Headed off to Boma for a delicious buffet dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Two things. First, a very special thank you to Darcie and Tim for taking me out dinner. I get a few people that want to meet me from time to time. Probably just to see what kind of animal would be behind a website like this one. But no one has ever wanted to meet me a second time. I sincerely doubt anyone else will ever invite me back to their room. And if anyone does ever invite me back to Kidani Village, I will probably turn them down, because that place is just one big hallway.
Second, the following pictures are going to be even lousier than usual. Disney won’t turn on the lights at Animal Kingdom Lodge, no matter how long you spend trying to assure them that you are a very important blogger and it would be in their best interest to turn on some extra lamps or something. The pictures should further our discourse, but I can assure you that most everything is between 10.41 and 14.86 times better than the pictures might indicate.
Boma is located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Lodge is about five minutes away from Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, which makes it an easy jaunt over after a day shrieking through DINOSAUR and petting wild hogs at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. From Magic Kingdom, you’re looking at just over 15 minutes to Kidani Village (The Disney Vacation Club Resort where you’ll find Sanaa) and then an additional five minutes over to Animal Kingdom Lodge via Disney bus. I usually recommend heading over to the Lodge after a day at Animal Kingdom because of their proximity to one another.
If you are relying on Disney transportation, it can be a hassle to visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge, like it’s a hassle visiting most of the resorts. If you were staying at the Pop Century, you would first have to wait for the bus to transfer to a theme park or Downtown Disney. From there, you would wait for the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge and then sit on that bus until you arrived. After the meal, you would need to wait for a bus to transfer to a theme park or Downtown Disney. And then wait for the bus back to Pop Century. And then sit/stand on the bus until you got back. It’s more convenient if you’re already at a theme park/Downtown Disney and even more convenient if that theme park is Animal Kingdom. But even then, it’s probably going to take about an hour to get back to your resort afterward.
Boma’s lobby is just about as wild as the theme park itself, but it’s a bit more relaxing once you’re seated. Jiko, the Lodge’s signature restaurant, deserves all of the praise that it receives. It’s one of your best opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle of the theme park. Sanaa, over at Kidani Village, continues to receive excellent reviews. Mara, the resort’s quick service, is above average as well. Since Animal Kingdom Lodge is a destination unto itself, you may want to plan a meal there. Luckily, you really can’t go wrong no matter which restaurant you select.
With tax, Boma ordinarily runs just under $40 per adult and just under $20 for kids ages 3 – 9 for dinner. Come hungry. It’s also extremely popular, both for breakfast and dinner.
Boma is themed to look like an African Marketplace. The buffet stations look like little market huts or food stands. The seating is mostly open. To look on the bright side, it does make it easier to see what looks good on other people’s plates. Disney has several professional pictures of the restaurant here: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/boma-flavors-of-africa/.
Below were tonight’s buffet choices (the evening of January 8, 2012). The selection can vary from night to night depending on who’s in the kitchen and the day of the week. And again, everything isn’t as orange/bland looking in “real life.” It is sort of awkward to walk along a buffet line taking pictures of food. And for the sake of “completeness” I’m going to post them all – even the really, really bad ones.
Samp and Beans (contains ham stock)
FuFu (SwEeT PoTaToEs MaShEd WiTh CiNnAmOn)
Salmon and Harissa (14.19x better than it looks)
Pepper Steak. You can ask for a slice of it it rare, medium, well-done, etc.
Braised Pork Shoulder
Sauces – don’t skip these. From left to right – Masai Mara, Boma Mustard, Tamarind Barbecue, Sambal
Let me get out of my notes for this one…..oh right, horseradish.
Durban Spice Chicken
Bobotie (fun to say)
Wuss station alpha with meatballs, pasta sauce, and pasta.
Wuss station beta with macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, and baked chicken.
On the left: Chakalaka – Spicy Stewed Tomatoes and Onions
On the right: Pap – Creamy White Cornmeal Porridge
On the far left: Couscous with Dried Fruit and Nuts
In the center: Roasted Root Vegetable
On the right: Sweet Corn and Spinach Pudding
On the left: Chicken Corn Porridge Soup
On the right: Peanut Soup
On the left: Zanzibar Crab Soup
In the middle: Mulligatawny Soup
On the right: Lentil and Sausage Soup
On the far right – Mealie Bread
Back left – Orange, Olive, and Fennel Salad
Back right – Lentils and Hearts of Palm Salad
Front left – Curried Pasta Salad
Front right – Papaya, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad
Back left (I think) – African Fruit Fool (Their words, not mine)
Back right (I think) – Watermelon rind salad
Front left (I think) – Salad
Front middle – Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Front right – Kool Slaai
Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Grapes, Pineapple, Strawberries
Mixed Field Greens with Apple Vinaigrette, Chili Cilantro Vinaigrette, Mango Vinaigrette, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Pita Bread and Lavosh in the back with White Bean Hummus, Black Olive Hummus, and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
Warm Fruit Cobbler
Banana and Butterscotch Pudding
Back to notes….this is the Vanilla Sauce and Rum Sauce
Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse
Peanut Butter Mousse, Peanut Brittle, and Butterscotch Ganache
No, that wasn’t an accident. They’re Zebra Domes. You had me at alcohol!
Kenyan Coffee Tarts
Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelee
Brownies with Assorted Cookies
And because I don’t want to infringe on DISboards.com’s patented “half eaten plates of buffet food pictures,” here’s one that’s almost entirely eaten:
No one said this website was helpful.
I think it’s fair to say Boma is the best of the Walt Disney World dinner buffets, at least as far as food quality and selection are concerned. Everything is prepared fresh with high quality ingredients. The food selection is interesting, without being “crazy.” The steak was amazing. The chicken perfectly seasoned. The homemade salad dressings out of this world. The soups are all outstanding. One word of advice on the soup though – be careful around anything that looks like peanut soup – it could very well be the crab soup. And it’s going to take at least 2.71 zebra domes to put that taste to bed.
While every single item on the menu may not be appealing, there are certainly enough “safe bets” to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. And from there, you can branch out a bit and pick a few of the more “out there” selections. Or you can go crazy with the cornmeal porridge/sweet corn and spinach pudding and forget about the chicken and steak. While I would be lying straight through your computer screen if I told you that I loved every single item (that panna cotta was a little weird), it doesn’t matter! It’s a buffet! Get something else!
And demand to be transferred to a suite at the Grand Floridian Resort & (Spa).
Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great place to spend a few hours after visiting the Animal Kingdom theme park, particularly on a Friday or Saturday night when Downtown Disney is going to be a mess. I’ll bring my other lens one of these days and report back with a better idea of all the things there are to do there.