Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of two locations on property. The other, of course, is located at Disney Springs on the opposite side of where the bus loop now resides.
Since Rainforest is located outside the Park, admission is not required to dine. I point that out mostly for those that may be planning a down-day, but don’t mind traveling somewhere for a meal during the day. The Animal Kingdom Rainforest Cafe may be easier to get to than the Disney Springs version or a restaurant at another resort if you’re relying on Disney transportation.
You may want to consider the Landry’s Select Club Card, which offers priority seating even when you don’t have a reservation, which we didn’t. The look people give you as you waltz past them to the podium would be worth the $25 one-time membership fee even if Landry’s didn’t automatically refund that $25 in the form of a $25 welcome reward.
There’s no annual fee and they give you $25 more around your birthday every year, so it’s a no-brainer if you’re planning a meal at Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex, or any of Landry’s other restaurants. More info is available here.
Bar seating is available if you prefer with an assortment of tables located around the area. Sitting here doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, but there are mounted televisions that will be showing a variety of sporting events, so that may go a long way. Otherwise, the charm of the restaurant is largely found in the main dining room. If you’re looking to avoid that “charm,” I’d probably find another restaurant rather than resigning myself to the Rainforest Cafe bar. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Cheetah Rita here if the mood strikes.
Obviously if you have a Rainforest Cafe near where you live, then there may be no novelty in the atmosphere.
Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun, even if that might be in a slightly (mostly) corny way.
I mean, how many other restaurants have animatronics? Even if they only have two points of movement?
The main lunch/dinner menu:
Negativity about the food surrounds Rainforest Cafe. There’s only one response you’ll get if you tell someone you’re planning on eating here. “Why?” Followed by, “Oh right; the kids.” I have personally never had a bad meal here and when you consider that every restaurant on property is “overpriced,” a vacation may actually be the perfect opportunity to give Rainforest a try. Back home, there’s always Applebee’s. Otherwise, the menu is diverse with entree prices ranging between $15 for the Jungle Turkey Wrap and $35 for the Primal Steak.
You’ll typically find a seasonal menu based around the cuisine of a certain part of the world.
It may be difficult to hone in on an entree as a lot of them are different combinations of the same thing.
And the lack of prices, though our server let us know that these range was $21-$31.
Like that ceramic Buddha cup we saw during my last review of nearby Yak & Yeti, Raniforest offers several ceramic souvenir cups.
Even I have a difficult time frowning while holding elephant cups filled with Cha! Cha! Cherry Icee. I still do, of course.
And finally…the Coronarita is fun and a good value at $10.
The ideal way of making fun of Volcano Bay is to poke a hole through this cake.
You can check out my last review of Rainforest Cafe in full here, including a number of pictures of an empty restaurant. With Animal Kingdom’s 11pm closes this summer, the restaurant seats until 10pm, so you’d have to stay pretty late in order to find a similar scene. This is otherwise what an appetizer sampler at Rainforest looks like – a lot of Costco-freezer-aisle quality fried stuff. Satisfying, for what it is, and enough for three or four people to share.
It’s probably worth pointing out the kids’ menu, which is strong with eleven different options ranging from macaroni & cheese to popcorn shrimp and everything in between.
This time around, I went with the $22 “Pastalaya – Shrimp, sautéed chicken, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, Andouille sausage, hot and spicy Cajun sauce, linguini. May be served with Caribbean Rice upon request.” I’m not sure if it’s evident from the picture, but it was a tremendous amount of food served piping hot. Unfortunately, perhaps, the flavor was one-note – just a lot of mild peppery spice from start to finish with the shrimp, chicken, and sausage all tasting similar. But I wasn’t mad – it was incredibly filling and the flavor was fine, even if it was straightforward and without nuance.
On the server’s recommendation, Tom ordered the “Cuban Mojo Steak & Shrimp – USDA Choice Sirloin Steak, Shrimp, Garlic Cuban Mojo Sauce, Pineapple, Grilled Vegetables, Flatbread.”
The “Choice” designation is an important one as it basically guarantees a quality cut. And while it wasn’t as tender as your typical filet, the knife cut through the meat without much effort and the steak had a really nice, rich flavor along with the sauce, which is similar to a chimichurri with the addition of some citrus.
Very good along with the shrimp flatbread, which was topped with a bright assortment of vegetables and a handful of flavorful shrimp.
Overall, you won’t find me sticking my nose up at the prospect of Rainforest Cafe. Would it be the one restaurant I eat at while visiting Animal Kingdom? Probably not…but kids love it and I don’t think a visit will be the worst thing that happens to you on your trip. There’s always Tony’s Town Square for that.
Rainforest’s semi-new outdoor bar is open behind the restaurant.
Next to the entrance/exit also behind the restaurant.
There’s a large television, so it might make some sense to visit if you want to catch the end of a popular sporting event or something. Maybe they can beam this blog post up there for you to read.
With so much emphasis on the rush to Pandora, it “feels” like Animal Kingdom’s natural beauty is falling by the wayside.
My thoughts exactly.
I did not realize anteaters are so large. No offense.
Very silly looking.
Speaking of Pandora, because when are we not, the two rides have seen a considerable amount of downtime over the last couple of days, purportedly due to fire alarms going off.
Both Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are housed inside of the same massive show building. Looking over Flight of Passage wait times over the last few days:
With the red boxes indicating downtime, it looks like there have been problems on three occasions over the last two days, though luckily we haven’t seen the problem resurface yet today. As discussed more thoroughly in this post, the “C’s” at the end of the day note when the ride has closed to capacity to standby riders. You want to be in line no later than 8:45pm during regular hours or 11:45pm during evening Extra Magic Hours to guarantee a ride.
Also, the single rider sign at the entrance has been covered up, which probably means the line won’t be open in the near future, if it’s ever offered at all. There’s enough time before the pre-show area that cast shouldn’t have much trouble filling all spaces.
It’s not the constant flow of people that the other rides that offer single rider see.
Nomad Lounge is indeed much more popular now with its proximity to the main Pandora entrance. This is 4pm on June 3rd and all of the tables outside are occupied.
45 minutes later, a couple of tables are available. It also looks like that’s the official place to stand if you’re on the telephone. I wouldn’t be too concerned about finding a spot on weekdays, but Saturdays in particular will likely see an influx of people in the evening as the prospect of a 300-minute wait for Soarin’ Over Pandora requires some lubrication.
Daily entertainment has begun in front of the entrance to Na’vi River Journey.
Just in case crowding isn’t a problem. I’m not sure if the drum show is worth seeking out, but there is an audience participation opportunity at the end, which may be a good photo opportunity or a reason to pop another Xanax depending on your temperament.
Shoulder banshees had sold out as of a couple of days ago, but Disney managed to find a box of blue ones that were offered for a time today. Hopefully(?), they’ll find some more soon.
A Safari ride, where I messed up the white balance:
The exaggerated yellows and greens might not be the worst thing.
Over to Asia:
Disney closed Expedition Everest’s single rider line for about ten days last month, if memory serves.
To install this tree. I’m not sure if it’s providing a tremendous amount of shade, which is the purported reason why it was added:
The ride experience with FastPass+ hasn’t gotten any longer, with just a 12-minute total experience time.
This area inside of the attached store has reopened with a more open floor plan.
This used to be a much longer counter.
Drinkwallah is located across from Yak & Yeti restaurant.
99% of people are going to walk right by it.
But this is now your spot to picked up some glazed nuts, in addition to frozen beverages with or without some Captain Morgan’s Rum.
The nuts are roasted right there in “The Nutty Bavarian” of all things. A new one runs $3,750 if you want to get in on the action at home.
Like just about everything else at Animal Kingdom, the interior is immaculately themed. Very cool.
I ordered the $8.25 “Coconut-Lychee Lemonade – Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Lychee, and Odwalla Lemonade,” which is what it tasted like – refreshing with the rum helping to cut the sweetness of the lemonade, but it isn’t going to pack much of a punch.
But it’s here.
We’ll continue monitoring Pandora and check in on some more touring strategies. I know you still aren’t going to Rainforest Cafe.