Best Trip Tips

Animal Kingdom: DinoLand U.S.A.

There are six areas of Disney’s Theme Park Animal Kingdom. Discovery Island, which is at the centre of the park and is connected to all other areas of the park. Pandora-World of Avatar, the newest area of the park featuring our favourite place to eat: Satu’li Canteen. Africa, home of the Kilimanjaro Safari, where you can see African animals in their natural habitat. Rafiki’s Planet Watch, a conservation area where vets care for sick animals and guests can pet and interact with a variety of animals. Asia, where you can ride a train to Everest or explore the Kali River Rapids. Lastly, there’s DinoLand, U.S.A. the top of today’s post.

DinoLand, U.S.A. is found in the south eastern side of the park. You can access DinoLand, U.S.A. via Discovery Island or Asia. This area is my favourite, partly because I never knew the whole scope of the area until Jeff and I were on our honeymoon. On our honeymoon we swore we would go on every ride possible, and it was because of this that we discovered my favourite ride: Primeval Whirl in DinoLand U.S.A. The attraction Dinosaur is what this area is most known for but there’s so much more to see and do for every single age group and every interest. Just be aware there are many parts of DinoLand U.S.A. that close early, so if you’re planning on enjoying Animal Kingdom into the nightime  don’t save these things until after dinner time because they’ll be closed. There’s character experiences, dining, attractions and The Boneyard! Take a look at everything this area of the Animal Kingdom has to offer. Want to skip to a category? Simply click: attractions, characters, dining, shopping, entertainment.

Attractions

The Boneyard

One of the best parts of DinoLand U.S.A. and really of Animal Kingdom, for families for young children, is The Boneyard. This is a giant outdoor playground. With slides for all ages. There are slides that are stories high and there are slides that are only a few feet off the ground. They have cast members at the entrance and exit of The Boneyard to make sure no child goes unaccounted for. There are several climbing areas and there’s a whole sections that’s a giant sandbox, where guests can dig for Dinosaur bones. Word of wisdom, have a plan before letting your youngsters loose in this area. It is very large and can be very overwhelming for a parent. Try to stick with your younger kids and have a plan of where and when to meet with older ones. This is a great place to let little ones burn off some energy after indulging in one too many Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars. The Boneyard opens at 10am and closes around nightfall depending on when that is during your trip.

Dino-Sue

This is a replica of the real Sue which is at a museum in Chicago, the real Sue was found in South Dakota back in the 90’s. So it may not be a real T-Rex statue but it’s modelled after one. Take the trek through the wilderness and find this Dino-Sue and grab a memorable shot with it.

DINOSAUR

This attraction is suited for guests 40 inches and taller visiting the Animal Kingdom. The premise of the ride is you’re on a visit to prehistoric times to roam around the land when Dinosaurs populated the earth. The trip gets hijacked by a scientist who wants to bring back a Dinosaur with your tour but to do so you need to travel back to a very dangerous time, just before the dinosaurs are destroyed. It’s a thrilling ride, that’s dark, bouncy and rough. Not suited for pregnant visitors or guests with back or back issues. The attraction is open from 9:30am until a half hour before the park closes. FastPasses are available for this attraction.

Fossil Fun Games

Found in the heart of the DinoLand U.S.A. outdoor fair, Fossil Fun Games is a set of fair style games. Pay for a few vouchers and play a game of Whac-a-Packycephalosaur, Fossil Fueler (a squirt gun game), Mammoth Marathon (your classic roll a ball at a target game), Comet Crasher (a toss game), or Bronto-Score (a basketball game). And like any good midway game, you can win a prize. A great way to pass sometime while older guests take turns on the Primeval Whirl.

Primeval Whirl

My favourite ride in all Walt Disney World. Primeval Whirl is a twisty ride that mimics an old midway roller coaster. Be prepared to be jerked around, twisted around, and spun around. This attraction has a 48″ height requirement.

TriceraTop Spin

The Animal Kingdom’s version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant or Aladdin’s Flying Carpet. A great ride for the whole family. Climb into your very own Triceratop and be whisked into the air, going up and down as often as you want with the flick of a switch. There’s no height requirement for this attraction. Unlike most things found in DinoLand U.S.A., this attraction actually opens at park open and stays open until park close.

Wilderness Explorers

Another stop for those looking to get all their Wilderness Explorer badges. Sign up back at Discovery Island and then stop at the 12 different activities around the park. Here you’ll explore Dinosaur Fossils. These activities only occur from 10am until 5pm so make sure to head here between those times to get that collectors badge.

Characters

Donald’s Dino-Bash

Meet Donald and some of his pals at this character spot. Found close by Primeval Whirl, Donald and his companions are dressed in their best for this bash. Here you can meet Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Scrooge McDuck, Chip n Dale, Daisy and Launchpad McQuack. None of these have FastPasses so you’re at the mercy of how many guests are interested in meeting these characters.

Dining

Dino-Bite Snacks

The place to grab ice cream in DinoLand U.S.A. is Dino-Bite Snacks. Found directly in front of Restaurantosaurus, Dino-Bites is open from 12pm-7pm. You’ll want to save your dining plan snack item for here. They serve my favourite, Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, Freshly Baked Cookies, Floats and Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sundaes. Grab your ice cream and then sit at the nearby seats and tables to enjoy each bite.

Dino Diner

Opening at 10:30am, Dino Diner is a counter service restaurant. Order at the counter and then bring your food along with you or grab a seat at a nearby bench. Offering a couple snack lunch options Dino Diner has Chili Dogs and Corn Chip Pie (which is nachos with cheese, sour cream, green onions). Unfortunately none of them count as Dining Plan snacks.

Restaurantosaurus

Restaurantosaurus is your place to grab a burger. A great place for families because of their familiar menu items, they also have a lot of seating areas. There’s also some chicken nuggets on the menu. Restaurantosaurus opens at 11:30am. Stop in here during your time at this part of the park.

Trilo-Bites

Found as your entering DinoLand, U.S.A. from Discovery Island. Trilo-Bites is open from 11am until 6pm. They serve some speciality alcoholic beverages, other beverages and Buffalo Chicken Chips. Chips topped with chicken and blue cheese. You’re going to need to find a place to sit to enjoy these bad boys. You may want to add these to your snack goal list.

Shopping

Theatre in the Wild Cart

Found at the exit of Finding Nemo-The Musical, this merchandise kiosk has everything you need for the Rivers of Light nighttime entertainment. With your glowing swords and lights. They also have all kinds of Nemo merchandise to coincide with the neighbouring show. They are open from 10am until 8pm.

Boneyard Cart

Open from park open to park close, the boneyard cart is located at The Boneyard entrance. Here you’ll find some great Dinosaur plush toys and Dinosaur shirts. Also they sell some cool Ducktales gear and toys to go along with Donald’s Dino-Bash.

Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures

A great shop for a variety of merchandise. Here is where I bought my first pair of Mickey Mouse slippers. You can also find great toys here, and one of a kind shirts for those who love to collect unique Walt Disney World attraction shirts. The shop itself is also really cool. Look up and see all the toys that decorate the store. Spend sometime in here and you’ll be sure to find some items that you can’t find anywhere else on property. Open from park open until park close.

The Dino Institute Shop

As you’re exiting the attraction DINOSAUR, you’ll enter into this shop which reminds you of a museum gift shop. Here you’ll find a variety of items you can find elsewhere on property, but you’ll also find items that go along with the attraction you were presumably just on. DINOSAUR shirts, mugs, hats, frames, toys. You name it they’ll have it here. The shop opens at 9:30am and closes at park close.

Entertainment

Finding Nemo – The Musical

A beautiful version of this Pixar Tale, Finding Nemo-The Musical uses puppeteering on a master scale to retell this story of Nemo, Merlin and Dory. This show lasts 40 minutes and includes original songs. This large theatre has cushioned seats and not one of the seats is in a poor viewing position. It’s a popular show playing at the top of the hour throughout the day. I would strongly recommend grabbing a FastPass for this show because not everyone in line will get in to see the performance. Or head here early on in the day while people are still taking in Pandora and Africa. It’s a must see, unless you have very little children who can’t sit through that length of a performance.

Rivers of Light

The nighttime entertainment at Animal Kingdom takes place on the water between Asia and DinoLand U.S.A. There’s seating on both sides of the water, but the Asia side is reserved for those with a FastPass reservation. The show happens twice a night, the times depend on the time of year. The seating on the DinoLand U.S.A. side are for walk ups. The line begins as far back as the entrance to DinoLand U.S.A. from Discovery Island. You must all line up together because the line is so crammed you won’t be able to meet up with your party after the fact. They will not allow you to save seats for other party members.

The big take away with DinoLand U.S.A. is take a look at the things you want to do in this area and then make sure you plan to be there during the time that everything is open. Don’t plan to be there at the beginning of the park day when some of the attractions aren’t even open or don’t plan on heading here after dinner because some of the attractions are closed. For other posts on Disney’s Animal Kingdom take a look at the list below:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Asia

Where to have breakfast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

How to get into Disney’s Animal Kingdom before Park Open

Animal Kingdom with Preschoolers

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Happy Planning, Friends.