Keeping to the theming, cast members working at a Dino Institute location such as Dinosaur, The Lodge, or The Boneyard are referred to as “interns”. If they work at one of the Chester and Hester locations they are referred to as “cousins”, as Chester and Hester’s is a family business… and they are too cheap to hire outside of the family.
On a map across from the Boneyard, drawn by Jenny Weinstein, you’ll see the ride Dinosaur labeled by its original name of “Countdown to Extinctions”, along with the pre-Dino-Rama attraction named Dinosaur Jubilee.
Cast Members can access this section of the park via Restaurantosaurus Rd and Dinloand Dr.
Speaking of Google Maps, you may notice that the roof of Dinosaur Treasures says, “Souvenirs” in big white letters. This is common for historic roadside shops, and done here to nail the theming.
This is Disney so obviously there are hidden Mickeys to be found, here are my favorites.
Did you know there is also a hidden Donald Duck and Lightning McQueen?
Various blogs and videos online say Diggs County is Arizona or a Midwest town, but as you can see below it’s officially in Florida. Some confusion may stem from Chrono-Tech, the small relativity lab who created the CTX Time Rovers, being based in Arizona. Also, while the address for the Dino Institute Research Lab on a magazine does say “Dinoland Florida” it also has a zip code of 55589 which is in Minnesota. However, a newer note on a map for Donald’s Dino-Bash has corrected the Institute’s zip code to a Florida based one, 34747.
When creating Animal Kingdom, production was over budget so one of the planned lands had to be cut. The two lands threatened were Dinoland and Beastly Kingdom (where Pandora now resides). Imagineers of both lands had to compete by coming up with the most budget friendly attractions. The Dinoland Imagineers ultimately won because they proposed making a ride that uses the already existing motion vehicle ride system and track layout developed for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
The big and currently green dinosaur at the back of Dino-Rama has been nicknamed Cementosaurus and Cementy.
The fictional highway running through Dinoland is US 498 which stands for April 1998, the month and year the park opened.
To hide the show building of the Dinosaur ride, and make it look like there is just a forest behind the Institute building, shorter trees were planted on the back of the roof. This trick was first done for It’s a Small World at Disneyland and came about by accident.
When Imagineers were planning the landscape layout using models, they stored the trees that were not in use on the roof of It’s a Small World. As Walt was entering the room the Imagineers scrambled to remove the trees to clean everything up but they were not quick enough. Instead of commenting on the mess, Walt told them to leave the trees there and was inspired to use them for hiding the show building.
You may notice a “North” symbol on the Boneyard sign. If you turn the sign counter clockwise so the symbol points up, it actually matches up with the shape of Animal Kingdom’s original map, as seen in the below illustration from Disney Magazine.
Disney released a children’s book named, “Countdown to Extinction” which follows the adventures of Dr. Grant Seeker’s nephew. His name is Will Seeker, which is also a clever play on words.
McDonald’s logo used to be all over Dinoland and they even served food at Restaurantosaurus. That is long gone but one popular reference can still be spotted when boarding the Dinosaur ride. If you look up you’ll see red, yellow, and white pipes with chemical formulas written on them. Those formulas are for ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise and served as a nod to McDonald’s.
Dinosaur was originally named Countdown to Extinction, or CTX for short. You may notice the vehicles are called “CTX Time Rovers” and there is also a wall that reads “SECTOR CTX-WDW-AK98”. The sector name stands for “Countdown to Extinction (CTX) – Walt Disney World (WDW) – Animal Kingdom 1998 (AK98).“
In the earlier days of Countdown to Extinction, the barriers around the two water fountains in front of the ride were half the height that they currently are. Due to guests regularly jumping in the water fountains, Disney had to add a second layer of planters, doubling the height of the barriers.
In the year 2000, CTX was rebranded to coincide with the release of a new film named DINOSAUR. Disney expected this movie to be the next big hit among families so they also decided to make the ride more family friendly. The movements were made less intense so the height requirement could be changed form 46” to 40”. The sound effects were also dulled down to be more kid friendly.
You likely noticed that a lot of smoke fills the air as you travel back in time. To fill such a large open space the attraction actually requires one of the largest fog machines used at any theme park.