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Fun Find Friday

November 16, 2012

Location: Dinoland, USA, Disney's Animal Kingdom

We've spent a decent amount of time on Dinoland, USA in the past on this site and with good reason. There is such a great story that is being unfolded before guests eyes in this extremely detailed area that most guests just don't realize even exists. Today we are going to touch on just a small portion of that storyline which will hopefully help enlighten you on what this is all about:

That's right, Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama! It's an area that most people complain about and the most often heard argument I've heard dealing with it is: it cost a lot of money, so don't worry about it. That is true, it did cost a lot of money, but holy cow! The story that goes along with it is fantastic! While there's an elaborate backstory (which we will go through as time goes on here at Fun Find Friday) the part we'll be focusing on deals with Chester, Hester, and this building:

This building, as tacky as it seems, is in a way the heart and soul of Dinoland, USA. Prior to 1947, the year the infamous Dinosaur bones were discovered in the area, this gift shop was in fact a gas station. Some of the gas station elements can still be found here today including the gas sign which has been painted over:

Gas for only 28.9 cents a gallon!

Also present are gas pumps, and a fill up station which now is home to a meet and greet area:

The big question is, how did this gas station evolve into a tacky gift shop and a character meet and greet area? The condensed story is pretty simple. After the discovery of dinosaur bones in the area the town, now known as Dinoland, USA, became a tourist destination. Due to this, local business owners tried to do everything they could to make an easy buck off of their newfound tourism. One of those local business owners looked something like this:

Who are they? They are the owners of the gas station of course! When more and more guests flocked to their town they decided to transform their gas station into a souvenir shop where visitors could purchase anything from dinosaur items to comic books, candy, and more! Eventually they became even greedier and would transform their parking lot into an amusement park based off dinosaurs since it was the big craze! Their names? Chester and Hester of course!

While inside the gift shop you can find the picture above showcasing this simple couple that was just starting out. In fact, just next to these pictures you can find the first dollar the couple ever made!

There is a lot of history just waiting to be discovered in this section of the park and we will continue to dig for more clues (pun intended) until we have the full story. But during your next visit, take a look at this corner of the gift shop. It'll help put the story into motion!


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