In December, we paid a visit to Animal Kingdom’s newest watering hole, Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks.
Now, all the talk about Animal Kingdom these days surrounds the upcoming nighttime activities like the Rivers of Light spectacular, which will extend the park into an all day experience later this spring. (And obviously we can’t wait for the arrival of Tiffins — Animal Kingdom’s first Signature Dining location — as well as the Nomad Lounge to open in conjunction with these new activities in 2016.)
But like I said, as excited as we are about all that future nighttime entertainment, we’re here to explore an exclusively early-morning experience: the recently refreshed Sunrise Cocktail menu at the Dawa Bar. While the Dawa Bar operates all day, this special menu of morning beverages is only available from 9:00 – 11:00 am.
Though morning pours aren’t new to the Dawa Bar (you may remember the Bloody Mary menu that was introduced in late 2014), we’re here to go over some changes with you, including an absentee from the Bloody Mary selections along with some fun new additions. (Did somebody say “Mimosas”?!)
2014 brought a renovation and slight relocation to the Dawa Bar as well as the aforementioned morning menu of Bloody Marys.
Other than that, though, things have held pretty steady at this African-themed lounge over the years. It still sits right beside the Tusker House check-in area.
And like everywhere else in Animal Kingdom, the theming is truly immersive.
Seating is abundant, from the fun mismatched stools at the bar to the tables and chairs surrounding it all offering some much welcome shade, especially in the hot summer months.
And here’s a Dawa Bar bonus: nearby entertainment! If you hit it at the right time, you may have a great spot to watch and listen to the musical acts, like the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe.
It’s truly a festive area, and since the vast majority of guests plan a trip on Africa’s Kilmajaro Safaris for first thing in the morning, it’s a really popular place to start the day.
Though we’re here to explore the morning sips, we should note that the all-day menu has remained much the same since our last visit. New wine additions include a Glenelly Chardonnay while Beso del Sol Sangria replaces the Superfruit Sangria — you’ll find the Beso del Sol around several locations on Disney property.
The beer selection has also received a bit of an update.
With a glimpse at the Specialty Cocktails menu, you’ll notice the Tikiti Punch has replaced the Harambe Cooler. That said, the Specialty Cocktails rotate here on occasion, so this may not be the last we’ve seen of the Cooler.
Also worth noting, the prices on the menu reflect the drinks being served in African Mask Tumblers. You can still request your drinks without the souvenir glass, bringing them into the more typical cocktail price range at Disney World, from around $10 – 11.50 or so.
And now to the reason for our morning visit: the previous Bloody Mary Cocktails menu that featured four versions of the popular drink has been updated and renamed as the Sunrise Cocktails menu. Those who enjoyed the creative selection of Bloody Marys will be glad to know that three of the four variations remain: the Dawa Bloody Mary, the Discovery Island Bloody Mary and the African Bloody Mary (the Asian Bloody Mary is the one that got the boot).
But we all know that when it comes to Bloody Marys, there isn’t a whole lot of middle ground — people tend to either love ’em or loathe ’em. So now there are a few more flavors to suit other tastes with a new selection of Mimosas! The X-Fusion Mimosa is the closest to a traditional mimosa, made with Graham Beck Brut Rose Sparkling Wine, X-Fusion Liqueur and orange juice. We’ll be taking a closer look at the two other new choices: the Watermelon Mimosa and the Tusker Beermosa. (Beermosa?!??!??!)
The Watermelon Mimosa is, first of all, gorgeous.
Served in a plastic champagne flute, it’s a mixture of watermelon purée and Graham Beck Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine. This sparkling wine hails from South Africa and lends its own fruity flavors including cherry and raspberry, which blend wonderfully with the purée. The watermelon is absolutely the most pronounced flavor, but the other fruits offer a bit of pop as well.
The large strawberry garnish is also a nice touch.
The most unusual of the mimosa additions, though, is the Tusker Beermosa.
This blend of Tusker Lager Beer with orange and pineapple juices strikes me as more of a shandy than a mimosa, but hey… if this allows me to call a shandy a breakfast cocktail, then who am I to complain 😉 ?
This one was surprisingly good! Personally speaking, though, I’m not a huge lager fan, so I asked if I could switch it out with a different beer selection. But I was informed I could only switch it out with the other “Domestic” option, the St. George Lager.
In essence, though, it basically comes across like a “heavier” mimosa, with the pineapple and orange juices giving it a refreshing spin… even in the early morning hours!
Though it’s an old standby, it’s fun to see that the Dawa Bar is still serving up some new creations that are well worth a try. Though the rest of the day still gives you a chance to enjoy some of the classic offerings like the Sugar Cane Mojito or Lost on Safari, you may find the Sunrise Cocktails to be a great reason to make Dawa one of your first stops and say “Cheers” to a beautiful morning at Animal Kingdom!
Will you be visiting the Dawa Bar early enough to try a Sunrise Cocktails? Let us know in the comments below!
Reporting by Tina F., Wendy, and AJ