Review: Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Found at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa is a full-service restaurant offering fantastic meals with Indian and African influences.

From the floor-to-ceiling windows of the restaurant, guests have a fantastic view of the safari animals on the Sunset Savanna, meaning you’ll have a stellar show of zebra, giraffe, African birds, and several other breathtaking animals.

And while the animal viewing is a great draw for Sanaa’s guests, the interesting menu, food quality, and great service will surely bring them back time and time again. And the new test-phase of the Dine with an Animal Specialist program is surely going to bring plenty of folks to Sanaa!

Atmosphere

Sanaa is located in Kidani Village, which is the Disney Vacation Club Villas section of Animal Kingdom Lodge. It sits next door to Jambo House, the main and original part of the Lodge.

Outside of Sanaa

A major complaint about Sanaa is its distance from the parks and other resort hotels in Disney World — you will have to use a Disney Transport bus, your own car, or a taxi to get here — but with all of the great [Read more…]

Guest Review: New Jiko Wine Tasting

Welcome to Jenn Lazzaro (whom you’ve seen here before by way of her gorgeous photos), who’s treating us to her review of the brand new Jiko Wine Tasting happening on Wednesdays at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! Take it away, Jenn!

When I first heard that Jiko was starting up wine pairing Wednesday afternoons, I immediately grabbed a calendar to see if any of them coincided with trip in May. Sure enough, one did! Jiko is hands down one of my top two favorite restaurants on Disney property (the other is Citricos), so I couldn’t make a reservation quick enough.

Booking and Background

According to the Disney Parks Blog:

With one of the finest collections of South African wines in the U.S., sommeliers at Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge love sharing tastes. Each Wednesday from 3-4 p.m., take a journey through the wine regions of South Africa and sample three delicious vintages paired with cheese and fruit. Cost is $25 plus tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made at 407-WDW-DINE.

Before even asking my other friends if they wanted to join me, I immediately called the Jiko reservation line that was given and left a message with my information that was requested. Within a few hours, I had a confirmation email from one of the Cast Members of Jiko confirming my reservation and letting me know that I can add guests with just a simple email back to her.

After all was said and done, there were 4 of us wanting to attend the wine pairing. We arrived at Jiko a little early and they were still setting up, so we wandered for a bit. After seeing other guests waiting by the bar area, we wandered back and hung out with the crowd.

Atmosphere and Tasting

The sommelier came around to each group to check us in. We were then ushered into the main dining room of Jiko where we all took our seats around a single long table, which sat around 16 or 18 people. The wines were already placed at each seat on top of a place mat that listed the name of each wine sample. As guests started to greet and meet each other, the cheeses were quickly laid in center of the table.

Tasting Wines

I’d wanted to take photos of everything before we were told we could start eating but, unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough. One of the Jiko chefs came to our table to explain the cheeses that we would be having [Read more…]

Guest Review: Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Welcome our Guest Reviewer Andrew Serio, who takes us to dinner at Boma inside the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Let’s sample the flavors of Africa with him!

Boma, which is nestled down the stairs from the lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is among the most popular “non-character” buffet restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort. After a several year span away from Boma, my wife Joy and I tried it again on a Thursday night in late February.

Atmosphere

Because Boma shares a common exterior area with Jiko, things can get a little hectic when approaching the podium. This was the case on this evening, as there were a good many people milling about. However, when we approached the host stand, we were greeted immediately and cordially by James and Anna. Our ADR was verified, and we were asked to wait briefly while being handed a pager.

Welcome to Boma!

After a very short wait, we were ushered to our table, which was [Read more…]

More Details on Disney World’s New Dine with an Animal Specialist Option: Menu, Photos, and Activities!

Jambo! Thanks to Vallen Tucker at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge concierge office, we have some great NEW information about the resort’s Dine With An Animal Specialist opportunity!!

As you know, the dining option is offered at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. Guests can dine with an Animal Specialist, savoring cuisine from Sanaa while learning about the animals grazing outside the window. During the “untamed” lunch, your family will be immersed in African culture while posing questions to the animal expert regarding the animals on the nearby savanna.

Dine With An Animal Specialist: Menu

The four-course menu will delight your senses during this exclusive experience limited to 12 guests. It is recommended for guests over 8 years old. Special Diets can be accommodated and there is a separate menu for kids

First Course: Indian Style Bread Service
Breads – Naan, Onion Kulcha, Papadum, Paneer Paratha

Accompaniments – Red Chile Sambal, Cucumber Raita, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Green Mango Pickle, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Tamarind Chutney

Parts of the First Course Offerings

Second Course: [Read more…]

New Offering at Animal Kingdom Lodge: Dine with an Animal Specialist!

Update: See the Dine with an Animal Specialist menu, food photos, and details here!

Thanks to reader Cliff Yow for the heads up on this awesome new adventure! A new dining experience is available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — Dine with an Animal Expert!

Enjoy an exclusive and interactive experience while dining with a Disney Animal Expert at Sanaa, an exotic restaurant offering views of the African savanna. As you immerse yourself in African culture, you’ll get to ask questions of the expert while also learning fascinating facts about the care of savanna’s animals. See the resort’s savanna animals outside the window as you learn special insights into these African creatures.

View from Sanaa

Dine with Animal Specialists: An Untamed Lunch

Offered at Sanaa every Wednesday, 11:30 am to 1:15 pm, this unique opportunity will appeal to animal enthusiasts.

A four course meal and suitable children’s menu will be [Read more…]

African Inspired Meals in Walt Disney World — Tusker House

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!

Theming Outside Animal Kingdom's Tusker House

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 [Read more…]

Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards Include Several WDW Area Restaurants

For those of you who plan your Walt Disney World vacation around your gastronomical dreams, you may want to take note of the restaurants listed in this year’s 13th Annual Foodie Awards by the Orlando Sentinel.

Readers and critics chose these restaurants for their outstanding cuisine, and with five of the restaurants located within the WDW theme parks, you’ll need park admission and an Advance Dining Reservation to cast your vote for best meal. Check them out here! [Read more…]

Review: Jiko…A Cooking Place

Well, my food-loving friends, it’s finally time to talk about one of my very favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. My husband and I spent our first Valentine’s Day at Jiko, and we’ve returned time and time again to enjoy consistently delicious meals.

Now, a few of you might be concerned that you won’t find anything on the menu that suits your taste in a restaurant that touts “African” food, but fear not; there really is something for everyone here.

Atmosphere

Jiko is located on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s ground floor and features floor to ceiling windows that look out onto a beautiful and peaceful water feature. But the windows are probably the least interesting thing about this restaurant’s design, which was developed by Jeffrey Beers.

Walking into the restaurant you’ll pass a bar area to your left and see the Cape Town Wine Room directly in front of you. (Yep, that’s it behind the glass walls of wine!) Jiko serves exclusively [Read more…]

DIY Disney: Coconut Curry Chicken Soup from Boma

Today, Chef Big Fat Panda’s DIY Disney Recipes column brings us a savory favorite from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma! Take it away, Panda!

Hello Disney Food People! It feels like I haven’t seen you in forever. You look fantastic? Did you lose weight? I need to feed you something delicious, don’t I? Well, I have just the thing.

Today, I am going to recreate something from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma restaurant called “Coconut Curry Chicken Soup.” Some Disney recipes call it a stew, and it is a hybrid of sorts as I will explain.

Ingredients

I make no secret of my Italian heritage, but what many people don’t know is that among all the pasta and tomato sauce type dishes my mom prepared as I grew up, she also made curry. My mom had [Read more…]

Disney Food Trends: Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Even Chef Mickey is in on the trend...

I’ve been noticing a few food trends while traipsing through Disney parks, and I think they’re important to mention — especially since they seem to be popping up on every menu re-vamp out there.

First, we gotta take a gander at good old macaroni and cheese. When I asked Disney World’s Sanaa Chef Bob Getchell about the gourmet mac and cheese trend that seems to be taking over Disney restaurants, he mentioned that chefs like to make food they themselves love; many have fond memories of mac and cheese while they were growing up, and they want to create new and improved contemporary recipes for the dish. Here are a few of our favorite versions on and around Disney property:

Yachtsman Steakhouse
Yacht Club Resort’s Yachtsman Steakhouse gets a nod due to a relatively new mac and cheese dish I found on the menu in October. Their truffle mac and cheese uses huge orecchiette noodles and Reypenaer cheese with a touch of truffle oil and a topping of crunchy onions. It’s served in a cast iron baking dish that lends a rustic look — very fun! The best part — it tastes amazing. Rich, tangy, creamy sauce nestles into those pasta pieces and serves as the perfect accompaniment to the meal. This is sold as a side dish only, so be sure to look for it at the bottom of the menu.

Yachtsman Steakhouse Mac and Cheese Side Dish

Le Cellier
Not to be outdone, Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse has also introduced some mac and cheese on the menu. Served in a cast iron skillet, elbow macaroni is [Read more…]