Review: Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

You’re in for a treat today, as we visit one of my most favorite Disney World restaurants —
Sanaa.

Sanaa is truly a hidden Disney treasure, and while I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy it, honestly, I hope the word never totally gets out!

I know that may sound selfish, but Sanaa is a favorite of mine for many, many reasons. In addition to a number of truly exquisite meals in the past, I also appreciate the quiet atmosphere. And it’s never been difficult to get an Advance Dining Reservation here — even at the last minute.

There had been some changes in the menu since I visited last, so I was anxious to book dinner at Sanaa on a recent trip to see if it’s still just as wonderful as it’s always been.

Atmosphere

Sanaa is a hidden gem in part because it’s actually somewhat hidden. To get to Sanaa, you’ll need to head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Once there, look for signs pointing you toward Kidani Village, the Disney Vacation Club portion of the resort.

Outside of Sanaa

Outside of Sanaa

As with all of the other restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa has been thoughtfully named. The word “sanaa” is Swahili for “art”. Step up to the restaurant’s entrance, and you start to see why. Hand woven trays decorate the area behind the podium and beautiful beads line the counter.

Sanaa check-in

Sanaa check-in

Be on the lookout for this guy though. (We’re talking about the Hidden Mickey…not the bird. :-) ) You’ll catch a an artistically rendered glimpse or two of him throughout the area.

hidden mickey 3 at entrance Sanaa

Hidden Mickey at Sanaa’s Entrance

One of my favorite touches are the African Proverbs that you’ll find on walls throughout Kidani Village. Think about it for a while!

decor Sanaa

African Proverb and Beads

While you wait for your table — and the wait isn’t likely to be long — you’ll get your first glimpse of Sunset Savanna. Keep your eyes peeled. The area is home to dozens of birds and animals, including gazelles, zebras, cranes, ostriches, and more. And right outside THESE windows, you my get to see a tortoise or two.

waiting area hallway Sanaa

Windows in Sanaa’s Waiting Area

En route to your table, you’ll pass the Lounge. This is one of my favorite spots to relax and unwind.

Bar area Sanaa

Bar Area

Because it’s opened continuously from 11:30 to midnight, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a meal at one of those in-between times, or you just want to meet friends for a quiet night cap.

bar area 2 Sanaa

Bar Seating

This is a detail that I love about Animal Kingdom Lodge (and most spots in Disney, actually) — no space is left untouched. Check out the rich detail on the ceiling in the bar area, which provides a subtle sense of definition…

ceiling detail Sanaa

Ceiling Detail in the Bar

…And this is what I mean. Once you enter the main restaurant, you leave the “building” of the entrance, and you’re under the canopy of a sprawling acacia tree.

overview of restaurant Sanaa

Atmosphere

It blends beautifully with the wide-arched picture windows, and melds the interior with the exterior.

Request a window-side table, and you’ll enjoy great views of the savanna as you dine.

Seating and View Sanaa

Window Seating

Chances are pretty good that you’ll even see a few of these guys.

And it’s a good time to note — the ever-changing parade of wildlife outside the windows is a great diversion for little people in your group! There are few better ways to distract a toddler than by pointing out real life zebras!

view 1 Sanaa

Sanaa’s View

Seating is broken up into small alcoves, and tables and chairs are fashioned with the same artisan detail as other surroundings. The mismatched chairs give the space an eclectic feel.

seating 2 Sanaa

Seating and Atmosphere

Padded booths also offer a cozy option, if you prefer extra comfort to views.

Seating 1 Sanaa

Seating and Rich Ceiling and Lighting Detail

hidden mickey 2 Sanaa

Another Mickey and Round Booth Seating

And remember when I said to keep an eye out for Mickey sightings? :-)

hidden mickey 1 -- on table Sanaa

Hidden Mickey on a Table

Because the restaurant is decorated to resemble an East African spice market, you’ll find some interesting elements. I always stop to take in this [Read more…]

News! Food Trucks Arrive Disney World’s Downtown Disney in Early November

As we announced earlier, Downtown Disney Orlando will soon debut mobile eateries as the popular Walt Disney World district joins the Food Truck craze!

But now we have a DATE RANGE (yes, this is how it works) to look forward to! In early November, Disney will welcome four new food trucks to Downtown Disney’s West Side (near Cirque de Soleil and House of Blues).

Let’s get to the food…

Superstar Catering truck

“Favorite of the Stars of Disney’s Hollywood Studios,” this truck will feature hearty meatball variations: a spinach and feta beef meatball sandwich; turkey sausage and golden raisin meatballs on polenta; and a lamb meatball flatbread with tzatziki. For the kids (or kids at heart!) — meatball sliders!

Lamb Meatball Flatbread

With a stainless steel exterior accented in teal, tan and orange, this truck will be reminiscent of a 1930s Art Deco diner.

Namaste Café truck

“Tasty Explorations from Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” is the theme at this colorful truck! Designed with an Asian influence, guests will enjoy Sanaa-inspired food. We can’t wait to sample the BUTTER CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!, slow-cooked beef short ribs, and tandoori spiced shrimp. All dishes will be served with [Read more…]

Review: Sanaa at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

On a recent whirlwind trip to Disney World, I planned to get together with friends for lunch. I had a hankering for the totally incredible Butter Chicken at Sanaa, so I couldn’t wait to head over there for lunch!

This wonderful restaurant, located at Animal Kingdom Lodge‘s Kidani Village, still flies under the radar. However, in the past, it has been the location of some of my very favorite meals.

And, let me tell you dear DFB readers, it is going to be VERY difficult to edit this review considering how much I want a big ol’ plate of that Butter Chicken right now. I had half a twix bar in preparation, but I don’t think it’s going to do the trick.

That said…we’re off to the races!

Atmosphere

You’ll find Sanaa at Kidani Village, the portion of Animal Kingdom Lodge that’s a Disney Vacation Club property.

Outside of Sanaa

The same care and attention to detail that went into the decor of Animal Kingdom Lodge is at play here as well. The soaring lobby greets you with colorful African decor and a thatched roof! I love it!

Kidani Village Lobby

Once you get to the restaurant downstairs, you’ll see why they chose the name. The word “sanaa” is Swahili for art, and is the perfect description of this beautiful spot that marries handcrafted artisan touches with food that’s prepared with care and tradition.

Sanaa is open for lunch and dinner. We suggest lunch or an early dinner for first timers — more about that in a minute.

Sanaa Hours

The entrance features some beautiful, handcrafted African artwork. The beads that line the podium are gorgeous.

Entrance

Look closely at the mats on the wall and you’ll likely spy a Hidden Mickey! We have two more hidden mickeys for you in this post — can you find [Read more…]