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Planning a Dino Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom

by Ashley Metz on January 21, 2014

I love a theme!  The ability to carry out a theme, planning teeny details to make the most out of any situation makes me so happy! My inner activity planner is the only “type A” thing about me. Seriously. I recently planned and carried out a complete Monster’s University themed night. I took dinner and a movie to new heights as I planned our night at the drive-in movies. I took it on with full party planner pride. I created crafty names for foods, dreamed up mid-meal activities, and of course I included a little forced fun! It was such a fun night and the best news was that it was really easy to do! Other than some light baking, I picked everything up at the grocery store. All it took was an eye for detail—with a little attention to details, I was able to pull off a monstrously fun night!

Dinosaur dig Disney's Animal KingdomYou can probably guess that this obsession for party planning has trickled its way into my time at Disney World. You are right! I love to create a themed day, especially a Disney themed day! You’ll probably remember my birthday post from a few months ago. My birthday celebration was a week-long theme! Today I’m offering up another dose of theme fun, this time in park-themed fun. Let’s create a little fun of prehistoric proportion with a Dino themed-day!

Keep it Easy

The first step to creating an in park theme day is to remember to keep it easy. Stressing over details takes all the fun away from the day! That’s not the point! Instead, weave a theme throughout your day.

Remember that you are at the mercy of the park (weather, crowds, you name it). Get a theme in mind and then make it work!

Work with what you’ve got

Dino Rama Disney's Animal Kingdom

Don’t let a theme own you; instead, you own the theme. Work with what you have. Don’t go overboard with purchases and don’t stress over details!  Instead, utilize what the parks have to offer.

Disney World has loads of jumping off points when it comes to themes. From princesses to pirates and daredevils to dinosaurs, there is NO shortage of Disney magic!

Think, Incorporate!

Incorporation and preparation are huge! Take time before your trip to pick a theme and build your day around it. If you theme for the day is cowboys, plan ahead of time to ride fan favorite, Big Thunder Mountain or Toy Story Midway Mania!, enjoy a cowboy inspired dinner at Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, and throw in a little park hopping with a trip through some of the Old West’s best Hollywood productions in The Great Movie Ride. I think a sprinkling of a theme is the way to go. String some activities throughout your day together by working back to your overarching theme. The best attitude to have is to enjoy your time and you’ll find the theme peeking its way throughout your day. Keep things relaxed and go with the flow.

Okay, so all that is good advice, but what would one of these themed days look like?  What are some of the possibilities? I’m so glad you asked!

Here’s how I would do a Dino Day at Disney!


Dinosaur Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • The obvious choice here is Disney's Animal Kingdom. After all, there’s a whole section in the park devoted to these extinct creatures. Take on the games and rides in the midway like the Tricera Top Spin or Primeval Whirl.  For the little ones, you’ll find a fun and relaxing romp around The Boneyard play area to be just what the paleontologist ordered. If you dare and brave it, take a ride back in time to the Cretaceous Period on the ride Dinosaur offers excitement that rivals the ice age!  Set to open in 2017, the Avatar-themed land Pandora is sure to thrill and is sure to provide something for the dinosaur lover in your family!
  • Park hop to EPCOT to enjoy a journey back in time with Ellen and Bill Nye the Science Guy in Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
  • Park hop to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to hang out with everyone’s favorite T-Rex, Rex in the Toy Story Midway Mania area!

Nosh like a Dino:

Restaurant OSaurus Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Give in to your carnivorous nature with a chunk of meat on the go!  Can you say “turkey leg?” (Herbivores can grab a meat free salad to load up on roughage).
  • Get a quick bite paleontologist style at Animal Kingdom’s Dino Bite Snacks. I love the kids meals because they come in a bucket ... rustle up some good grub and take that bucket back to the dig site!
  • Plan a trip to Downtown Disney to eat at the T-Rex Café.

Pack a snack

Like …

  • Dino gummies
  • Dinosaur shaped crackers or cookies
  • Scooby Snack bone shaped graham crackers (dino bones!)

Dress the part

Dinosaur T-shirt  Disney's Animal Kingdom Chester & Hester's

  • Dinosaur apparel with or without Disney characters (FYI you can design your own Rex T-shirt on
  • Temporary dinosaur tattoos are cheap and easy to pack.

So what do you think?  Can you work a theme day into your next trip.  Start broad and then watch the theme grow!  What theme would you choose?  Share your ideas in the comment section below!

Related: 7 Must-Do Learning Experiences for Children at Disney World

Until next time, keep it magical!


Ashley is the author of Disney: Done Right Blog and a writer for Chip and Co. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter!

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