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Review: Breakfast at Rainforest Cafe in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It was going to be an early start recently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so we decided to fuel up for the day at Rainforest Cafe! I’d never been there for breakfast, but had heard good things…

Rainforest Cafe is one of two table service restaurants that offer breakfast at Animal Kingdom. Tusker House is the other one, so if you aren’t looking for a character meal, this might be just the spot for you.

We were meeting friends for the day at the park, and we thought getting our day started over a big morning meal seemed like a good idea! So let’s head there and check it out.

Atmosphere

We’ve told you about lunch before at Rainforest Cafe. For that meal, we actually visited the location in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District. My experience with Rainforest Cafe is that they are remarkably similar once you get inside, so if you’ll only be visiting the Downtown Disney locations in either Disney World or Disneyland, much of what you see here will apply.

Entrance

But there are a couple of differences between the two Disney World locations. The Downtown Disney restaurant recently opened the Lava Lounge, an outdoor drinking and dining spot that offers great waterside (and volcano!) views.

But if you’re looking for breakfast, you’ll want to hit the Animal Kingdom location, since the morning meal isn’t served at the DTD location. (By the way, breakfast is also available at the Disneyland Rainforest Cafe, located in Downtown Disney District.)

But back now to Animal Kingdom! The entrance to Rainforest is actually outside of the park’s main gate, so you don’t need a park ticket to dine here. However, you will still pay for parking if you’re not a resort guest.

There’s a photo op with the restaurant’s mascot, Cha! Cha! the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, right at the front. Giant, red-eyed tree frogs scare me a bit, but the kiddos seem to love him!

Frog at the Entrance

A menu posted at the entrance is handy if you’re looking to score a walk up table, which is totally possible.

Menu at the Entrance

But be forewarned: the restaurant has a policy of not allowing food or drinks from outside locations in. If this is a concern for you, you may want to choose another dining spot. (Even though there are only a couple of table service breakfast locations, there are counter service spots and kiosks that serve in the a.m., like Pizzafari and Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery, which offer quick breakfast options inside Animal Kingdom.)

No Outside Food Rule

Identical to Rainforest Cafe at Disneyland, you “go to the elephant” to check in here, too!

Elephant Check-In Podium

Either before or after your advance dining reservation, you may want to take a little time to look around the gift shop. It’s enormous and has some fun decor elements. Chances are you’ll have a wait here at Rainforest, so this can pass the time nicely.

Retail Shop

While you’ll find all manner of souvenirs here, I thought we’d focus a little on food finds during this tour. Check out this tower of fruit! It always leaves me a with a mad craving for pineapple…

Tower of Fruit

Tracy Tree talks occasionally, so be aware that she may spring to life if you’re standing near her.

Tracy Tree

Little souvenir change purses contain a supply of candy, and check out these fun Gummy Kabobs with animal faces!

Change Purses with Candy and Gummies

An assortment of candies, snack mixes, and trail mixes hung together on this tower.

Snacks for Sale

On this side, there were gummies of different flavors, shapes, and sizes — all Rainforest Cafe branded.

Additional Snacks for Sale

Colorful lollipops are sure to catch the eye of the sugar lover in your group.

Lollipops

Huge, brightly colored jawbreakers also feature Cha! Cha! on the packaging.

Jawbreakers

The chocolate bars were tempting! And with a different Rainforest Cafe character representing each variety, I’m thinking a set would be a great souvenir.

Chocolate bars

But your kids might skip the gift shop and head straight for the giant aquariums!

They’re huge, and stocked with all kinds of tropical fish. The tube that connects the towers forms a little tunnel to walk through, and it’s a great entrance into the seating area.

Pictures at the base of the tanks give the names of the fish, and it’s fun to see how many you can find.

Aquariums

If you’re kid-less, the Rainforest Cafe bar can be a fun diversion while you’re waiting for a table. It is actually located in the front part of the seating area.

Here you’ll find another cute themeing touch — the bar stools. I can’t help but smile when I see them!

Bar Seating

While most of them have four legs, this froggy one only has two, along with seriously big feet. I think it’s my favorite! I seem to recall a duck as well…

Bar Stools -- Up Close

Once you make it into the main seating area, you’ll find that it’s nighttime all day in the rainforest! You know that because of the starry sky overhead. But don’t worry; there’s plenty of light, especially around the jungle scenes.

Starry Ceiling and Rainforest Atmosphere

Enormous banyan trees are scattered about and occupy the back wall, which also serves as the seating place for most of the “wild life”.

Seating and Animals

The animatronic animals throughout the restaurant are VERY big and VERY loud, so be prepared — and prepare your little ones as well.

A couple of elephants are hanging out among the vegetation.

Animatronic Elephant

You’ll also see — and hear — gorillas.

Animatronic Gorilla

A waterfall lends the sound of rushing water to the background. And since this is a rainforest, you can expect a thunderstorm or two while you dine. Also, keep your eyes peeled for swinging monkeys!

Waterfall

Some of the seating is situated close to the animal action. Again, keep this in mind if you are dining with a child who might not understand that the animals are make-believe.

And the animals and storms can be a little loud, and could frighten some small children.

Seating Beside a Gorilla

Speaking of tables and chairs, they are colorful and rustic, and there is a mixture of bench seating with tables and chairs.

Mixed Seating

It’s fairly comfortable, and the brightly colored tables are interesting to look at while you await your food. And…there’s another monkey!

Additional Seating

As you can see, there are plenty of diversions here for your hungry bunch. But eventually you’ve gotta eat! Time to check out the breakfast bounty!

Eats

You can, of course, start your morning meal with a traditional breakfast beverage, or even a soda. But why would you want to when you have all of these interesting options?! And even if it’s just juice that you’re after, be sure to check out the interesting blends available.

Beverage Menu -- Click to Enlarge

While many of the breakfast entree options are pretty traditional, they come with some entertaining names. So be sure to read through all of the descriptions. You’re likely to find one of your favorite breakfasts here.

Main Menu -- Click to Enlarge

I can’t pass up an interesting frozen drink, so I decided to try a Rainforest Ricky Freeze. A mixture of frozen apple, pineapple, orange, strawberry, and grapefruit juices are blended together with orange sherbet for a very exotic glass of refreshment! What a crazy combo — but it works!

Rainforest Ricky Freeze

When it came time to order, I was surprised to see Tonga Toast on the menu. A breakfast delicacy by the same name is available at both Captain Cook’s Snack Company and Kona Cafe over at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Could this be the same thing?

The answer is no, no it could not. Or isn’t. At any rate, it is a huge portion of thickly-sliced, Cinnamon French Toast with your choice of Bacon or Sausage (I chose the latter). Served with a garnish of Strawberries and Bananas as well as Maple Syrup, this didn’t get points for originality. But it was a good, solid choice, and could easily be shared.

Tonga Toast with Sausage

My husband went for the Cisco and Pancho, which was a fancy name for Steak and Eggs. The steak here is Flat Iron Steak, and is cooked to order over a flame. He ordered his eggs scrambled, but they’re also available cooked to order. Breakfast Potatoes and Toast round out the platter.

This is also a generous amount of food, and is sure to fill you up for a morning of park adventure. But the steak was a overdone and there wasn’t anything special about the meal that made it stand out. This easily could have been your dish at any local breakfast joint.

Cisco and Pancho

One of my friends went for the Breakfast Sliders. (I guess they ran out of catchy names at this point on the menu.) This one came with three egg “sliders” and a side of Breakfast Potatoes.

The sandwiches consisted of Scrambled Egg, American Cheese Slices, and Bacon on toasted Slider Buns. Again, very generous; and, again, kind of boring. Nobody at the table was particularly impressed by these, but perhaps that’s just a function of breakfast food not being very interesting in general?

Breakfast Sliders

The final entree at the table was Ozzie’s Omelette. This is a fun option because it’s customizable. You can choose three fillings from the following list: cheddar cheese, onions, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, ham, green bell peppers, spinach, black olives, tomatoes, and broccoli. Whew! That’s a lot of choices. And if three aren’t enough for you, add more for an upcharge.

Served with Breakfast Potatoes and Toast, this was another hearty option.

Ozzie

At this point, we were ready to head into Animal Kingdom without need to eat again for a good long time!

Overall

This makes my second trip to Rainforest Cafe in the last couple of years, and I have to say, I MUCH prefer lunch/dinner to breakfast. The name of the game here is definitely generous portions, but the creativity just isn’t there when it comes to actual taste. We could have gone to Denny’s for a similar breakfast and paid much less.

However, if you need a sit-down breakfast at Animal Kingdom and cost is a factor, Rainforest is far less expensive than Tusker House, and offers a lot of food and interesting themeing. Let’s face it:  your kids will find this place much more interesting than the Denny’s.

They also accept the Disney Dining Plan, so it could serve as a good second option if your first choice for a table service breakfast isn’t available.

Have you had breakfast at Rainforest Cafe? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience!

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19 Comments

  1. Kev says:

    We love the Rainforest Cafe food, but would always prefer lunch to breakfast there.
    My only moan, is that is always unjustifiably cold in there, I have never quite worked out if it is to do with Staff comfort, or they just don’t want you to stick around any longer than the bare minimum?

    Brrrrrrr

  2. Major Malfunction says:

    Those kind of “breakfast potatoes” are the worst. The kind that were poured out of a bag into a deep fryer. Is it not possible to get someone to actually slice fresh potatoes? Sadly this is cafeteria quality food for $15+ person that can be had at any diner at better quality for 1/3 the price. Great atmosphere, but the quality of food I was disappointed in for dinner here is apparently surpassed by breakfast. If you have young kids, its still worth going at least once for their benefit, much like T-Rex.

  3. Michelle P says:

    This meal is one of my neices (age 8) big requests every trip to WDW! She loves ordering the cereal, because the milk comes out in a little silver tea pot!

  4. Never eaten here for breakfast, but lunch/dinner has some good vegetarian options. It’s not my DAK go-to but it’s functional!

  5. Jones says:

    @ Kev – I have noticed that, too — probably wasting tons of energy for unnecessary AC is somehow good for “Mother Earth” and the Rainforest, I guess…

  6. W.D. says:

    Denny’s? Really?

    To be honest, breakfast is not a meal that I have had at Rainforest. The omelette with a pick-your-filling offering looks great to me. But, I am not a fan of a giant meal before spending my day on my feet at the World.

    AJ, love your work and I respect your opinion on food. Your recommendations never disappoint. I have had many lunches and dinners in the Forest and it is one of my favorite places to take visitors for outside-the-park days. Give me an Onion Stack and either a Cobb Salad or a Primal Steak and I am a happy man — although I’ll sneak tastes if others have the pot roast or ribs.

    But, I do agree, the Tonga Toast at the Kona Cafe is a “delicacy” and no match for the Rainforest offering. Banana slices…? No match!

    W.D.

  7. Alan says:

    Hmm – a little disappointing when compared to their regular lunch/dinner menu. If you’re not on the DDP this is not a great value for a TS charge – go to a counter instead. But, if you are on the dining plan, I think you would get a better value and maybe experience at one of the character buffets like the Crystal Palace.

  8. Deb C says:

    You know who Pancho and Cisco were, right? Cisco is The Cisco Kid and Pancho is his sidekick. Duncan Renaldo played The Cisco Kid and Pancho was played by Leo Carrillo on the TV show in the early 50′s. The character, The Cisco Kid, was first mentioned in an O Henry story.

  9. Raxl8 says:

    Boma is so close to AK and so delicious if you want an alternative to eating in the park. I always get a custom omelette and a bowl of African fruit salad :)

  10. Troy says:

    I eat there for breakfast every time I go to AK and I look forward to it each time. It’s fun.

  11. Ashley says:

    We often hit RFC for breakfast before heading into the park and I’ve always found the food to be very good. It’s always much less crowded and quieter at that time of the day. My aunt usually gets the “pie of the viper” and really likes it. Their meals are pretty large though, so definitely share if you’re expecting to do lunch somewhere.

  12. Sam says:

    @Kev. I seem to remember the RFC at Downtown Disney was very cold too, and had an always open entrance. From the first picture it looks like this is same with an entrance open to the outside. This would mean the AC will always be fighting with Florida heat all day, with large vents blowing cold air hard to keep Florida a bit cooler.

  13. Nate G. says:

    Well, this looks gross. Even more gross when I remember how loud and obnoxious this place is.

  14. Jeff says:

    Thanks for that very intelligent & thought out comment Nate G.

    Very helpful……keep contributing.

  15. Angelina says:

    I agree that while in either Disney Resort, Rainforest is not my first choice but definitely has a few good options for lunch/dinner. I wouldn’t hit it up for breakfast because 1. IMO big breakfasts sometimes tend to slow you down and 2. It doesn’t look like anything special. In addition to the low low low air conditioning is anyone else perturbed by the fact that with a hamburger they serve chips instead of french fries??? Come on, who does that?

  16. Lana says:

    I really enjoy breakfast at Rainforest Cafe. We almost always eat here before a day at AK. The Pie of the Viper is awesome! I also love the omelets. The Tonga Toast may not match that of Kona Cafe, but if you are a French Toast fan it is really good. The fruit is always very fresh and their bacon is delicious! A friend always orders the breakfast sliders and gets the potatoes without onions. His potatoes are always freshly prepared and very yummy! I highly recommend breakfast here!

  17. nancy says:

    We eat breakfast here each year before going to animal kingdom. The breakfast pizza is always fabulous and large enough to share plus I always enjoy the eggs benedict. My husband usually has an omlet and has never had anything but nice things to say about them. I would recommend this as a great sit down breakfast before a day in the park.

  18. Angel says:

    The eggs Benedict is outstanding! It’s a must have for me. The pot roast dinner is great too!

  19. JO says:

    Hey, is there a way in from inside the park AK? Wanted to book lunch but with little kids I want it to be simple.

    Tx a lot
    JO

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