It’s been uncharacteristically long since we’ve taken a good look at the comings and goings at Animal Kingdom. The first of three(?) Joffrey’s locations appears in front of bag check with a similar menu as the Epcot locations:
How those pastries survive the 90+ degree heat…
While Hub construction at Magic Kingdom receives a lot of press, a similar number of walls surround the Tree of Life.
As far as the eye can see.
The walls continue toward It’s Tough To Be A Bug, which is scheduled to reopen from refurbishment on September 28th.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug’s exit is currently a wall.
On the Pizzafari side. It’s a wall.
The Disney Outfitters store is expanding.
For now, that just means more walls.
FastPass+ kiosk locations continue to change. As of this week:
We’ve seen them everywhere from Kilimanjaro Safaris to DINOSAUR to Kali River Rapids in the past.
The Disney Outfitters location.
Another in Asia across from Yak & Yeti Restaurant.
And in Africa.
The “Service Centers” don’t officially have the ability to book your 4th, 5th, etc. FastPass+ like the other kiosks and are instead a means for Disney to “recover” you should you have a problem (which never happen because MyMagic+ is perfect).
4th, 5th, 6th, etc. FastPass+ availability remains limited at the Parks not named Magic Kingdom. My advice remains to begin scheduling FP+ no earlier than 10am in order to take advantage of short standby waits first thing in the morning before relying on FP+ later in the morning and early afternoon when waits peak. The reality is that there isn’t going to be much difference in attraction availability between 11:15am and 12:15pm. And guests using FP+ unnecessarily early will have saved less time and have little to show for it after lunch when they’re out of their original FP+ allotment and and have the unenviable choice of selecting whether to book Primeval Whirl or DINOSAUR for 4:45pm-5:45pm when standby waits are again short.
These pictures are from the afternoon of August 21st when Animal Kingdom was recommended. Posted waits throughout the day:
Crowd patterns haven’t changed much since Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade ceased at the end of May. By 5pm, everything but Kali River Rapids is virtually a walk-on with two full hours to close. Two casualties of FP+ are obvious – the first being DINOSAUR’s peak waits, which are easily over twice as long under FP+. Kilimanjaro Safaris also suffers from higher peak waits and larger fluctuations in wait times under FP+. Note that the posted wait at Safaris goes from 80 minutes at 2:30pm to 10 minutes at 2:45pm and stays low for the rest of the day. Despite being a headlining attraction, peak waits at Safaris were rarely over 60 minutes under the legacy FASTPASS system.
The Mickey and Minnie Meet and Greet at Adventurers Outpost is another priority, whether you do it early/late or with FP+. Because of its limited capacity, it makes a lot of sense to book it as one of your initial three FP+ instead of trying to save it for a 4th FP+ opportunity.
Kali’s wait times will come down when highs drop below 80.
Back to wall news, it’s expected that another Joffrey’s location will be arriving next to Flame Tree Barbecue.
More Disney Outfitters construction across the way.
It’s expected that Africa will be seeing a dining and retail expansion in addition to the recent Lion King theater addition. These walls are to the right of Tamu Tamu Refreshments.
Even more walls in between the train station to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Mombasa Marketplace.
Avatar construction at the closed Camp Minnie-Mickey has necessitated the movement of several characters to nooks and crannies around the Park.
According to the Times Guide, Pocahontas meets at “Discovery Island, near the Galapagos Tortoise.” Now, most people visiting have trouble finding Expedition Everest and its accompanying 199 foot tall mountain, let alone a turtle. In fact, a family walked up to a cast member in the area asking about the “galafagus tourist” and where it was in proximity to “the Indian girl.” With a smile, the cast member pointed Disney’s bread and butter toward the end of the long wall circling around the area.
Despite being impossible to find, Pocahontas has managed to form a decent line of people that must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.
We could argue about whether she’s a “Disney princess” if you want.
Daisy Duck meets alone where the Winnie the Pooh characters used to meet, now with the FP+ scanners removed, no indication of what character(s) is meeting, and the sign covered up. This is across from Flame Tree BBQ. Waits are typically zero minutes.
Donald has moved to DinoLand on the “Cretaceous Trail” on the left on the walk toward DINOSAUR.
Behind the Goofy/Pluto meet.
The DinoLand Dance-a-Palooza that debuted early in the summer continues in the afternoon.
Currently at 3:30pm and 5pm. It’s a nice opportunity to get some pictures with random characters without the usual waits.
Finally, King Louie and Baloo have moved to Country Landing across from the entrance to Flights of Wonder on the walkway that connects Asia and Africa.
Speaking of Flights of Wonder, the two late afternoon shows are nice for those of us relying on a late arrival. The last show was scheduled at 3pm when the Jammin’ Parade circled Discovery Island.
And now for the joy that is quick service menu updates. Spoiler: the only one that sees major changes is Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe in Asia. Just about everything else is going to be price increases or minor substitutions. This is the Joffrey’s coffee stand on the right just after you cross the bridge over to Discovery Island from the Oasis.
Why they need more of the same I don’t know.
Snack cart alley on the walk up to Asia on Discovery Island.
Popcorn and alcohol.
Red Bridge, Omission, Angry Orchard in addition to Lundberg Rice Chips, Enjoy Life cookies, and Go Raw granola bars, among other items. Those of you allergic to (the thought of) gluten are probably better off bringing your own bagged snacks, particularly at these prices.
Flame Tree and Yak & Yeti are my favorite Animal Kingdom quick services.
While the entrees may look similar to other quick services like Cosmic Ray’s and Fairfax Fare, Flame Tree prepares their food uniquely well.
With that said, the turkey sandwich is nothing special.
The salad is among the best on property, full of freshly smoked chicken instead of that microwaved-from-frozen stuff served elsewhere. The tangy bbq dressing is excellent.
And of course, chicken and ribs, though the combo price is getting awfully high.
Your Chicken/Ribs Combo, Dessert, and Fountain Beverage with tax now runs $25.21, which is pretty rough.
Dino-Bite Snacks is your Animal Kingdom version of Storybook Treats/Plaza Ice Cream Parlor that virtually nobody visits.
With plenty of dedicated seating next door.
Restaurantosaurus offers plentiful air-conditioned seating, outdoor patio seating, and refillable fountain drinks, but the menu remains pretty lousy:
Over the last few years they’ve tried to shoehorn in various items, but the entrees remain generic.
The Black Bean Burger is basically one of those MorningStar Chipotle Bean Burgers for $10.19 with burgers that are usually overcooked. You could do worse but there isn’t much value here.
The Chicken BLT Salad does the job, but with a generic light ranch dressing, isn’t compelling.
CORN-IVORES (get it) is your standard popcorn stand in the middle of DinoLand.
They added a cotton candy mixed drink earlier this year that bombed and was recently removed.
Dino Diner in the back of DinoLand is usually open from 11am-4pm or so.
Not much to it either.
The various rum lemonades are best skipped – just about an ounce of rum underneath the non-alcoholic slushes.
The cart across from the entrance to Expedition Everest on the DinoLand side.
The Gupta Punch is bottled Smirnoff Pomegranate Martini and the Margarita is Cuervo Golden Margarita, also pre-bottled. Best skipped.
Kingfisher is theoretically Indian, but what you’ll receive at Animal Kingdom is brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Unfortunately, fresh fruit options don’t improve compared to Epcot. Combined, you’re looking at a startling $10 worth.
Standard cart pricing on ice cream.
Soft serve ice cream.
Dino-Bites is a better value.
This cart moves around – here it’s located in between Everest and Kali River Rapids.
Any speciality drink should be available without the souvenir cup if you ask. Drinks should be $6 less without it.
Most people will never happen upon this cart.
Which is okay because it’s just pretzels and nuts.
Yak & Yeti is my second favorite Animal Kingdom quick service.
Although this is a relatively substantial menu update.
A Teriyaki Beef Bowl replaces the Beef Lo Mein, the Ginger Chicken Salad replaces the Mandarin Chicken Salad, and the Roasted Vegetable Couscous Wrap is all new. The single pork egg roll is up 50 cents and the pair is up a full dollar. Desserts are up 40 cents, the Uncrustables Kids’ Meal is new, and the Souvenir Panda Cup is also a new addition.
The “Asian Chicken Sandwich” is the lone disappointment (that I know about), though it’s a serviceable sandwich in the grand scheme of things.
The other entrees are served freshly prepared in large quantities.
Around the corner on the right in the seating area, you may run into this drink window:
It usually operates with limited hours and closes two hours before the rest of the Park, but there’s rarely anybody in line because it’s virtually hidden from view.
You may have noticed Beso Del Sol Sangria on numerous menus thus far. In case you’re wondering how the Internet works – this is how it works:
I get a few of these sorts of emails a week and while the website is more than willing to sell out, the price is slightly higher than a box of toilet sangria.
For the sake of bloggability, I went out and bought myself a box from Fantasia Gifts at the Contemporary.
And as much as it pains me to say this, Beso Del Sol is pretty good as far as boxed/bottled sangria is concerned. It’s not overly sweet like most and doesn’t suffer at all from the acidity of your typical red wine. $6.95 for a short pour isn’t much of a value considering the regular price of a 3 liter box is $20, but you could do worse.
And it’s at least better than the “eppa” that they used to serve.
Drinkwallah is located across from Yak & Yeti restaurant.
Upcountry Beverages is located to the left of the entrance to Flights of Wonder.
Note that it stipulates the drinks are available without the tumbler on the one menu on the right.
Something it doesn’t mention above.
Just before arriving in Africa from Asia, you’ll run into these two kiosks. Often, neither is actually open. The best you can usually hope for is one.
Some potentially nice vegetarian items are theoretically available, usually from 12pm to 4pm.
Finally into Africa, Tamu Tamu Refreshments is on the right:
It’s gone through several menu changes just in the last year, but recently reverted back to a couple excellent entrees and the addition of the Dole Whip.
The Beef Sandwich is a large portion of spicy pulled beef tempered by the fresh cucumber yogurt and a hefty side of Disney’s best house-made chips.
I don’t know of a better vegetarian quick service salad on property – olives, feta, chickpeas, tofu in a very light dressing.
The spices in the Roasted Chicken Salad were indeed mild, to the point where this is a pretty standard chicken salad, but it’s potentially a nice change of pace from the usual.
Across from Tamu is Harambe Popcorn.
If you’re interested in the ocarina tumbler, this is the best place to pick it up.
Jungle Juice Slush is a nice mix of frozen fruit juices and the ocarina does work (which may mean you want to avoid picking one up like the plague).
Dawa Bar recently moved closer to Kusafiri:
Request those drinks without the souvenir cup to save some money.
Dawa recently added four Bloody Mary cocktails, purportedly only available from 9am-11am. I am not a tomato juice person, but the pictures I’ve seen have looked good if you are.
A few steps closer to Kilimanjaro Safaris on the left sits Kusafiri Bakery.
I do invite you to comment if you are the person that has actually bought one of these $9 “colossal” cinnamon rolls.
Harambe Fruit Market is located in front of the entrances to Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Wildlife Express over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch:
More of the same.
Is still a scam.
To the walkway up to Africa.
This is actually a great ice cream stop thanks to Haagen Dazs, which you’re not going to find in many spots. The Bugs Sundae is a lot of fun also.
Oh boy, this is it! Pizzafari is the last of the four major quick services (Flame Tree Barbecue, Pizzafari, Restaurantosaurus), located to the left after you cross the bridge from the Oasis to Discovery Island:
Pizzas haven’t gone up in price, if you can believe that. Other entrees are up 50 cents a pop.
We are missing an updated menu for Trilo-Bites, which was closed this week.
We’ll end with some relevant Animal Kingdom merchandise: