If you find yourself constantly singing “Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, think Pocahontas is the best Disney princess, or know every line from “The Jungle Book” by heart, you and your friends will probably wind up at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on your Disney vacation.
Our last installment in my 4-part series takes us there, where I’ll show you all the best places to eat in between safaris and nature hikes. Out of all the parks, Animal Kingdom has by far the most unique and diverse range of dining options for you to enjoy. The set-up of the park allows for tons of African and Asian inspired dishes as opposed to your typical Disney park fare.
For all of you adventurous eaters out there, this update is for you!
Contrary to Hollywood Studios, I am going to recommend that you don’t stop for a sit-down meal at Animal Kingdom. There are only three table service restaurants in the park, and none of them are anything to truly write home about. Tusker House is an ideal character meal if you must have one, but Yak & Yeti’s table service is just “okay” and Rainforest Café isn’t very unique (and can also be found at Disney Springs!).
I recommend saving your money for souvenirs or a table service(TS) meal at a different park and powering through the day on quick service(QS) meals alone. Even anyone determined to eat at the Rainforest Café would have better luck saving the restaurant for a night at Disney Springs. Animal Kingdom is just too hot (most of the time), humid, and sticky to spend time waiting around for a pricey table service meal!
For breakfast, I don’t feel like I need to comment on Starbucks, as I’ve mentioned its presence in all the Disney parks one or two times now. Now, Pizzafari offers a variety of hot breakfast items you may enjoy. Breakfast dishes include platters, breakfast burritos, breakfast croissants, and more. I recommend the Ancient Hot Grain Cereal—it’s a filling dish that consists of a milky, creamy mix of oatmeal, quinoa, barley, and other oats and it’s topped with a salted caramel crumble. Super filling and delicious for any oatmeal or hot cereal fan.
The Kusafiri Coffee Shop is also great for breakfast, especially if you’re running to a 9:00 AM Kilimanjaro Safaris FP+. It’s got hot breakfast wraps, some pastries, and most notably, the famous warm colossal cinnamon roll.
For lunch and dinner, you’re in luck no matter where you are. Unlike other parks (I’m looking at you, DHS!), Animal Kingdom has a pretty solid selection of QS meals throughout the grounds. By far, the two most popular meals are the “safest”: Pizzafari and Flame Tree BBQ. Out of the two, I gotta recommend Flame Tree BBQ. Flame Tree is home to some really good ribs, BBQ chicken, and cornbread.
Obviously, Pizzazfari is the typical Disney park pizza place, and I’m not a fan of Disney pizza, but if it’s your thing, by all means go for it. The Harambe Market is another popular QS location in Animal Kingdom. The intensely-themed marketplace in the Africa section of the park has four main kiosks: Chef Mwanga’s Ribs Shop (spice-rubbed Karubi ribs), Kitamu Grill (skewers and flatbreads), Famous Sausages (Boerewors sausages fried in curried corn batter), and Wanjohi Refreshments (just beverages). The Harambe Marketplace is perfect for anyone looking to try something different to typical Disney food or anyone who loves African cuisine.
Personally, I wouldn’t be adventurous enough as to eat there myself, but I love the Yak & Yeti counter service in Asia! My favorite meal at Y&Y is the sweet and sour chicken with vegetables and rice. Y&Y Local Foods is cheap and delicious, especially if you love Asian food as much as I do. And of course, for anyone who prefers a hamburger or chicken nuggets, Restaurantosaurus in Dinoland has got you covered.
Animal Kingdom also has some snack options that can’t be missed. Most notably, Animal Kingdom is home to Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery. At Kusafiri, you’ll find several famous treats: the Brownie Paw and several unique cupcakes, including the Simba, Zebra, or Tree of Life cupcakes. The Brownie Paw is a rich brownie topped with even richer vanilla frosting, chocolate ganache, and a fondant paw print.
A new addition to Animal Kingdom is Zuri’s Sweets Shop, a confectionary full of animal-inspired cookies, candies, and pre-packaged snacks. The offerings at Zuri’s Sweets Shop are almost entirely unique to the store. The haystack (potato sticks and peanut butter!!!) and solid chocolate mickey heads with banana chips and chili powder are just two of the many treats you can only find at Zuri’s Sweets Shop.
We’ve come to our conclusion of not only our tour of Animal Kingdom, but this series of teen-only guides to dining in Walt Disney World! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing. I’ll see you real soon with some new content for MouseTeens!
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