For many, Walt Disney World dining is a central part of the vacation experience, and you know we’re right there with you! And over many, many (did we mention many?) table service meals, we’ve scoped out some of the finest real estate in Disney World restaurants. These are seats that give you a little somethin’ somethin’ — like a view of something spectacular or proximity to the little details. Fireworks view, anyone?
You’re in for a treat today, as we visit one of my most favorite Disney World restaurants —
Sanaa is truly a hidden Disney treasure, and while I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy it, honestly, I hope the word never totally gets out!
I know that may sound selfish, but Sanaa is a favorite of mine for many, many reasons. In addition to a number of truly exquisite meals in the past, I also appreciate the quiet atmosphere. And it’s never been difficult to get an Advance Dining Reservation here — even at the last minute.
There had been some changes in the menu since I visited last, so I was anxious to book dinner at Sanaa on a recent trip to see if it’s still just as wonderful as it’s always been.
Sanaa is a hidden gem in part because it’s actually somewhat hidden. To get to Sanaa, you’ll need to head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Once there, look for signs pointing you toward Kidani Village, the Disney Vacation Club portion of the resort.
As with all of the other restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa has been thoughtfully named. The word “sanaa” is Swahili for “art”. Step up to the restaurant’s entrance, and you start to see why. Hand woven trays decorate the area behind the podium and beautiful beads line the counter.
Be on the lookout for this guy though. (We’re talking about the Hidden Mickey…not the bird. 🙂 ) You’ll catch a an artistically rendered glimpse or two of him throughout the area.
One of my favorite touches are the African Proverbs that you’ll find on walls throughout Kidani Village. Think about it for a while!
While you wait for your table — and the wait isn’t likely to be long — you’ll get your first glimpse of Sunset Savanna. Keep your eyes peeled. The area is home to dozens of birds and animals, including gazelles, zebras, cranes, ostriches, and more. And right outside THESE windows, you my get to see a tortoise or two.
En route to your table, you’ll pass the Lounge. This is one of my favorite spots to relax and unwind.
Because it’s opened continuously from 11:30 to midnight, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a meal at one of those in-between times, or you just want to meet friends for a quiet night cap.
This is a detail that I love about Animal Kingdom Lodge (and most spots in Disney, actually) — no space is left untouched. Check out the rich detail on the ceiling in the bar area, which provides a subtle sense of definition…
…And this is what I mean. Once you enter the main restaurant, you leave the “building” of the entrance, and you’re under the canopy of a sprawling acacia tree.
It blends beautifully with the wide-arched picture windows, and melds the interior with the exterior.
Request a window-side table, and you’ll enjoy great views of the savanna as you dine.
Chances are pretty good that you’ll even see a few of these guys.
And it’s a good time to note — the ever-changing parade of wildlife outside the windows is a great diversion for little people in your group! There are few better ways to distract a toddler than by pointing out real life zebras!
Seating is broken up into small alcoves, and tables and chairs are fashioned with the same artisan detail as other surroundings. The mismatched chairs give the space an eclectic feel.
Padded booths also offer a cozy option, if you prefer extra comfort to views.
And remember when I said to keep an eye out for Mickey sightings? 🙂
Because the restaurant is decorated to resemble an East African spice market, you’ll find some interesting elements. I always stop to take in this [Read more…]