Dinoland U.S.A. is an area of the Animal Kingdom that really doesn't get too much attention. This is certainly due to the opening last year of Pandora, but even before then it was still fairly unloved by me included. While I am sure that there are guests who love this area, I am just not one of them. For me it is because the rides (aside from Dinosaur) are subpar and the carnival theme does not appeal to adults. But alas, it is there. So in case you have not ventured to Dinoland, here is a short run down:
Boneyard Fossil Fun Site
Perhaps the one attraction that my kids will beg to go to EVERY single trip to the Animal Kingdom, the Boneyard Fossil Fun Site is nothing more than a very large playground complete with a sand/rock digging pit, slides, and other obstacles. After the large play spaces in Hollywood Studios were closed, this is one of the only remaining free areas where kids can just explore, run, and play. As a parent, I do like that it is a contained area where you can sit for a moment and rest your feet, but its very easy to lose sight of your kids as well! Tip: There are several vendor carts right at the entrance to the dig site, grab a soda/water and relax for a few minutes!
Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama
This is where the area of the park loses my attention. The Dino-Rama is a large area devoted to carnival style games. The decor is brightly-colored and full of fun toys for kids to try and win. Like a traditional midway the games include a ring toss, a mallet test of strength, a basketball toss game, and a few others. However, I have found the games to be difficult and you have to purchase tickets to play each game. My kids usually walk away empty handed and I have spent more money...Tip: save yourself the aggravation and head straight to the gift shop nearby.
There are two smaller attractions here which are of some interest. The first is the TriceraTop Spin. Picture the Dumbo ride, but with a Triceratops. This attraction is obviously very kid friendly. The other is the Primeval Whirl. Similar to an old-fashioned roller coaster, the Whirl is a rough and very jarring. The height restriction of 48" is also one of the highest in the entire park. So yes, its a ride, but not my favorite by any means.
Arguably, the one redeeming true attraction in Dinoland U.S.A. is the ride Dinosaur. The ride itself is a travel through the past to the Cretaceous period in search of an Iguanodon to bring back to the present time. As you might imagine you also encounter other dinosaurs, herbivores and carnivores alike, as well as the impending meteors crashing into Earth. This is not a smooth ride, but fun with lots of twists and turns, and a few surprised. The ride is also a bit longer than some which makes it feel worth the wait time. However, I usually dont have a problem finding a Fast Pass for Dinosaur. While this ride is fun, there are other, better rides in Animal Kingdom. If you are running short on time, don't feel like this is one you have to do.
Food in Dinoland is also not as appealing as other areas of the park. The one counter-service location in Dinoland is Dino-bites Snacks. They serve ice cream, Mickey pretzels, and and cookies. There is some indoor seating, so this is a good option if you don't want to walk any further, but need a rest.
While dinosaurs will forever remain a topic of interest to kids and adults a like, this area has seen better days. Lately there have been a lot of rumors that this area is on the chopping block to be re-themed into Indiana Jones complete with a major attraction like at Disneyland. However, these remain strictly rumors and with the ongoing constructions of Toy Story Land, Star Wars Land, Ratatoille in Epcot, I would not expect this re-theming to happen any time soon. So for now, I think we have to accept Dinoland as it is....or skip it all together...
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!