Top 5 Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The themeing is incredible. I could wander around just looking at things there for days! But the other thing that keeps me coming back to Animal Kingdom again are some seriously awesome restaurants. This place has it all!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites — and what sets them each apart from the crowd.

Top Five Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Tusker House

If you haven’t booked a meal at Tusker House, then you’re missing out.

This sprawling restaurant sits on the main thoroughfare in Harambe village within the Africa section of the park. And with some of the best immersive themeing anywhere at Disney World, it’s hard to take in all of the intricate details and imagineering here with just one meal.

Tusker House -- Outside View

Tusker House — Outside View

But it’s not just the surroundings that are interesting. Tusker House has some incredible food as well. Inspired by the flavors of Africa, you’re in for a treat, whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We especially love the Spit-Roasted Meats. And taking advantage of the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet may save you on other meals during the day.

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

But if you’re still looking to add a character dining experience to your list of advance dining reservations, be sure to book the breakfast or lunch, as characters don’t appear at dinner.

Eating a big breakfast will fill you up -- and cost less than dining big later in the day!

Seeing Your Favorite Disney Friends in Safari Garb at Breakfast and Lunch is Super Fun!

It’s always a kick to add pics Mickey and Friends in different outfits, and at Tusker House, they’re dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Looking for something exotic with an Asian twist? Then check out Yak and Yeti Restaurant. You can’t miss the big purple building in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom!

Themed as a grand home that’s been converted to a hotel, guests to the town of Anandapur are guaranteed to find

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Let’s give a welcoming “Howdy” to guest author Victoria Kabakian. Today, she is sharing a review of Big Thunder Ranch BBQ in Disneyland. Now, let’s get to the grub!

There’s only one place that can marry an unequivocal love for Disneyland with the perfect bucket of stick-to-your-ribs, you’ll-need-to-floss-afterwards barbecue, and that’s none other than Big Thunder Ranch BBQ.

During a recent visit to the park, we had to take an unplanned detour through Fantasyland to get here, due to the current refurbishment at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Even with the added obstacle, it was worth the frantic pace required to make it in time for our advance dining reservation.

Entrance to Big Thunder Ranch

Atmosphere

Perhaps it’s because nearby Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was closed at the time, but our visit to Big Thunder Ranch BBQ was a quiet escape from the typical crowds at Disneyland.

The moment we saw the wooden archway welcoming us to Big Thunder Mountain Ranch, “Home of the Happiest Horses on Earth,” we felt like we had entered another world.

Rows of Picnic Tables

We had a somewhat late afternoon reservation at 1:30PM, and the space wasn’t overly crowded at that time. When we checked in for our ADR, we were asked if we minded sharing a table with others or if we preferred our own table. Since they had the space to accommodate us, we opted for our own table and were then handed a buzzer to alert us when the table was ready.

Picnic Tables Surrounding the Stage

Wooden picnic tables covered with red-white-and-blue plastic tablecloths and shaded with canopies are lined up in concentric semi-circles around the focal point of an elevated stage featuring live entertainment.

Live Entertainment

With short sets and frequent breaks in between songs, a piano player, acoustic guitarist, and singer take the stage with down-home ranch-style entertainment. This is just a sliver of the fun that is to be had during a meal at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ.

Fun Sign Near the Restrooms

Even a trip to the bathroom feels like an adventure in time and space (especially when you get lost following simple directions) with playful signs for “100% Splinter Free” bath tissue, and Cowboys and Cowgirls entrances for his and hers facilities.

“Cowgirls” Sign for the Ladies Restroom

Once we finished our *ahem* business and headed to our own private picnic table (no sharing required, thank you very much), the laid back country vibe of the space continued with a stack of bright Mickey Mouse-red dishes and a bucket of utensils, napkins, and wet-wipes for inevitably sticky fingers.

Help Yourselves!

Eats

The menu at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ differs only slightly [Read more…]

Review: Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Last week, I had the pleasure of heading to Walt Disney World for a super quick jaunt around the parks.

And while there, I decided it was high time to stop by one of my (and yours!!) favorite spots in Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue.

Flame Tree Barbecue consistently gets rave reviews from Disney food fans as one of the top — if not the top — counter service spots in all of Walt Disney World. I was anxious to see if it still lived up to my fond memories…

Atmosphere

Located in the Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom, you’ll find this colorful restaurant adjacent to the entrance to Dinoland (which is awesome, and you should totally go there). And as the name clues you in — they specialize in barbecue, with meats that are smoked right in the “Flame Tree Barbecue Smokehouse.”

Flame Tree Barbecue Sign

Normally, you see lines snaking back from the ordering area — note the cow-line ropes in the picture. But it was shockingly not busy when I got there late in the afternoon (around 4:30pm). See? I told you those Disney Dining Tips are for real! ;-)

Flame Tree Barbecue -- Outside View

The set up is your standard Disney counter service situation, with multiple ordering stations and pick up lines. You won’t find any automated kiosks here…yet!

Ordering Kiosk

For guests who aren’t familiar with smoked meats and the pink color that the meat takes on due to the process, you’ll find these signs. You can be sure that your meat is thoroughly cooked, even though it may appear pink inside.

Sign Regarding Smoking Process

Once you’ve chosen your food, be sure to [Read more…]

Review: Rainforest Cafe a la Disney

Welp, I finally got a chance to have another meal at Rainforest Cafe!

These restaurants often get a bad rap food-wise. While this is a really fun place to shop and explore, a lot of people wonder how good the food can actually be in such a themed restaurant. (Disney meals are precious and expensive things, and I hate to waste even one!)

But I hadn’t been to an RC for a while, and it was time to head back into the jungle! Come with me and find out how it was…

Atmosphere

This is a review of the Rainforest Cafe located in Downtown Disney District at Disneyland. However, the Disney Rainforest locations (one in Disneyland, two in Disney World) are actually quite similar.

The menus themselves — and many of the decor elements — are the same, so keep that in mind if you are only planning to visit one of the two Disney World locations.

Outside Sign - Close Up

One main difference: each location has a slightly different exterior. This Disneyland eatery has a sort of temple-in-the-jungle feeling to it.

Rainforest Cafe - Outside

As you walk in, you find yourself in a very large gift shop with all manner of [Read more…]