First Look AND Review: Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

2016 is gearing up to be a positively HUGE year for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The headlining news revolves around the highly anticipated Rivers of Light spectacular, which — along with evening journeys at Kilimajaro Safaris also beginning sometime in the spring — will transform Animal Kingdom into a park with nighttime activities for the first time.

Naturally, this transition into a full day park will affect dining options, since expanded operating hours will result in a larger need for more dining opportunities. In fact, it’s already been announced that Animal Kingdom will also be getting its first Signature Restaurant in 2016, Tiffins.

But it’s not just huge shows and signature eateries coming to Animal Kingdom. Some additions are more subtle, but certainly still worth noting. For instance… SURPRISE!! As of this past Saturday, there is a brand new bar and snack stand you can now enjoy in Animal Kingdom’s Asia.

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks

Welcome to Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks! Let’s have a look! [Read more…]

Review: Winter Specialty Drinks at Joffrey’s Disney Kiosks

Happy Holidays form Disney World! The trees are up. The lights are lit. And even Disney coffee is getting a festive makeover! In fact, the Joffrey’s Espresso & Pastries kiosks found all over Disney World property now have their 2015 Winter Specialty Drinks available.

Rudolph's Favorite at Joffrey's Espresso & Pastries

Rudolph’s Favorite at Joffrey’s Espresso & Pastries

Whether you know them by their proper name or not, you’ve likely strolled by many a Joffrey’s kiosk at Disney World. They are typically themed so well to their surroundings that you may not take notice of them (you can take a tour of several of the kiosks by clicking here). But it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled, since the theming of some of the beverages themselves changes with the seasons. [Read more…]

News! Tiffins Restaurant Brings Signature Dining to Animal Kingdom in 2016

We’ve been excited for the debut of the “Rivers of Light” nighttime spectacular coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom next year, but now there’s even MORE to look forward to! Tiffins — a Signature Restaurant — will open in Animal Kingdom in 2016 as well!

©Disney

©Disney

The dining experience at Tiffins will “celebrate the art of traveling” with a menu reflecting the locales that inspired the park itself. According to Disney, waterfront views will be a feature of this lunch and dinner option, which will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. [Read more…]

Review: Teriyaki Beef Slider at Bradley Falls in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I love all of the new menu changes that have been happening lately at Animal Kingdom.

It’s fun to explore the kiosks and counter service spots here especially, because it always seems like there’s something new to discover.

That’s especially true with the introduction of Harambe Market earlier this year. And who can resist popping into Zuri’s Sweets Shop to see what temptations await you?

But today, we’re exploring an old favorite — Bradley Falls Kiosk. [Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this post, Bradley Falls has received a name change; it is now Caravan Road.]

Seriously. Every single time I set foot into Animal Kingdom, it seems like I find new dishes at this cute little cart. And on a visit earlier this year, the same held true.

Bradley Falls

Bradley Falls

We had previously told you about the Thai Pork Sandwich. Well, Friends — it’s out with the old and in with the new. Because these days, you’ll find a Teriyaki Beef Slider in place of the pork. [Read more…]

New! DFB Podcast Episode 23: #OnTheList — Our Disney Food Bucket List Choices!

We are back with DFB Podcast Episode #23!

dfb podcast

We told you we are working hard to bring you more Podcasts on a more regular basis so we hope you’re as excited as we are!

What’s It About?

This episode, Brad and I talk about some news from this past week and then jump into some exciting #OnTheList business!

We talk about what #OnTheList — the Disney Food Bucket List — is all about as well as give you a sneak peek at some future items straight off of our own lists!

We bring up Dole Whips (of course), hot link corn dogs, and more…tune in and see if you can guess what our choices are for each Disney park! You may be surprised… .

You can listen to it right here, right now!

Thanks for listening! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Review: Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Market

We’re meandering back through the brand new Harambe Market in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to take you on a full tour and review of some of the treats at Zuri’s Sweets Shop today!

The shop, located outside the main gate of the new eating area, is your stop for all kinds of prepackaged sweets and snacks. You’ll find an assortment of familiar Disney snacks with Animal Kingdom-specific branding as well as a number of out-of-the-ordinary bulk items. But you’ll also find a confectionery counter with freshly made candy, cookies, and other sweets.

We shared a first look at Zuri’s the day it opened. As you may recall, the big story there was the “Match the Species” Treats — aka the “poop” candy. While the treats made a big sensation, they were gone almost as quickly as they arrived. (We’ve spoken to store managers about this, and they claim that the snacks sold well and they aren’t sure why they were pulled from the case. They suggest telling guest services that you’d like to see them come back.)

I can’t wait to show you all that we’ve tried over the course of a couple of visits! But before we get to that, let’s have a look around.

Atmosphere

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Harambe Market in person, be sure to take a look at our tour of this new spot. Disney has managed, once again, to create a brand new part of Animal Kingdom that looks like it’s been there since opening day. The themeing here is extraordinary.

Market

Harambe Market

You’ll find Zuri’s Sweets Shop standing across the “street” from the main area that [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom Mini Edition

When it comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom lately, it seems the more things change, the more they… keep on changin’!

We all got pretty excited about the announcements from the D23 Expo about the BIG changes coming to Hollywood Studios, as well as the Skipper Canteen on the way to Magic Kingdom. But Animal Kingdom got a share of the spotlight, too, with further details announced regarding attractions that will be part of the upcoming new land of Pandora — The World of AVATAR, and the Rivers of Light Nighttime Spectacular as well as sunset adventures for Kilimanjaro Safaris on the way.

Good Eats!

Good Eats!

But, as usual, we’re keeping our eye on the small changes, too! Let’s take a walk around Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a mini edition of “What’s New!”

ASIA

Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Thanks to the excitement over the new Tea Trader’s Cafe by Joffrey’s in Downtown Disney, we know there are more than a few of you tea fans out there! So, you may want to take note of some new offerings at the Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Royal Anandapur Tea Company

New and seasonal additions for hot brew choices include Black Currant, Jasmine, Lemon Ginger, Morrocan Mint, Green Dragon Oolong and Honeybell Orange. [Read more…]

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 and Old Favorites at the Dawa Bar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The last time we visited Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar here on the DFB, it was to show you a little bit around what was then its new location.

It hadn’t moved very far… you can still find the Dawa Bar tucked under the same roofing that provides shade for guests waiting to dine at Tusker House, though now — facing Tusker House — you’ll see the Dawa Bar on your right instead of your left.

Aside from the small location switch to accommodate Animal Kingdom construction and a fresh coat of paint, not much has changed at the Dawa Bar (with the exception of the Bloody Mary menu added last fall). And I’m inclined to say that’s a pretty good thing. Today we’re trying some of those classic drinks that bring guests back to the Dawa Bar time and time again (and grabbing one of those Bloody Marys while we’re at it).

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

Atmosphere

I’d mentioned the high rate of return for Dawa Bar guests, but I think over the past year some new folks have made the discovery, too. Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it does seem to me that the new location has brought more guests to this fabulous little oasis.

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

It’s just a lot easier to see the bar while strolling in Harambe Village from its current location, whereas previously it was tucked toward the back and somewhat hard to spot unless you knew it was there. For that reason, it seems to have lost just a bit of its “hidden gem” status, but it’s managed to keep that “this is my Disney vacation home away from home” feel — in no small part thanks to the great bartenders and relaxing vibe.

Bartender at Dawa Bar

Bartender at Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar-tender :)!

Dawa Bar-tender :)!

The cooling shade is another draw here, and the stools and neat chairs invite you sit and stay a while.

Mismatched chairs

Mismatched chairs

Even though it’s probably the least comfortable, you’ve gotta love the conga chair. Even if you don’t sit in it, you can still appreciate the artistry of the carvings on the bottom.

Conga Chair!

Conga Chair!

But no matter where you sit, it’s much more about what you sip!

Eats

The “eats” here are actually nothing but beverages. And though today we’ll be focusing on the specialty drinks, you’ll always find a terrific selection of African wines and beers here, proudly featuring Tusker Lager.

Menus and bottle assortment

Menus and bottle assortment

You can have any of the drinks you’re about to see served to you in a Mask Tumbler if you’re looking for a souvenir from your time at the Dawa Bar. These hit the scene around the same time the Musical Tumbler arrived at various spots around Animal Kingdom. It’ll up your beverage cost by about $6 per drink.

Mask Tumblers

Mask Tumblers

One of the cocktails that has been a hit for a long time here is the Sugar Cane Mojito. Now, one reason I personally haven’t sampled the Sugar Cane Mojito previously is because I’m really not into mojitos in general. But this drink’s reputation precedes itself, and from the moment it was placed in front of me I started to understand why.

It’s a gorgeous drink — strikingly clear. I was mesmerized by the sunlight shining through the drink. (And, no, I hadn’t started drinking, yet. ;-D)

Sugar Cane Mojito

Sugar Cane Mojito

Even though the general components are the same as a typical mojito (plenty of mint, and in this case the rum is African Starr mixed with Sugar Cane Syrup — complete with a stalk of sugar cane), I really did enjoy this one.

As mentioned above, the Dawa Bar added Bloody Marys to the mix last fall, and the different twists are [Read more…]

First Look! Thai Pork Sandwich at Bradley Falls in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’ve talked a bit about where you can find some of your favorite Flame Tree Barbecue foods all over Animal Kingdom while that popular spot is down for refurbishment until April.

But perhaps you’d like to take this time to try something out of the norm on your next Animal Kingdom visit?

Bradley Falls is a little kiosk just across the way from Mr. Kamal’s (you can find both stands on the pathway going from Africa to Asia). Typically, the menu here focuses solely on vegetarian offerings, just like its neighbor across the way, and it’s a good spot to find more unique park treats such as Edamame Beans when Mr. Kamal’s has a line (and in the warmer summer months, it often features our favorite Fresh Fruit Bowl).

But our friend Andy Jackson at Eating (and Drinking) Around the World just spotted a new find at this open-on-peak-days location…

Bradley Falls

Bradley Falls

The Thai Pork Sandwich with Asian Cucumber Slaw might be available on your next stroll between the continents! Andy kindly sent us some pictures, so [Read more…]