Delicious Dishes and Aromatic Artistry: Dining at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
When staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, you will feel like you have been transported to an African kraal and safari. It is one of the many reasons I enjoy staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas during a trip to Walt Disney World. One of the first things I do after I have booked a stay at either Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House or Kidani Village is start to plan which restaurants on the resort property I plan to dine at, as there are great options to choose from.
I believe that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas has a couple of the most unique dining options compared to the other DVC resorts, as there is a variety to choose from, such as American, African, and Indian cuisines. I would like to take you on a dining adventure with me around the plains of Africa, stopping by the different restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.
First, let’s stop by Jiko The Cooking Place! This signature Dining restaurant offers traditional African, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant can be found at Jambo House and is open for dinner. I believe that once you walk into the restaurant, you are supposed to feel like you are dining in a savanna based on the orange, yellow, and brown furniture (representing the grassy areas), yellow lighting (representing a sunny day), and flying bird sculptures attached to the dark blue ceiling (representing the sky above you).
My favorite part of this restaurant is the open kitchen, with twin wood-burning ovens in the dining area where guests can watch chefs prepare the different appetizers. In East African English, Jiko means a container made of metal or clay and used for burning charcoal or small pieces of wood. It is used for cooking or to give heat. This is why I think Jiko is the perfect name for the restaurant.
Guests can find many stunning dishes that include steak, chicken, seafood, and plant-based dishes that are infused with a uniquely bold blend of tantalizing flavors and fragrant spices. The next time I dine at Jiko, I hope to try either the Botswanan Seswaa Short Rib or the Seafood Tagine.
Boma – Flavors of Africa is our second stop on our dining adventure. The restaurant features all-you-care-to-enjoy buffets at breakfast and dinner and resembles a lively African marketplace. Boma prides itself on offering guests incredible flavors from over 50 African countries. Guests can find Boma at Jambo House near Victoria Falls Lounge. Sit in the dining room and enjoy a view of chefs preparing meals in the open kitchen before they are taken to the buffet area. There are so many incredible options to try. My favorite thing about Boma’s buffet is it allows me to try what I want and go back for the items that stood out to me.
Whether you dine at Boma for breakfast or dinner, your five senses will be heightened by the food and atmosphere. With the unique taste of the food, the incredible aroma once you enter the restaurant, and the sight of the colorful dining area, you will want to dine here more than once while staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.
I absolutely love meat and will definitely be getting the African Spiced Beef Striploin, Oak Roast Pork Ribs, and Lamb Bobotie on my next visit to Boma. If you like spices and options, Boma is the perfect restaurant for you!
Next on our travels, let’s explore beside the river known as The Mara, named for a river flowing through Kenya and Tanzania. Guests can find classic entrees and grab-n-go favorites at this quick service location from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. While sitting in the dining area of The Mara, I always love to look at the mural along the restaurant walls of animals relaxing in their native African ecosystems. There is a unique canopy of trees dangling from the ceilings, making you feel like you are sitting under a tree and a blue sky in the wetlands and grasslands of Africa. There is also an outdoor seating area for guests to sit in.
Guests are also able to Mobile Order through My Disney Experience! You can set your arrival time and choose the items you wish to order. After guests have reviewed their order, they can pay for their order using a credit card, debit card, Disney Gift Card, Disney Rewards Redemption Card, Apple Pay, or Disney Dining Plan (once it returns). I am always happy to stop by The Mara to grab a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, Zebra Domes, or a Freshly Brewed Joffrey’s Coffee throughout the day.
Halfway through our dining adventure, let’s wander into the Sanaa Restaurant and Lounge, found at Kidani Village, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kuamsha Breakfast is a casual quick-service offering that does not require reservations, whereas both lunch and dinner are table-service experiences. This restaurant features African cooking with Indian flavors. I would highly recommend making a reservation in advance as Sanaa can book up fast. I love the decor in Sanaa, especially the stunning ceiling, which will make you feel like you are sitting under an acacia tree in the middle of the savanna, and the colorful columns.
I prefer to sit by the large windows in the restaurant and enjoy the view of the Sunset Savanna. I enjoy playing a game with my dining companions to see what animals we can find in the savanna throughout your meal and who spots the most.
What I love about Sanaa is starting my meal with an Indian-style Bread Service that includes Five Breads with Nine Accompaniments. Whether you enjoy a sweet or spicy accompaniment, you will find an accompaniment that suits your palette! There are many wonderful dishes to choose from. The last time I was at Sanaa, I ordered the Tomato and Paneer Cheese Soup, and I loved it. The next time I dine here, I plan to either get Potjie Inspired Butter Chicken, Pork Shank, or the Sanaa Burger.
Let’s take a break at the watering hole of Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar and see what will suit your fancy. If you enjoy a nice glass of wine, Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar is perfect for you. Take a seat at the bar or one of the tables in the lounge and enjoy one of the various South African wines, Hand-Crafted Cocktails, beers, and Specialty Non-Alcoholic beverages. As Cape Town is located near Jiko, why not grab an appetizer and wine pairing before your meal at Jiko? If you need help deciding on what to order, the Cast Member behind the bar would be happy to recommend a couple of selections.
Victoria Falls Lounge is another lounge that is a great location to quench your thirst after a day of observing the animals in the savannas outside Jambo House. I find the Victoria Falls Lounge stunning, with different textured floors, imitation stonework, unique lit-up columns, black railings with fun designs, and dim lighting. It is a beautiful location to sit and take in the view of the lobby. Guests of legal drinking age can enjoy a large selection of Specialty Cocktails, Beers, and Wines. There is also a small option menu of dishes to order.
Some of my favorite dining locations are the options at the DVC pools because I am always happy to spend as much time at the pools as I can without leaving the area. Uzima Springs Pool Bar is located by the Uzima Springs Pool at Jambo House, and the Maji Pool Bar is located by the Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani Village. Both are perfect for resort days by the pool. Guests can purchase food and drinks at each pool’s quick service location. I will never get tired of sitting on a pool chair on a sunny day reading a book with an EARidescent Sip-a-bration and Short Rib Grilled Cheese beside me.
We are so excited to see the Disney Dining Plans return in 2024 for any reservation checking in after January 9, 2024. Many of the restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas will allow guests to use the Disney Dining Plans. I highly recommend checking out the Disney World Official Website to take a look at the menus for the restaurants found in the parks and DVC resorts before going on a trip to Disney to get a better idea of which restaurants to choose during your stay.
Thank you for joining me on my dining adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, and I hope I was able to help you have a better idea of the options to try. Where should we head next for a dining adventure at Walt Disney World?