Photo Tour: Animal Kingdom Starbucks Design Elements

I simply can’t get over how fast this year is moving! We’ve already reached the end of April, which means in just a few weeks events like Star Wars Weekends, Magic Kingdom’s 24-Hour Day (both in May) and the return of Frozen Summer Fun this June will start to usher in the summer season at Disney World.

But that’s not all there is to look forward to! The anticipated opening for the final in-park Starbucks is this summer, too. It’s coming to Animal Kingdom at what was formerly the Creature Comforts merchandise  location. And I must say, of all the Disney Parks Starbucks (the others being Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery, Epcot’s Fountain View, and Hollywood Studios’ Trolley Car Cafe), I’ve always been most curious as to how Starbucks will be themed to fit into Animal Kingdom’s Discovery Island.

Dream Builders sign

Dream Builders sign

Many of the shops and food stops in Discovery Island are decorated with brightly colored signs and murals (take Pizzafari, for instance) as opposed to the deep greens and browns we often associate with Starbucks in their typical locations. And this was definitely true when the building served as Creature Comforts — think bright orange, purple, and teal. Granted, none of the in-park locations are what you would call “typical” Starbucks, but the unique beauty of Animal Kingdom offers the potential for some truly special themeing. And now is as good a time as any to explore a little further of what we can currently see, which is the outside of the building.

You’ll notice that the vivid colors from Creature Comforts have been toned down significantly, yet there are still some unique features that you won’t see at the other Disney Parks Starbucks locations.

Animal Kingdom Future Starbucks Exterior

Animal Kingdom Future Starbucks Exterior

Check out the coffee beans playing a role in the painted patterns along this wall border.

Exterior Border artwork

Exterior Border artwork

When you consider the continents, countries, and cultures celebrated in Animal Kingdom, including [Read more…]

Review: New Menu Items at Animal Kingdom’s Local Food Cafes (Yak & Yeti Counter Service)

We’re taking a trip to Animal Kingdom’s Asia for lunch today, at none other than Local Food Cafes.

This counter service spot is known by a few monikers, and might be best known as “Yak & Yeti Counter Service.” It sits directly next door to one of my very favorites eateries, the Yak & Yeti Restaurant (I’ve learned to live with my near constant craving for their Fried Wontons dessert). And indeed the full name is Yak & Yeti/Anandapur Local Food Cafes.

Name aside, it’s a convenient stop for anyone who has just faced the Yeti on Expedition Everest, or is looking to dry off in the sun after a drenching on Kali River Rapids. The focus here is Asian food featured in an assortment of rice bowls, salads, and wraps. In fact, today we’ll be sampling one of each, so please join us!

Local Food Cafes sign

Local Food Cafes sign

Atmosphere

At first glance, the only thing you can really see are the ordering counters, and long lines here often accompany them.

Local Food Cafes

Local Food Cafes

Local Food Cafes blends in so well with its surroundings that I often think people see the lines before they notice the ordering stations and menus.

There can be a brief moment of confusion for many guests who wonder where to go after receiving their orders, and that’s where a few more signs come in handy, pointing you to the right.

Sign to seating

Sign to seating

Sign to seating

Sign to seating

That’s also where you’ll find your utensils and a fairly large assortment of condiments ranging from Soy Sauce, Duck Sauce, and Hot Sauce to ketchup and mustard.

Condiment cart

Condiment cart

Utensils

Utensils

A tip: there is hardly ever a line at the second cart towards the back seating, since most people have already stocked up at the first cart just past the ordering station.

It appears, at first, that seating is just one long row of tables right next to the Quality Beverages window (home of the Yak Attack!).

Immediate seating area

Immediate seating area

But the more you wind around, the more seating you’ll find. It goes on…

Seating

Seating

and on…

Seating

Seating

and on. All seating here is outside, though some of it is covered.

Yak and Yeti Counter Service Local Food Cafes 17

And, as always, there plenty of [Read more…]

Review: Meat Lovers Pizza at Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari

Welcome back to Pizzafari!

The last time we visited this Animal Kingdom Counter Service spot was to try some of the breakfast offerings after they had a menu refresh. But the star of the show here is all in the name, so we’re back to review Pizzafari’s take on “Meat Lovers Pizza.”

You’ll also find this item on the menu over at Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios, and as far as atmosphere goes, that’s a pretty great spot, too. But I just so happened to be at Animal Kingdom scoping out the presumed location of the final in-Park Starbucks (the former Creature Comforts merchandise location), so Pizzafari it was!

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari Menu

Pizzafari Menu

Of course, it isn’t a trip to Pizzafari without checking out some of the signature murals all over the walls, no matter which room you dine in. I truly never tire of looking at these.

Pizzafari mural

Pizzafari mural

Butterfly mural in ordering area

Butterfly mural in ordering area

Turtle mural

Turtle mural

Pizzafari mural

Pizzafari mural

But, ultimately, I strolled past the poised bobcat at the entrance (at least, I think that’s what he is) and took my pizza outside.

Pizzafari entrance statue

Pizzafari entrance statue

It was one of those perfect “winter” days, and you simply have to take advantage of any days you won’t melt outdoors in Florida. (Covered outdoor seating is available at Pizzafari as well.)

Outdoor table

Outdoor table

View of Pizzafari from outside  table

View of Pizzafari from outside table

Like all other pizzas served at Pizzafari, the Meat Lovers comes with [Read more…]

Review: Fruit Plate with Honey Yogurt at Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Trying to get your recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies while touring the parks?

We’re spotlighting something that can help… with half of that goal, anyway ;)! We’re visiting Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the Fruit Plate with Honey Yogurt.

Flame Tree Barbecue is known for its hearty offerings with a menu focused on barbecue, naturally. Featured items include Ribs & Chicken and Pork Sandwiches. And ever since Trilo-Bites changed its menu, Flame Tree is THE place in Animal Kingdom to grab a Jumbo Turkey Leg. So the Fruit Plate stands out by being unique among the barbecue offerings.

We’ve always liked the Fresh Fruit Salad that you can find at Tamu Tamu Refreshments and Bradley Falls during the warmer months – so much so that we’ve yet to give the Flame Tree Fruit Plate its due. Let’s have a look!

Flame Tree Barbecue sign

Flame Tree Barbecue sign

The menu description says “Seasonal Fruit served with Honey Yogurt.” For my visit, the fruits served happened to match the picture on the menu: honeydew, watermelon, grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, and orange.

Flame Tree Menu

Flame Tree Menu

While it doesn’t have the same visual impact as the Fresh Fruit Salad, it’s not bad in its own right!

Fruit Plate

Fruit Plate

Fruit Plate

Fruit Plate

Fruit Plate close-up

Fruit Plate close-up

It’s just a [Read more…]

News! And Review: Animal Kingdom’s Tamu Tamu Refreshments New Menu!

We’re heading to Harambe Village in Animal Kingdom’s Africa. Tamu Tamu Refreshments is our stop today, so we can check out the entirely new menu!

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Atmosphere

It’s easy to stroll past Tamu Tamu on your way to Kilimanjaro Safaris, because this unassuming little spot blends in so perfectly with its surroundings.

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Ordering Counter

There are a few clues, however, as to what is available to passersby:

Good Eats!

Cold drinks!

And the best part of the atmosphere is arguably a hidden gem. A lot of people aren’t aware of the gorgeous and peaceful outdoor seating area tucked behind!

Entry into the Harambe Fort

Chunky wooden tables and chairs are complemented by rustic plaster walls and artwork. It’s truly unexpected!

Tamu Tamu Seating Area

Tamu Tamu Seating Area

But I’d mentioned a new menu, so let’s dive in!

Eats

I was truly surprised to see the all-new offerings, especially since the Pulled Beef Sandwich had been a hit. (I must admit to being sad over the loss of that gorgeous fresh fruit bowl on the menu, and will continue to look for it at Bradley Falls whenever it is open!)

Tamu Tamu Menu

The menu is now offering three primary entrees: Slow-cooked Chicken Curry, Vegetarian Curry, and Roasted Chicken Salad. [Read more…]

New Boneless Chicken Wings at Mr. Kamal’s and Frozen Drinks at the Animal Kingdom

As I was slogging through the rain at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World last Saturday, I was starving.

Let me say — I’m rarely starving in Disney World. I usually book two or three meals per day, so my stomach doesn’t get much of a break. But last Saturday I hadn’t eaten a thing, it was going on 2pm, and I was on a mission to get pics of a new cupcake (post coming soon!), so didn’t have time to stop into a counter-service joint and battle the lines.

Introducing…the Animal Kingdom “Boneless Chicken Wings!”

So just when I was resigned to having zero sustenance, I came upon Mr. Kamal’s:

Boneless Wings Ahoy!

If you voted in our Corn Dog Nuggets VS. Spring Rolls post last year, you know that this little shack on the route between Africa and Asia in Disney’s Animal Kingdom used to serve Corn Dog Nuggets.

These days, however, it’s purely a new menu of “boneless chicken wings,” which are pretty much chicken nuggets as far as I can tell!

Chicken Nuggets Take Over for Corn Dog Nuggets

I chose to sample the Teriyaki “wings” on this very rainy day, and let me tell you — they were [Read more…]