Should You Eat at These Animal Kingdom Restaurants?
Certain restaurants seem to draw most of the hype at Walt Disney World. But, sometimes, these eateries absolutely deserve all their accolades.
Sometimes, well, the hot place isn’t the best place if you know what I mean.
Today, we’ll take a look at one of the most divisive theme parks for foodies to decide what’s what.
Should you eat at these restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Let’s decide…
This brand has existed since the 1990s, famously starting at the Mall of America before expanding into other tourist areas.
Walt Disney World actually hosts two of them, with the better one at Disney Springs. It has an active volcano!
Animal Kingdom’s Rainforest Café is much more accessible, though, at least when you’re in the park. It’s right by the main entrance.
So, you’ll walk by it when you enter and leave Animal Kingdom.
The menu here is outstanding. It’s overflowing with appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks.
That’s not even the best part. The ambiance at Rainforest Café restaurants is indescribably cool. You’ll find aquariums everywhere.
Plus, the environmentally friendly surroundings will remind you of a lush rainforest. It’s one of the best jobs of theming you’ll ever notice from a non-Disney company.
What’s the point in having lots of menu options if you’re not going to cook tasty food?
I mean, my pantry is overflowing with delicious ingredients. But, unfortunately, if I tried to cook any of them, I might accidentally kill a dinner guest. At a minimum, they’d be sick all night.
At some point, Rainforest Café decided that okay food at high prices was totally fine. And yes, the prices here border on offensive relative to the cuisine.
Do as I do, not as I say? I ate at Rainforest Café my last two trips. I cannot say with any sincerity that I’m confident I won’t do it again next time.
Honestly, I really shouldn’t, though. It’s not very good, and I don’t recommend it. That front-of-park convenience, tho…
Look, you’re probably going to eat here at some point. It is what it is.
The “newest” restaurant at Animal Kingdom recently turned five years old. It’s a Signature Dining experience, Disney’s classification for its most elegant eateries.
This restaurant offers a world-class dining experience, highlighting Asian, African, and other international cuisines.
All the flavors are high-end, making this unquestionably the most hoity-toity option at the park.
Also, the interior design will dazzle you, as it screams former Imagineer Joe Rohde.
Even the name reflects the duality of tiffins, which are both midday meals and adorable lunchboxes. You may notice a few as you enter the restaurant.
Each section of Tiffins possesses distinct theming, incentivizing you to visit multiple times.
Honestly, there aren’t many. Obviously, the price tag here could give you sticker shock. Tiffins qualifies as one of Walt Disney World’s most expensive meals.
Additionally, the location of Tiffins may work against it. When you’re hot and sweaty at Animal Kingdom, you may not feel like fine dining.
Later, you can visit nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and eat an equally good meal at Jiko – The Cooking Place.
So, Tiffins only seems like the only haute cuisine option. But, in truth, I think most people would say that Jiko is better, just not as convenient.
Walt Disney World includes several eateries that I would describe as special occasion restaurants.
I wouldn’t rank Tiffins among the top grouping, but it’s in the next group. You should absolutely eat here at some point for both the theming and the food.
Animal Kingdom only offers one character meal, but it’s an adorable one.
Donald’s Safari includes Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and others in their charming adventurer outfits.
Your favorite Disney characters look like they’re fresh off a successful safari, but they’re not tired! Instead, they want to hang out and take pictures with you!
You’ll eat well at Tusker House, as it’s a family-style service at the moment. Previously, Disney hosted a buffet here and may again one day.
Independent of the delivery method, some of the cuisine at Tusker House will make you stand up and take notice.
African cuisine meshes well with standard buffet offerings, making this the most distinctive of character meal menus.
Plus, the photo ops here are sublime. We still have a couple framed on our walls.
The meal currently costs $55, which is actually less than usual. Disney has modified the character meal and accompanied the change with a price drop.
Still, $55 per person is pricey for a character meal. Plus, there’s no Disney Dining Plan right now to help you mitigate the expense.
Also, the adventurous menu options belie the overall quality of the restaurant. At its core, it’s still just a buffet, albeit one with some unique cuisine.
Here’s where you may turn on me. I’ve never found Tusker House to be worth the price tag. Also, we had our worst Disney dining experience ever here.
That day, Murphy’s Law was in full force, and it has poisoned the memory of Tusker House for me.
We’ve talked about giving it another shot, but that’s the thing about Walt Disney World. The place hosts so many dynamic restaurants that you never want to settle.
Still, I suspect that most people will get a kick out of the character meal itself, especially if you have young children.
So, I’d recommend it as a Table Service credit once the dining plan returns. At $55 per adult, it’s a hard pass, though.
Yak & Yeti Restaurant
Landry’s, Inc. operates Rainforest Café and Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom. To me, that’s the equivalent of running a Domino’s and a Giordano’s.
Technically, they’re both doing the same thing, but Giordano’s serves some of the best pizza in existence. Domino’s…well, it’s cheap pizza that probably won’t kill you.
Yak & Yeti doesn’t include the detailed theming of Rainforest Café. Instead, it focuses more on, you know, good food. It’s just crazy enough to work.
At Yak & Yeti, cuisine from the Eastern Hemisphere populates the menu. And it’s insanely good.
The last time we traveled in a party of three different families, my wife and I ate here twice.
That happened because neither of the other parties was going to miss a meal at Yak & Yeti. So, we got invited twice and went along both times.
I wouldn’t do that unless this place were special. It is.
In truth, my foodie friends have deemed this place as the best cuisine at Walt Disney World.
We do a whole thing with the Disney Dining Plan wherein everybody at our table orders an app. It’s an exercise in gluttony, but we’re unashamed.
Yak & Yeti is as good as it gets in terms of explosive flavors.
This space intentionally left blank.
Eat here. Thank me later. Also, I’d strongly suggest that you join the Landry’s Select Club.
You’ll pay $25 to join. However, you’ll immediately receive a $25 credit for Rainforest Café, Yak & Yeti, T-REX, and a bunch of other places.
Then, the card will reload a $25 credit during your birthday month each year. So, you’re costing yourself money by not signing up.
By the way, Yak & Yeti delivers an even better meal than Tiffins, in my opinion, and it does so at a fraction of the price. So choose wisely, my friends!