Most Disney fans know that behind the majority of the attractions comes a backstory. Haunted Mansion has one, so does Pirates of the Caribbean. But do you know the one about Chester and Hester? Most don’t, as a matter of fact, a lot of people may bypass this area all together because they feel it doesn’t add anything to the Animal Kingdom theme park. I’ve heard some people exclaim that it makes the park look cheap. But if you know the story you may feel a little bit different, I know I did.
Dinoland’s official name is Diggs County, before construction it wasn’t more than a strip of road along Florida’s 498. There wasn’t much in the area but there was a gas station that was owned operated and by two people, they were Chester and Hester. In 1947 some dinosaur bones were found in Diggs County by a group of fossil hunters. The Dino Institute was formed soon after and all of the surrounding land was bought by them. But Chester and Hester refused to sell their property to the Institute.
The Institute soon set up headquarters in an old fishing lodge. After they began to receive funding they added onto the lodge. Chester and Hester wasn’t going to be left without a little of the profit that was coming into the area so they turned the service station into a souvenir store.
It soon became clear to the Institute that the lodge wasn’t going to be sufficient to house their research anymore so they began construction on a new building. They soon made a new discovery, that of time travel and began offering tours to those who were brave enough to partake. Next time you’re in the park take your own tour over at ‘Dinosaur”. Before long they converted the old lodge into the cafeteria “Restaurantosaurus”.
Chester and Hester began to make their own changes. They set up a midway and carnival, and dubbed the attraction as “Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama”. They installed a few rides such as “Primeval Whirl” and “Triceratops Spin”. “Primeval Whirl” was a ride created to poke fun at the Institute’s ride “Dinosaur”.
If you take a peek inside the “Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures” you can see a picture of Chester and Hester along with the first dollar that they made.
There are a lot of things to see in this area if you can take your time and look around. Look for the plaster dinosaur made with rocks, bottles and broken glass. Look for the painted over gas sign and planters made out of used tires. There’s so much detail in this area and because of this, it’s an area I’ll never bypass again.
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