Restaurant Review: T-REX Cafe in Disney Springs
I recently wrote a review of Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m usually a positive person, but it wasn’t the best experience.
Some of the readers asked whether I’d had better meals at another Landry’s, Inc. restaurant. I’m here to tell you that I have!
Here’s a review of T-REX Cafe, the middle child of the three Landry’s businesses at Walt Disney World.
Dinosaurs never die! We keep their memories alive in Jurassic World movies, children’s cartoons, and noisy themed restaurants. You can guess which one T-REX is.
You’ll find this restaurant at Disney Springs, and it’s frankly hard to miss. A giant dinosaur fossil skeleton towers over the building.
Also, an archeologist’s jeep sits next to the front entrance. So, the style and theming here establish a definitive tone before you ever walk into the building.
Of course, when you do enter, you may not want to sit down for a meal yet.
On the right side of the check-in desk, you’ll find a dinosaur merchandise store complete with a unique offering.
The Build-A-Bear chain has authorized a Build-A-Dino workshop that will delight your children or merch freak date.
I have the latter. Ergo, I have multiple Build-A-Dino creations on display at home.
Check-In Process and Getting Seated
We joined Landry’s Select several years ago. I mean it when I say that this purchase represents one of our wisest decisions ever.
With the Landry’s Select card, you pay $25 once to become a member. In exchange. You receive a $25 credit immediately.
Then, you receive another every year during your birthday month. Please understand that it’s only available for that month, though.
Just as importantly, when you show your Landry’s Select card at the front desk, the worker will place you on a priority seating list.
So, you’ll get a table before anyone else, even those guests with Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs).
On this particular date during the pandemic, we had both. We felt lucky, as the capacity limits at T-REX caused near-immediate sellouts on ADRs.
This place belongs on any list of most popular restaurants at Disney Springs. Ordinarily, that’s not an issue due to the massive seating space here.
Alas, we watched MANY disgruntled would-be customers get turned away while we awaited seating.
Some of them were even Landry’s Select members, showing that the company will only do so much for even its most loyal customers.
T-REX deferred to those with ADRs…and rightfully so.
We didn’t actually speak with an employee, using the online notification system instead. I couldn’t help but notice how tired they looked, though.
In our experience, the customer service at Landry’s restaurants rivals and sometimes even surpasses Disney’s.
However, pandemic layoffs stripped the company of 70 percent of its workforce. So, the remaining staff members have felt undue pressure to carry the load.
To their credit, Landry’s still delivered the kind of excellent service we’ve grown to expect from them.
We were seated within 10 minutes even though it was lunch hour.
The Dining Experience
I love the atmosphere at T-REX, and your kids will love it, too.
Still, I’d be a monster if I didn’t offer you this word of warning. T-REX is quite possibly the loudest restaurant at Walt Disney World.
This statement isn’t hyperbolic. We once met an online friend in person for the first time and foolishly picked this place.
We spent the next 90 minutes lip-reading. Otherwise, we never could have heard one another.
Most of the time, T-REX features the excited chatter of children having the time of their lives.
The theming here includes several dinosaur Audio-Animatronics (AAs). You’ll also find some aquariums that would seem more appropriate at Rainforest Café, T-REX’s sister restaurant.
Kids gawk at the realism of the dinosaurs and cannot contain their enjoyment. And that’s the quiet part of the meal.
Every twenty minutes or so, the AAs light up and show alarm as the proverbial comet strikes on the ceiling.
Yes, T-REX recreates an extinction-level event multiple times during your meal. How loud is it?
Well, I once sat by the speakers at an AC/DC concert and vividly recall not hearing any part of the conversation at the IHOP afterward.
T-REX is about on a par with that.
However, I find the whole thing charming, just like I loved the 21-gun salute in For Those About to Rock (We Salute You). Your mileage may vary.
Here’s what the experience looks like:
Witty banter won’t be part of your meal at T-REX. You’re there to be one with the dinosaurs.
Appetizers, Entrees, and Dessert
We weren’t using the Disney Dining Plan during our visit, as the company doesn’t offer it right now.
During our trip, we noticed that this impacted our standard ordering practices.
When something comes with the meal, we go ahead and get it. If we’re ordering for ourselves, we’re decidedly less gluttonous.
So, we “only” ordered one appetizer, my beloved Mozzarella Sticks, which cost about $12, a bit pricey for my area but on a par for Disney Springs.
The ones at T-REX are unexpectedly good and somehow better than Rainforest Café’s. Maybe they should share recipes.
For my meal, I had the Mes-O-Bones, which was waaaaaay too much food for lunch. A half-rack is $28, while a full one is $40.
If you’re someone who can devour a full rack of ribs at lunch, you’re made of sterner stuff than me. I left ribs on my plate even though I only ordered the half-rack.
Overall, I still prefer Memphis/Carolina ribs to Kansas City ones, which means T-REX doesn’t serve my favorite.
Really, few places at Walt Disney World do. What’s that about?
My wife chose the Beyond Burger, almost out of necessity. Unfortunately, for all its many entrée options, T-REX isn’t terrific for vegans.
At $20, this burger was on the expensive side for plant-based meals, too. But, thankfully, it tasted good enough that the missus didn’t care.
I will say that she liked T-REX much better when she was still a meat-eater, though. The Beyond Burger is nothing special, I’m told.
For dessert, we passed on our usual/favorite, Chocolate Extinction, since it was just the two of us.
We picked Cosmic Key Lime Pie instead…and may have a new favorite. It’s exquisite!
Overall, our meal cost roughly $90 plus tip, which isn’t bad for a three-course meal at Disney Springs.
We also had a $25 discount from Landry’s Select. That caused the meal to feel inexpensive by Disney Springs Table Service restaurant standards.
More importantly, unlike at Rainforest Café, we loved the food at T-REX, a restaurant that has always treated us well.
I would estimate that we eat here twice a year on average, and it works well as a family-friendly option, presuming that you’re not big on conversation.
Hearing others talk is admittedly not easy due to surrounding crowd noise, but you can work around it.
I’ve eaten here more than 10 times and never had a bad meal, although I have walked away with a headache a time or two.
Feature Image: Facebook/T-Rex