Hello, friends! Are you ready for a WILD dining adventure? (Sorry for the bad pun, but it feels necessary when writing about Animal Kingdom.)
We recently decided to head over to Pizzafari, as they’ve made some slight changes to their “Family-Style Dining.” Not familiar? Don’t fret! We’ll walk you through everything! But essentially, in the evenings Pizzafari offers a special menu as part of an all you care to enjoy option. We enjoyed it when it first rolled out, but with a price increase and new options, would we still feel the same?
Pizzafari is located on Discovery Island, as you head towards Africa. You’ll want to head inside to check in at a special podium for Family-Style-Dining.
We should note that Family-Style Dining is now available from 5-7 PM, whereas previously it lasted until 8 PM. It’s also important to know Reservations are available online through My Disney Experience for this meal, and recommended (Don’t worry, it still counts as a Quick Service Meal if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan!). However, the Cast Members let us know if they have availability, they’ll accept walk-ups. It’s also good to note that along with the special family-style menu, the full Pizzafari menu is still available during these hours, should you want to order off of that.
Upon checking in, we were given the Family-Style Dining Menu, as well as a number for our table.
We then placed our order and paid with a Cast Member at the designated register, and were escorted to our table. (Don’t worry, we’ll go over the full menu and changes. Keep reading!) Currently, the Family-Style Dining is $22.99 + tax for adults and $12.99 + tax for children ages 3-9, or one Quick-Service Dining Credit.
Our table was located in one of the many colorful rooms at Pizzafari, where it appeared this room was reserved for guests enjoying the Family-Style Dining. This is different from normally dining here, as you’d usually just pick any available table you’d like.
Another big difference with the Family-Style Dining is that a Cast Member will bring you your food, as opposed to normally picking it up from the Counter. Speaking of food, let’s eat!
The Family-Style Dining Menu is completely different from the normal offerings and, as we mentioned, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy.
When ordering, everyone will receive both salads (Caesar and Caprese) as well as your choice of pizza — cheese, pepperoni, sausage and pepperoni, or plant-based. We loved this update, as previously everyone got Pepperoni. The size and amount of pizzas vary on the number in your party, and if your group will be getting multiple pizzas, you’re welcome to choose different toppings.
You will also choose two of the following: Baked Ziti, Creamy Pesto with Chicken, Meatballs with Marinara, or Garlic Knots. This is different from last time we visited, as there were fewer options and everyone received all of them. Additionally, everyone receives Miniature Cannolis for dessert.
A non-alcoholic beverage, such as a soda, is included with the price, or you can pay extra to add an alcoholic drink (Those on the Disney Dining Plan can get an alcoholic beverage included per usual, but it’s not all you care to enjoy. 😉 ).
Shortly after sitting, our salads arrived!
The Caesar Salad was exactly what you’d expect from a quick-service Caesar Salad…meaning it was fine, but nothing mind-blowing. The lettuce was crisp and fresh and there was ample amounts of cheese, but it felt a little under-dressed. Still, having a little something green on our table is always a nice option.
A big difference from our previous visit to Family-Style Dining, was the portion sizes. Our Caesars were much smaller this go around — that said, we aren’t complaining! Considering this is an all-you-care-to-enjoy experience, you can simply ask one of the friendly Cast Members floating around for more salad (or anything else you might like). And this way, they’re probably cutting down on food waste. WIN-WIN.
Meanwhile the Caprese Salad was a winner again this year! Big chunks of mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and a sweet balsamic made this simple dish one of our favorites of the night.
If we HAD to change one thing, it would be to add a bit more fresh basil, but honestly, this is really tasty. We also love that it’s pre-cut to make sharing with the fam a breeze.
Shortly after salads, the rest of our meal arrived! We chose the Sausage and Pepperoni pizza, which came out looking delicious!
Unlike the normal pizzas served here, these have hand-tossed crusts, made to order. Our pie was topped with an ample amount of gooey cheese, plus the meats, and was cooked perfectly. We really enjoyed the addition of the sausage, which added a slight amount of heat and lots of flavor.
Is this the best pizza you’ll ever have? Probably not. But it’s a big step up from the regular Quick Service pizza served here.
It’s also good to note, that if you finish your pizza and would like more, you can request different toppings! For example, we scarfed down our Sausage and Pepperoni, and then asked for a Cheese Pizza! It was really good — in fact, we almost liked it more than the meat-lover’s because there was SO.MUCH.CHEESE.
For our first of the other dishes, we selected the Baked Ziti.
This was surprisingly tasty! It had the right consistency for ziti — often times it falls apart if not cooked properly. We also enjoyed the sauce, which had a slight sweetness thanks to the tomatoes. Our only critique is that it could use a little more cheese on the inside. That said, it’s simple and yummy and should please just about everyone in the family.
We also opted to try the Meatballs with Marinara.
These were fine and had good flavor, but they were a little on the dry side. The sauce was good for Quick-Service, however next time we’d likely opt to try the Creamy Pesto with Chicken for our second dish in this “course.” That said, the meatballs aren’t bad, and your kids will more than likely enjoy them.
It’s important to know while you can request more of these dishes, you can’t switch your items the way you can with the pizza toppings. So in our case, we could have ordered more Ziti or Meatballs, but couldn’t have asked for Garlic Knots or Pesto Chicken.
We should also note that you can get refills on your (non-alcoholic) beverages while enjoying dinner. The Cast Members kindly allowed me to mix up my drink — I initially ordered a Smart Water, but when I was done, the Cast Member brought me an Iced Tea.
Last but not least: dessert. Once again, the dessert is Miniature Cannolis.
While these aren’t exactly the most authentic cannoli, they are pretty tasty! We enjoyed the crispy shell and drizzle of chocolate. The creamy filling was just the right amount of sweet to end the night! We loved that they are mini, so each person can have their own (or two)! And like anything else, if you want more, just ask! We’d never judge for getting seconds on dessert. 🙂
Nosh or Not:
Consider booking the Pizzafari Family-Style Dinner if:
- You’re on the Dining Plan and want to get the most out of your Quick-Service Dining Credits.
- You have pickier eaters or kids who will really enjoy Italian cuisine.
- You want a more relaxing Quick-Service experience, where the food comes to you and you can leisurely enjoy your meal.
Skip the Pizzafari Family-Style Dinner if:
- You don’t want to pay over $22 per person (plus alcohol) for a Quick Service Meal.
- You have more adventurous palettes, in which case you’re better off trying Quick-Service spots like Satuli Canteen or the Harambe Market.
- You’re in a rush, and don’t want to spend 45 minutes to an hour eating.
Once again we were impressed with the food and service at the Pizzafari Family-Style Dining. The dishes were quite good for a quick-service Italian spot, with the Caprese Salad and Pizzas being the table favorites.
While there isn’t anything overly exciting on the menu, it’s sure to be a meal that kiddos and adults alike will enjoy. It’s a great use of a Quick-Service credit, considering it’s over $22 per person out of pocket (more if you choose an alcoholic beverage). Granted, you do receive far more food than an average Quick-Service meal, so that may justify the expense.
Overall, this is a great option for a Quick-Service dinner at Animal Kingdom, and one we’re glad they kept around! While it may not be something we do frequently, we certainly will be back from time to time.
For more Quick Service dining spots we enjoy, check out this DFB Guide Video!
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Have you been to the Pizzafari Family-Style Dinner? Let us know about your experience in the comments!