When the people make claims that this is a cheap, awful land, I don't think they're looking hard enough. It seems most people are just focusing on the carnival-style Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama section of this land. Yeah it looks like a tacky roadside tourist trap, but that's exactly what they were going for! Look at the tall brontosaurus, and then look at the dinosaurs in Cabazon, California. You can see what Disney was going for here. Here's a place you can come see tacky kitsch without the worry of being stabbed by a junkie with a rusty screwdriver. Everyone wins!
|Here's a brontosaurus at Animal Kingdom...|
|...and the grumpy-looking, track mark-pocked inspiration,|
found in California. I feel safer in Animal Kingdom.
But there's so much more to this land than the carnival area. Let's back up a bit and start from the entrance. First of all, there's the Boneyard. All I'll say here is that this is a great playground. Dig for dinosaur bones? Check! Slides? Check! Caves and tunnels? Check! Hell, I played on this thing before I even had kids! It's a really fun diversion for the young and the old. Now let's move on real quick before you judge me for playing on a playground meant for kids.
|You want some CHEESE with your meal?! YOU GOT IT!|
|The museum inside. Complete with|
the Science Guy.
|This is where they need to hand out spare pants.|
|That's some good theme splattered around.|
The rest of this land is the part that people really seem to hate. Because it's a carnival. But guys, come on, at least it's a clean carnival! No one smells like cabbage here! We're all good! And there's a great spinning wild mouse-style roller coaster called Primeval Whirl. And I use "great" loosely. Although extremely fun, I always get off this thing feeling like my ribs have been assaulted. That being said, it's never enough to drive me away. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, I dunno.
One of the best aspects of this carnival area is that Disney actually went all out to make it feel like a carnival! It comes complete with creepy-as-all-hell shady walk-around dinosaur characters! I don't know who they are (and I'm open to answers if you know) but there's something about them that's just great. It fits the theme! Seriously, Disney went the extra mile on this crap!
Now I must end on a sour note. The rest of the land is grifter carnival games and a frikkin' spinner. I have no use for carnival games, but someone deemed them to be crucial for the land. Whatever, I can walk past them. What I don't like is the TriceraTop Spin. Why? Because it's a spinner! Why do we need another spinner? There are more spinners in Disney World than there are parks! It just irritates me because Disney could have chosen from any number of happy-go-pukey carnival rides. I would've loved a kitschy dinosaur-themed Tilt-a-Whirl. But no, a spinning toy of sadness and despair. I don't like it and I won't stand for it.
So there you have it. My thoughts and feelings on Dinoland U.S.A! Yeah it's a tacky theme, but boy-howdy, the Imagineers really dove deep into this theme. And as much emotional response as it warrants, I'd say they did a pretty damn good job.