Review: Breakfast at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Mention that you’re looking for a breakfast restaurant during a stay at Walt Disney World, and you are bound to be met with this piece of advice: “You MUST go to Boma.”

It’s true! This buffet restaurant is among the most favorite options for lovers of Disney food, myself included. We’ve even named it as one of our most favorite Disney brunch destinations!

But even though dinner offers an amazing spread, your Disney friends will tell you that breakfast is the “can’t miss” meal here.

It was a shock to me when I realized that I had never actually reviewed this all-important meal on the blog! Time to remedy that right now!

Atmosphere

Boma is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. You’ll find it below the lobby on the ground floor, adjacent to other AKL restaurants The Mara and Jiko.

There’s one pretty important distinction that sets Boma apart from other very popular buffets at Disney. Many of the others are primarily character dining experiences. But you won’t find any characters at Boma. That’s an important detail to keep in mind when planning your advance dining reservations.

Boma Background Information

“Boma” is actually an African term for a fence made of sticks that forms a safe enclosure for gathering. Throughout the entrance of the restaurant, you see the stick fence motif captured in different materials.

Here, Imagineers used wrought iron to line the bridged walkway leading into the space.

Entrance to Boma

Beautiful statuary decorates the low wall that separates the buffet from the seating area.

Statuary and Decor

Ceilings are lined with large pieces of [Read more…]

Guest Review: Culinary Demos at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

It’s time to start getting excited about the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Today, we’re whetting your whistle as guest reviewer @MealTrip joins us with mini-reviews from four culinary demos presented at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Read on and learn what to expect this year at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival culinary demos.

The Culinary Demonstrations held at the Festival Welcome Center (the old Wonders of Life Pavilion), provide a great gateway for those looking into any of the extra “pay to attend” events at the Food and Wine Festival. At $12 to $15 per person, per seminar, they really are one of the best values at the festival.

Festival Center - Outside View

A representative from the winery, a chef, and an interviewer are present during the experience to talk about the wine you’re sampling, and actually prepare a version of the dish in an on-stage kitchen. In most cases, there’s also time to get a few questions from the audience answered. (Okay, again for the realists out there, there’s a much larger kitchen behind the kitchen on stage, where your food is being prepared at the same time.)

While it is recommended that you reserve a spot early (booking begins on August 13th for everyone; August 9th for Tables in Wonderland and DVC members, Golden Oak Residents, and Annual Passholders), you can also check in at the Festival Center when the park opens to see what’s still available for the day.

Demo and Seminar Check In

On to the fun stuff, a recap of a few events from the first week of the 2012 festival…

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora Culinary Demonstration

Details: Chef Cat Cora from Kouzzina – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Dish: Seared Shrimp with Spiced Hummus and Peppedew Relish. Wine: Brampton UnWooded Chardonnay.

We’ll start our little recap with the Iron Chef herself, Cat Cora.

Chef Cat Cora.

Chef Cora’s dish was [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma…Flavors of Africa is a tried-and-true Disney fan destination.

Many guests number it among their must-have advance dining reservations for it’s fun atmosphere, unique menu, and cult favorite dishes.

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the pleasure of eating at Boma not once — but twice…in the SAME DAY! Yep — we had breakfast and Boma AND dinner at Boma!

While I’ll be sharing the details of our Boma breakfast in a later post, today we’re taking a look at the rockin’ spread available for dinner.

Atmosphere

Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is just one of three incredible restaurants at this resort — it’s a true food-lovers haven here.

Boma Sign

You’ll find Boma on the ground floor beneath the lobby level, adjacent to both The Mara and Jiko. (Sanaa is located in nearby Kidani Village.) And while The Mara is the resort’s counter service location, Jiko is a signature restaurant, and Sanaa features a table service fusion of flavors, Boma serves as the resort’s buffet offering.

But while many Disney buffets are more about character interaction than cuisine, a trip to Boma is all about the food. A sign in Animal Kingdom’s lobby provides a little background on the meaning of the restaurant’s name — and encourages you to make your ADR for Boma well in advance!

Boma Background Information

The term boma loosely refers to a fence fashioned of sticks, and you’ll see this motif throughout the restaurant’s interior. A wrought-iron version of a boma borders either side of the wide, winding path into the restaurant.

Walkway into Boma

Here, the fence borders a low wall separating the seating area from the [Read more…]

My Great Idea That You Have to Try: The Jungle Juice Float in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Just outside of Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is a humble little kiosk called Harambe Popcorn. [Editor’s note: Harambe Popcorn has received a name change since the writing of this post; this kiosk is now named Mahindi.] I estimate that I’ve passed right by it about a million times, give or take ten thousand or so.

I’ve noted the menu — popcorn, check. Glazed nuts (yum!), check. Assorted bevs and Jungle Juice, check check. I’ve even mentioned it to you in the Tusker House review.

Menu — Click to Enlarge

The addition of Jungle Juice — that glorious stuff that includes passion fruit, guava, and orange juice into one yummo glass —  to the kiosk is relatively new, and I’d been looking forward to getting some here.

It’s pretty great that you can now get it without booking a table at Boma or Tusker House! Here’s a pic of Jungle Juice at Boma…for comparison purposes.

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

But when I finally headed over to get myself a glass a week or so ago, I was pretty intrigued by what I was given.

When the nice cast member handed over a hefty serving, I realized…it was FROZEN!

Well, not completely frozen, but slushy…the texture was a cross between a slush puppie and Disney’s frozen lemonade.

Frozen Jungle Juice at Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Popcorn

Now, I have no idea if this is what regularly happens here at this kiosk. But I CAN tell you that the Jungle Juice was in one of those frozen drink tumbly things. You know, the ones that look like little washing machines?

So my guess is that they do serve it frozen as a general rule. How about that?! Have you seen frozen jungle juice anywhere else?

Frozen Jungle Juice — Up Close

And this stuff is ah-mazing! I loved it! I would definitely be in line for more if I didn’t have to eat everything else in the Disney Parks. ;-)

My Great Idea That You Have To Try: [Read more…]

Guest Review: Seafood Dine-Around at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author KJ Simpson with a Walt Disney World Seafood Adventure!

Crab Cakes at Narcoossee's

A recent trip to Walt Disney World opened up a whole new world of culinary delights for me: seafood!

In my many previous visits, I had never tried any seafood dishes. This year, for a variety of reasons, I began incorporating seafood into my diet. As part of this new culinary adventure, I decided to sample some of the many dishes from the sea that are available throughout the parks and resorts.

If you’re curious about some of the offerings that can be found throughout Walt Disney World, read on as I embark on this seafood adventure…

And don’t forget to share your favorite Disney seafood dishes in the comments below!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

No seafood tour would be complete without a stop at the very popular Yorkshire County Fish Shop, in the United Kingdom area of Epcot’s World Showcase, for an order of Fish & Chips.

There’s often a line at the Yorkshire County Fish Shoppe- this is a popular spot!

It’s a classic — two pieces of battered fish, served in a quick-service style over chips (also known as fries, here on this side of the pond). It’s even wrapped in faux-newspaper to give it a whimsically authentic appearance.

While not the healthiest of seafood meals, it was certainly one of the tastiest! There’s not a lot to go wrong here, and this was a perfect afternoon snack to share. The malt vinegar — a traditional accompaniment to the English fish fry — added the perfect tang and gave a whole different taste dimension to the fish.

The classic - Fish & Chips.

Sharing this while sitting in the seating area off to the side overlooking World Showcase Lagoon was a splendid afternoon respite! If you eat outside here, be forewarned: enjoy the view, but beware of the aggressive birds, ducks, and squirrels. They apparently love the food here as much as we do, and are not shy about wanting you to share.

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Next was a visit to the newly-refurbished bakery in the France pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.

The expanded menu has a new seafood offering: Bisque de Homard, or Lobster Bisque.

Les Halles

This was a satisfying soup, smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Tomato was the more dominant flavor here, but the seafood added a richness and [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey’s is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option. [Read more…]

Guest Review: Boma Dinner Buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Today we’re venturing to the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Welcome back guest reviewer Katie McFarland with a review of the dinner buffet at Boma.

Boma restaurant is located inside the Jambo House of the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort in Walt Disney World. If you have never been there before, it really is a magnificent lobby with its thatched ceiling, tribal décor, and torch glass sculpture lights.

But beware: the couches are really comfortable –- especially after a big meal! You run a high risk of awkwardly falling asleep in front of total strangers clutching your stomach and begging “whyyyyy did I eat so much?!”

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

If walking in through the main doors, the restaurant is on the right side of the lobby and is accessible by either the stairs or the elevator. If going by stairs, you will walk right past Victoria Falls Lounge, which is an intimate bar that overlooks the Boma “marketplace.”

Stairs to Lower Level

Atmosphere

Boma represents an open-air marketplace with the “huts” of the buffet lines divided almost by courses: salad, hummus and other dips, meats, sides, and dessert.

Looking down onto Boma!

The eating areas have many thatched panels draped across the ceiling with art glass shades supplying the soft lighting. Every location in the restaurant invites the diner to feel as if they’re in an open-air market in Africa.

Boma Dining Room

Boma Ceiling Decor

However, a seat nearest to the buffet line is always a plus! Like in other buffet restaurants, the [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for Brunch

One of my favorite Disney Dining tips for saving money in Disney World is to exchange two meals for one — especially when you’re trading breakfast and lunch for an awesome brunch!

In the past, a main planning focus for many guests has been getting to the parks early so that they can grab fastpasses for favorite rides — or ride things before the crowds arrive.

But now that MyMagic+ is going to make reserving later-in-the-day ride times that much easier, you might be able to take a few days to sleep in — and save some dough at the same time!

So I’m adding to our Best Disney Restaurants Series and outlining a few of my personal favorite places to start the day off slow at Walt Disney World. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions, too!

Kouzzina at the Boardwalk Resort

UPDATE: Please note that Kouzzina by Cat Cora closed in September 2014; however, its replacement restaurant, Trattoria al Forno, offers many of the same items for breakfast

While many guests never to look beyond the standard theme-park fare, those who prefer to sleep in — or save money by getting brunch instead of breakfast AND lunch — should look no further than this!

One of the best brunch spots in Orlando is Kouzzina by Cat Cora, where everything from the robust menu to the warm decor was driven by celebrity Iron Chef Cat Cora.

Waffles topped with Mascarpone Cheese and Honey at Kouzzina

The restaurant, overlooking Crescent Lake at the Boardwalk Inn Resort, has a Greek-inspired menu and a welcoming atmosphere. My favorite breakfast in the World is the mascarpone-topped waffles. So good they should be illegal.

Or snap up the yummy skillet breakfast — or the stacked breakfast with poached eggs, kalamata olive toast, and artichoke spread — while you savor the sights and sounds of the open show kitchen.

Kouzzina Breakfast Skillet

Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Your African adventure begins the moment you arrive at this exotic resort and take in the splendor of the lobby. As you make your way to Boma, dark woods and thatched roofs mingle with the delicious smells to make you feel like you’ve entered an African marketplace for breakfast.

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge

The buffet here is stocked with popular brunch options like omelets, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, carved ham, breakfast potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs; but they also serve up more multi-cultural dishes, including African pastries, quinoa porridge, and bobotie — a type of quiche.

Seriously, you could totally go for that cinnamon roll right now, couldn’t you??

Boma Breakfast Pastries

Be sure to try some of the specialty [Read more…]

Limited Time: Specialty Pumpkin Treats at Disney World

Thanks to reader Joe Barrett, we’ve got some fun seasonal pumpkin eats in Disney World to share!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Pecan Butter

First up, these awesome Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Pecan Butter from Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Resort. They look amazing!!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Pecan Butter at Kona Cafe

Kona often has seasonal pancakes, so be on the look-out. Remember the red velvet pancakes with cream cheese topping around Valentine’s Day this year?

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Over at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, lucky guests will find these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes! According to Joe, they have more of a pumpkin pie texture than a cheesecake texture, but they’re still delicious, and great for any pumpkin fan.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes at Boma

As always, many Disney restaurants and counter-service locations will [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]