Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our FAVORITE resort hotels when it comes to all things FOOD.
There are some simply incredible restaurants here to choose from and we totally recommend you check this resort out, even if you aren’t staying here!
Victoria Falls Lounge
We’re going to be starting our Animal Kingdom Lodge food tour today at Victoria Falls Lounge. This is located right alongside Boma. You’ll typically find guests here enjoying a beverage or a light snack while they wait for their reservation for Boma, but we think it’s worth a trip all on its own!
Since it’s so close to Boma and Jiko, you’ll typically find drinks at Victoria Falls that you can also order at these table service restaurants. So, if you can’t get a reservation, you can still enjoy the beverages! One of our favorites is the Victoria Falls Mist.
Note that this drink, which takes its name from the bar, has recently disappeared from the menu. But since it was kind of the “go-to” drink at this location, we suspect the bartenders are happy to still mix it up if it is, indeed, gone from the menu. This is a very light and refreshing beverage, which mixes Van der Hum Tangerine Liqueur, Melon and Banana Liqueurs, Sweet-and-Sour, and Sprite.
Pool Bars: Maji Pool Bar and Uzima Springs Pool Bar
Each of the resorts’ two main sections, Jambo House and Kidani Village, have their own pool bar so guests can sip on a refreshing beverage on a hot Florida day. The Maji Pool Bar is located in Kidani Village…
…while the Uzima Springs Pool Bar is located at Jambo House!
Both bars are great spots to relax on your day off from the parks and enjoy a cold beverage or two. The best part about these quiet pool bars is that you DON’T have to be a guest at Animal Kingdom Lodge to stop by! On our last visit, we sipped on the Safari Mudslide.
These bars are known to switch up their seasonal specialties often, making it a new experience every time we visit!
The Mara is our next stop on our Animal Kingdom Lodge tour. This will be your “to go” stop for quick breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
But don’t let the “fast-casual” label fool you: this is a GEM when it comes to tasty Disney food, especially desserts!
One of our favorite desserts is the Zebra Domes! These are the same beloved desserts that can be found at Boma but you can get THESE without a table service reservation! These little domes pack some massive flavor with an Amarula Cream Liquor mousse filling, sponge cake base, and white chocolate coating.
Another favorite treat of ours is the Nyala Brownie.
BONUS POINTS for this treat coming in a Mickey shape! This peanut butter brownie has taken on many forms over the years, and has disappeared and reappeared a few times. You get a dense, fudgy brownie with a metric ton of peanut butter frosting on top. It’s pretty amazing.
If you see it in the display case, GRAB IT! You’ll be glad you did.
We’re moving on now to the three main table service restaurants in Animal Kingdom Lodge. All three of these restaurants offer free behind-the-scenes tours, giving guests a glimpse at the inspiration behind and design of the three restaurants. Definitely worth considering even if you don’t have a reservation at that restaurant! The first of the table service restaurants we’ll talk about is Sanaa.
Located in Kidani Village, this table service lunch and dinner location also serves up a counter-service breakfast!
If you dine at Sanaa for lunch or dinner, you will be in for an amazing experience — the windows overlook the Savanna with animals walking by as you dine! If you want the very best views of the Savanna, we recommend you make a lunch reservation so you can see the animals in full daylight. Once it gets dark, it’s tougher to spot the critters outside!
There are a few standout menu items we have to mention! The first is the Bread Service. We feel like we’ve told everyone we know about this must-try app. This is a standout dish at Sanaa, complete with Indian Naan bread and an assortment of flavorful dips!
The dips that you can choose from include Red Chile Sambal, Cucumber Raita, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coconut Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, or Tamarind Chutney. Can’t decide? YOU CAN GET THEM ALL (totally what we always do!).
OF COURSE, we have to mention their ridiculously good Butter Chicken! We like to call this dish “heaven in a bowl” because it is jam-packed with SO much flavor! It’s traditionally a combination of butter, cream, tomato puree, garam masala, and other spices, resulting in a super-rich but super delicious meal. It can be ordered as a sort of sampler entree where you choose one item from a list of meat and seafood simmered dishes, including Butter Chicken, one choice from a variety of vegetarian slow-cooked options, as well as a bowl of Basmati Rice.
It’s seriously the standout entree and we have to fight with ourselves EVERY time we go to Sanaa to try other things on the menu (but our hearts will forever and always belong to the Butter Chicken).
And for dessert, we’re giving ALL of the gold stars to the Spice Trade Candy Bar.
We’ve had BAD “candy bars” at other restaurants, but this one is a sure winner — it’s a Coconut, Apricot, Caramel, Pistachio, and Cashew Bar covered in Milk Chocolate, and topped with Chai Cream, Pistachio Crumb, and Apricot Gelee. Whew! Think of it as the most luxurious Snickers Bar you’ll ever eat.
Our final two restaurants are both in the Jambo House section of Animal Kingdom Lodge. First up is Boma! This buffet-style restaurant is a fan-favorite and offers some really unique African-inspired eats.
Their breakfast buffet is a fun mix of traditional American-style dishes as well as African dishes!
Some of the more African-inspired breakfast options include Turkey Bobotie. For the kiddos, there are Simba & Nala waffles, and we love their goat cheese scrambled eggs and pecan praline bread pudding!
For lunch and dinner, everyone in your party should find something they’ll fall in love with! They have a delicious rotating assortment of soups, including butternut squash soup and chicken corn chowder.
There should be multiple varieties for you to choose from when you dine!
While this buffet appeals to those with a more adventurous palette, there are plenty of options for pickier eaters too, especially the kiddos who will find plenty of ‘mainstream’ options (things like spaghetti, chicken nuggies, and mac and cheese, of course!).
Another reason why we love eating at Boma is their Jungle Juice! Also known as POG Juice, this Disney World classic beverage appears in multiple resorts under various aliases (it’s known as Moonshine over at Trail’s End restaurant at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort!).
For dessert, this is another location in Animal Kingdom Lodge where you can get ZEBRA DOMES!
Last but CERTAINLY not least is Jiko. This is a signature restaurant, meaning that if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll be redeeming two of your table service credits here as opposed to just one per person. If you’re paying out of pocket, be prepared to dig a little deeper into those pockets here! This is a truly special dining experience.
Jiko gives off a much more romantic vibe than Sanaa and Boma, making this a perfect spot for date night!
If you aren’t looking for a full meal but still want to experience Jiko, you may be interested in their wine tastings! Did you know that Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to the largest selection of South African wines outside of South Africa? That means there’s PLENTY of African wine to try here, especially if you book a reservation for their Wine Tasting.
Offered every Wednesday, you get to sample a trio of wines selected by the sommeliers at Jiko. Reservations are highly recommended and there is a dress code!
But of course, there’s much more to Jiko than a wide selection of wines. They have SPECTACULAR food. One of the standout dishes has always been their Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with Mac and Cheese. A perfectly cooked steak covered in a rich red wine reduction over creamy mac is the stuff dreams are made of.
And pro-tip: if the side dish is different, ask for the KIDS’ mac and cheese with your filet! That’s the original version that made this dish a hit to begin with! While their menu has changed a bit over the years, you can always order that awesome kids’ mac and cheese as a side dish if you want to give it a taste. Just ask your server!
For the ultimate Animal Kingdom Lodge culinary experience, check out the Wanyama Safari. This tour is open to all guests — you don’t have to be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge to book it! Your evening begins with a pre-safari reception, and then you head out onto the Savanna for a special tour! After the safari, you’ll enjoy a multi-course dinner at Jiko.
Overall, Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great place to experience a variety of food options and dining experiences. We think it’s worth checking out even if you aren’t staying at the resort! It’s full of character and has lots of must-try items!
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What is your favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Let us know in the comments!