Disney’s Animal Kingdom is filled with exotic animals and exotic food. This theme park is an adventurous eaters paradise! EPCOT tends to get all the attention when it comes to food (and drinks), but Animal Kingdom is a big player in both of these categories.
There are five sit-down table service restaurants in Animal Kingdom, and there is something for everyone. Laid back but refined, easy-going American, super fancy, fusion cuisine – It’s all here!
Overlooking the water where characters float by on their flotillas is the Nomad Lounge. Nomad Lounge is attached to the signature restaurant, Tiffins, but this place is not hoity-toity. With the cool and refined decor and chill vibe, you may completely forget that you’re at the country’s business theme park!
Their drinks feature imported African liquors and wines and their food is elevated comfort food small plates. This is very much a “come for the drinks and stay for the vibe” type of place, so when you need a break from the day, go check out the walk-up availability at the Nomad Lounge.
Fun fact: Some of the cocktails at the Nomad Lounge use special liquors that donate proceeds to conservation funds. So… you’re not just having a nice beverage, you’re saving the planet!
MUST HAVE ITEM: Snow Leopard Salvation $16
Snow Leopard Vodka, Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, Mint, and Lime Juice topped with Ginger Beer
Tiffins, the signature restaurant next door, is famous for their bread service featuring bread, hummus, and jellies, but did you know you can buy that same bread service over at the Nomad Lounge? Though that is an excellent small plate to munch on during your breakacation, we recommend a classy theme park treat…
MUST HAVE ITEM: Churros $9
Yes, you can get churros all over Walt Disney World, but none of them are freshly made. A slightly stale churro is good, but a homemade warm churro is delicious. They pair the churros with Vanilla Crema, Coffee Crème Anglaise. Also, the churros at Nomad Lounge are gluten free! Most gluten free food tastes related to basic cardboard, but these guys have nailed it! You don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy these churros, they’re just straight up delicious.
Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Yes, this is the same Rainforest Cafe that you might have in your local mall, but don’t brush it off too quickly. After a long day looking and learning all about new animals, your kids are probably going to all hyped up them and spend the evening talking about becoming something like a zoo keeper when they grow up. Keep up that energy! They were learning and they were excited about it! Do you think they want to eat at a stuffy, expensive fancy restaurant, or would they prefer chicken fingers by an animatronic hippo… Exactly.
Rainforest Cafe is well known for its outrageous decor. From the moment you walk in it is loud! Because the rainforest is loud. You will hear rain, birds, maybe even a jaguar! Every 20 minutes or so there is a small rainstorm (noise only!), and warning, there is a flash of lightning and a roll of thunder with it. You are surrounded by animal animatronics, too. Sure, they’re not as good as Disney, but I don’t think your kids will critique them as harshly as we do. The food is comparable to an Applebees or Chili’s but because there in Disney World, bump those prices up a bit.
Their cocktail menu features mainly sweet and premixed drinks. Most drinks have elements of pineapple and coconut to give that tropical vibe.
MUST HAVE ITEM: Anything in a souvenir glass $15.50
It’s a little kitschy, but it’s fun to reuse old vacation glasses! There are plenty of drink options to choose from, too! There are 10 drinks on the menu that include a souvenir glass.
We’ll be honest here, there is no food at this restaurant that will knock your socks off that you just got to have. This is a restaurant that you bring your kids to. If you’re on an adult only trip we recommend somewhere else. Anywhere else. But, it is nice that you can order yourself some chicken fingers without judgment.
Tiffins is a signature restaurant located in Animal Kingdom. The theme of this restaurant is fine dining with exploration and adventure. You will feel like you are in an adventurer’s exclusive club with beautiful decor and elements relating to travel all around you.
This restaurant is a popular experience, so book your reservations 60 days out from when you plan to travel. Also, if you’re new to Disney, “signature” is a word they use to mean very pricey. We’re not saying it’s not worth the cost, but we highly recommend you peruse the menu before going to make sure that you will find things that you’re happy with.
This is the restaurant that is nextdoor to Nomad Lounge, so there are a lot of the drinks from there, but there is a section of the drink menu that Nomad Lounge doesn’t have… Alcoholic drinks made with coffee.
MUST HAVE ITEM: Any of the Hot Coffee Cocktails $12 – $14
How could you choose this for you if we don’t know how you take your coffee? If you drink it black then Buena Vista coffee with Kahlúa, Brandy and Indonesian Blend Coffee would be for you. If you love a nice creamy, sweet coffee then Mustang Coffee with Crown Royal, Brown Sugar, Butter and Indonesian Blend Coffee hit right. If you’re someone who likes their coffee right in the middle, then Keoke Coffee is for you with Kahlúa, Brandy, Dark Crème de Cacao and Indonesian Blend Coffee. It’s all about preference.
Food at Tiffins is adventurous. The flavors are fusion from asian, african, and lain inspired, and the dishes themselves are things that we just don’t see everyday. If you’re not very adventurous, the most approachable dishes are the shrimp and grits, tamarind braised short rib, or butter chicken. The flavors are there, but there is nothing punching you in the mouth or looking at you… Yeah, you can make eye contact with your food if you’re up to it. Tiffins serves a whole fried fish. When they say whole, they mean whole. It may be absolutely delicious, but we’re telling you, it’s so ugly, it’s got no alibi.
MUST HAVE ITEM: Signature Bread Service $12
You get a bucket of African breads, pitas, and unleavened breads with various jams, chutneys, and hummus. This is a fun way to travel the world through flavors.
Tusker House Restaurant
Tusker House is a character dining restaurant in Animal Kingdom. Not just our favorite loveable pals, but you will see Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy in their safari adventurer outfits! Does anyone else think it’s weird that Daisy is there? I just can’t picture her on a safari…
Tusker House features approachable African-inspired cuisine served in a family style buffet. None of the flavors are too out there or wild that it would put anyone off, but instead it just makes everything a little different.
PRO TIP: Make an early breakfast reservation at Tusker House to start your Animal Kingdom day right! You can get into the park before it is even open and then you can be among the first people to get in line for Flight of Passage when it opens! Plus, any morning with Mickey is a wonderful morning.
At first glance, the cocktail is HUGE, but when you look closer it’s mainly different variations of vodka, rum, pineapple, POG juice, guava, and watermelon. If you don’t like sweet drinks, you’ll be hard pressed to find something you’ll enjoy.
Must have item:
If you love sweet drinks, you’re in luck! We recommend anything made with that special Snow Leopard vodka! This brand donates 15% of its proceeds to a Snow Leopard Trust to help the endangered species.
Yak & Yeti Restaurant
Yak & Yeti is styled by designs from Nepal and features pan-Asian cuisine. This restaurant is located right next to the thrill ride, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, so the theming extends into the restaurant complete with trinkets and treasures from Nepal.
There are so many options to choose how to dine here! You can stick with small taster plates, shareable platters, Asian barbeque, noodle dishes, or food from the wok. Of course, there are also the chef’s specialties, too! This menu is massive! We don’t know how you can pick just one dish!
FUN IDEA: Go to Yak and Yet with a big group of friends! Think 6 or more, and each other something different. When food is served, set a timer for 2 minutes, and then dig in! When the timer goes off, pass the dish to the left and try something new! Keep going until it comes full circle!
Drinks at Yak and Yeti
The drink menu at Yak and Yeti is a balanced mix of sweet cocktails and bourbon cocktails. There are some fun twists on classics like margaritas, cosmos, and mules, too.
MUST HAVE ITEM: Pink Himalayan $12.50
Having Tanqueray Gin, Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, Passion Fruit and Lemon Grass Flavors, Salt Rim, this drink is well rounded with sweet, tart, salt, and earthiness.
Don’t underestimate Quick Service in Animal Kingdom
We hope you won’t pass over on Animal Kingdom restaurants now that you have read this article, but Animal Kingdom is also boss with Quick Service restaurants! We actually say that Animal Kingdom has the BEST quick service in Walt Disney World, and we don’t say that lightly. Read all about the best snack and foods to get in Disney’s Animal Kingdom here.
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.