You’re sleeping on some of the most DELICIOUS food in Disney World 😱, but don’t worry…we can fix that!
You likely know Animal Kingdom for its rides and experiences. We do really enjoy a nice day in this park. Seeing the animals (especially when there are new babies out!), riding Expedition Everest 3 times in a row, taking a walk around the Tree of Life to admire the carvings — there’s no shortage of ways to have fun in the park. We also love exploring Pandora: The World of Avatar, which has one of our favorite places to grab a bite to eat — Satu’li Canteen! Come along with us to see if Satu’li is still holding up to its reputation as one of the best quick service spots in this park.
Satu’li Canteen is a Quick Service spot that serves up food you might not expect to find in a theme park! It’s themed to be the former RDA (Resources Development Administration) mess hall, but is now “a peaceful dining facility adorned with Na’vi art and cultural items,” as Disney puts it.
The whole restaurant is underneath a Quonset-hut structure and there’s actually a lot of outdoor seating here! Wondering what on earth is a Quonset-hut? 🧐 Well, according to the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation from Washington state, it’s a type of building design that dates back to 1941 and was created by engineers at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.
The basic structure came with “came with multiple pieces of curved steel ribs for the frame; a one-inch tongue-and-groove plywood floor; wood fiber insulation between an outer shell of corrugated metal and an inner lining of Masonite; plus doors, windows, and a chimney.” Essentially it was a prefabricated structure that became in high demand from a few different military branches. The more ya know!
These tables are first come, first served, like most other Quick Service spots in Disney World.
There is also a bunch of seating inside, where you can find the Na’vi details we mentioned before. This is a great spot to refuel in the AC! (Ahhh how we love you air conditioning!)
You can find standard tables in here, as well as some booths.
From what we’ve experienced lately, there’s usually a decent amount of seating available inside, but keep in mind that crowd levels can impact this.
There’s an open grilling station that allows you to see into the kitchen, so you know that they’re actually cooking the food right there.
Since this is a Quick Service spot, there are areas for you to get your own soft drinks…
…as well as tea and coffee.
You will also find condiments near the drink station.
And, there are stations in the restaurant where you can dump your trash, put away your dirty dishes and utensils, and drop your tray.
Alright, enough about the atmosphere. Let’s take a look at what’s on the menu!
The first thing to note is that Satu’li Canteen is essentially only available through Mobile Order right now unless you are paying with cash. If you are paying with cash, then you can ask a Cast Member to assist you. But they do encourage Mobile Ordering (as do many locations throughout Disney World).
The menu here has been created from “Pandora’s natural abundance,” so it has some unique options. They’re known for their Cheeseburger Pods and their bowls, which have several different variations. You can see the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods listed in the menu below — these are Bao Buns filled with ground beef and some other items!
In the bowls, you can get Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef, Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken, or Chili-Garlic Shrimp with your choice of base and sauce.
When Mobile Ordering, you can see all of the options for your base and your sauce. For your base, you can choose between Red and Sweet Potato Hash, Noodles, Rice and Beans, a Hearty Salad, or no base. For your sauce, there’s Charred Green Onion Vinaigrette, Black Bean Vinaigrette, Creamy Herb Sauce, or no sauce.
You can also customize your bowl by removing certain items it automatically comes with, like Boba Balls and Vegetable Slaw, as well as picking the meat temperature if you select the beef. And, you can specify if you want things on the side.
There is also a plant-based bowl available with Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu.
For the kids, there are smaller bowls available that qualify as Disney Check Meals.
There are also items for kids like a Cheeseburger Steamed Pod, a Cheese Quesadilla, and a “Teylu” which is an All-Beef Hot Dog Wrapped in Dough.
For dessert, you can choose between the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse and the Chocolate Cake.
There are several options for drinks here like assorted fountain beverages, coffee, tea, and the Pandoran Sunrise.
You can also find alcoholic beverages on the menu, like wine and beer that has been specially brewed just for Pandora (check out that Banshee Pinot Noir and Mo’ara High Country Ale!).
Now, it’s time to eat!
Eats & Drinks
Here’s a peek at allll of the food we got before we get started!
We began with a Pandoran Sunrise, which is a non-alcoholic drink consisting of a balance of tropical juices blended with Powerade Melon for $4.99. It’s also garnished with a small slice of fresh pineapple!
The fresh pineapple was great and very ripe, so we got an awesome pineapple flavor from it. 🍍 The tropical juices definitely came through in the drink and we could taste hints of guava and a lot of acidity from the pineapple.
But, we could still tell this is a Powerade-based drink since it does have that underlying flavor of an electrolyte drink. This would probably be great if you’re feeling dehydrated (a good one for the summer!), or if you’re looking for a unique, refreshing drink without alcohol. If you don’t like sweet drinks though or you don’t like the taste of pineapple, we recommend you grab something else as this is definitely on the sweet side and the pineapple flavor comes through!
Also, keep in mind that this doesn’t come with refills. So you’re stuck with what is a relatively small amount of drink at that $4.99 price.
For food, we kicked things off with the famous Cheeseburger Steamed Pods, which are basically Bao Buns with cheeseburger filling! These are $12.79 and are stuffed with Ground Beef, Ketchup, Mustard, Pickle, and Cheddar Cheese and served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips.
Unsurprisingly, these beauties are still AHMAZING. It’s all the joy of eating a cheeseburger 🍔 inside of a delicious bao bun — what’s not to love?!
The bao bun itself is a slightly sweet dough that is very soft since it’s steamed. There is a lot of meat inside with a strong flavor of mustard and pickle. Our only complaint? We honestly think there could be some more cheese inside these (DFB wanting more cheese? Shocking! 😉). We also would like to see what these would taste like with a dipping sauce of some kind!
These stay warm for a pretty long time and we can count on them to be consistently good. They’re a fun twist on a classic food that makes eating a slightly more adventurous offering easy for those who might not want to venture out of their more “standard” palette.
As for the vegetable chips on the side, they’re really good — they’re seasoned very well and are something different than your typical potato chip. (Not that we don’t love a good, standard potato chip — but sometimes you just need something different, ya know?) And, the slaw was crunchy with a nice tang from the vinegar!
Next, we had the Chili Garlic Shrimp Bowl for $15.49. This is Shrimp tossed in a Chili-Garlic Sauce topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls served with your choice of Base and Sauce. For our base, we got the Noodles and then we topped it off with the Creamy Herb Sauce.
The shrimp on its own was actually really spicy(!) and it had nice, big pieces of garlic and red chili flakes on it. It was cooked very well as it wasn’t chewy or rubbery at all! The noodles had a really good sesame and soy flavor while not being overly salty. There were also red peppers and onions throughout the noodles, which we enjoyed!
The slaw on top is basically the same as the slaw that comes with the Cheeseburger Pods, but we don’t think it goes very well with the rest of this dish. It adds a nice crunch, but it also adds some acidity which we didn’t really think was needed here. The creamy herb dressing wasn’t overly flavorful, but it did really help to calm down the heat from the shrimp when we ate the two together.
Overall, we felt like this was the menu item that was the most cohesive when eaten together (except for maybe that slaw on top!).
Now for the Combination Bowl with Grilled Beef and Chicken. This bowl is $17.49 and has Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef marinated in a blend of Garlic, Herbs, Red Pepper Spice, and Red Wine Vinegar paired with Wood-Grilled Chicken Thighs marinated in Garlic and Olive Oil.
This bowl is also topped with the Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls. For this bowl, we got Black Beans and Rice as our base and the Black Bean Vinaigrette as our sauce. Gotta change things up ya know?!
The beans and rice are very well seasoned. You can really taste the garlic and cumin flavors, which was awesome. But, these were unfortunately pretty dry on their own. Luckily, the sauce helped add some moisture to the base. It also added some smoky flavors and a slight acidity.
The chicken was cooked well and we could tell it was fresh off of the grill (you know that delicious just-off-the-grill smokiness we’re talking about!). 🔥
The beef was also tasty. It looked a bit more rare in terms of the color, but it wasn’t gamey or truly raw. It had a buttery flavor and really melted in our mouth which was awesome! We liked the beef over the chicken if we had to pick between the two.
Our one big complaint about these dishes as a whole is that they weren’t exactly served to us piping hot. We’ve experienced that in the past with this location as well. If you’re someone who needs your food to be extremely hot when it arrives, that’s something to keep in mind. While we’d like things to be a bit hotter in terms of temperature, we do feel like the flavors make up for the lack of heat.
Overall, if you like a create-your-own meal type of situation, these bowls are where it’s AT. They’re more substantial and feel more like “real” food than, say, eating chicken nuggets 1000 times. 🤣
So if you’re seeking that “real” food taste without the price of a Table Service meal, this is an awesome choice! The bowls are filling and flavorful and will totally carry you through the day. The only other thing we’ll note in terms of negative things is that if you’re the type of person who can’t stand items from your meal touching each other then steer clear cause this is one everything-is-all-together type of situation when it comes to the bowls!
But now it’s time for the one thing you’ve all been waiting for — DESSERT! To finish our meal, we got the Chocolate Cake for $5.79! This is Chocolate Cake with a Crunchy Cookie Layer and Banana Cream Topping. Okay folks. This thing is absolutely delicious! But it’s also a LIE. 😱
It’s really NOT a cake, at least not in a traditional sense. If you’re expecting a traditional cake like more of a cupcake-style or something, you’ll be very disappointed. It says it’s a cake, but it’s really more of a mousse, so just go into it knowing that. It’s garnished with a goji berry and a few sweetened pineapple chunks, which were nice!
The banana cream topping tasted like fresh banana and wasn’t too sweet at all. It reminded us of a banana smoothie since it is served a bit cold!
The chocolate mousse was one of the better ones we’ve had in Disney recently because the texture was spot on! It was perfectly fluffy, light, and airy instead of dense and jelly-like. The chocolate layer on the bottom had crunchy cookie pieces throughout it, which offered a nice texture difference against the fluffy mousse.
We did really enjoy this dessert, but we do think it could be a touch sweeter. It was more on the bitter side when it comes to the chocolate (despite it not being described specifically as dark chocolate). Those sweetened pineapple pieces helped with adding some sweetness, but we do wish there had been more elements adding a sweeter touch. If you like dark chocolate though, this one is for you! But, if you’re expecting a SUPER sweet cake, you won’t find it in this dessert!
Nosh or Not
Fly a Banshee over to Satu’li if:
- You’re looking for a larger meal: Particularly when it comes to the bowls, this is a good spot for a larger, more filling and satisfying meal! You get a really good portion of food with those bowls. Considering how much you’re probably already spending on your Disney trip, knowing that you’re getting a good bang for your buck with this meal is great!
- You want something beyond the “traditional” theme park food: If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more adventurous (and more nutritious than regular burgers and fries might we add) this is a great choice (again, especially when it comes to those bowls). Even with the cheeseburger pods — they feature more standard flavors done up in a unique way, which makes the meal a bit more exciting than your regular theme park fare.
- You have a large family to feed: The larger bowls could definitely be shareable, and you could even split that order of 2 steamed pods between 2 friends for a lighter meal. It’s also a good spot for groups since the bowls are customizable, meaning everyone can get JUST what they want.
Find a different way to fuel your day if:
- You want more traditional theme park food that’s simple and doesn’t have a lot of complex flavors: Though many of the flavors and dishes here are pretty approachable even for those with simpler palettes, if you’ve got some in the group that won’t eat anything except chicken nuggets, then you’ll want to head elsewhere to grab some more standard dishes.
- You want a super budget-friendly meal: The food here isn’t as expensive as a Table Service meal, but it can get pricey for a Quick Service spot, especially if you order some of the more expensive dishes. If you’re really sticking to a slim budget, consider grabbing other items elsewhere. But just remember that the portion sizes here are pretty good, so you could potentially split a few items and end up okay even on a tighter budget.
- You’re looking to get a meal ASAP: As we noted, this spot encourages Mobile Order, and the Mobile Order wait times can sometimes be a bit further out (especially on busy days). So if you’re hungry and looking for a snack to get right away, just be sure to check those Mobile Order return times first and see if there will be a big delay. If the next return time isn’t for a while, you might be better off opting to grab a snack or meal from one of Animal Kingdom’s snack stands instead. Or just remember to place that Mobile Order WELL in advance (right at the early part of your day) so you can shave a greater selection of pick up times and you can pick one that works best for you!
Overall, Satu’li Canteen still lives up to the hype and has some truly delicious food. It’s so different from what you’re used to seeing in a theme park — it’s not fried or greasy and it doesn’t make us want to go take a nap immediately. 😂 The food here has unique flavors and can actually make you feel like you had a nutritious meal (slaw and boba balls are nutritious right?!).
A meal here feels refreshing compared to how we feel sometimes after dipping a dozen Corn Dog Nuggets in plastic cheese for lunch (Delicious? Yes. Healthy? Well…). The meals here are very filling and will fuel your park day without making you feel weighed down.
It’s also really easy to customize your meal here. If you’re a fan of restaurants like Chipotle where you can add what you want to a bowl, this is a great option! And, like we mentioned above, if you want some “real food” for a change in the park (you know what we mean — not chicken nuggets and fries!), this is a great Quick Service spot to get that. You can get that “real food” feeling without having to sit down at and pay for a Table Service meal. But, if you are craving that simple, classic theme park food, then head elsewhere!
Another thing we love is that the food is really consistent here and we can count on it to be good every time (even though it might not always be piping hot), which is why it’s a winner for us! Even grabbing a Kids Cheeseburger Pod as a snack is a great option to have while roaming around Animal Kingdom. So, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want some tasty food, head on over to Satu’li Canteen! Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney food news and reviews.
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What’s your favorite thing to get at Satu’li Canteen? Let us know in the comments!