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Review: Pizzafari

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a dearth of dining establishments. It’s true; we all know it. But what they DO have is…beautiful. While food-wise, Pizzafari could be thought of as leaving much to be desired, exploring the place itself almost makes up for it!

Atmosphere
You’ll find Pizzafari on the path to Africa — just take a left at Discovery Island! And once again, Animal Kingdom comes out on top when it comes to themeing and imagineering decor.

Very rarely will the decor in any corner of the Animal Kingdom be random. Over at Flame Tree Barbecue, you’ve got the intriguing-yet-gross-if-you-think-about-it predator and prey theme. Here at Pizzafari, the theme is a bit more understated, but no less intriguing: while stylized animals cover the restaurant in all sorts of different colors and textures, each seating room carries a secret.

Mural Above Ordering Area

The animals in each room are grouped by something they have in common, and most folks have to look hard to figure it out! In one room, the animals featured are known for their camouflage tactics; in another, the animals carry their homes on their backs; in a third, the animals spend a lot of their time upside down; and in the final room the animals featured all come out at night!

You Have to Look Hard to Find the White Tiger in This Picture

Bats and Possums DO Have Some Things In Common

However, some of the most fantastic themeing is in and around the main ordering area and restrooms. From massive tile snakes slithering across the floor to huge murals of tropical birds to a bevy of 3-dimensional frogs hopping down the walls, you never know what you’re going to see at Pizzafari!

Ordering Area

Birds of Paradise

Snake Invasion

Critters Everywhere

Critters Close-Up

But don’t stop exploring there. There is incredible artistry on the inside AND the outside of the restaurant.

Decor Carving

Butterflies Flock in the Main Ordering Room

This place is definitely worth a peek inside, even if you’re not really up for Disney pizza! ;-)

Eats
The menu at Pizzafari is small, and I won’t waste breath saying it’s the best food — or even the best counter service food — in Animal Kingdom.

Pizzafari Menu

However, if you (or your little one) is craving pizza, this is as fine a spot as any to get an individual pizza, Italian sandwich, or grilled chicken salad.

Pizza and Caesar Salad

Italian Sandwich

Fixins Area

And, of course, there are always some pre-fab desserts for you to end your meal with a sweet snack!

Strawberry Parfaits

Overall
So, while I know this restaurant has plenty of fans, personally I’d rather head over to Flame Tree or Anadapur Local Cafe for my counter service in Animal Kingdom. The food can be lacking here, but, again, if pizza is what you crave — or if you have someone in your group who’s a pizza fan — then you’ll be perfectly well fed at Pizzafari. :-) Plus, just staring at the walls and figuring out the themeing is enough reason to drop a few bucks there in my opinion!

What do you think? Is Pizzafari your favorite spot, or are you more a fan of the other counter service locations in Animal Kingdom? Let me know in the comments section below!

Thanks to Elizabeth Benvenuto for the donation of these pics!

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15 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    The food at Pizzafari leaves a lot to be desired. The pizza is… well, Disney pizza, which is not usually good. Also had a sandwich there once, and the bun was rock hard. A good CM offered to get me another, but the problem was still there.

    However, LOVE the theming. I go in every time just to look around.

  2. Travelnut1974 says:

    theming is great – food doesnt im afraid – will be giving this a miss.

  3. Beth says:

    I love Pizzafari, but not so much for the food! A lovely CM gave me a tour of the place and pointed out the themes you mentioned, as well as some Hidden Mickeys. I also like it more than Flame Tree because it’s air-conditioned, which is a must in hotter-than-hot AK!

  4. NT3 says:

    I actually LOVE the Italian Sandwich at Pizzafari. Probably top 5 counter service meal for me at WDW. I get it every visit and I’ve even tried to replicate it at home! To each his own, I guess.

  5. Alan says:

    Once again a restaurant that with a little more care could be a great place. The sandwich is usually ok. The Tusker House before the change to table service buffet was really good with lots of interesting counter dishes. If WDW could have a excellent counter service place; why can they not do it in all the CS restaurants.

  6. Cody says:

    I like the Pizzafari, partly because im not a BBQ person for Flame Tree, or an Asian food person, and im not a huge fan of the Restaurantasaurus. I’ve eaten there both Breakfast and Lunch. THe breakfast is normal Breakfasty food, and the pizza is good, not superb, but definitely standable (kind of like Pinocchio’s, IMO).

    But the theme, as mentioned by AJ, is fantastic, after a little detective work and being observant you can figure out it, very clever theming.

  7. Dana says:

    Never ate there—-love Yak and Yeti and Flame Tree too much, but wanted to point out something.
    The “decor carving” picture you took—if you step back and look at it, it’s actually the face of a monkey.

  8. Galloping Gourmand says:

    It is a beautiful restaurant. The themeing reminds me of the “Magical Animals” over at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot. It’s so pretty; it’s a shame about the food.

  9. Sarah says:

    I’ve only had breakfast there once and that was last year just before Christmas with my youngest sister who was 14 at the time. She had the breakfast platter (~$7) and I had the biscuit and sausage gravy (~$3.50). We both thought the food was good, and I thought the prices were fair. Her meal came with a good amount of food, and the biscuit hit the spot for me. We needed a hot breakfast to warm up from the cold temperatures outside! As for their post-breakfast options, no thanks, especially when there is a Dim Sum basket at Yak & Yeti! I do like the theme of Pizzafari; it’s very warm and inviting.

  10. AJ says:

    Kim and Travelnut — That’s pretty much my experience, too. Enthralled with the decor, not so much with the food.

    Beth — AGREED! The a/c could make it worth visiting! Though I might still choose restaurantosaurus…

    NT3 — Absolutely! You never know what’s going to hit the spot! Thanks for your review!

    Alan — I’m calling on you to collaborate with me on the giant post I’m writing about inconsistency.

    Cody — Thanks for your review. I’ve never had breakfast there, but I’d like to check it out. One of my favorite WDW activities is having counter service breakfast somewhere while watching everyone else run for fastpasses. :-)

    Dana — That’s awesome!! Any news on that rumor you shared with me yesterday?

    GG — Yes! They definitely remind me of the carved animals in the Mexico pavilion!

    Sarah — Thanks for the breakfast review! I love those breakfast platters.

  11. Ali says:

    AJ, we have the same strategy as you regarding breakfast. We like to go to a restaurant at park opening, sit in an empty restaurant, and watch all the people go go go! That’s how we ended up eating breakfast at Pizzafari. (It’s the only time I ever ate there.) The food was not memorable. I don’t remember it being bad so it was probably just the typically Disney breakfast fare.

  12. Josh Beck says:

    It seems as though it is quite hard to get a decent pizza in Walt Disney World.

    The reason for visiting Pizafari is more for the experience in my mind to see all this wonderful decor, not the food.

  13. Alan says:

    AJ – Any help or ideas you need, feel free to call on me. A little noise sometime gets people attention.

  14. Dana says:

    Apparently the rumor has been confirmed by someone who works for Disney over on the wdwmagic.com discussion boards. If you do a google search for “reloadable snack credits” a few articles come up about it. I thought the price would be better though!

  15. Heather says:

    My mom got SO sick after eating here a few yrs ago (she didn’t get pizza.) We actually had to leave AK early (we were going to stay for the parade.)

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