Top 8 Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The theming 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!

Mickey-Mouse-Tusker-House-417x625

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

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 theming 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

Oh, and did we mention that one of your fellow Tusker House visitors is MICKEY MOUSE?!?

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

See Your Favorite Disney Friends in Safari Garb

That’s right! Tusker House offers Character Dining to Animal Kingdom guests, and Mickey and friends (Donald Duck among them) are dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!

Nomad Lounge

Just before the bridge into Pandora — The World of AVATAR, there is an oasis by the name of Nomad Lounge.

Nomad Lounge

Nomad Lounge

Love of travel is the theme for this beautiful bar, inspired by the adventures of the Disney Imagineers who designed the park itself.

Travel Banners

Travel Banners

Nomad Lounge Menu Intro Page

Nomad Lounge Menu Intro Page

Indoor and outdoor seating are both plentiful and beautiful.

Nomad Lounge

Nomad Lounge

Nomad Lounge Patio

Nomad Lounge Patio

While the small bites menu doesn’t blow us away, the drinks — both cocktails and mocktails — are creative, unique, and refreshing, and unlike offerings you’ll find elsewhere in Disney World.

Nomad lounge Specialty Cocktails

Nomad lounge Specialty Cocktails

We love the Hightower Rocks — a watermelon twist on your typical margarita!

Hightower Rocks

Hightower Rocks

Make sure your inner traveler plans a visit to Nomad Lounge!

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…]

Halloween Treats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Frightfully good Halloween treats have materialized at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! These themed desserts add extra fun to a touring day at one of our favorite parks in Disney World!

Bat Cupcake

Halloween Treats All Over the Park!

Head over to Tusker House in the Harambe Village section of Animal Kingdom to find Mini Pumpkin Muffins, a Spider Web Brownie, and Lemon Bars with Pumpkin Decor. These will be part of the lunch and dinner buffet at Tusker House!

Next door at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, you’ll find Pumpkin Muffins, Ghoulish Krispy Treats, Spider Web Brownies, and, my favorite — the Bat Cupcake! I’m so glad these are back this year!!! Click the link to check out my review.

Over at Camp Minnie-Mickey, you’ll be able to check out the Witches Funnel Cake at Camp Snacks Kiosk and [Read more…]

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 Advanced 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 other castle restaurant (the first being Cinderella’s Royal Table, of course!). Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the relative novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland are still a hot ticket in Walt Disney World since the expanded land’s 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 (the original or the live-action version!). You almost expect to look down and find your plate come to life!

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, Be Our Guest was the first place in formerly-dry Magic Kingdom to order beer and wine, and that added to the location’s novelty.

So, what to do if you can’t get a reservation at Be Our Guest?  [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…]

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…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Should I Book a Disney Character Meal?

Dining at Walt Disney World is very often an experience rather than just a meal. It’s become a rite of passage to dine with characters during a visit to Disney — and there’s stiff competition to secure Advance Dining Reservations at some of these table-service restaurants.

Mickey strikes a pose!

Meeting Cinderella, rubbing Pooh’s tummy, hugging Mickey Mouse, and posing with Chip and Dale are some of the memorable moments that can be discovered while dining at Character Meals.

Tigger Lounges and Signs an Autograph Book at the Plaza Inn

But is a character meal right for your group? On one hand, adults and kids alike enjoy meeting characters from Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, Cinderella’s Castle, and more! Yet on the other, character meals can be costly — both in time and money!

We’ve been to countless meals in which Disney characters hobnob with guests, and now we can help you determine if a character meal fits well into your next Disney vacation!

Chef Mickey serves up fun and food at the Contemporary Resort!

In our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an informative section on character meals. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2013 for a limited time! Your vacation is an investment and we want you to have the best trip possible!

So let’s take a look at whether a character meal makes sense for YOUR family…

Should I book a character meal?

Let’s get right to some important dining considerations that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to help you plan your meals.

Meet the princesses at a character meal!

1. Do you have kids who may be afraid of characters?

Character meals can be a good place for children to get to know the Disney characters. However if one (or more) of your children are not fond of the characters then consider dining at a restaurant with a fun theme instead.

Not sure if your kiddo hates characters? Here’s how to find out without too much trauma: [Read more…]

Review: Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Editor’s Note: Tusker House now offers a character meal experience for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It’s been a LONG time since we’ve talked about Tusker House, so let’s get down to business!

I consider this sprawling restaurant within Disney’s Animal Kingdom to be one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to Disney World character meals.

Yep — Tusker House is known for its bounty of African dishes, but it’s also a character dining destination.

We have a ton of yummy pictures to share with you, so let’s go!

Atmosphere

Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite Disney parks due to its truly incredible themeing, and Tusker House takes this one step further.

Tusker House – Outside View

It’s one of the Disney restaurants that doesn’t just incorporate theme on the surface — I could spend hours exploring all of the specialty decor, finishes, and props Imagineers have added to this massive restaurant.

You’ll enter the restaurant through the village of Harambe in Animal Kingdom’s Africa, and Tusker House serves as Harambe’s “open air” market on the edge of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve. The podium for the restaurant was outside during our visit. Once you check in, you have the option to wait at a few outdoor tables that are leftover from the days when Tusker House was a counter-service restaurant.

Outdoor Waiting area

Also, next door is one of our favorite watering holes — the Dawa Bar. This is a great spot to [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Great Disney World Restaurants for Boys

Much fuss is made about the ballyhooed princess dining experiences at Disney World. So much fuss, that parents of young boys sometimes find themselves wondering, “What does Disney have that’s special for me?”

The down and dirty dino loving boy will be right at home at the T-Rex Cafe.

Well, never fear sports fans; I’m here to tell you that while, yes, the girly girls are pretty visible in the parks (it’s hard to miss the Florida sun glinting off a tiara), there are plenty of Disney dining experiences where the men in your family will feel right at home.

Let’s break it down …

Character Meals

There are 10 different character dining venues at Walt Disney World proper. Of these, only three and a half of them have princess themeing. The rest are totally gender-neutral.

Boys are certainly welcome at any of the princess meals, and many boys love them just as much as the other character meals (PLUS they’re given a neato plastic sword at the Royal Table); but honestly, they do skew more heavily toward girl interests.

All of the other character dining restaurants appeal equally to boys and girls. Your best options for boys in the character dining department are the following (characters are always subject to change): [Read more…]

Disney Restaurant Photo Packages Now Part Of PhotoPass+. Is It Worth It?

We can’t wait to share some of the great new dining info that you’ll find in our updated e-Book — The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2012! In honor of the grand launch, let’s dig in!

New PhotoPass+ Option

For starters, we’ll take a look at the recently released PhotoPass+ option! It’s a new way to get all of your PhotoPass, Disney Attraction, and Dining photos in one handy package. But is it worth it just because it gives you access to your dining photos?

A Photo Package at Cinderella's Royal Table. Add Your Family Here.

Of course we analyzed this for you! The $199.95 package can be a good option for guests that hail down lots of PhotoPass photographers or tend to really want to show folks back home what they looked like on Test Track, however it’s not [Read more…]

“You Know You’re Dining in Disney When…” Part Two!

We freely admit that our first “You Know You’re Eating in Disney World When…” post amused us so much that we had to do a Part 2! After all, where else can we dine with a beloved mouse in the kitchen!

Our “You know you’re eating in Disney World when…” thoughts were bountiful, and we’d love to hear yours too! Who knows…there may just have to be a third post in the series!

Leave us a comment with your personal “You know you’re eating in Disney World or Disneyland when…” experience! ;-)

You Know You’re Dining In Disney When…

Your beverage glows in the dark!

Disney's Blue Glow-Tini

You find it appropriate to have your server correct your manners (and, frankly, get kind of annoyed when they don’t!).

Take your elbows off the table!

You order ketchup and have multiple bottles delivered to your table by a dozen patrons seated near you.

Whispering Canyon Cafe Ketchup Delivery

There’s a train [Read more…]