Our day at Animal Kingdom continues after first going over what rope dropping Flight of Passage in Pandora currently looks like in this post. We continued with a review of the UP! Bird Adventure show in Asia along with rides on Kilimanjaro Safaris and Flight of Passage with FastPass+ in Part 2.
It’s been a while since we stopped at Pizzafari, and with a new “family-style dining experience” beginning July 31st, I thought it would be worth revisiting.
The quick-service-that-you-can’t-technically-call-a-pizzeria is back to serving reheated frozen pizzas and standard Disney Caesar Salads as entrees, in addition to the Shrimp Flatbread that’s been on the menu for a couple of years.
For a very short time back in 2015, Pizzafari was actually interesting, serving handmade personal pies like this “Mediterranean Pizza Served with Antipasto Salad and topped with Alfredo Sauce, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pesto, Roasted Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, Kalamata Olive, Arugula, and Red Onion.”
That was served with a unique Antipasto Salad that’s now long gone.
The Heart of Romaine Salad was some amount of work to cut up and prepare, but it was a lot fresher than what’s currently being offered in the $10 Chicken Caesar.
Anyway, it’s 12:54pm and the line for Pizzafari is backed up outside the entrance.
This is a poor picture of what the ordering area looked like – completely jammed up with what was mostly tour groups. I bypassed this mess in its entirety by using mobile order via the My Disney Experience app. I had my food just four minutes after I put in the order compared to what is probably a 20+ minute wait here just to arrive at the register. Unfortunately, there was nowhere inside to sit as I threw up my hands and yelled, “WHAT IS THIS? WOODY’S LUNCH BOX?”
I returned to the $13.49 “Shrimp Flatbread – Roasted Shrimp, Tomato, Red Pepper, Alfredo Sauce and Pesto and topped with Greens and served with a small Caesar Salad.”
I’m still not sure where the Alfredo comes in to play – the overwhelming flavor is from the pesto with the familiar garlic, pine nuts, and basil.
I thought it had a little bit of a chermoula vibe with the small pieces of shrimp scattered across the flatbread, perhaps from the red pepper combining with the pesto. There’s probably a lot more cheese than is evident from the picture – it was a thick, nicely-melted layer on top of the slightly-crispy bread and underneath all of the other toppings. It did an admirable job of keeping everything other than the topmost layer of arugula grounded. The Flatbread ended up being quite filling and relatively tasty in the grand scheme of things, but there are more interesting options, of course. But if the kids are demanding a stop at Pizzafari, then there is at least one option that isn’t simply reheated.
Pizzafari’s pizzas are actually a little bit of a guilty pleasure of mine in the same vein that I’ll occasionally stick a Digiorno in the oven.
Disney’s Garlic Knots, which should now be served in a basket of six for the $7 ask, are pretty good too, particularly if you’re concerned about hitting your carbohydrate minimum for the day. This is a nice combination of butter, garlic, rosemary, and salt with a deliciously chewy, pull-apart quality. I’m not sure where they fit into an order here considering the pizzas are largely bread themselves, but they’re certainly a sizable, shareable snack for about the same money as you’d pay for a Mickey Pretzel.
Entrees are served with a forgettable side of Caesar Salad that’s just Romaine, Croutons, Shredded Parmesan, and Ken’s Caesar Dressing. They’re made in such large batches that the greens are often soggy and wilted by the time they’re served. But if you don’t have any teeth, the salad is pretty easy to eat, which is probably good.
Overall, it’s quite possible that the family will end up dragging you to Pizzafari over better choices like Flame Tree Barbecue and Harambe Market. Should that happen, the Shrimp Flatbread is edible and the Garlic Knots are a worthy side. And you might even ignore the judgments of this website and go for the Pepperoni Pizza. I would if I thought it was bloggable.
Back to the family-style thing, the service is expected to begin on July 31st with a price of $19.99/adult and $11.99/child ages 3-9 and running from 5pm to 8pm nightly. The exact menu isn’t set, but it’s expected to include Caprese and Caesar Salads as appetizers, along with Pasta, Chicken, and Pizza entrees, followed by dessert. The price includes non-alcoholic beverages. Considering a Pepperoni Pizza with Side Caesar ($10.49), Diet Coke ($3.69), and Cannoli Cake ($4.99) would set you back $19.17, there’s probably something to say for the dinner “opportunity,” especially considering the meal is also redeemable for one quick service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. For those uninterested in the family-style offering, Pizzafari will also operate as usual with the regular menu for those that prefer to order a la carte.
After sitting and contemplating the life choices I had made that brought me to this moment, I set off to see how things were looking around the Park.
Tour groups are on the rise this summer, though the numbers are nowhere near the peak of three or four years ago. They aren’t getting any less annoying.
It’s 1:40pm as we head back towards Africa.
Walls continue to surround a number of the entrances to the Discovery Island Trails. Perhaps we’ll see some new animal habitats once the areas reopen.
If you’re looking to walk around the Tree of Life, you’ll want to enter one of the Trails on the opposite side of Discovery Island next to It’s Tough To Be A Bug, which is not pictured here.
Heading towards Kilimanjaro Safaris, crowds are pretty light.
And the posted wait has fallen to just 25 minutes.
It was as high as 65 minutes earlier.
Here’s a reminder of what wait times looked like on this particular Sunday.
All of the pictures for this update were shot at 85mm with the exception of a few wider iPhone shots.
We’re coming up on Asia with the Theater in the Wild that houses the Up! bird show on the left and Yak & Yeti up ahead.
It will be interesting to see what’s up next for Animal Kingdom.
You’d think DinoLand would be ripest for a change, but there’s an awful lot of land out there towards Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
There’s some construction work going on next to Drinkwallah across from Yak & Yeti. Perhaps we’ll see some more covered seating.
Kali River Rapids was down for about seven hours, which I thought was a shame considering I was looking to enter the wet fisherman’s shirt competition – an event I’ve never lost.
And onto Expedition Everest in below average crowds. Remember that the average wait from today was lower than any day in June.
Disney will begin offering a Rivers of Light Dessert Party on August 11th at a cost of $79/adults and $47/kids ages 3-9. More details are available here on the Disney Parks Blog, though the date they state is supposedly inaccurate. Considering the Tiffins Dining Package, which includes any appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic cocktail, in addition to reserved seating, costs $67/adult and $26/child, it’s hard to imagine that the Dessert Party would be worth more money, even given the promise of what are probably barely-alcoholic cocktails. Rivers of Light is also a relatively easy show to see these days, particularly with the preponderance of FastPass+ experiences that open up for the show throughout the day as people change their plans. But I’ll probably end up checking the Dessert Party out, anyway.
Expedition Everest was sporting a 50-minute wait at 2pm.
That’s just about twice the day’s 28-minute average.
Donald’s Dino-Bash continues in DinoLand USA with a variety of meet and greets set up around the Land. Donald himself takes up residence where Pluto and Goofy have historically met across from TriceraTop Spin.
Goofy meets near the entrance/exit to Primeval Whirl.
The wait for which is posted at 50 minutes, perhaps in part due to the earlier downtime.
Launchpad McQuack makes his first scheduled meet and greet in some number of years outside Restaurantosaurus.
A couple of the characters have some fun backdrops.
“Every landing is unforgettable.”
Daisy is up where Donald previously met just before arriving at the left turn towards DINOSAUR. Chip and Dale meet further up the trail.
Scrooge McDuck meets to the right of Restaurantosaurus.
Here’s Scrooge’s line, which is only about eight groups long, which should translate to a 10ish minute wait. Launchpad’s line was even shorter – maybe five minutes.
Pluto meets inside The Boneyard.
By law, I can’t step inside, so here’s what he looks like on his walk over.
With the exception of Chip and Dale, the characters currently meet intermittently from 10am – 5:30pm.
Chip and Dale meet from 10am – 3:30pm so they can help set the mood for the Dino-Riffic Dance Party, which runs from 4pm to 8pm here in the middle of DinoLand.
Dino-Bash is a nice assortment of character meet and greets that helps offset the loss of the Character Trails at Camp Minnie-Mickey. It’s surprising how unpopular Scrooge and Launchpad are, in particular, given how long the lines to meet them have been at Mickey’s Halloween/Christmas Parties over the years.
If you have no interest in the meet and greets, then it’s pretty easy to avoid them. If you do, then it makes some sense to try get over here before 11am when crowds are much lower. Otherwise, I’d head over around 2:30pm. That gives you some time to meet the characters before the Dance Party starts at 4pm. Goofy and Donald typically see the longest waits.
Since I had to skip DINOSAUR earlier in the morning because it was down, I grabbed it as a 4th FP+ while I was “enjoying” my Shrimp Flatbread. The posted wait is 40 minutes at 2:18pm with the standby line stretching back outside.
I was in the pre-show within three minutes.
You do sort of wonder why you would be heading into a meteor shower in a truck without a roof.
But here we are.
I arrived at 2:18pm and was back out front at 2:36pm for a total experience time of 18 minutes, which is about two minutes shorter than average.
While the wait to order and receive food at Pizzafari was at least 30 minutes at 1pm, there’s all of one group ordering and one group waiting for food at Flame Tree just after 2:30pm. I should have waited.
One positive about UP! A Great Bird Adventure replacing Flights of Wonder – Dug now meets alongside Russell to the left of the entrance to It’s Tough To Be A Bug.
All in all, it was a successful day. I was able to accomplish:
- Flight of Passage: 8:38am – 9:05am
- Na’vi River Journey – 9:06am – 9:20am
- TriceraTop Spin: 9:42am – 9:48am
- Expedition Everest with FP+: 9:52am – 10:04am
- Maharajah Jungle Trek: 10:09am – 10:27am
- UP! A Great Bird Adventure: 10:30am – 11am
- Kilimanjaro Safaris with FP+: 11:11am – 11:56am
- Flight of Passage with FP+: 12:15pm – 12:46pm
- Lunch at Pizzafari: 12:55pm – 1:40pm
- DINOSAUR with FP+: 2:18pm – 2:36pm
That’s with a pretty relaxed pace…20 minutes between Safaris and Flight of Passage…40 minutes between lunch and DINOSAUR…etc.
We’ll take a better look at menu changes when there’s more exciting things happening, but the Dino Diner to the far left of the Primeval Whirl entrance is serving an “Italian Sausage Hoagie” in place of the Nachos Supreme. It’s hard to imagine that it’s good.
Just in time for summer, Harambe Fruit Market is serving Babybel Cheese instead of Sno-Cones.
That’s probably okay. They weren’t very good.
Mahindi, which is the popcorn stand in the Africa section across from Tamu Tamu Refreshments, is serving this souvenir canteen.
There’s a blurry shot of it.
Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks, the takeaway bar to the left of Expedition Everest, has added these two modestly-priced cocktails. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a Singapore Sling with Sprite before, but here we are. At least they’re both under ten bucks.
A reminder that the very good Kungaloosh beer is also available here on draft, in addition to the Victory Golden Monkey, which is a 9.5% ABV beer. The Hitachino Nest White Ale also isn’t a bad value – a single 11-ounce bottle would run you six bucks at Total Wine.
I think that does it for this round of Animal Kingdom updates. We’ll get back over to Toy Story Land and then do a deep dive into what’s happening at Magic Kingdom.