The Tyrannosaurus was portrayed as a huge dark blue/purple/gray carnivorous dinosaur with a big square head and a mouth full of long, razor-sharp teeth. The one in Fantasia is incorrectly shown with three fingers, while the actual dinosaur only had two. Walt Disney himself knew that the real Tyrannosaurus had only two fingers, but thought a three-fingered portrayal would look scarier. In other appearances, Tyrannosaurus is often depicted as being colored red, brown or gray and is portrayed correctly with two fingers.
In real life, Tyrannosaurus rex, weighing 6-10 tons and measuring 39–43 feet (12–13 meters) long, belonged to a genus of theropod dinosaurs aptly-named the tyrannosauridae that lived in the Campanian to Maastarichtian stages of the Late Cretaceous Period, about 80-66 million years ago. Thus, it did not coexist with any species of Stegosaurus, which lived in the Tithonian stage of the Late Jurassic Period, from 156-145 million years ago. This puts a gap between the two species that is larger than the one that separates Tyrannosaurus rex from humans! In the southwestern part of its range, Tyrannosaurus did encounter the giant sauropod Alamosaurus, a titanosaur that was one of the largest dinosaurs that ever existed, being roughly 110 feet long and well over 70 tons, so its being portrayed as living alongside sauropods in Fantasia and other Disney films and series is not inaccurate. Unlike in Fantasia, Tyrannosaurus rex did not have three fingers; it only had two. Why it was portrayed with such an inaccuracy is because Walt Disney reported to Barnum Brown, the discoverer of Tyrannosaurus rex, that it looked scarier that way. Additionally, at the time, two fingered hands had not been known in Tyrannosaurus rex, with the discovery only being proven for certain in the 1990's. It has also been proven that the Tyrannosaurus may have had feathers along its back, neck and head just as many dinosaurs did due to discoveries from China regarding smaller relatives such as the 2-meter (6 feet) Dilong paradoxus and the 9-meter (30 feet) Yutyrannus. However, due to the fact that larger animals retain body heat better than smaller animals and skin impressions found from some Tyrannosaurus specimens, the current theory and consensus is that Tyrannosaurus was purely scaly due to its ancestors having lost feathers as they grew larger over their evolution to prevent overheating.
It has also been discovered that Tyrannosaurus underwent the most extreme changes in growth as it aged of any dinosaur genus: Tyrannosaurus juveniles had long, narrow snouts and sharp, blade-like teeth for cutting and slicing meat unlike their bone-crushing parents. Tyrannosaurus also had longer and slimmer legs as a juvenile for better running in pursuit of fast prey. The difference between the adults and juveniles is so extreme that they were and are still occasionally thought to be two separate animals, with juveniles sometimes classified as a separate genus called "Nanotyrannus", a controversy that makes things difficult due to how scarce fossils from juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex are (only 4 good specimens compared to the 50+ adult skeletons found). Growth rate studies also indicate that Tyrannosaurus could halt its growth when food was scarce, and that Tyrannosaurus rex lived to a maximum age of 30 years due to its rough lifestyle. It wasn't until the age of 16-18 that Tyrannosaurus also began to grow more robust and gain its characteristic appearance as an adult. Eggs have never been found for Tyrannosaurus rex, though babies of close relatives like Tarbosaurus have been described.
Additionally, Tyrannosaurus did not walk upright with its tail on the ground, but stood horizontally with its tail sticking out straight behind it. Tyrannosaurus did however, as many media depictions and films accurately show, have a bite that could crush bone. Though Tyrannosaurus has also been shown as a fast predator in many media, its top speed has recently been calculated at 11-17 mph due to the fact that it needed to speed-walk to prevent its legs from breaking when chasing prey. Despite this, it has been calculated that Tyrannosaurus rex was a capable and extremely energy-efficient endurance hunter, stalking prey for miles at a relaxed pace until catching up with animals such as Triceratops and Edmontosaurus before using a quick burst of speed to ambush, overtake and kill its prey. After eating, it likely would not have needed another meal for some time due to its lower energy needs compared to other carnivorous dinosaurs such as Allosaurus. In many films, T. rex is also depicted as having useless arms, but in truth, each arm could lift two grown men each. What its arms were used for however, remains to be seen, but many theories indicate that its arms were probably useful for holding prey or perhaps in attracting mates.
The Tyrannosaurus makes its first appearance as it attacks the dinosaurs of the lowlands. They all stare in horror in its general direction as rain begins to fall and lightning crackles when the massive theropod enters the scene. They immediately continue to retreat in fear as the Tyrannosaurus marches forward, snapping its jaws at anything that moves. While many of the smaller dinosaurs are able to retreat out of the hungry theropod's path, the Stegosaurus is unable to move away fast enough and is quickly targeted. The Tyrannosaurus latches its brawny jaws around the Stegosaurus' tail just above the spikes, dragging its heels into the mud and bringing the lumbering dinosaur's retreat to a suspenseful halt. The Stegosaurus faces its attacker who roars violently and quickly goes for the neck with its thick square jaws. In defense, the Stegosaurus lashes out with its spiked tail, trying desperately to keep the hungry theropod at bay. After a few brief lash outs and defensive volleys by the two titans, they begin to slowly sidestep each other. A short yet vicious battle follows and the Stegosaurus is quickly unable to stay on its feet as the Tyrannosaurus time and time again goes for the neck, fighting hard against the defending tail spikes of its prey. With the battle won and its prey fallen, the Tyrannosaurus lets out a mighty roar in victory as the other dinosaurs watch. With the struggle over and the predator satisfied, the other dinosaurs return to their business as the Tyrannosaurus gorges on its prize.
Near the end of the segment, the Tyrannosaurus makes an appearance just before it goes extinct. The once mighty ruler of the Cretaceous succumbs to mass dehydration as the Earth's climate changes, visibly collapsing into the sand. Other dinosaurs, including a Parasaurolophus and a Ceratosaurus, pass the corpse and continue on into the hazed distance, a path that leads to nowhere but their own extinction.
It also makes a cameo in the sequel Fantasia 2000 fighting the Stegosaurus in a flashback from the original film.
In the episode "Land of the Dinosaurs", Ariel finds frozen dinosaurs during a trip to the North Pole, and she thaws them with her father's trident. King Triton makes a refuge for them on land after some dinosaurs cause chaos. A Tyrannosaurus rex was among the dinosaurs that were causing havoc. There was a fight between a Tyrannosaurus and a Stegosaurus, almost certainly a reference to Fantasia.
A Tyrannosaurus rex-like creature, christened "Skullasaurus" by Pooh and his friends, supposedly could be heard roaring inside Skullasaurus Cave as well as throughout the movie. However, the roaring was actually Pooh's rumbling tummy amplified by the echoes in the cave and by everyone's fears.
A brown Tyrannosaurus Rex was the main antagonist in the episode "It's About Time!" When Phineas, Ferb, and Candace were trapped in the Mesozoic era, a T. rex chased them. They eventually lost it, but it found them again. When they were back in the present at the museum, the T-Rex accidentally came with them. It then attempted to attack Candace, but Doofenshmirtz's Freezeanator hit it and froze it. When the T. rex is chasing Candace, the theme from the Tyrannosaurus rex, Grumpy, from the 1970s television show Land of the Lost can be heard. The T. rex made a cameo in "Mom's Birthday" from a flashback. It made two more cameos in "Unfair Science Fair Redux (Another Story)" and "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo".
In the episode "Land Before Swine", a number of dinosaur species are seen trapped in tree sap in the abandoned mines in the forest. The summer heat causes the tree sap to melt, slowly releasing all the dinosaurs from the sap. A T. rex was among the species of dinosaurs trapped in tree sap. One T. rex is later utilized by the rebels during Weirdmageddon as a part of the Mystery Shack robot.
In the episode "The Old Old West", Penn, Boone and Sashi are zapped into the Dinosaur Cowboy World, a dimension with cowboys in the desert riding dinosaurs, where one of the dinosaurs being used for transportation is a Tyrannosaurus rex.
In the Kingdom Keepers book Disney After Dark, Maleficent brought the skeleton of the T-Rex from Big Thunder to life. The dinosaur proceeded to chase Finn and Philby until it hit a wall and fell apart into a bone pile.
Tyrannosaurus rex is seen as the Disneyland train travels to the Primeval World diorama. In it, it is seen reenacting its battle from Fantasia. The T. rex and the Stegosaurus are one of the last dinosaurs seen in the Primeval World diorama before the Disneyland train exits the tunnel to Main Street Station.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
In Disneyland’s and the Magic Kingdom's version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a T. rex skeleton is seen near the end of the ride. When the train makes a right hand turn, it passes through the T. rex's ribcage as it hits the final trim brake. The area of Big Thunder this is located on is known as, "Dinosaur Gap" within the ride's lore.
In Walt Disney World's Epcot, there was a ride known as Ellen's Energy Adventure, starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy who explore the world of energy, including the use of fossil fuels. During the ride, Bill Nye brings DeGeneres "back in time" to the age of dinosaurs to explain the origin of fossil fuels. During this portion of the ride, several dinosaurs can be seen that are similar to the ones during Fantasia's "The Rite of Spring". Most notably, there was a Tyrannosaurus attacking a Stegosaurus over a cliff. This being a reference to Fantasia.
In Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios, 2 different scenes of the Tyrannosaurus from The Rite of Spring (but with added sound effects) were each part of the original and updated versions of the 3rd segment of the Feature Animation pavilion at The Magic of Disney Animation.
In real life, Tyrannosaurus rex and Stegosaurus would never have met, as Stegosaurus lived 80 million years early in the Jurassic period, while Tyrannosaurus rex lived at the end of the Cretaceous period. For reference, humans lived closer to the T-Rex than the T-Rex lived to any stegosaurus.
During the production of Dinosaur, then called Countdown to Extinction, original plans called for Tyrannosaurus rex, but Disney decided to incorporate the later newly-discovered Carnotaurus instead. Also, in the original story for Dinosaur conceived and pitched by Phil Tippett and Paul Verhoeven in 1988, the main antagonist was going to be a Tyrannosaurus named Grozni.
As previously mentioned, this also occurred for the attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
On Disc 1 of Disney's Dinosaur: 2-Disc Collector's Edition in Fossil Dig, the bonus feature called "3-D Workbook Opening Sequence" (from the animated sequence of the alternate film's opening) showed a meat-eating dinosaur that appeared to have been a Tyrannosaurus rex, which was defiantly originally planned in the film's sequence before Carnotaurus was put in the movie instead. Additionally, on Disc 2, there are a few concept art images called "Carnotaur Design and Unused Character Concepts".
You can see one of the early Storyboard sequences of the T-Rex original planned for DINOSAUR on the bonus video “Make your own Dinosaur: With Peter & Andrea Von Sholly” on the video Zone section of Prehysteria! in 1993.
A Christmas gag sketch produced for Disney Studio's internal newsletter in 1939 featured the Tyrannosaurus from Fantasia in a Santa suit and nicknamed "Mr. S. Twombley Tyrannosaurusclauses".
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