Jambo! Join me in welcoming Disney guru Mary Jo Collins and Disney World Moms Panelist Bernie Edwards back to the blog! In this article they’ll share with us various locations to enjoy an African Inspired Meal at Walt Disney World. We also get a close-up look at the Tusker House restaurant. Twende! Let’s go!
Visiting the Walt Disney World Resort has become synonymous with the enjoyment of great dining at restaurants both inside and outside the theme parks. For many of us, these meals lend us the opportunity to experience exotic foods from exotic places.
African Food in Disney World
Fortunately for guests of Walt Disney World, African cuisine is showcased in a variety of table service restaurants offering a peek at the food that has been influenced by the marinade of cultures, colonies, trade routes and history of this land. To describe or categorize what African food is in a few words would be impossible.
The cuisine is as varied in Africa as the cuisine of any large continent. The continent’s regions each have significant differences in their own distinctive dishes and preparation techniques. However, in Africa the various cuisines traditionally combine locally available fruits, cereal grains, vegetables, meats and milk products.
African-Inspired Table-Service Restaurants
As there are a variety of cuisines found in Africa, there are also a variety of Table Service restaurants in Walt Disney World that serve African inspired food. Choosing which one of these restaurants to try may depend on your location on property, the style of service you prefer or the fanciness of the venue and cuisine.
In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is Tusker House, a reasonably priced, family-friendly buffet. Over in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion, Restaurant Marrakesh offers unique Moroccan fair with live entertainment.
Outside of the parks, guests have three other dining options. In the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma – Flavors of Africa, is an outstanding buffet with a broad collection of dishes. Jiko – The Cooking Place is also located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge and is a Disney Signature Dining Experience serving a new African fusion of tastes. Lastly, in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, there is Sanaa, a traditional restaurant with Indian influences.
While visiting Harambe Village in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tusker House is an excellent Table Service option offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is a Character Dining buffet – Donald’s Safari Breakfast ($20.99 adults and $11.99 (3-9)). Characters generally appearing are Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy. Mickey Mouse in his safari outfit makes an excellent photo opportunity for you and your family!
For this breakfast buffet, there are many recognizable foods. From assorted Danishes, breads, muffins and croissants to Ham and Cheese Frittata, the flavors are familiar and non-threatening to a picky eater. The Carved Rotisserie Honey-glazed Ham and Spiced Corned Beef Hash are delicious picks.
Two unique dishes to sample are the Beef Bobotie Quiche and Mealie Pap, a traditional porridge made from mielie meal (ground maize). The assorted jams and chutneys give the pastries an unusual fragrant spin.
Lunch ($20.99 adult and $11.99 (3-9)) and dinner ($28.99 adults and $13.99 (3-9)) at Tusker House are also buffets serving items with an African flare, but also foods that Americans are accustomed to. Starters include such favorites as Tunisian Couscous Salad, Curried Basmati Rice, Blatjang Chutney and Mixed Dried Fruit Sambal. Among the entrees that can’t be missed are Cape Malay Curry Chicken and Seafood Stew with Tamarind BBQ sauce, a favorite dish of Bernie’s that keeps him returning.
Peri-Peri Marinated Salmon Filet is boldly seasoned by the African bird’s eye chili that grows wild and is extremely spicy. The vegetables and sides are also complemented with spices used extensively in regional African cooking such as the saffron-infused vegetables and cabbage. Saffron specifically is used in Moroccan foods and was first imported there thousands of years ago. The Pearl Couscous laced with Sweet Basil Essence is another side that has roots in Morocco. Couscous is one of Morocco’s most famous dishes. The Spicy Potato and Pea Samosas are another favorite of Tusker House. The fried pastry are seasoned liberally with cumin, curry and ginger and give an Indian touch to the buffet.
Basically, the buffet at Tusker House consists of the same dishes for lunch and dinner. Lunch is significantly less expensive than dinner and has a unique benefit if your Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) is between 1:00-1:40pm. Guests dining during those times receive reserved seating to the 3:15pm show of Finding Nemo the Musical. While dinner at Tusker House is more expensive than lunch, it does have the benefit of being an easy ADR to obtain. Exiting the restaurant, it is also neat to walk through Disney’s Animal Kingdom after park closing on your way out of the park.
Let us know what you think of Tusker House in the comments below! Next in this series : Bernie and Mary Jo will look at Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!