Best 6 Quick Service Restaurants at Animal Kingdom
A visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a wonderful family outing. You enjoy all the benefits of going to the zoo AND spending the day at a Disney theme park. Everywhere you look, you’ll see exotic animals, but you can also jump on some thrilling attractions whenever you want.
The only catch is that you’ll have to do a lot of walking. At 580 acres, Animal Kingdom is the most spacious of the Disney parks BY FAR! You will have an epiphany about this right around the time you walk from Africa to DinoLand U.S.A. The last time I did this, my Fitbit almost exploded. And when a person burns that much energy, food is crucial. Today, let’s take a look at the best Quick Service restaurants for those times when you need a quick fill ‘er up.
Pizzafari earns placement on this Best Quick Service Restaurants list for its interior as much as its food. Disney illustrators drew gorgeous wall murals of animals and fish, and the bright colors of these drawings will distract you during a meal. As for the food, well, it’s pizza. Nobody’s questioning that.
Like Pizza Planet/PizzeRizzo at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the menu won’t sneak up on anybody. You’re talking about a basic pie that’s a couple of steps above Sbarro but several steps down from popular 21st century franchises like Blaze Pizza and Pie Five. Animal Kingdom features several places that offer flatbread as a menu option, but Pizzafari is your safest bet when you need a slice.
The one other comment I’ll make here is that I see a divide on this list. Options six through four are good. The top three Quick Service establishments are all fantastic.
5) Harambe Market
When you’re looking for diverse meal options, there’s no better place at Animal Kingdom. For that matter, the only place that’s similar at Walt Disney World is the World Showcase. Harambe Market has the type of menu that will make your head spin. On the one hand, it has a beef and lamb gyro flatbread. On the other, it has…pork ribs. I’ve never been to a local restaurant that could make such an outlandish claim.
Harambe Market enjoys a lot of support for its diverse flavors and exciting location in Harambe Village. It’s also relatively new, having debuted in 2015. Personally, I haven’t had much luck in eating here and am not a fan. I would note that several Florida residents that I trust hold it in higher esteem.
I mean, the name alone…
Okay, most people don’t rank Restaurantosaurus as highly as I do. There’s a reasonable explanation for that.
I AM A CARNIVORE!!!
I eat meat. Ketchup is my flavor of choice, especially when it comes with a nice char as a side. Some people are meat and potatoes eaters. I’m more extreme than that. Without meat and potatoes, I would literally starve and die. I once had a nutritionist throw her hands up in the air and tell me, “Good luck!” when she couldn’t find enough foods that I liked to build a healthy weekly diet.
Restaurantosaurus is for people like me. This DinoLand U.S.A. establishment serves three different kinds of cheeseburgers, and it even throws in a convenient black bean burger for the missus. I know that this place isn’t for everyone, but me and mine happen to adore it.
3) Flame Tree BBQ
Like Pizzafari above, the name tells you everything that you need to know about what you’ll eat here. The difference is that Pizzafari delivers an okay-to-good pizza. Flame Tree BBQ offers the kind of BBQ that will make you fantasize about dry rubs and condiments for the rest of the week.
Flame Tree BBQ has an ideal location. This restaurant overlooks the Discovery River, and it’s close to the Discovery Island Bridge to DinoLand U.S.A. At this outdoor eatery, you’ll always have plenty to look at as you eat.
As for your food, oh, it’s barbecue. Let’s be clear on that point. This isn’t one of those deep menu establishments where your hipster buddy can order avocado toast. Anybody who isn’t interested in smoked meats will go hungry. Those who are, i.e. the sane ones, will enjoy a stupendous meal of turkey or beef or pork…or all three. Yes, the sampler is for those of us who enjoy everything so much that we don’t want to pick.
Animal Kingdom has three amazing Quick Service restaurants. In my estimation, this is the third best of the three, but the reputation of Flame Tree BBQ is so strong that you may see it as the best. That’s perfectly valid. The food is truly terrific.
2) Yak & Yeti Local Foods Café
Prior to the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar, the question of best Quick Service restaurant at Animal Kingdom had an easy answer. The Walt Disney Company rarely allows other businesses to own and operate restaurants inside Disney theme parks. This practice goes all the way back to the 1950s when Walt Disney wouldn’t let his World War II friend, Ray Kroc, open a McDonald’s at Disneyland.
In the 60+ years that have followed, Disney’s made exceptions from time to time, but those restaurants must be special. Landry’s definitely qualifies, and that’s why they have four eateries at Walt Disney World, two of which are at Animal Kingdom. The best of the quarter is Yak & Yeti, which has Quick Service and Table Service options.
Yak & Yeti Locals Food Café is actually the inferior option of the two. Its sibling Table Service restaurant has a deep, rich menu of mind-blowing flavors. The Quick Service menu is obviously more limited. It’s also something of a hodgepodge, providing a hotdog and cheeseburger as options. More adventurous eaters will have the most fun at what I lovingly call Yak & Yeti Lite.
You can order exotic dishes like Asian Chicken Wrap, Teriyaki Beef Bowl, Honey Chicken, and Vegetable Tikka Masala. The pork egg rolls are also divine. And if none of this sounds like traditional Quick Service food, you’re getting the point. The beauty of Yak & Yeti Lite is that you will feel like you’re eating at the World Showcase while you’re in the center of Animal Kingdom.
1) Satu’li Canteen
I like to watch YouTube videos of Disney theme park activities when I write about Disney. This practice sets the mood for me during those frustrating times when I’m not at a Disney theme park. During the summer of 2017, the one thing I can say with confidence is that Satu’li Canteen has quickly become the people’s choice at Animal Kingdom.
For those of you unfamiliar with this restaurant, it’s currently the newest one at the park. The canteen is also the most thematic eatery as the only true Pandoran meal at Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Satu’li Canteen is ostensibly a repurposed military mess hall, the kind seen in Avatar just before Jake Sully goes native and (correctly) chooses the Na’Vi lifestyle. The food at this restaurant is intricate and clever, as it has to be to create the illusion that a park guest is eating authentic Pandoran cuisine.
The oddity of this meal is that you won’t find chicken nuggets and burgers here. Pandorans don’t eat human fare like that. Instead, you’ll have your choice of food bowls. You can even build your own bowl. The signs at the restaurant hint at the offerings. You “select your protein,” then add a base and a sauce to create your ideal flavor profile. People love experimenting with this novel approach to eating at Disney.
When you eat at Satu’li Canteen, however, you really need to eat a pod. The recipe chefs at Disney have masterfully deconstructed and then rebuilt the great American entrée, the cheeseburger. It now comes in pod form, and the flavor is dazzling. Here, watch this video to see our friend Josh at ResortTV1 realize how delicious his meal is. In fact, their reactions to the entire meal exemplify why Satu’li Canteen has become the clear choice as THE Quick Service restaurant at Animal Kingdom.