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Adventurous Eating at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

animal kingdom dessert

I want to devote an entire day’s blog to dining in the Animal Kingdom. My naivete and lack of experience with Disney World shows, because I could write multiple blogs on the eatery options in just one Disney World Park, the Animal Kingdom included. So I’ll just give a quick overview today, saving the details for the nicer restaurants.

The three proper sit down, have a relaxed and potentially multiple-course meal (and thus a more expensive one) establishments at the Animal Kingdom are the Rainforest Cafe, Tusker House Restaurant, and Yak & Yeti Restaurant. The Rainforest Cafe sounds like it ought to be one of the quick service spots, but in fact it’s so popular that it’s the only restaurant of the three where reservations are recommended.

The food, while very good, isn’t anything unique. It’s typical American fare – salads, pastas, seafood, burgers, chicken – that sort of thing. It includes breakfast, yet again the standards: eggs, bacon, and cinnamon toast. The real draw of the Rainforest Cafe is the themed experience. Animated animals regale guests with facts about the rainforest during their meal, accompanied by the simulated sounds of thunder and rainstorms.

I don’t know, having animated animals talking to me and fake thunderstorm noise in the background doesn’t really seem like a fun dining experience, or at least one for which I’d go out of my way. I bet kids love it, though, so that would be worth the trip. Still I think I might be more inclined to one of the other two restaurants, so let’s look at those.

The Tusker House Restaurant is an all buffet eatery, but it’s also one of the Disney World locations where you can schedule a Character Dining experience. Safari Donald Duck and his friends hold court at the Tusker House, where you can have a breakfast with Mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, and ham, or an African-style lunch with the famous Disney Duck. Dinners at the Tusker House are also inspired by African cuisine, featuring spit-roasted, carved meats, stews, and special salads.

Next we come to the Animal Kingdom restaurant I’d most want to visit, because I love trying new things. The Yak & Yeti is open for lunch and dinner, and it features fusion Chinese, Indian, and Nepalese cuisine. Signature dishes include roasted half duckling with orange wasabi glaze and tempura-battered shrimp in chili plum sauce with coconut-ginger rice. Of course there are slightly less adventurous offerings, including a kids menu with egg rolls, burgers, and lo mein.

I say if I were try to try any restaurant at the Animal Kingdom it would be the Yak & Yeti, which is true: on my dream Disney vacation. However, usually my practical and laid-back side goes for slightly less fancy fare, of which the Animal Kingdom also has plenty. I’m not really a fast food person, but I’m also likely to be swayed by a barbecue stand over an expensive restaurant.

Options include corn dogs at the Beastly Kiosk, pizza from Pizzafari, burgers and other typical fast food fare from Restaurantosaurus, quick Chinese fare from the Yak & Yeti’s Local Foods Cafe, pork sandwiches, ribs, and barbecue chicken at Flame Tree Barbecue, pastries and good coffee at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop, and more.

Now that we’ve been fed, we’ll look next time at the Animal Kingdom’s hotel accommodations.

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*(This image by JeffChristiansen is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)