There are a ton of Disney’s Animal Kingdom table service restaurants to choose from. With that in mind, which of the restaurants are worth the splurge, and which should you skip instead? We’re breaking it all down!
Choosing which Walt Disney World Resort restaurants to eat at can be tough. There are over 200 dining locations to choose from across WDW Resort; narrowing down that list can be one of the toughest parts of your vacation planning. Choosing the perfect restaurant can be difficult- and confusing- between pricing, character meals, all-you-care-to-enjoy offerings, and themed dining locations in the mix! To help make your choice a little simpler, we’re breaking down the Animal Kingdom table service restaurant offerings and deeming some worthy of splurging for lunch or dinner, while others will be placed on the ‘skip’ list. Let’s get into it!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Table Service Restaurants: Skip or Splurge
- Price Average: $28/adult, $11/child
- A la carte
- Heavily Themed Environment
We’re starting our tour of Animal Kingdom’s table service restaurants with one that actually sits outside of the park’s gates. You don’t actually need a ticket to dine at Animal Kingdom’s Rainforest Cafe! Just like all of its counterparts, this Rainforest Cafe features a heavily themed, animal-packed jungle environment, making it a very fitting restaurant for this particular park. Animatronic jungle animals complete the restaurant’s jungle immersive theming. Every 20 minutes or so at the restaurant, you can expect a tropical ‘thunderstorm’ to roll through, complete with lighting, sound, and animatronic elements!
The food here is where the restaurant loses some points from us. The menu at this Rainforest Cafe location is the same as at Disney Springs (and at all other locations nationwide). In my experience, the food has always been average. The show elements are the draw here, and if you’ve got a kid who needs mealtime entertainment, the constantly bustling jungle animals will do the trick. Ultimately though, the Rainforest Cafe is not unique to Animal Kingdom (or even Walt Disney World) and boasts some of the most average, chain-style table service food at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Tusker House Restaurant
- Price: $45/adult, $29/child (Breakfast), $59/adult, $38/child (Lunch/Dinner)
- Character Dining
Tusker House is Animal Kingdom’s one and only character dining spot. This open-concept restaurant in Africa features an extensive buffet…and favorite Disney pals! Fans of the Fab 5 can expect to meet Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Daisy decked out in their adorable safari finest while they dine on traditional African cuisine.
Tusker House’s extensive buffet is one of the most unique in Disney World. The food offerings are extremely well-themed to their location, but keep in mind they may be a bit too unique for some pickier eaters in teh group. However, the spices used are in no way too ‘spicy’ nor are the flavors ‘unapproachable.’ The split-roast tandoori chicken and za’atar braised beef are just two examples of African-inspired foods whose flavors would appeal to a vast majority of guests. Offerings like roasted potatoes and homemade mac and cheese are just a few of the choices available for anyone wanting to stick to their tried and true favorites.
Aside from the large buffet, the character interactions here are some of the best you’ll find within WDW. The restaurant is both on the smaller side and has a lot of open floor space that allows characters to spend quality time at each table…and even break out into fun dance parties in the middle of the restaurant. When I last visited, Daisy and a young guest held hands and danced ring-around-the-rosie style while everyone clapped along!
The large buffet and the quality of character interactions make Tusker House one of the best bang-for-your-buck eateries at Animal Kingdom!
Yak and Yeti
- Price Average: $24/ adult, $11/ child
- A la carte menu
You’ll find a very unassuming, two-story building just across the bridge to Asia. By day, it’s easy to overlook. But at twilight, the second-story windows draw your eye to the diners enjoying Asian-inspired meals upstairs. The menu at Yak and Yeti Restaurant combines flavors and cooking styles from all across Asia. Japan, China, Malaysia, and Korea are just a few of the nations from which the menu draws its inspiration. Most guests will recognize the majority of the menu items here. Egg rolls, (the enormous) ahi tuna nachos, and hearty pork and vegetable lo mein are some of the menu’s approachable highlights.
In my dining experience, the portions are more than sharable! I ordered the ahi tuna nachos for a party of two…and almost invited the table next to us to share because the towering portion was so massive! With some of the lowest prices in the park (depending on what you order), the high quality of the food, and the large portion sizes, this is a good choice for families wanting to fuel up without breaking their budgets.
If your family also wants to feel immersed in the land they are visiting, Yak and Yeti’s menu and interior decor are very transportive. The elaborate interior of the restaurant harkens back to the Asia of old, where ancient dynasties ruled, and ornate statues and artwork helped give the continent its identity. That same theming style continues in attraction queues like Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids, making your time spent in Asia cohesive and immersive!
- Price Average: $50/ adult, $16/ child
- A la carte menu
- Fine/Signature Dining
Located just off Discovery Island, you’ll find the Tiffins nestled on the riverbank. From the moment you enter, it’s immediately apparent that Tiffins is a step above your average theme park restaurant. Gorgeous sketches from Animal Kingdom’s Imagineering research trips to Asia and Africa are displayed in cases at the entry, and traditional handmade artwork can be found throughout the space.
You really have to be an adventurous foodie to get the most out of Tiffins. It’s one of the more expensive in-park restaurants, and the food offerings are eclectically unique. The flavors in the dishes at Tiffins are a fusion of Asian, African, and Latin flavors that create deliciously unexpected combinations. Each dish’s flavor profiles evolve as you eat them, and the ingredients’ quality has been extremely high both times I’ve dined here.
I like going to Tiffins when I haven’t spent the day in a theme park. It’s a culinary experience that, in my experience, should begin with a signature cocktail, continue through to an appetizer, and round out with a signature entree. After a day spent in Animal Kingdom, Tiffins is usually not the dining experience I’m looking for.
If you want a high-quality culinary experience with flavors you probably aren’t used to, definitely check it out. But, if you don’t fall into that specific category, I would skip it. But there is one honorable mention dining location that shares a space with Tiffins that everyone should have on their list…
- Price Average: $14/adult, $14/child
- Cocktail Price Average: $18
- Small Plates
Nomad Lounge is a lounge-style spot, meaning you can walk up and request a table when you are ready to relax. Or, you can join the walk-up list on the My Disney Experience app…no reservations are required! Nomad Lounge shares the same building, kitchen, and excellent cocktail menu as Tiffins. It has both indoor and outdoor tables, with patio-style seating that overlooks the Pandora bridge.
Nomad Lounge is one of my favorite places to enjoy a cocktail and a small plate while visiting Animal Kingdom! The price point is much lower than its Tiffins counterpart, but the quality of the food and the smaller dishes themselves are just as well prepared as the food in Tiffin’s itself. Plus, the wait staff brings your food and drinks to your table, just like they do at a table service dining experience! The cocktails are some of the best (and strongest!) you’ll find at a theme park bar, and if you enjoy a handmade Disney drink, this is a can’t-miss for you.