|The Dino Institute in DinoLand USA. Photo by Theme Park Tourist|
|Disney's Animal Kingdom|
|Opening date||April 22, 1998|
|Number of Attractions||Seven|
DinoLand USA is a land in Disney's Animal Kingdom
DinoLand USA opened with the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998. On opening day the land featured the attractions: Countdown to Extinction, The Boneyard Playground, the Dinosaur Jubilee of 1998, Journey Into the Jungle Book (located in the Theater in the Wild), Cretaceous Trail (a short walking trail that is no longer listed as an attraction), and the Fossil Preparation Lab (where guests could see the fossil of Sue the Dinosaur) . When DinoLand USA opened it was sponsored by McDonald's . As a result of this sponsorship, various signs around the land featured references to the fast food giant. Furthermore, DinoLand's two original restaurants: Petrifries and Restaurantosaurus both served McDonald's food .
The first major change came to DinoLand USA in April 1999 when Journey Into Jungle Book was replaced by a new show titled "Tarzan Rocks!" . In preparation for the new millennium, the Dinosaur Jubilee was renamed the "Dinosaur Jubilee of 2000". At this time, interactive exhibits featuring wholly mammoths and saber-tooth cats were added to the attraction. These new additions ended up being short-lived however, as by the end of 2000, the attraction closed to make way for DinoLand’s first major expansion- Chester and Hester’s DinoRama . In conjunction with the closing of Dinosaur Jubilee of 2000, the Fossil Preparation Lab also closed.
On May 1, 2001, Countdown to Extinction changed its name to Dinosaur! in an attempt to tie the attraction in with the Disney movie of the same name . On November 18, 2001, a new area of DinoLand called Chester and Hester’s DinoRama opened to guests . Opening with the new section were the attractions: TriceraTop Spin and Midway Games (later renamed Fossil Fun Games) . These new attractions were subsequently joined by Primeval Whirl on April 18, 2002 .
The next major change to come to DinoLand USA happened on January 21, 2006 when Tarzan Rock! closed . The stage show was replaced in January 2007 with a new show titled Finding Nemo- The Musical .
In 2008, McDonald's sponsorship of DinoLand USA came to an end . At this time, all references to the fast food company were removed. Furthermore, the quick service restaurant Petrifries was renamed Trilo-Bites . Finally, following the dropping of McDonald’s sponsorship, Restaurantosaurus ceased hosting the Donald’s Breakfastosaurus character breakfast.
Beginning in June 2018, Dino-Land USA became home to the Donald's Dino-Bash celebration . The temporary offering allows guest to meet Donald, Daisy, Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and Pluto in all new costumes. In addition to the new meet and greets, Donald's Dino-Bash also features a nightly dance party, new themeing around the land, and a new background loop that features a radio show dedicated to celebrating Donald's newly discovered ancestral connection to dinosaurs .
DinoLand USA is set in the fictional Diggs County. In the early 1940s, the county consisted of ranch and farmland. Here, an elderly couple named Chester and Hester owned a rundown gas station along Highway 498. In 1947 however, things changed in Diggs County. At this time amateur fossil hunters found dinosaur bones in the area and their discovery led scientists and graduate students to flood into Diggs. Initially, the new residents stayed at an old fishing lodge, however when time travel was invented in the 1970s, the Dino Institute was founded. The new modern building became the central location of dinosaur research and time travel.
In order to capitalize on the dinosaur craze, Chester and Hester began selling various souvenirs at their gas station. It quickly became evident that the merchandise business was more profitable than selling gasoline. Using their profits from souvenir sales, Chester and Hester decided to build a roadside amusement park, in order to profit from the influx of tourists coming to the area to see the Dino Institute. From this idea, Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama was born. Besides featuring midway style carnival games, the amusement park also features Chester and Hester’s own “time machine”- Primeval Whirl. Although the Dino Institute has tried to by Chester and Hester's land in order to raze the buildings, their decedents have refused to sell.
DINOSAUR- Housed inside the Dino Institute, this dark ride allows guests to board Time Rovers and travel back to the Cretaceous period, where they come face to face with various dinosaurs. The attraction was known as Countdown to Extinction from 1998-2000.
Cretaceous Trail- This short walking trail features various plants that have survived since the time of the dinosaurs. Although still open to guests, Cretaceous Trail is not usually listed among Animal Kingdom's attractions.
Finding Nemo- The Musical- This Broadway style show is a musical retelling of the Disney-Pixar film "Finding Nemo". The show runs for approximately 35 minutes.
Fossil Fun Games- The Fossil Fun Games are a group of dinosaur themed carnival-style games found in Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama.
Primeval Whirl- This mild roller coaster takes guests back to the time of the dinosaurs.
TriceraTop Spin- This hub and spoke attraction allows guests to climb aboard a dinosaur and take a spin above DinoLand USA.
The Boneyard Playground- This kid friendly playground features not only slides and water guns, but also a large sand pit where young guests can dig up dinosaur bones.
Dinosaur Jubilee- This large exhibit allowed guests to see the various skeletons that scientists at the Dino Institute had uncovered. The attraction opened on April 22, 1998 as the Dinosaur Jubilee of 1998, before being renamed Dinosaur Jubilee of 2000 in conjunction with the new millennium. Dinosaur Jubilee closed at the end of 2000 and was replaced with Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama.
Fossil Preparation Lab - In the Fossil Preparation Lab guests could see real scientists working on the skeleton of Sue the Dinosaur, the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered. The Fossil Preparation Lab operated from April 22, 1998 through 2000. It was eventually replaced by Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama. During its run, the Fossil Preparation Lab was also referred to simply as "Dino-Sue" or "See Sue the Dinosaur!".
Journey Into the Jungle Book- This 30 minute musical show told guests the story of Disney's The Jungle Book. Journey Into Jungle Book operated from April 22, 1998 until April 1999 in the Theater in the Wild.
Tarzan Rocks!- Located within the Theater in the Wild, Tarzan Rocks was a 30 minute show based on Disney's Tarzan. Tarzan Rocks! operated from April 1999 until January 21, 2006.
Restaurantosaurus- This counter service restaurant specializes in burgers and fries. Restaurantosaurus was sponsored by McDonald's from 1998 until 2008.
Trilo-Bites- This quick service restaurant sells sliders and ice cream. Trilo-Bites was known as Petrifries and sponsored by McDonald's from 1998 until 2008.
Dino-Bite Snacks- Located next to Restaurantosaurus, Dino-Bite is a quick service stand that sells ice cream.
Dino Diner- This quick service stand sells various snacks and alcoholic beverages.
The Dino Institute Shop- Located at the exit to Dinosaur, The Dino Institute Shop sells dinosaur and other museum souvenirs.
Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures- This large store sells dinosaur and other Disney merchandise.
Donald's Dino-Bash- This temporary offering features a nightly dance party and meet and greets with various characters including: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale, Launchpad McQuack, and Scrooge McDuck.
Fun Facts and Trivia
- Guests enter DinoLand USA from Discovery Island by crossing The Oldengate Bridge. This structure is actually the reassembled skeleton of a 40ft Brachiosaurus that was discovered within DinoLand USA .
- Behind Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures, guests can find a dinosaur photo-op .
- Near the entrance to Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, guests can see "DINO-RAMA" spelled out in plants. Upon closer inspection, guests can see that the outline of the letters was created with old license plates.
- At one time, guests could see a "parking lot" for Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama next to shop. It has since been replaced with picnic benches.
- DinoLand USA's entrance sign formally featured the phrase "OVER 3 BILLION UNEARTHED". This was a reference to McDonald's slogan "over 99 billion served". The phrase was removed after the end of McDonald's sponsorship in 2008 .
- If guests look at the back of water tower found outside of Restaurantosaurus, they will see a large bullseye has been painted on the back. This was done by rambunctious paleontologists .