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The beauty of African traditional culture infuses every aspect of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, including the dining options.
Commitment to delicious food while bringing authentic African flavors is a priority for the restaurants at this resort, however, you will still be able to find many of your Disney favorites among the cultural delicacies.
Animal Kingdom Lodge also offers a variety of dining experiences, from more casual dining options to exquisite evenings and everything in between. And you never know, you might be able to see a wild animal or two across the savanna.
Dining Table of Contents
- Jiko – The Cooking Place
- Boma – Flavors of Africa
- The Mara
- Bars and Lounges
- Animal Safari Experiences
- Disney Resorts Private Dining
Jiko – The Cooking Place
Jiko is the signature restaurant of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, combining an elegant dining experience with a taste of Africa.
Located on the bottom floor just down the stairs from the lobby, Jiko is tucked away like a hidden trail, off the beaten path but well worth exploring.
As soon as you enter the restaurant, the continuity of the resort’s theme is evident.
Wood features give a natural feel, while the color choices speak to the wide-open skies and savannas of the African plains.
Large windows allow natural light to stream in, with a beautiful view of the water feature right outside.
One of the most striking aspects of the restaurant are the twin wood-burning ovens, which fit with the theme, as jiko literally means oven.
An open kitchen allows you to watch the chefs work as the changing colored lights mimic the African sunset.
All in all, the ambiance of Jiko is elegant, unique, and romantic.
Whatever your preference for seating, Jiko will meet your needs.
While you can’t necessarily guarantee a particular location within the restaurant, when you make your reservation you can indicate any requests you might have.
Jiko has freestanding tables, booths, half-table, and bar seats. With two tiers of seating, there is plenty of space between you and the other guests to maintain the privacy of your meal.
The food at Jiko is inspired by African, Indian, and Mediterranean flavors.
Each dish, from appetizers to dessert, brings together unique tastes and spices for an unforgettable dining experience.
Steak, chicken, seafood, vegan and vegetarian dishes are all available, so no matter what your preference or dietary restrictions you will be able to find a delicious option.
The menu is also seasonal, so there are always new dishes to try, even if you previously have been to Jiko.
Some of the popular menu items include the Tibs in Brik, a mushroom, cheese, and spinach filo parcel served with a curry vinaigrette.
For your main course, try the Botswana-style Beef Short Rib served with hominy, peas, butternut squash, and mushrooms. Tender and delicious, this will quickly become one of your favorites.
A staple dessert item is the Malva Pudding, which is a soft steamed cake with sweet African flavors.
While Jiko is a bit more on the adult side, if you do choose to take your children, the kid’s menu has a combination of African fare with picky-friendly options.
A more exploratory eater might like to go for the Shrimp with Kushari or the Market Fresh Fish, pairing it with ancient grains or seasonal veggies. If that is not your kiddo, Jiko also has mac and cheese and cheese pizza.
Know Before You Go
Jiko does have a minimum dress code for your dining experience:
When Disney indicates a dress code, they do take this seriously.
Make sure you follow the guidelines to avoid any issues with your reservation or experience, including your kids if they accompany you.
If you are looking for something less formal, check out one of the other amazing dining options at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
If you have purchased the Disney Dining Plan, it will take two credits per guest for your Jiko meal.
Jiko is only open for dinner, so if you want to check out this wonderful location you will want to book as soon as possible.
Jiko Wine Tasting
Every Wednesday, the sommeliers at Jiko host a wine tasting featuring the wine regions of South Africa.
Expertly paired with cheeses, fruits, and other tasty treats, the sommelier will walk you through each wine and explain the flavor notes.
You will be encouraged to try to wine on its own and then again with the food items to experience the different depths of flavor.
If you enjoy a good wine, this would be a fun and delicious experience for you to try!
Know Before You Go
The experience is meant to be a small gathering, so getting a reservation ahead of time is a must. While you can make same-day reservations, there is limited availability.
The tasting is an extra cost, and plan to show your appreciation of the sommelier with a gratuity.
Prices for this event are subject to change, so be sure to check the price when you book online.
The Jiko dress code is still in effect for this event, even though it takes place in the afternoon.
If you are planning to come straight from the parks, you might want to bring appropriate clothes with you and freshen up in the locker rooms by the fitness center before attending the event (or of course in your room if you are staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge).
Boma – Flavors of Africa
An all you care to eat buffet, Boma is a delicious way to start your day.
Mixing together traditional African dishes with American breakfast favorites, this fabulous breakfast will have you coming back again and again.
Located on the bottom floor of the resort, right next to Jiko, the open spaces and bustling atmosphere will wake you right up.
Natural light comes in through the windows looking out to gorgeous vegetation and the pool area, as well as the softly glowing lanterns hanging from the thatched roof above.
The décor in this area still fits with the resort theme, but has a bit of an open market feeling that goes with the sampling of different dishes throughout the buffet.
Breakfast is the perfect selection of both sweet and savory items, some of our favorites being the seasoned breakfast potatoes, oak-grilled asparagus and tomatoes, waffles, and the fabulous French toast bread pudding.
Additionally, there is an excellent selection of pastries, including Zebra Domes, an Animal Kingdom Lodge staple.
Some of the African treats include African fruit fool salad and corn beef bobotie, which is a type of South African quiche.
Other menu items rotate in on a seasonal basis, which will have you coming back to this buffet again and again.
To drink, try some of the refreshing tropical juices or wake yourself up with bold Kenyan coffee. If you like something with a bit of kick with your breakfast, alcoholic beverages are available.
Boma is also open for dinner, another all you care to eat experience with a focus on the savory.
Much like its sister restaurant, Jiko, the dinner at Boma changes with the seasons. While a few beloved dishes tend to stick around, the choices change with some regularity at Boma making it a constant favorite among the Disney foodies.
To begin your meal, consider one of the seasonal soups. Right now, some of the unique offerings include Cape Malay Lamb Stew, Ghanaian Oxtail Stew, Boerewors Sausage Stew, and Curry-Coconut-Cauliflower Soup.
Rotating salads accompany these soups and stews, ranging from pasta salads, to cold seafood or chicken, to fruit offerings.
If you are a carnivore, you are sure to be thrilled by the main dishes.
Whole roasted chicken, slow-cooked ribs, pork shoulder, and beef sirloin all make an appearance in this fabulous array.
Traditional African dishes of fufu, pap and chakalaka, and spiced sweet potato are also available. Different types of rice and potatoes are the featured sides, some African inspired and others a bit closer to home.
For dessert, the bread pudding makes a reappearance, as do the Zebra Domes and Malva Pudding.
Other seasonal items are also available, a current favorite being the African Apple Cake.
Whether you start your day with Boma or finish with them in the evening, this restaurant will surely become one of your favorites!
Know Before You Go
For both breakfast and dinner, the prices are fixed for adults and children (and tend to fluctuate throughout the year).
Meal prices include most food options and basic beverages, like soda, tea, and juice.
There are specialty non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic drinks available for an additional charge, so make sure you know what you’re asking for before you order.
Boma is included on the Disney Dining Plan and costs one table service credit per guest.
Breakfast is $20 cheaper for adults and $11 cheaper for kids, so if you’re looking to save a bit you might want to go for breakfast rather than dinner.
However, if you plan to go to Boma on a park day, dinner is the way to go. Trying to start your park day with a big breakfast at a popular restaurant might cost you more time than you would like to take.
The atmosphere is a bit noisy and can feel a little crowded, as the tables are fairly close together.
Since it is buffet style, there will be plenty of people moving around. This makes for an informal and somewhat chaotic atmosphere.
In our opinion, this restaurant is definitely still worth it, but if you like something quieter, Boma might not be for you.
The informality makes Boma a great place for kids, unless you have little ones that need to get up and move around. With the crowds, that may not be the best idea.
Located in Kidani Village, Sanaa is a cool fusion between African and Indian cuisine, emphasizing the exquisite flavors and spices of different regions.
While Sanaa is best known for its delicious lunch and dinner fare, a breakfast option was recently added to help meet the needs of the guests at any time of day.
While later in the day Sanaa is a table service restaurant, from 7:00am-10:00am it becomes a quick-service breakfast location.
Especially if you are staying at the resort, this is a great breakfast option if you’re trying to get out the door and to the parks or off to the airport.
No reservations are required for breakfast, just drop in and head on over to the counter specially set up for breakfast.
While there are items that you would need to order and wait to be prepared, like the Shahi Tukra French Toast or Boere Breakfast, plenty of options are available in the grab and go section.
Small dishes like bobotie pie, banana bread, and house-made sausage sit beside other breakfast favorites.
If you really need to get on the move, you can collect what you need, pay, and be on your way. However, if you want to sit in the restaurant to enjoy your breakfast, you are more than welcome.
As Sanaa overlooks the savanna, this is a beautiful way to start your morning.
If you are staying one of the Deluxe Studios at Kidani Village, this would also be a great breakfast option as the studios lack a full kitchen.
If you need to eat earlier than 7:00am, grab a few items the day before and keep them in your mini-fridge or refrigerator (depending on your room).
Warm the dishes up the next morning in your room and enjoy a hot meal before you head off to your day.
For those using the Disney Dining Plan, this would count as a quick service meal, which would mean one entrée and one beverage per person. If you would rather go a la carte or use snack credits, that would be an option as well.
There are a few differences between the lunch and dinner menus at Sanaa.
Beginning with the appetizers, the Indian-style bread service (which is the featured appetizer) and the samosas are on both menus, however, the remaining choices are lighter fare and are also a bit lighter on your wallet.
Some of the options include a refreshing salad sampler and light but delicious Shrimp Tinashe.
The entrees are of the salad and sandwich variety, but with a flavorful twist.
Try tandoori chicken open-faced on house-made naan or tandoori shrimp on a crispy harvest salad. Even a burger and pulled pork sandwich get a twist, topping the burger with spiced mustard and goat cheese while the pork is flavored with Kenyan coffee and served in a bread bowl.
The dessert choices are the same at both lunch and dinner, and they all have an African or Indian vibe that makes these sweet treats special.
The kheer, a coconut rice pudding, and the caramel n’dizi, a banana, chocolate, and hazelnut delight, are particular favorites.
Sanaa also has a kid’s menu with exotic options for more adventurous eaters…and pizza or a cheeseburger for those that aren’t.
Everyone who has been to Sanaa will tell you that you have to start with the Indian-style bread service.
This bread service comes with five different house-made breads and nine accompaniments for a delightful mix and match munch fest.
Plenty of people will come to Sanaa just for the bread!
Dinner also features an artisanal cheese selection and Oxtail Umngqusho as distinctive evening appetizers.
Entrees provide something for everyone, whether you are a meat-eater, vegetarian, or somewhere in between.
Two delicious lamb dishes allow you to pick something out of the norm, or you can try the African-inspired Biryani with vegetables, chicken, or shrimp.
South African flavors come through in highly flavored rice setting off your chosen accompaniment.
True meat lovers will enjoy the South African Braaivleis, a meat platter with traditional sides.
Dinner also sees an increase in the beverage options, both of the alcoholic and nonalcoholic varieties.
Try a delicious fruit and yogurt smoothie or all-natural lemonade to compliment your African meal, or jazz things up with an African beer or South African liqueur.
The dessert and children’s options remain the same at dinnertime as they do during the lunch hour, which makes planning ahead easy if you are returning to check out the dinner selection.
Dinner at Sanaa will cost one table service credit if you are on the Disney Dining Plan.
Know Before You Go
While breakfast does not require a reservation, you will want to book ahead online for lunch or dinner.
As the restaurant has a beautiful view of the savanna, you might want to go at lunchtime if you are interested in seeing more of the animals.
The later you go in the evening, the more likely it will become too dark to see any wildlife.
This dining experience is family-friendly and less formal than other options at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
There isn’t a dress code and you can feel free to come as you are. Sanaa would be a great option if you need to take a break from the parks in the middle of the day or for a relaxing evening meal.
Flavor and spice are the name of the game for this experience though, so make sure you look through the full menu before booking.
Your kiddo might be able to opt-out with a cheeseburger, but the same can’t be said for the adults in your party!
Named for a river that runs through Kenya and Tanzania, Mara is the primary quick service location at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
A fun and informal space a stone’s throw from the Uzima pool, this is a great place to go for any meal or to grab a quick snack.
Mara is open from 7:00am-11:30pm, so no matter your schedule you’ll be able to count on this location for awesome food at any time.
From Disney classics to fun African favorites, Mara has options for every taste.
If you are looking for a hot breakfast, the Bounty Platter or the Croissant Breakfast Sandwich are perfect options to get you started for the day. Both have plenty of protein to get you fueled up and off to the parks in no time.
If you’re craving something sweet, the classic Mickey Waffles with seasonal berries and breakfast meat will hit the spot.
For something more exotic, the Safari Bobotie is a cool plant-based option with African flavors.
Need something a bit quicker? Check out the assortment of pastries or snacks, like fruit or a yogurt parfait. You can even get simple cereal with milk.
For the kids, there are two platter options, one with scrambled eggs and the other with Mikey waffles. Both come with a choice of breakfast meat, a yogurt smoothie with choice of small bottled water, or lowfat milk.
You also could get one adult meal for two kids to split, or if you have an older kiddo who can eat more, spending the extra on the bigger meal might pay off later.
Like breakfast, Mara has American classics and African dishes available, all of which are delicious.
Go for a cheeseburger or crispy chicken sandwich, or check out the African Potjie or Tamarind Barbecue Pork Sandwich.
You can also get their signature flatbread, which make perfect sharable items at a great price.
If you’d rather get something lighter, check out the Mara Salad with Chicken or a simple Caesar. There are even plant-based options for vegetarians and vegans.
Chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, and half-flatbreads are available for the kids, but also a green salad with chicken for a healthy option.
However, what your kids are really going to be excited about are the desserts.
The Giraffe Éclair, filled with caramel custard and chocolate buttercream, or the Okapi Brownie will draw their eyes and make them determined to finish their meals.
Mara also has Zebra Domes, a popular Animal Kingdom Lodge treat. Zebra Domes are made of a decadent chocolate mousse, baked with an African liqueur, and then coated with white chocolate drizzled with chocolate to replicate a zebra’s stripes.
Two meals join the menu as specialty dinner dishes, the Oak-fired Rotisserie Chicken Dinner, and Slow-roasted Barbeque Ribs, both flavored with African spices and served with cool African sides (and French fries).
The rest of the menu is the same as lunchtime, although with dinner you might prefer to grab one of the alcoholic beverages available like a Kenyan beer or a delicious sangria.
Maybe you’ll also be comfortable grabbing an extra dessert or two, we won’t judge.
Know Before You Go
While there is seating in the Mara, it is a smaller quick service location and can fill up quickly, especially at peak times.
If you are out at the pool, it might be better to grab your food and take it out to your family rather than fighting for a table.
If you’re staying at the resort and your room is close to the Mara, you might also prefer to take the food back to your room to eat for a bit more privacy and air conditioning.
For the Disney Dining Plan, this will count as your quick service meal for the day. You can also use your snack credits here to snag any of the snack options (including those Zebra Domes!).
This is also a place to get your Refillable Mugs if Animal Kingdom Lodge is your home resort.
As a quick service location, this you can also take advantage of mobile ordering using your My Disney Experience app.
Bars and Lounges
Around the property, there are several bars and lounges, each with their own flair and atmosphere.
Whether it’s offering their own small menu or selections from the associated restaurants, you can find a variety of food and beverages without going for a full meal.
Located right by the Uzima pool, this is the perfect location to grab a cocktail to sip while you lounge or a quick bite to eat.
Sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads are all on the menu at the bar, perfect for a poolside lunch.
Pair your meal with a signature margarita or sangria for the ideal experience.
Open daily from 11:00am – 3:00pm, the Maji bar is located by the Samawati Springs pool in Kidani Village.
While this bar also features salads and sandwiches, the selections are slightly more sophisticated than the typical fare.
Caesar Salad with Tandoori Chicken, Berbere-spiced Roast Beef Melt, and Berbere Black-eyed Peas Harvest Salad are great options for a quiet day lounging.
To drink, try a refreshing Frosé or Piña CoLava, or a frozen lemonade if you’re not in the mood for alcohol.
Located in the entrance to Jiko, sample a selection of delicious South African wines or take advantage of the full bar available.
You also have the option to order from the full Jiko menu and dine at the bar.
An intimate setting, this would be a great date night spot or an opportunity to dine on the Jiko menu if you weren’t able to get a reservation.
Overlooking Boma, this cool lounge offers small plates and South African wines, as well as your favorite cocktails.
Especially if you’re looking for a lighter dinner or a late-night snack, a wine flight and the cheese and charcuterie plate are great options.
If margaritas are more your style, try the Mt. Kilimarita, one of the specialty cocktails.
It’s important to note that none of the bars or lounges accept the Disney Dining Plan for your meals, although you can use your snack credits for some of the snacks at the pool bars.
That includes if you order off the Jiko menu at the Cape Town Lounge, so if you have the Dining Plan you might want to just go ahead and get a reservation.
Also, these areas are still bars, so you need to be 21 or older to take advantage of these locations.
Animal Safari Experiences
Explore the savannas surrounding Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge before an amazing meal with this one of a kind experience.
Begin with a ninety-minute tour for an up-close view of the animals, gaining inside information from an experienced guide.
During your adventure, you might spot giraffes, okapis, ostriches, and zebras along with any of the other thirty species living on the property!
For your meal, you will enjoy a multi-course feast featuring dishes from Jiko. The menu can change from season to season, but you will be sure to have a sampling of the different offerings and wines to pair with them.
The cost is $209 per person (including tax and gratuity), with a cancellation fee amounting to the full cost of the Wanyama Safari and Dinner will apply for all no-shows or cancellations made less than 48 hours before your reservation time.
Know Before You Go
There are some key things you need to know before you book this adventure:
- This is a rugged safari trip, don’t attempt this if you or anyone in your party has poor health.
- Expectant mothers should not participate.
- Guests must be 10 years old and older in order to go on the safari.
- Dress code is required for dinner, but since dinner won’t occur until after the safari, you might want to bring a change of clothes with you.
More information about what you should know about this excursion can be found here.
This unique animal experience takes place at Sanaa, with a four-course lunch at a private lunch with an animal specialist.
The specialist will tell you about the animals and their care as they walk by the window while you enjoy your lunch. Additionally, you’ll learn more about Disney’s work with conservation and animal research.
You’ll start with Sanaa’s signature Indian-style bread service, move into a refreshing salad course, enjoy slow-cooked meats during your entrée course, and finish with a selection of Sanaa’s fabulous desserts.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, there will certainly be options for you as well! For the kiddos, they can choose between children’s portions of the adult meals or they can get one of their favorites from Sanaa’s kid’s menu.
Throughout the meal, you’ll be able to ask the animal specialist all your animal-related questions.
After the meal, you will be escorted to an enclosure for radiated tortoises, the most endangered species cared for at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You’ll have the chance for an up-close encounter with the tortoises as the animal specialist tells you all about their care.
As this is meant to be a more intimate gathering, the lunches are limited to twelve people. Since this is the case, you want to make your reservations as soon as possible.
To book a reservation, please call (407) 824-1391.
Finally, guests must be at least eight years old to take advantage of this experience, and all guests under eighteen must be accompanied by a guest eighteen years or older.
Disney Resorts Private Dining
At all the Disney resorts, you have the option to have your meal delivered right to your door.
Each resort has their own options as well as all your favorites. To place an order, just press “Dining Options” on your in-room phone.
An 18% gratuity, $5.00 delivery charge, and 6.5% sales tax will apply to all delivery orders.
Call day or night, and you’ll have food whenever you need it!
Is Your Tummy Rumbling?
For more delicious tidbits about the Animal Kingdom Lodge, check out our other AKL Resort pages:
Written by Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.