and the restaurant is as big and bad as the mightiest of dinosaurs it's named after.
Owned by Landry's Restaurants (the same company that owns the popular Rainforest Cafe restaurants), T-Rex Cafe is an incredibly well-themed restaurant that takes diners back to the age of the dinosaurs. The outside of the restaurant is covered in dinosaur fossils (including the massive Argentinosaurus and the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex), but inside the building the dinosaurs have been brought back to life.
Walking into the building, you're first greeted by a life-sized Tyrannosaurus rex and a few of his youngsters. They appear to be standing still, but once in a while they suddenly come to life, growling at people and moving around in a ferocious manner. The restaurant itself is divided into sections, each with its own themed area of prehistoric life. The restaurant's bar is themed to under the sea and has a collection of aquariums along with a gigantic octopus that slowly moves its tentacles over the diners. The main part of the restaurant is themed to volcanoes and has a Pteranodon soaring over the diners. Next to that is the ice cave complete with dinosaur fossils "frozen" in the icy walls. A woolly mammoth stands guard outside of the ice cave and welcome the visitors. The back of the restaurant has even more dinosaurs and giant prehistoric insects.
Once every 45 minutes or so, T-Rex Cafe is hit with a meteor shower. Animations on the ceiling show the meteors flaming through the atmosphere and exploding, making all of the dinosaurs go berserk. While this is occurring, the ice cave changes from blue to red, indicating that the crashing meteors are making the ice melt.
The retail store in T-Rex Cafe is filled with toys, books and clothes dedicated to the restaurant and dinosaurs in general. You can even purchase and split open a geode rock. The back of the store has Build-a-Dino, an opportunity to "build" and accessorize your own dinosaur friend from the makers of Build-a-Bear Workshop.
Outside the restaurant is the Paleo Zone, an interactive play area that allows kids to dig and uncover a massive dinosaur fossil.
T-Rex Cafe is a fantastic restaurant experience and a must-see for everybody who enjoys dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.
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