Review: Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

You guys…Jiko still rocks.

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s signature dining spot has it all — unique, interesting food that’s constantly changing to reflect seasons and trends. Ambiance that changes with the evening light. Impeccable service.

We have returned to Jiko again and again since my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. On a recent visit, we met friends at Jiko for a special dinner in hopes that our streak of great experiences would continue.


Jiko is located on the ground floor of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Head downstairs from the lobby, past Victoria Falls Lounge. You’ll find Jiko adjacent to Animal Kingdom Lodge’s other table service spot, Boma.

Menus -- Click to Enlarge

A bank of windows overlooks a beautiful water feature just outside of the restaurant. The rocks and running water provide a soothing backdrop to your dining experience. And if you happen to be seated near the window, be sure to try and spot the hidden Mickey in the rock formations!

Outside View

Back inside, you’ll pass a bar area and the outside wall of the Cape Town Wine Room en route to the main dining room. This is a great time to discuss the truly amazing wine offering at Jiko. The restaurant offers only African wines and is home to the largest collection of South African wines outside of the African continent.

Bar Area and Wine

Pause as you enter the restaurant and take in the view before you. The interior created by well-known restaurant designer Jeffrey Beers evokes themes from The Lion King. The colors, although understated, are rich and mimic nature.

A View of the Restaurant from the Front

Dozens of bird sculptures are suspended in realistic fashion from the ceiling and provide a wonderful sense of movement. I have yet to walk into Jiko with someone seeing the birds for the first time and not see his or her face light up. They’re a beautiful touch.

Ceiling and Bird Detail

A “jiko”, or cooking place, is [Read more…]

What Disney Restaurant Do You Want In Your Kitchen?

Who’s up for a little kitchen reno? My brain’s clearly going a little haywire today, and I was thinking: if I could choose one Disney restaurant to remodel my kitchen after, which spot would it be?

So my fun question to you today is: Which Disney restaurant would inspire your dream kitchen makeover? I’m always happy to kick off the discussion, so I’ll share a few of mine, too!

50s Prime Time Cafe: Mom’s Kitchen!

Nostalgia abounds in what would be my “modern kitchen with a nod to the past!”

One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

While I might not go full-on formica, I’d definitely have some fun, retro elements in there like a 50s style fridge (with all the bells and whistles of today!).

Add in a couple of awesome garage sale finds as decor, and some killer wallpaper, and you’re all set!

Cinderella’s Royal Table: Medieval Castle with a View, Please

Looking to get your prince or princess on? For sheer grandeur, Disney-style, how about a kitchen based upon our favorite fortress, Cinderella Castle?

The dining room at Cinderella’s Royal Table offers plenty of inspiration: suits of armor, intricate tapestries, and family crests adorn the space.

Dining Room Windows at Cinderella's Royal Table

Fancy a kitchen with a gothic arch or two? How about mullioned windows? Check out this awesomeness!

Gothic-y Castle Kitchen!

Book a table during your next visit to get lots of ideas.

‘Ohana: Unlimited Meat, Bread Pudding, and a Killer Fire Pit

Why not build a Polynesian hideaway in your house? ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a perfect inspiration, and this kitchen would involve tradewinds, lava rock, and a fire pit! [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: June 9, 2013

Disney parks are heating up for summer and we’re all about preparation here at DFB!!

A classic Mickey Premium Bar is sure to cool you down...

If you’re headed to Orlando or Anaheim in the next few months, be sure to have these awesome Disney ice cold snacks on your list of must-eats!

They’ll keep you calm, cool, and collected for another round on Toy Story Midway Mania for sure.

Disney Food News

Take a bite out of this week’s food news from Disney!

  • There’s a new self-service iced coffee option at Captain Cook’s Snack Company in Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
  • Check out the review of the new Chicken Provencal dish at Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including N’Awlins Brunch Fest at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, World of Color Picnic Meals Discontinued at Disneyland, Raglan Road receives award, New Sandwich at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, and Jiko announced South African winemakers dinner.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

We love it when readers spot new menu items or new-to-us food! Reader Tomara sent us news of a Chicken Deluxe Sandwich at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in the Magic Kingdom. This sandwich replaces the Chicken Wrap.

Deluxe Chicken Sandwich!

Facebook friend Cindy shared a bit of Hawai’i with us. “I recently returned from a great trip to Disney Aulani. I love your cupcake reports and wanted to let you know they are not to be missed in Hawaii. Here is a photo of the Pineapple Macadamia Nut cupcake. Enjoy!”

Pineapple Macadamia Nut Cupcake!

Have you spotted an interesting Disney food related item? Don’t forget to share it with us!

Coming Soon! The DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Snacks!

With over 250 pages of delicious snacks, the DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Snacks will be the third — and long-awaited — book in our DFB Guide Snacks Series! It will be released VERY soon…but I wanted to share a little sneak peek for you!

As always, you can look forward to an instantly downloadable PDF guide with comprehensive information and advice on well over 200 delicious snacks that you can savor at the Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios parks in the Walt Disney World resort. (And that’s just so far…we’re not finished with the guide yet, so there may MANY more than 200 featured by the time we’re done!)

Watch for our grand launch of the DFB Mini-Guide to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Snacks — Coming Soon! 

And, in the meantime, head on over to the to get some great deals on our best-selling Disney Dining Guidebooks, like the DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks and the DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks!

Check out how you can have the best Disney vacation ever…and pay even less!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix is running an awesome contest for just a few more days! Enter for free to win a $50 Disney Gift Card!

Staten the Facts dines at Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Orlando Sentinel shares how Disney Chefs have helped to create healthy school lunches at Orange County schools.

NASDAQ reports that Montalvo Tequila has secured placement in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion.

Merryweather’s Cottage shares instructions for a Do-It-Yourself Disney travel mug made from a park map! Love this!

Disney Parks Blog shares 50’s Prime Time Cafe wallpaper for download.

Main Street Gazette stops by the BoardWalk Bakery for a cheesecake brownie.

AKL Resort highlights the new lunch options at Sanaa.

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:

Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.

While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!

Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants, and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!

Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its grand opening in December 2012.

Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

News! Jiko Wine Dinners in May at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

If you’re a fan of Jiko – The Cooking Place AND wine, plan to attend a wine dinner this May! These exclusive dinners come around rarely, since Jiko actually arranges for winemakers to come directly from South Africa to present to guests.

On May 4th, Jiko will present a South African Winemakers Tour. And The Wines of Warwick Estates will be presented on May 16, 2013.

South African Winemakers Tour

Who: Abrie Beeslar, Kanonkop; Peter De Wet, Excelsior; Gavin Slabbert, Raats Family Wines
When: Saturday, May 4th; 6:00pm
Reception Location: Arusha Terrace

Reception Menu:
Spinach and Mushroom Dumpling, Paneer Cheese, and Harissa Sauce
Fire Roasted Corn Cake with Applewood Smoked Bacon
Braised Beef Short Rib, Cracked Pappadom, and Peppadew-Cucumber Raita
Excelsior Chardonnay, Robertson

South African Wine at Jiko

First Course
Grilled Moroccan Spiced Quail, Chickpea Puree, and Wilted Greens
Side By Side Chenin Blanc Tasting
Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region
Raats Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

Second Course
Tunisian Olive Oil Poached Butterfish, Chorizo Bobotie, and Crispy Okra
Side By Side Chenin Blanc Tasting
Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region
Raats Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

Watermelon and Tomato Salad, Sherry Vinaigrette
Kanonkop Kadette, Stellenbosch

Ostrich, Herb Pasta, and Spring Vegetable Medley
Kanonkop Pinotage, Stellenbosch

Chocolate Chile Molten Cake and Drunken Cherries
Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon, Robertson

Wines of Warwick Estates

When: Thursday, May 16, 2013; 6:00pm
Reception Location: Sunset Lounge

Reception Menu:
Braised Curried Tomatoes, Toasted Millet Bunny Chow, and Gooseberry Marmalade
Rooibos Honey Smoked Quail, Compressed Orange, and Sweet Potato
Cinnamon-Dashi Oysters and Chili Pearls [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Dining Discount Program Adds New Restaurants

Disney World Annual Passholders visiting the Walt Disney World Resort can now enjoy a Disney dining discount at additional restaurants!

Jiko Dining Room

Additional restaurants now offering a 10% discount include:

The discount can not be applied on the following 2013 dates:
January 1; February 14; March 31; May 12; July 4; November 28; December 24; December 25; and December 31.

For more information about Annual Passholder Disney World Dining Discounts, see our Disney Dining Discounts Page!

Where do you use your Annual Passholder dining discount? Let us know [Read more…]

DFB Readers Choose! Best Disney Restaurants for Quiet Dining

Need a relaxing date night? Have a sleeping baby? Want to simply get away from the crowds and the bustle of the Disney parks for a while?

We asked our friends on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page for their recommendations on quiet dining in Disney World and Disneyland, and we want to hear YOURS, too!

The locations mentioned the most in Walt Disney World were: Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

In Disneyland, Facebook Friends gave the most shout-outs to Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park and Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Resort.

Best Disney World Restaurants For Quiet Dining

Let’s take a peek at these top Disney Food Blog reader choices for quiet dining in Disney World!


For romance, delicious dishes, and a peaceful meal inspired by low lighting and a calming water feature view, head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko.

Jiko View

Facebook Friend Adhiraj G. recommends “Jiko later in the evening! great view, great service and quiet (in a relaxed sort of way)!”

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko (Mac and Cheese can be ordered by request)

A window-side table offers a beautiful view during daylight hours while savoring the gourmet cuisine. Keep an eye on the soothing “sunset wall” at the back of the restaurant, which cycles through the [Read more…]

News! Jiko Wine Dinner August 16, 2012, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko has announced a Wine Dinner for August 16th!

Partnering with Cape Classics, the premier importer of South African wines, 6 courses of delicious creations from our Chefs will be paired with excellent wines for an unforgettable evening.

Time: 6pm
Reservations: Email to reserve your spot!

Let’s check out the menu!


Butter-poached South African Lobster Tail Lobster Bisque, Imoya, and Saffron Cream
Buffalo Samosas Potato, Sweet Corn, and [Read more…]

What Are Your Favorite Disney World Hotel Restaurants?

I love hearing from you about your favorite restaurants and experiences in Disney parks and resorts. So as I gear up for another trip to Walt Disney World in the very near future, I’m sharing with you a few of my favorite restaurants at Disney resorts (aka: hotels)…and hoping you’ll share right back!

Beaches and Cream

What are your favorite Disney World Hotel Restaurants, and why? What are the spots that keep you coming back, visit after visit?

I’ll tell you mine, and then I want to hear all about yours…

Beaches and Cream

If you know me, you know that Beaches and Cream Soda Shoppe is truly my go-to place (and it’s my parents’ go-to place…chances are you’ll see AJ’s Dad and AJ’s Mom there if you’re in Disney World at the same time they are)!

Nestled between the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts, this table service restaurant — which does NOT accept reservations — is just like the soda fountains that you grew up going to (or hearing about)! This is THE place at Disney for burgers and ice cream treats, like my absolute favorite, the No Way Jose.

The ooey gooey peanut butter and hot fudge confection is pretty amazing, don’t you think?

No Way Jose

Flying Fish Cafe

The Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn consistently wows me every time I dine there. With unique decor, awesome service, and inventive food, this spot currently holds one of the top spots on my list of hotel restaurants…and never disappoints.

Whether you choose seafood or a land lover’s option, you will leave happy! And fun desserts, like this Trio of Concession Sweets (a nice tribute to their spot on the Boardwalk) are just [Read more…]

Disney World Crème Brûlée Gallery

I’ve had numerous requests from folks asking for a round-up of where you can get Crème Brûlée in Disney World, and finally we’ve put this gallery together!

Garde Manger Caramelizes Creme Brulee

For those who haven’t indulged before, classic Crème Brûlée is a dessert created from baked and cooled custard topped with (usually) blowtorched sugar forming a candied crust.

Disney pastry chefs have bent over backwards figuring out how to put their own personal touch on this decadent recipe… Let’s take a look at some of the interesting ones!

Please note that Disney dessert menus change all the time, so some of these may no longer be available on your visit.

Be sure to let us know in the comments below about your favorite Crème Brûlée desserts in Disney restaurants!!

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Check out Portobello‘s yummy version! The white chocolate shavings really made this dessert!

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Pistachio Crème Brûlée

A classic at Tony’s Town Square in the Magic Kingdom is this beloved Pistachio Crème Brûlée. And I fully agree with it’s cult favorite status — it was delicious!

pistachio creme brulee

Pistachio Creme Brulee

Key Lime and Regular Crème Brûlée Duo

Narcoossee’s serves this dessert as a duo — two for one deal!! The true winner is the Key Lime — it’s the perfect dose of tart and tangy with the [Read more…]