A Walking Tour of DinoLand USA & Planned Tropical Americas Changes

    We’ve been spending a little bit more time in DinoLand USA these days as the dinosaur-themed land prepares for extinction. Technically, we’re still waiting on official word from Disney that the Blue Sky Tropical Americas concept presented by Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro at the 2023 Destination D23 event is a go. That said, Walt Disney Imagineering has provided a recent sneak peek into the development that is ongoing behind the scenes, including a look at a 3D model. When you combine that with recently filed permits revealing a large-scale construction project is on the horizon, it’s a relatively safe bet that DinoLand will be extinct soon.

    In this article, we wanted to include some photos from our DinoLand USA mornings and showcase how the current Tropical Americas concept will change the southeast corner of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

    Before we get to some of our on-the-ground photos of DinoLand USA as it stands today, here’s a look at the various DinoLand areas labeled on top of the Tropical Americas concept art.

    Entrance from Discovery Island

    The entrance to DinoLand USA, seen below, is not part of the concept art, and it can likely be assumed that it’ll be largely unchanged. Of course, there will be some sort of Tropical Americas signage, similar to the Asia and Africa signage, but the bridge will remain and we can’t imagine that there will be much work done between Isle of Java and Trilo-Bites.

    Speaking of Trilo-Bites, here’s a look at the current area. We can just see the roof of Trilo-Bites in the Tropical Americas concept art. It’s likely that this snack stand will survive the test of time, with a new theme when the reimagining is complete.

    When it comes time for construction walls to surround DinoLand USA, we imagine that Disney will want to do the work in phases. If Disney World doesn’t want to do the work in phases, this walkway to the left of DinoLand USA proper could be a critical path to Asia. That said, we imagine that Disney will want to do the work in phases, perhaps closing The Boneyard and Dino-Rama first as Restaurantosaurus and DINOSAUR remain open for capacity reasons. Then, once the Encanto area is complete and open, Disney World could close DINOSAUR and Restaurantosaurus for light retheming.

    Strictly speaking, it looks like the entrance to the Tropical Americas land will be moved up a hair, closer to the benches than the current DinoLand USA sign, and certainly closer than the Brachiosaurus Oldengate Bridge.

    This fossil Gateway is composed of the giant bones of a Brachiosaurus, one of the largest creatures that ever walked the earth. It stands fifty-two feet tall and more than eighty feet long. A peaceful plant-eater. the Brachiosaurus’ enormous neck allowed it to browse amid the upper branches of prehistoric forests.

    This replica fossil is cast from the bones discovered in Colorado in 1900. The original is now in the Field Museum in Chicago. To get a closer look at this astounding giant, visit THE BONEYARD, our working dinosaur dig site.
    Oldengate Bridge plaque

    The Boneyard

    Speaking of The Boneyard, let’s head over to the children’s play area next and what we think will be a complete demolition.

    Roam an open-air space—designed to look like a dinosaur dig—where young paleontologists can play.

    A world of prehistoric marvels awaits! Kids ages 10 and under are invited to clamber across rope bridges, climb through mysterious caves and hurl down twisting slides.

    At the dig site, help excavate fossils from a Triceratops and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Discover lots more dino-sized surprises as you have a blast digging up the past.

    Parents of busy explorers can enjoy a shaded seating area at the dig site, where large fans help cool things down.
    The Boneyard description

    Going back to the Tropical Americas concept art, we can see a carousel to the left of the main walkway into the land. This would align perfectly with The Boneyard area. Across the walkway, we can see what appears to be a seating area with yellow and white umbrellas. This could be a snack area, or even overflow seating for the Restaurantosaurus replacement. Whatever it is, it looks like it will be right where the Dig Site is now – so we can say goodbye to that.

    Here are a few photos of The Boneyard and the Dig Site areas. This article isn’t intended to be a farewell to DinoLand USA, so while we have quite a few photos of the areas already, we aren’t going to throw too many into this specific article.

    The Boneyard play area
    Oldengate Bridge from The Boneyard (right) to the Dig Site (left, background)
    The Dig Site

    Restaurantosaurus

    Before we get to Dino-Rama and the Encanto-themed area, let’s just take a couple more steps from the Dig Site over to Restaurantosaurus.

    Delight in pre-hysteric, paleontology student humor as you dine on Angus burgers, chicken nuggets and more in a dino-themed dorm. Enjoy ice cold beverages and Safari Amber draft beer.
    Restaurantosaurus description

    Going back to the Tropical Americas concept art, we can see that Restaurantosaurus is currently planned to receive a rather lite retheme. Perhaps the most substantial part of the project appears to be an effort to enclose the courtyard entrance to the dining venue.

    Here’s a look at what we think could happen. Essentially, the water tower is removed and this courtyard will enclosed from the left to right. Other than that, the Restaurantosaurus Lounge, hangar, and Dino-Bites look to be lightly rethemed. Structurally, the restaurant will likely be very similar. A menu change would be very welcome.

    DINOSAUR

    Travel back in time on a perilous prehistoric race to rescue a dinosaur—before the meteor strikes.

    A paleontologist recruits you for a secret mission to bring a 3.5-ton Iguanadon back to the present. There’s just one problem—the giant meteor that wiped out life on Earth is on the way! 

    Board a rugged Time Rover vehicle and set off on a thrilling adventure through a primeval forest filled with life-like dinosaurs. Careen through unpredictable hairpin turns. Dart around a fearsome Velociraptor hunting for prey. Avoid the clutches of a Cearadactylus soaring overhead!

    As the clock counts down, fiery meteors crash down around you. Will you make your escape before the dinosaurs—and you—become extinct?
    DINOSAUR attraction description

    The DINOSAUR attraction will be rethemed to an Indiana Jones attraction. As you can see, the Dino Institute facade will be turned into a temple, and the extended queue will receive a retheme as well.

    Of course, the easy connection is that the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction at Disneyland shares the same ride system, so many think that we’ll get a clone. It’s not that simple, and we believe that Imagineering will employ a new storyline for the DINOSAUR retheme. We hope to learn more at the 2024 D23 Expo this August.

    Quiet morning in the DINOSAUR queue

    Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama

    If we’re honest, DinoLand USA has been dying a slow death since before the COVID-19 shutdown. The long-gone Primeval Whirl attraction only operated seasonally for a while before it was unceremoniously shut down completely during the pandemic. Here’s a timeline of our coverage of the extinction of Primeval Whirl:

    Other parts of Dino-Rama have persisted, likely out of necessity to have something for guests to do in this corner of the park beyond just the DINOSAUR attraction. Before we get into our on-the-ground report, here’s a look at the relevant part of concept art showing the “after” for Dino-Rama. As we can see, the Dinosaur Treasures gift shop will remain (rethemed and renamed, no doubt), but the rest of Dino-Rama will be leveled – including the TriceraTop Spin attraction.

    Dino-Rama will be rethemed to an Encanto area, with the familiar Casita seen in the concept art below. As for what the Encanto area will be, that’s still unknown. Our hope would be a Mystic Manor-style attraction full of whimsy and music, but Imagineers might have something else completely in mind. Another story that might be worth exploring in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Antonio’s connection to animals. Again, we hope to learn more at the 2024 D23 Expo.

    Here’s a look around the area now, which includes the TriceraTop Spin attraction, and roadside carnival-style games. Again, we’ll have a proper farewell once we get closer to the closing of the area sometime later this year or next year.

    As you can see, there are no substantial changes planned for the bones of the Dinosaur Treasures gift shop and restroom complex. It even looks like the billboard will remain. Again, all of it will receive a lite retheme, but not a wrecking ball (based on available concept art).

    In the screenshot below, we can see that some animal exhibits will also be removed. The fountain aligns roughly with multiple current animal exhibits, including the crocodile exhibit. Somewhat shockingly, there are no obvious animal exhibits in the new Tropical Americas land concept art. We hope that changes as more information is released.

    So there you have it. That’s the overview of changes planned for the Tropical Americas retheme of DinoLand USA. This article is only one of many that we will write for the Tropical Americas retheme at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For more coverage, check out our project tracker page, which will include the latest information, concept art, news, and more!

    DinoLand USA Tropical Americas Reimagining Project Tracker (Concept Art, Info, Latest Construction & News)
    Want to learn more about the DinoLand USA reimagining into a Tropical Americas land? Check out our project tracker with the latest news!
    blogmickey.com

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

    Have a story tip? Contact us!

    BlogMickey.com Newsletter

    Stay up-to-date with the latest Disney news, right to your inbox!

    Kingdom Destinations Quote

    Vacation Planning Assistance

    We're excited to partner with Kingdom Destinations to help you plan your next trip to Disney parks and experiences around the world. Kingdom Destinations is a full service travel agency, specializing in Disney destinations. Fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation with one of their professional travel advisors today!

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    BlogMickey.com Newsletter

    Stay up-to-date with the latest Disney news, right to your inbox!

    Related Articles