During a recent visit to Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Animal Kingdom, I expected to grab a bite to eat in the area before or after we explored. But what I found was only food for the animals! Good thing I had scoped the park for dining options while we walked to catch The Wildlife Express train to Rafiki. Lesson learned – not all areas of the park are created equal and you need to check ahead of time and plan your visit accordingly.
Being married to a triathlete kind of mandates that we eat pretty healthy at home and even on vacation. So, when I was recently at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park (for the first time I might add) I kept my eye out for appropriate choices to grab a bite to eat.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
My first venture in the park was to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which holds the research and education center. For anyone out there who has not seen The Lion King and is wondering what or who Rafiki is, he was the wise baboon who guided Simba from birth to his return to the Pride Lands. I was most interested in this section of the park as it devotes a lot to conservation and I wanted to see how the park handled a philosophy very important to me.
After taking a short train ride on The Wildlife Express, I discovered when I arrived an area geared to children of all ages. It offers fun educational exhibits and activities to create awareness about animal issues, plus a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of Animal Kingdom, including veterinary facilities. I actually saw a turtle having surgery when I was there. I’m sure all the little ones will love the Affection Station, which is essentially a petting zoo.
What I didn’t find in Rafiki’s Planet Watch was any food. Oh, I found the animal food prep station, which showcased a lot of animal food, like pellets, papaya, and elephant “cookies”, but no real people food. There was one rack of snacks and some drinks at the gift shop, but nothing to feed a family with a solid meal.
Good thing that while I was walking to Rafiki, I kept an eye out for where we could get something to eat and actually made a mental note of some of the possibilities along the way. Grabbing a bite would have to wait until we finished Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Dining Options Close By
Here are a few of the dining options in the Africa and Asia sections close by Rafiki that offered choices even my triathlete would approve of:
Yak & Yeti Restaurant – As you may guess from the name, this is an Asian-themed restaurant, with actually very good food. It is a nice option for lunch or dinner, if you want to sit down and have a full meal. The Dim Sum Basket for two is always a favorite, but you can also choose soups and salads. The restaurant is air conditioned and has a bar, so it’s a great place to cool off, sit and relax, and grab a drink. We certainly enjoyed our respite.
Tusker House Restaurant – Tusker House sits on the main thoroughfare within the Africa section of the park. The food is inspired by the flavors of Africa, of course, including spit-roasted meats. It offers a buffet, including a kids’ buffet, at all meals. For the kiddies, there’s Donald’s Safari at breakfast and Disney characters at lunch. It’s very popular so best to book well in advance.
Pizzafari – As the name implies, if you’re in the mood for pizza or your kids just have to have it, then they have you covered. I have heard mixed reviews on the pizza, however. They also offer non-pizza items such as salads and pastas and a nice children’s menu. There are colorful murals painted on the walls to entertain. You can find Pizzafari in the Safari Village.
Bradley Falls and Kamal’s Kiosks– If you are looking for vegetarian options, either one of these kiosks will work for you. You can get things like an Asian Noodle Salad and falafels.
Royal Anandapur Tea Company – I wanted to include this option, because many people drink tea and it’s not always easy to come by in theme parks, unless you are at a sit down restaurant. You can also enjoy a nice pastry with that cup of tea.
Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom – This restaurant, open for all three meals, is located near the entrance to Animal Kingdom. It offers a lot of basic American food with a tropical twist, such as their Volcanic Cobb Salad and Rasta Pasta. It is great for entertaining the kids, as it’s meant to make you feel like you’re in the Amazon with plenty of singing birds and bright colored fish.
Harambe Fruit Market – I always love to have a fresh fruit option while I’m exploring and this one, in the Africa section, satisfies. They also have juices, water, soda, pretzels, and chips.
Allergy Food Kiosk – For anyone out there with allergies, there is a food cart devoted to you in the Safari Village. Many gluten-free items are available.
The lesson I learned from this experience is to check ahead to make sure where food is available and plan accordingly, especially if you’re with little ones. If you’re going to visit Rafiki, either don’t go around meal time or be sure to eat before or after your visit. Don’t assume that every section of the park is created equal.
When I left for my trip to Disney World, to keep my husband busy while I was gone, I left a “honey do” list for him. Nothing on the list was too taxing or beyond his skill level! I also just so happened to have set up my new Panasonic Home Surveillance System, which was so easy that even this technically challenged individual managed to set it up herself in no time and download the Home Network app which serves to control the device through it’s connection to your wifi.
It came with 2 cameras that I placed in the family room and kitchen, the two most active rooms in the house and ones that have doors to the outside. I have wanted a home monitoring system for some time now, mostly to see if I can catch what my pups do during the day when I’m gone. So, I was thrilled when this package came to my house.
When I came home from Orlando, I decided to see just how well my new monitoring system had worked. I was so excited to see what my pups had been up to. But, what I found was much more interesting and explained one thing – why only the first item on my “honey do” list got done…
I’m so glad my husband forgot the system was set up. For once, I was actually happy he forgot something. When asked about why only one item was completed over 3 days, I started to get, “Well, I had to…” until I showed him the picture. Thank you Panasonic Home Surveillance System for making sure my husband will complete future honey do lists! Much appreciated…