You might have seen Sanaa Lounge before, either on your way into Sanaa or on one of our reviews — like this one of Jiko’s Bain’s Barrel-Aged African Whiskey! But we’re going in to do a full review of JUST the Lounge and see what eats and drinks we can find there! Let’s get going!
To get to Sanaa Lounge, you’ll go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village (stop here to admire the cute lanterns tucked into their own cubbies)…
…go through the lobby and down the stairs at the back, and then into the entrance of Sanaa! It’s pretty tucked away, but the food here is worth the search! It can be a little tricky to get to Animal Kingdom Lodge since it’s located a little out of the way. Every Disney park has a bus that goes to the Lodge, and if you’re at Animal Kingdom it’s not too far of a drive! Just make sure you budget enough time for the bus ride if you’re coming from a different park, because — like Animal Kingdom itself — the Lodge is further out than most resorts.
Once you see the woven baskets on the wall, you’ll know you’ve made it!
Can you spot the hidden Mickey in the baskets? OK, so a lot of them could be considered hidden Mickeys…but we think the one on the far left made out of three darker brown baskets looks pretty convincing! But enough Mickey searching — let’s go inside!
Sanaa Lounge is currently open from 11:30AM to 11PM. For seating, the Lounge has two large tables — one with barstools and one with a booth and chairs — and the bar itself (although they were not seating guests at the bar when we went). The Lounge area is pretty small with just the two tables open right now. During lunch and dinner hours (11:30AM to 3PM for lunch and 5PM to 10PM for diner), the tables are reserved for dining guests. You can join the waitlist if you’re physically at the resort, and the tables are open to guests from 3PM to 5PM if there’s available room.
If there’s no room when you go, you’re not out of luck yet! You can still get drinks to go! You can make to-go orders between 11:30AM and 3PM and from 5PM to 10PM. During the 3PM to 5PM window between lunch and dinner hours, you can order from the appetizers menu as well! This menu is a limited version of the table-service restaurant Sanaa, since the kitchen is closed between meal times.
While you wait on available seating or a to-go order, you can pop outside to visit the Sunset Savanna, located just a few feet away from the entrance to Sanaa! There’s a lookout point with several benches, informational signs about the animals you’ll see, and usually a cast member there to answer questions you might have about the animals!
When we went out, we saw several Ankole cattle pretty close up — look at the size of their horns! A cast member informed us that the horns are made of a honeycomb-like structure inside, so they’re not quite as heavy as they look! In Sanaa there are tables right next to the windows so guests can watch the animals while they eat (one of our favorite things about this location aside from the phenomenal food!), but the Sanaa Lounge doesn’t have Savanna views, so make sure you visit the lookout before or after you go to see the animals while you’re there!
Once there’s available room, you can head back inside! The decor and theme of Sanaa Lounge was inspired by the spice markets in Africa, and the stone walls and thatched roof over the bar really make it feel like you’re at a market!
We sat back in the booth at the Lounge, and we thought the decor was cozy and warm, with some cubbies holding African artifacts and beautiful details on the tables. There’s also some killer ambient lighting here setting a really cozy vibe.
And guess what?? We found another hidden Mickey! They’re all over this place!
We were given a QR code to scan for the menu, so now we can move on to the real reason we’re here — snacks and drinks!!
We scanned the QR code for the menu, and we found some appetizers like Sanaa’s Indian-style Bread Service, Samosas, and the Salad Sampler…
…a BIG list of cocktails…
…a selection of beer, hard cider, and hard seltzer…
…and some non-alcoholic mocktails, including Pomegranate Lemonade, a Grapefruit Spritzer, Sparkling No-Jito, and Watermelon Lemonade!
There were a lot of tempting drinks! We chose the Malawi Mango Margarita and Bain’s Old Fashioned! Alright, you caught us, neither of these is actually on the menu…but you can still order them! First up is the Bain’s Old Fashioned!
Does the name sound familiar to you? If it does, you might be remembering Bain’s Barrel-Aged African Whiskey from Jiko — another restaurant in Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House). Since Jiko is still closed for now, the drink is available at Sanaa Lounge!
The drink is an old-fashioned with Bain’s Barrel-Aged African Whisky mixed in. It’s rung up as an old-fashioned with an up-charge for the whiskey, so it’ll cost you $18.
The next drink we ordered — also not on the menu, so just ask for it! — was the Malawi Mango Margarita (say that 10 times fast)!
This margarita is a frozen blend of Tequila, Van der Hum Tangerine Liqueur from South Africa, Mango Puree, and fresh lime juice. We thought it was super refreshing — an awesome pick if you’ve spent a hot day in the parks and need to cool down! There was a strong fruity taste, but it wasn’t too sweet, and the alcohol taste wasn’t overwhelming.
Overall, it was a really great drink for the summer! Like we said, it’s not on the menu, but if you know to ask for it, you can grab one for $14 at the Lounge!
Once we’d satisfied our thirst, we ordered two appetizers from the menu: the Indian-style Bread Service and the Samosas! If you haven’t tried Sanaa’s bread service, we think you have really been missing out. The one at Sanaa Lounge is the exact same, so we’d recommend getting one for sure! When the possibility for bread service is presented to us, we don’t say no!
The bread service comes with FIVE different kinds of bread and NINE — yes, you read that right — sauces and dips! The breads are Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kulcha, or Paneer Paratha. The many accompanying sauces are (1) Red Chile Sambal, (2) Cucumber Raita, (3) Coriander Chutney, (4) Mango Chutney, (5) Tomato-Date Jam, (6) Garlic Pickle, (7) Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle, (8) Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, or (9) Tamarind Chutney!
If you’re looking at the board, start at the white sauce on the top right — that’s the least spicy. If you go left and travel in a square around the board (ending at the red sauce diagonal from the white one) that’s the order of spiciness, ending at the hottest sauce! Pretty nifty, huh?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, we think you should get the bread service! Like, right now. We’ll wait. 😉 It’s delicious and so fun to try all the different combinations of bread and sauce! We especially loved the Spicy Naan, so we ordered an extra piece of it for an additional $2.50. The entire bread service itself (minus the up-charge for our extra Spicy Naan) was $19, which is $1 more than we paid last time.
But we weren’t quite satisfied yet, so we ordered the Samosas as well! And we were darn glad we did!
These are Potato and Pea Samosas, and they’re served with Tamarind and Mango Chutney (recognize those from the bread service sauces??). They’re also served with a pickled carrot and papaya atchara slaw!
We really enjoyed the whole dish! The samosas were served warm, and they were as crunchy as they look! The crisp pastry was a great contrast to the filling, which was a potato mash with a few peas.
The contrasting textures were delicious. Also, it wasn’t spicy, so if you’re trying to avoid the heat this is a good option! Both the sauces were from the mild side of the bread service, and the flavors added to the Samosas. You could add the Mango Chutney if you want a sweeter flavor, or go for the Tamarind Chutney if you’re looking for a sweet-and-sour taste.
The slaw sounded a little different, but we thought it was a great addition and added more crunch to the Samosas! We loved the tartness from the pickled veggies! Pro Tip: We’d recommend pairing the slaw with the Mango Chutney to mix the tart and sweet flavors!
It’s maybe a little hard to fit a bite with all three (Samosa, Chutney, and Slaw) into your mouth in one go, but the taste and textures all work together so well that we think you should try anyways! This dish is a plant-based appetizer, and it costs $9. The Samosas were pretty filling, so between that and the bread service, we were pretty stuffed!
What a lovely little place for a respite hiding in the middle of Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Nosh or Not
Make the trek to Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village for Sanaa Lounge if:
- You want to try the Sanaa bread service without having to make a table-service reservation (or you couldn’t GET a reservation — Sanaa is getting popular!)
- You’re looking for a quick bite and a drink, and you’re close to Animal Kingdom Lodge anyways
- You have extra time and want to enjoy some cocktails in a relaxed, unique atmosphere
Maybe pass on this one if:
- You don’t want to take the time to get all the way to Animal Kingdom Lodge
- You’ve had the bread service already and are going for something new
- You have kids with you who won’t appreciate some unique flavors like the ones we found in the bread service and won’t enjoy sitting around while you enjoy time in the lounge.
In our honest opinion, we think the Indian-style Bread Service IS worth the trip to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, whether you get it at Sanaa or at Sanaa Lounge. We’ve loved the bread and sauces every time we’ve had them, and it’s just so fun to try all the dips and breads! Although the bread at Tiffin’s is good as well, there’s really nothing else like the Sanaa bread service in Disney World. The drinks at Sanaa Lounge were delicious as well, but we probably wouldn’t go just for the drinks themselves. We thought the prices were about average for Disney World, and they were fair for the amount of food and quality drinks we got!
So why ISN’T everyone beating down Sanaa’s doors to visit the lounge? Well, Animal Kingdom Lodge really is quite a bit out of the way unless you’re already in Animal Kingdom or staying at the hotel. Also, the lounge is SMALL, only holding a couple tables. We can’t forget about those incredibly limited hours to score one of the two tables as well. With restrictions still limiting guests from sitting at the bar, it makes this lovely space not as functional as it was without restrictions.
The word seems to be out on Sanaa (we certainly didn’t help shouting from the rooftops how wonderful this spot is!). This location is growing in popularity and is often booked up when we’ve checked. If you’re itching to try the food here but couldn’t snag a table, the lounge is a great (albeit small) alternative. If you time your visit just right though, you might be able to enjoy a quiet, relaxing table in this wonderful alternative to a table at Sanaa proper.
We’ll keep exploring Disney World Restaurants, so follow DFB to find reviews of all the eats around the parks!
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Have you tried the Indian-style Bread Service yet? Let us know in the comments!