With so many great options for food in the Walt Disney World Resort, you will surely be putting a lot of thought of where you want to eat in the parks. Many times, you’ll be so busy in the parks that you want to grab a quick but satisfying meal before heading back to the attractions. To help with your planning, the following is a list of all the full-time counter service restaurants in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Overall, Animal Kingdom has the second-best quick service options at Disney World, just behind EPCOT. The following list takes into consideration the overall food quality, variety of selections, and restaurant atmosphere to rank all restaurants in the park.
Before I begin with the rankings, I want to explain what “quick service” restaurants. These restaurants, also called “counter service” locations, include any full-time food location that has a counter and serves more than a single item. This means that the snack carts and other basic snack food locations with the classic Mickey-shaped ice cream and pretzels don’t count. That being said, sometimes a snack is all you need to quell your hunger as you travel throughout the park, so don’t discount them! For specific allergy information, be sure to check the Disney website for full menu options. Here are the best and worst Animal Kingdom’s quick service restaurants.
- Satuli Canteen (Pandora: The World of Avatar)
Overall, the BEST quick service restaurant in the park, and quite possibly the entire Disney World Resort, is Satuli Canteen. The restaurant’s staple are its bowls, which allow guests to choose between multiple bases, meats, and dressings. Bases include the choice between quinoa & vegetable salad, a sweet potato mash, grains and rice, or a romaine & kale salad. Choices for proteins include wood-grilled chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu. Lastly, choose between one of three sauce toppings to finish off your customized dish. The restaurant also offers “pods” which are bao buns with cheeseburger or vegetable curry ingredients. The breakfast menu features more traditional food, including steak and eggs, pork hash, French toast, and oatmeal.
The atmosphere of the restaurant fits the mixed Valley of Mo’ara Pandora & RDA company theme well. It’s meant to be a sort of cafeteria for the company that’s built into the Na’vi land. Though everything looks pretty good, the restaurant has somewhat limited indoor seating, and you may be forced to eat in the covered outside dining area.
Overall, the food quality here is second to none while in Disney World, and the restaurant is well worth making a bit of a detour for. Its location in Pandora makes it a bit out of the way of most savvy guests who start their day in the land to ensure a ride on Flight of Passage, but easily tops the list of restaurants in Animal Kingdom.
- Flame Tree Barbecue (Discovery Island)
Located close to the Tree of Life in the center of the park, Flame Tree is easily accessible no matter where you are in the park. It, as the name suggests, features a menu pork barbecue, ribs, and smoked chicken. Sides include fries and onion rings. Unfortunately, one of my favorite park snacks has been removed from the menu (loaded pulled pork barbecue fries), but we can dream that it comes back.
Though the menu is somewhat limited, barbecue fans will be happy with the quality of the meat. There are also multiple types of barbecue sauce which you can grab on your own, allowing you to experiment with flavors at this quick service location.
The atmosphere of the dining area is awesome. Despite it being outside, it is shaded by trees, features flowing fountains, and offers impeccable views of the park across the water. The sight lines are perfect to view the peaks of Expedition Everest and capture its reflection over the water. The views (and photo opportunities) are so good, in fact, that even if you don’t end up eating here, you should still wander back behind this quick service restaurant and down to the water to take in the sights.
- Yak & Yeti (Asia)
As another great quick service option, Yak & Yeti Quick Service features a menu with just enough Asian flavor to entice most visitors. Options include honey sesame chicken, a Korean fried chicken sandwich, sweet and sour shrimp, a vegetable tikki masala, rib tips, and a teriyaki chicken salad. Though they have fries and a burger option as well, I recommend grabbing a side of chicken fried rice or egg rolls. Overall, the food quality and flavor is great, and feels just authentic enough to match the Asia-themed land around the outdoor dining area.
The atmosphere of the dining area leaves you wanting more, though depending on the time of day, you could be treated to the amazing sounds of Chakranadi the Sitar player just down the path. If he’s performing when you’re going to eat, feel free to carry your meal a little way down to path so you can eat and watch the show! Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a cramped area behind this quick service restaurant with nothing interesting to look at while you dine.
- Restaurantosaurus (Dinoland)
It almost pains me to put Restaurantosaurus towards the bottom of the list, but with the strength of the quick service restaurants in Animal Kingdom, it has to be done. Even at #4, it is still an excellent quick service option for most visitors, and should not be overlooked. The menu here is more in line with the traditional theme park food and offers burgers and fries, chicken nuggets, and other simple meals.
While the joint lacks food “wow factor” it makes up for it in terms of incredible theming in the large indoor dining area. Despite many people believing that the theme of Dinoland is cheap and unimpressive, there is a deep backstory to the area which runs straight through Restaurantosaurus itself. Though I could go on and on about it (being a massive Dinosaur fan and having the privilege of taking a backstage tour of the land and walking the track of the Dinosaur ride), the heart of it is that the restaurant used to be used to house paleontologist interns while they worked at the institute. There are bunks lofted in the ceilings, tons of informative posters and artwork (some by Joe Rohde, Animal Kingdom’s lead creator), and small hints outside that show the lived-in nature of the building. Check the roof where the kids would hang out, drink Coke, and fire arrows at the water tower. Once the Dino Institute made strides in their time-travel technology, the area quickly became less of a roadside stop and more of a tourist attraction, hence the theming of the land. If you choose to dine at Restaurantosaurus, try to get a seat in the small caravan attached to the restaurant that looks like a classic diner.
- Pizzafari (Discovery Island)
While every other quick service restaurant in Animal Kingdom is a great choice, Pizzafari is not. I simply cannot understand how Disney fails to make decent pizza! The pizza here is the same as PizzeRizzo in Hollywood Studios, individually sized frozen pies DiGiorno. It lacks flavor and inspiration and leaves me sad any time I see a guest electing to partake in it – and this is coming from someone who loves pizza! The menu doesn’t offer many alternatives as the only other options are a chicken parmesan sandwich and Caesar salad, both of which aren’t all that much better than the pizza.
This quick service restaurant is somewhat dark and completely inside, offering a great respite from the swelting sun on a hot Florida day. There is lots of indoor space, and the restaurant is only truly busy during peak lunchtime hours (12-2). Though Animal Kingdom has tons of foliage and shade, it has a lot of outdoor queues and rides that keep you in the elements most of the day. Since Pizzafari offers a cool reprieve, it can be effectively used as a recharge spot, and I highly recommend taking advantage of it as such.
Five – that is all of the quick service restaurants in Animal Kingdom! Despite not having all that many options, the choices for food are excellent compared to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Keep in mind that Animal Kingdom also has multiple unique cart offerings that can be used as snacks of full meals. When I’m in Animal Kingdom, I tend to steer myself towards the ice cream cookie next to Restaurantosaurus or the Mr. Kamal’s seasoned fries on the pathway between Africa and Asia. There’s also a stand in Africa that offers grilled corn, which can be a great change of pace from the other park food you’ve been eating. All in all, Animal Kingdom is a great place for food and second only to EPCOT, which practically lives by the cultural cuisines it houses.