29 September 2010

No bones about it

Sometimes you can overlook the venue in which a meal is consumed because of the pleasure the meal brings, say a taco truck or a crowded shack that serves the best barbeque in the state. The question is, does the reverse hold true, can a meal be overlooked by the experience of its dining hall? If there is one restaurant found within the borders of Walt Disney World that can test this theory, it is Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.Let’s start with the food. This is the most child friendly menu in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, simply because the food is recognizable to them, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and burgers. For those guests mindful of their health, there is a mandarin chicken salad, as well as a vegetarian burger that offsets the heart clogging Dino-Sized Double Cheeseburger. A hot toppings bar is an added benefit here with sautéed onions and mushrooms, sauerkraut, and a wide selection of other trimmings. The food is not spectacular, but makes for a great family lunch break after digging in The Boneyard.

The real treasure here is the design of the establishment. Restaurantosaurus was an old fishing lodge, once upon a time, before the bones were unearthed. Over time the facility served as home to the first groups that came in search of fossils, the original Dino Institute, and currently houses the graduate interns who work along this stretch of 498 in Diggs County. The lodge expanded to accommodate the needs of these various troupes, adding rooms, a mechanic’s shop, even an old travel trailer, each addition adding its own distinctive flavor to the building.

With the interns firmly rooted to the old restaurant, they began to make the place their own. For starters, the Restaurant became Restaurantosaurus, the –osaurus moniker being added not just to the name of the establishment, but to every word the students could think of. They also added in their own games, created a lounge, and let their imagination run wild all throughout the restaurant.

There are so many facets throughout Restaurantosaurus that several hours of exploration would continue to reveal new details. The amount of dino details, from posters to bones, artwork, and toys that little paleontologists could easily be distracted on their way to the table. While not the most adventurous meal in Walt Disney World, Restaurantosaurus does enough with its décor to win over families and dinosaur enthusiasts alike, which can make for a pretty memorable meal.

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