First Look! Tiffins Restaurant and Nomad Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’re excited to finally bring you inside Tiffins Restaurant and Nomad Lounge — the two newest dining locations in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. This post will give you a “first look” at both Tiffins Restaurant and Nomad Lounge. We’ll be back next week with full reviews of the two.

Tiffins and Nomad Lounge are affiliated, but have separate entrances

Tiffins and Nomad Lounge are affiliated, but have separate entrances

Introduction to Tiffins Restaurant and Nomad Lounge

We have celebrated tons and tons and TONS of openings in the last few weeks, as Disney Springs debuted many new spots associated with the newly revealed Town Center neighborhood. We also continue to welcome new venues into other parts of Disney Springs; STK in The Landing is the latest to open.

Tiffins Sign, with tiffins on top

Tiffins Sign, with tiffins on top

…But this brand new restaurant and lounge marks the first time Animal Kingdom has ventured into Signature Dining! And that’s something pretty special, especially for die-hard fans of this beautiful park.

Entrance to Nomad Lounge

Entrance to Nomad Lounge

We know you are just as excited and anxious as we are, and we have a TON of stuff to show you. So let’s get right to it!

Nomad Lounge

As you can see from the first photo above, Nomad Lounge has its own separate entrance. This is great, because no matter how busy Tiffins will be on any given day, you can still enjoy some time here. Because as is the Disney norm, this lounge doesn’t take Advance Dining Reservations.

If you’ve been following along with the news about Nomad Lounge, then you know that the venue celebrates the core values of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which include “the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action.”

As you approach the building, you’ll veer to the left if you’re looking for Nomad Lounge. Look for the rustic-chic punched metal sign.

Nomad Lounge -- Up Close

Nomad Lounge — Up Close

The double doors that serve as the main entrance to Nomad feature simple carvings in the insets, with  two compass roses.

Nomad Lounge Door Detail

Nomad Lounge Door Detail

Around and to the left, you can catch a glimpse of the outdoor seating for Nomad Lounge. The lounge itself is octagonal in shape, and features fantastic views from all of the windows. The wide overhang offers plenty of shade, and also serves to shield the inside from the brightest sun.

Nomad Lounge Outdoor Seating

Nomad Lounge Outdoor Seating

This place is gorgeous; and with the porch overhanging the river, it offers a peaceful retreat from the typical theme park stomping grounds.

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Check out the water views and the tree canopy. This place is already incredible, and it’s going to be even more so as new attractions continue to open.

View

View

But back to the patio itself. Warm wood surrounds you top and bottom. Woven furniture with cushions and pillows invite you to relax and hang out a while.

Seating

Seating

View of the Patio

View of the Patio

The lines of furniture and the patio itself are very clean and uncluttered. But you’ll still find a few whimsical touches, like these wire light surrounds and horses holding up beams. :-)

Decor -- Lighting

Decor — Lighting

Decor Detail -- Woodwork

Decor Detail — Woodwork

Of course, if you were hoping to catch a glimpse of Pandora as it’s being crafted, you’re out of luck. Disney has done its usual excellent job of keeping the construction area well hidden from prying eyes.

Patio -- Another View

Patio — Another View

Still, we love the treehouse feel.

Treehouse feel to the Nomad Lounge outdoor dining area

Treehouse feel to the Nomad Lounge outdoor dining area

I promise, I’ll be seeing a LOT more of that spot. :-) But for now, let’s head inside.

This is safari chic at its finest. Expect fine, though rustic, finishes, and natural light from all of the windows.

Nomad Lounge Bar

Nomad Lounge Bar

Banners hang from the center of the vaulted ceiling. Be sure to pause and take them in — they each offer questions and advice about travel, like “What wisdom would you give to other travelers?”

Traveler Banners

Traveler Banners

The gauzy curtains filter the light nicely. Just like the patio, I think I’m mostly struck by the clean lines here. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe something with the tiniest hint of the whimsy you find at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto or Skipper Canteen. But that’s not the feel here at all. It’s all elegance.

Nomad Lounge Seating

Nomad Lounge Seating

But there is a feeling of excitement lingering in the air. It’s a place to ponder where your next adventure might take you.

It’s a little tough to make out, but see the writing around the tray ceiling? Those are even more questions to challenge and inspire you to get out there.

Nomad Lounge Bar -- Another View

Nomad Lounge Bar — Another View

So if you’re still trying to determine exactly what Nomad is about, let the words of the people who created it share their vision. And take note — if you love travel, you can purchase a mini-banner for $1 and share your story as well. The banners are displayed behind the bar, and 85% of the proceeds from their sale will go to the Disney Conservation Fund.

Nomad Lounge Story

Nomad Lounge Story

So, we’ve had a look around, and you’ve scoped out the perfect seat for your first visit! Time to take a look at a few of the drinks and eats that you can enjoy at Nomad.

Menu and Coaster

Menu and Coaster

If you’re like us, you’ll spend a little time checking out the menu. There are many signature cocktails, in addition to a selection of wine and beer. And here’s an interesting tidbit: we didn’t spy the Standard Disney Cocktail Menu anywhere. There is a full bar, however. So rest assured, if none of the specialty drinks interest you, you’ll still find something to whet your whistle.

Beyond the beautiful illustrations, check out the “journal entries.” Gorgeous! This feels very “Jock Lindsey Hangar Bar” to us.

Menu Art and Spice Trader Classic

Menu Art and Spice Trader Classic

We started our exploration of the menu by trying the Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale. It’s made exclusively for Nomad Lounge and Tiffins and has an obvious nod to the beloved Adventurers Club, now closed, at Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island.

Kungaloosh Excursion Spiced Ale

Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale

But we also decided that we owed to YOU to try a little of everything! Here’s your first look at the Spice Trader Classic, featuring Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Dolin Vermouth Blanc, Lemon Juice, and Strawberries, with a splash of Soda Water.

Spice Trader Classic

Spice Trader Classic

Next is the Hightower Rocks, a smooth mix of Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila, Watermelon, Sweet and Sour, and Lime Juice.

Hightower Rocks

Hightower Rocks

The Leaping Lizard offers the exotic flavors of Malibu Pineapple Rum and Augusta Cachaça mixed with Orange, Passionfruit, and Mango Juices.

Leaping Lizard

Leaping Lizard

This pretty little glass offers a drink with a fun name. Would you expect something this delicate to be called the Night Monkey? Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro Rum and Guava Puree, with the surprising flavors of — ready for it? — Coffee Simple Syrup and Lime Juice! And just to punch it up one more notch — Cilantro! (Ew.)

Night Monkey

Night Monkey

But with lots of exotic flavors celebrating the four corners of the world, you might expect some special coffees. You won’t be disappointed. Just sample the Mustang Coffee, an exclusive blend of coffee (created by Joffrey’s just for Tiffins and Nomad) accompanied by Crown Royal, Brown Sugar, and Butter.

Mustang Coffee -- A Special Blend by Joffrey's

Mustang Coffee — A Special Blend by Joffrey’s

Exploring the drinks at Nomad Lounge will keep you busy enough. But don’t forget — they also offer some intriguing small plates as well. We’re sharing the first few we’ve tried with you here.

Did someone say Indian. Butter. Chicken. Wings. WHAAAAA?? Like we were going to pass these up!

Butter Wings

Indian Butter Chicken Wings

We also decided to give the Seasonal Fish Balls at try. They’re served with Roasted Shishito Peppers.

Fish Balls

Fish Balls

The Honey-Glazed Coriander Spiced Pork Ribs were garnished with a grilled half lime.

Ribs

Honey-Glazed Coriander Spiced Pork Ribs

More to come about all of these delicious small plates! We’ll have a full review of Nomad Lounge later next week.

Tiffins

But there’s so much more to explore here. Time to head into Tiffins!

Okay, so we’ve explored the idea of travel, and how it helps us to understand other cultures as it broadens our perspective.

But now, it’s time to zero in on the lands and creatures that served to inspire the creators of Animal Kingdom.

And along the way, we’ll see plenty of art — from conceptual pieces that helped to shape Animal Kingdom into what it is today, to exhibits that celebrate the spirit of this unique park.

Tiffins Entrance -- Closer

Tiffins Entrance — Closer

But the art starts before you ever set food inside. Remember the beautiful doors at Nomad? Tiffins’ are even more beautiful, featuring carved animals and trees.

Tiffins Door Detail

Tiffins Door Detail

Tiffins is modeled after an art gallery, and within its walls you’ll find three primary dining rooms: The Grand Gallery, the Safari Gallery, and the Trek Gallery.

The Grand Gallery is the largest of the three, with seats for 144 guests.

Grand Gallery -- Click to Enlarge

Grand Gallery — Click to Enlarge

Here, you’ll see various pieces that celebrate the animal species that Disney aims to help protect through the Disney Conservation Fund.

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars and Wall Detail

Grand Gallery Room

Aren’t the tiles below beautiful? Fun fact — the patterns are enlarged depictions of insect skin. :-)

Insects and Tiles Portraying Insect Skin Patterns

Insects and Tiles Portraying Insect Skin Patterns

The pillars from Minnie and Mickey Campground not only allow guests to reminisce about that land, but actually originally came from Bali and served as inspiration for the Tree of Life!

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars -- Up Close

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars — Up Close

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars -- Detail

Mickey Minnie Campground Pillars — Detail

The Animal Lights are concept art from the soon-to-debut Rivers of Light show.

River of Light Elephant

Rivers of Light Elephant

Other River of Light Animals

Other Rivers of Light Animals

In the Safari Gallery, you’ll view concept art as well as other pieces crafted by Imagineers in homage to the park itself.

Safari Gallery -- Click to Enlarge

Safari Gallery — Click to Enlarge

You’ll also find shadow boxes with artwork from Imagineers that predates the park opening. Much of it comes from sketches that were created during the research process for Animal Kingdom.

Artist Renderings and Artwork

Artist Renderings and Artwork

And are you wondering about this piece? It’s a favorite of veteran Imagineer Joe Rohde! These are some of the actual electrical wires that powered Imagineers’ exploration as they lived in Africa! How did they manage that?!

Electric Wires in Artwork

Electric Wires in Artwork

The tree is a mini version from Kilimanjaro Safari.

Model of a Safari Tree

Model of a Safari Tree

Next, we make our way to the Trek Gallery, which immortalized travel through Asia.

Trek Gallery -- Click to Enlarge

Trek Gallery — Click to Enlarge

This display, created by Imagineers, are talismans called Skydoors. Found across the Tibetan highlands, they are believed to ward off evil forces.

Trek Room Artwork

Trek Room Artwork

This Tiger Fresco will no doubt remind you of the artwork found along the Maharaja Jungle Trek.

Tiger Artwork

Tiger Artwork

And this striking display of prayer flags actually appears to be fluttering in the wind. Anyone who has spent time in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom has been captivated by the beautiful flags.

Prayer Flag Display

Prayer Flag Display

The work of the Disney Conservation Fund to help map the genome of the Sumatran Rhino inspired Imagineers and Balinese woodcarvers to collaborate on this piece. It actually shows the coding for this regal animal.

Rhino and Code

Rhino and Code

Let’s check out a little of the seating next. Here is the setup in the Trek Room.

Trek Room Seating

Trek Room Seating

Honestly though, we found the seating in the other rooms to be slightly more comfortable.

Seating

Seating

There’s a mix of booths and chairs. Secluded booths like this one make excellent spots for cozy dinners with close friends.

Seating

Seating

Cloth Napkins with Tiffins Logo

Cloth Napkins with Tiffins Logo

Wondering what we decided to try? Glad you asked!

It seemed a good idea after our previous visit to Nomad Lounge to sample a few of the interesting non-alcoholic drinks on offer. Tiffins and Nomad Lounge each have several non-alcoholic drinks available — several of them are non-alcoholic versions of the signature drinks on the menu. Their goal? To make sure kids weren’t left out of the fun and fanciness of a special dinner.

Check out the Zingiber Fizzie with Passion Fruit Puree, Mint, Ginger Beer, and Lime Juice. To the right, you’ll find the Hibiscus Henna, a mix of Watermelon, Hibiscus, Soda Water, and Lime Juice.

Zingiber Fizzie and the Hibiscus Henna -- Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Zingiber Fizzie and the Hibiscus Henna — Non-Alcoholic Drinks

The dishes were as interesting as the drinks. Check out our starter, the Marinated Grilled Octopus. It includes Artichoke Barigoule, Saffron Aïoli, and Lemon-Caper Olive Oil.

Octopus Appetizer

Octopus Appetizer

What’s this dish? Well, if you’ve been curious about the Whole-fried Sustainable Fish, here you go!

Sustainable Fish -- Yellowtail Snapper

Sustainable Fish — Yellowtail Snapper

We love a good steak here at DFB, so you can guess that we couldn’t pass up Wagyu Strip Loin and Braised Short Rib!

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Striploin

The Roasted Market Vegetable Curry makes for a striking presentation.

Veggie Curry

Veggie Curry

But of course, we weren’t finishing the experience without trying a little something sweet. The South American Chocolate Ganache filled the bill nicely.

South African Ganache

South American Ganache

And we’ll have plenty more to share with you next week in our full review!

After spending several hours poking into nearly every corner and dining on several house specialties, we have to say it — Tiffins and Nomad Lounge have been worth the wait!

Next week, we’ll be bringing you a full review of everything that we enjoyed…and didn’t enjoy…at both venues — stay tuned for all of the details!!

For now, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are you most looking forward to trying at Tiffins and Nomad Lounge? Leave a comment and tell me what you can’t wait to try!

News: Reservations and Menu Now Available for Frontera Cocina by Rick Bayless in Disney Springs

Okay, Rick Bayless fans… this is a good day for you!

Frontera Cocina Logo

Because Frontera Cocina by Rick Bayless (host of “Mexico — One Plate at a Time” among numerous other achievements) will open on June 26, 2016! Well, at least according to Open Table — the online reservation booking engine. Tables are available to book at 6:00 pm daily for dates beginning Sunday, June 26th. [Read more…]

First Look! STK Orlando in Disney Springs

We’re already back at Disney Springs to take a First Look at STK Orlando!

Now, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought STK Orlando wasn’t going to open until May 25th?” And if so, you are correct — the newest Signature Dining venue joining the ever-expanding options in Disney Springs doesn’t open to the public until this evening at 5:00 pm.

But the DFB was kindly invited to a Preview event that took place last night. So while we are looking forward to dining there tonight and to bringing you our full review of our first dinner at STK Orlando soon, we couldn’t wait to give you a little sneak peek now :) .

So welcome to this First Look at STK Orlando!

Though technically situated in The Landing of Disney Springs, STK Orlando is still very much visible from the new Town Center in its spot near Morimoto Asia and Planet Hollywood. In fact, the building’s exterior — built to bear a resemblance to a refurbished train station — fits in nicely with the early-1900s-era inspired setting that is the Town Center.

STK Orlando

STK Orlando

No matter whether you’re outside of STK or inside, it’s impossible to not be struck by how MASSIVE this place is, coming in at nearly 15,000 square feet! [Read more…]

News! Tiffins and Jungle Book Dining Package Reservations Open May 21st

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching… and with it will come brand new experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as it officially makes the transition into a full-day park offering nighttime activities!

©Disney

©Disney

Naturally, we here at the DFB are most concerned about the ones involving FOOD! So, without further ado… [Read more…]

News: Flying Fish and the NEW AbracadaBar Lounge Open in Late Summer

I’m already excited for one of my very favorite Disney World restaurants — the Flying Fish — to reopen from its current major refurbishment.

And now, we have more details regarding what some of the changes will be when this signature restaurant makes its debut as the Flying Fish (nope — “Cafe” will not be in the name moving forward).

Flying Fish

But first, let’s take a glimpse at concept art for the updated interior of the restaurant, which will have a new kitchen and dining room (as well as new options for private dining).

The chandelier you see on top of the artwork “mimics a school of flying fish swimming overhead,” and golden-winged room panels are also being added to the main dining room. Looks like quite a change from the previous decor — a whimsical celebration of life on a turn-of-the-century Boardwalk! In fact, is anyone else getting a kind of Bluezoo vibe from this?

©Disney

©Disney

Chef Tim Majoras — who will be leading the Flying Fish team (of which he’s been a member since 2011) shared a glimpse of what to expect from the refreshed menu. New among the starters will be a Seared Yellow Fin Tuna served with compressed watermelon, avocado slices, crisp radishes, and pickled daikon complete with a small edible viola flower and drizzle of blood orange oil. [Read more…]

News! STK Orlando to Open May 25th in Disney Springs, Reservations Available Now

Are you ready to make your reservations for STK Orlando?

STK sign installed at location earlier this year

STK sign installed at location earlier this year

I sure hope so, because STK Orlando is ready for YOU! The newest STK location will open in Disney Springs on May 25th at 5:00 pm! Check out this announcement from STK’s Twitter account, @eatSTK. [Read more…]

News: STK Orlando to Open Summer of 2016 in Disney Springs

We know we have a lot of great new arrivals to look forward to in Disney Springs very soon! May 15th alone will bring the debut of the new Town Center of the Springs along with the opening of four new eateries on the same day: Amorette’s Patisserie, B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co., The Daily Poutine, and Sprinkles.

Disney Springs sign

Disney Springs sign

But what about STK Orlando, the modern, high-end steakhouse set to open in The Landing of Disney Springs? It’s been a while since there has been any news regarding this spot which was originally slated for a late 2015 opening, then rescheduled for early 2016. With early 2016 officially past, we’re happy to report that there is talk swirling around this location once again, with Disney projecting an opening this summer. [Read more…]

News: Fulton’s Crab House Becomes Paddlefish this Fall

We’ve got more Disney Springs dining news, my friends!

While much of the recent talk surrounds several eateries still on the way to Disney Springs — AristoCrepes, D-Luxe Burger, Amorette’s Patisserie, Sprinkles, and The Daily Poutine to name just a few — we’ve known for some time that big changes are also in store for Fulton’s Crab House.

Whether or not you’ve ever dined at Fulton’s Crab House, it’s quite likely that you would still recognize this restaurant if you’ve ever paid a visit to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), thanks to its eye-catching design — a replica of a riverboat that Walt Disney purchased for his wife, Lillian.

A view of Fulton’s at dusk

Fulton’s Crab House

However, this longtime landmark will be a little less familiar when it reopens this fall with a new name, look, and added features. Under the name Paddlefish, the cuisine will still focus on fresh seafood (as well as chops and steaks and a new oyster shucking bar). But some plans for the “bow to stern update” resulting in a more modern feel can be seen in the concept art recently posted by Fulton’s Crab House on their Twitter account and Facebook page. [Read more…]

News: Tutto Italia Offers Prix Fixe Lunch Option This Summer

Fans of Epcot’s Italy Pavilion can take advantage of a new menu offering this Summer. As temps heat up, Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy’s traditional table service restaurant, is adding a prix fixe lunch option.

The price for the three-course meal will be $27, and will include your choice of soft drink or iced tea as well.

© Tutto Italia

© Tutto Italia

As with other prix fixe meals within Epcot’s World Showcase restaurants, guests may choose from a list of several options for appetizer, entree, and dessert. Here’s a quick look at the choices! [Read more…]

News! 2016 Disney World Free Dining Offer Now Available!

Okay, Disney World Vacationers… IT’S HERE. Today brings the much-awaited news that Walt Disney World’s Free Dining Offer will be offered to guests for select dates in late August, September, October, November, and December 2016!

free-dining

Disney World Free Dining 2016 Travel Dates

Free Dining is being offered to guests ARRIVING during the dates listed below. A minimum stay of 3 nights is required and your package may not be booked for longer than 14 nights.

August 23* – October 1, 2016
November 15  November 21, 2016
November 26 – November 28, 2016
December 10 – December 21, 2016

You must book by July 8th to get the offer.

*Canadian travelers and Disney Visa Cardholders can book dates from August 14 — see details here

(Please note that the offer excludes: Campsites, Bungalows at Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, 3-bedroom Villas, Port Orleans French Quarter, and Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. Port Orleans Riverside is only available through October 1st. )

Disney Resorts

If you stay at a Value Resort, you’ll receive the Quick Service Dining plan for FREE. (Note that you can upgrade to the standard or deluxe dining plans by paying the difference in cost per night.)

If you reserve a Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa Resort, you will receive the standard Dining plan for FREE. (You can upgrade to the deluxe dining plan by paying the difference in cost per night).

Minimum/Maximum Days

You must book a minimum stay of 3 nights/ maximum stay of 14 nights at a Disney-owned resort. You may also need to purchase AT LEAST a 2-day Magic Your Way Disney World ticket with a Park Hopper AND/OR the Water Park Fun & More Option. Use this link to book!

Note — while Disney often uses the rhetoric “5-night, 6-day” in its promotional materials, that’s only sales language. You do NOT have to book 5 nights to have access to free dining!

Will Free Dining Save You Money?

2016 book cover dfb guide

Since Disney World’s Free Dining offer generally can’t be combined with other discounts, it’s often difficult to determine whether or not your family will save more money with a Disney World hotel room discount or with the free dining offer.

We break down and compare the costs and options for several Disney World discounts, including the Free Dining offer, in our fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2016 e-Book to help you save the most money possible.

Along with over 530 pages of great Disney World dining advice, full color photos, and details, this book is a great deal.

Get your DFB Guide to WDW Dining here, and speaking of saving money — use code “20sale” to get 20% off today! With a full, money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose!

Are you excited for Free Dining? Please let us know with a comment!