Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks Opens as Discovery Island Kiosks Receive New Names and Riverside Depot Opens

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks opened in the old Expedition Everest FASTPASS machine space last week. As you march towards Everest, you’ll see it on the left, with the walls that continue to line the water all the way throughout Asia on the right.

The installation is obviously looking toward serving the Rivers of Light crowds whenever that show opens. The main seating area for ROI is directly to the right. The layout here is sort of hard to explain. There are a total of four windows on two sides.

There are currently no tables or chairs anywhere in the vicinity, so you’ll have to be prepared to consume on the go or carry your purchases all the way to DinoLand or the outdoor tables at the Yak & Yeti quick service. Neither is convenient.

The advertised treats and snacks on the signage above are pretty pedestrian – these sorts of thing are available all over, though this is the first time I recall seeing “crudite” on a quick service menu. Oh Thirsty River, u so fancy.

Then there’s this Sandwiches, Salads, and Snacks menu.

Then there’s yet a third menu that includes sushi, which is the same variety you’ll find at virtually every resort quick service, in addition to the Japan Pavilion and Sunshine Seasons over at Epcot, among other places. The Som Tam in particular sounds interesting and I sort of wishedI hadn’t just eaten that Pizzafari pizza an hour prior. Next time. But like I said, there’s nowhere to sit, so if you order a drink and something to eat or otherwise have something in one of your hands, you’re kind of stuck. I suppose there are worse problems to have than to have your hands full with beer and shrimp salads. On the other hand (no pun intended), it’s all fun and games until someone starves to death because there are no tables.


Beer drinkers are in luck with Victory Golden Monkey on draft and those looking for a relatively local brew might take a longer look at the Old Elephant Foot IPA from Tampa Bay Brewing Co. The Funky Buddha has been around property for a few months here and there and is pretty good and we first saw the Hitachino Nest White Ale on draft at Morimoto Asia over at Disney Springs shortly after that opened. Maduro Brown Ale is a very good English brown ale that I’m very rarely in the mood to drink outside on a hot day.

The smart money is on the 9.5% ABV Golden Monkey though the website won’t give you the stinkeye if you make another selection. In a perfect world, you’d get the Funky Buddha at Tril-O-Bites in DinoLand, which serves it on draft.

The news is worse on the “specialty cocktails” front. They’re all pre-mixed and served out of these dispensers. At $8 or $9 each, they don’t necessarily break the bank, but don’t expect an expertly crafted cocktail because we’re decidedly in La Cava country over here.

Those after a better drink will likely want to stick to the “full bar” selections, where they’ll mix something up for you fresh.

I had a lot of trouble even finding a flat surface to take a picture of the $9 Himalayan Ghost – Snow Leopard Vodka, Guava, and Odwalla Lemonade. The drink was very sweet with no hint of vodka, but luckily didn’t suffer from the thick pulpiness of some lemonades. If you’re after something sweet to sip on, this is probably a good choice. Those looking for a more serious drink should stick to the beer or a call cocktail.

I like what they’re trying to do here and once Rivers of Light opens, most people will be bringing their food and drink to their seats. Hopefully some high top tables will be added in the interim. Dawa Bar serves similar pre-mixed cocktails now, but there’s more of a community aspect over there with seating around the bar and a lot of tables in the area, in addition to live music to enjoy throughout the day. If you’re looking to post up for an hour, hit Africa instead.

Over at Harambe Market at 2:15pm, it would have been a good time to get in line with “literally” nobody in the sausage line and only a couple people at Kitamu Grill. You may remember that I advise avoiding 11:30am – at least 2pm due to heavy crowds and long lines. But they may have also become more efficient if this is any indication.

Even so, there was nowhere to sit, which would be frustrating if you were carrying around a tray full of food and drink.

Useful signage has at least improved.

You might be surprised how many people are actually looking around for the door to the Internet Cafe.

At the drink window, the non-alcoholic “Frozen Flamingo” is new. Orlando Brewing I-4 IPA is out in favor of Reef Donkey APA, also from Tampa Bay Brewing Co. The Tangerine Lemonade is also new, replacing what I thought was a very good watermelon lemonade.

Harambe Market originally opened with six wines.

That number dropped to four shortly thereafter. You may remember that I said in all of my visits that I had only seen people drinking wine here twice and both times it was Lisa. There’s just something about the thought of red wines you’ve never heard of when the RealFeel is 110 degrees and it’s pouring rain.

Now they’ve dropped the chenin blanc and the prices are all up about 50%. If you’re having trouble selling a product, just double the price they say.

In related menu news of little consequence, most of the kiosks around Discovery Island have new, official names that should make it easier to find and identify what you’re looking for. This kiosk was formerly called “Gardens Kiosk,” which isn’t at all obvious considering nowhere on it does it say what it’s called. It’s like one of those Starbucks they build to “fit in with the community” only it doesn’t say it’s a Starbucks so nobody goes and then the few people that do go are turned off and leave because it turns out that it’s a Starbucks. That’s everything you need to know about Portland in one sentence.

Now it’s known as The Smiling Crocodile. This is located across from the entrance to It’s Tough To Be A Bug in between the seating area for Flame Tree Barbecue and the Adventurers Outpost Mickey and Minnie Meet and Greet.

Beastly Kiosk?

“Eight Spoon Cafe.”

Discovery Island Popcorn

I’m not even sure this one had a name.

“The Feeding Ground” now. I’m not really sure who is naming these things. Maybe somebody writes random words on pieces of paper and tapes them to a wall and then somebody else throws darts through the hole in Joe Rohde’s ear and whatever words the darts hit become the name of the kiosk. I would be pretty upset if I went to a place called “The Feeding Ground” to find all they had on the menu was microwavable popcorn. And why would you call a place the “Eight Spoon Cafe” if nothing served requires a spoon? You might as well call it “The Golden Spatula” because that would be just about as helpful if you were trying to use it to eat a Mickey Pretzel.

Animal Kingdom Gardens Allergy Kiosk

The “Allergy Dining Tips” kiosk or “Discovery Island Kiosk” depending on who and when you asked has a new name.

Terra Treats. This is located near the Creature Comforts Starbucks and right before the entrance to Africa.

Bradley Falls?

Caravan Road. I think somebody screwed up on the sign as the Asian Noodle Salad is good for a snack credit at several other locations.

In retail news, Riverside Depot finally opened a little over a week ago as the store attached to Disney Outfitters.

The addition brings about 5,00 square feet of additional space.

Like everything at Animal Kingdom, the theming is on point:

The variety of merchandise as it stands was extremely underwhelming, offering almost exclusively the most generic stuff available all over. That will likely change once the Disney Outfitters refurbishment begins in early 2016 and concludes a few months later.

On the other side, opposite of Flame Tree Barbecue, a new stage has been unveiled.

In another update we’ll take a look at Avatar and Rivers of Light construction, in addition to a look at the work going on around the Tree of Life. And we’ll take a look at how FastPass+ is currently working at It’s Tough To Be A Bug and Flights of Wonder, among other odds and ends.


  1. Mary Ann says

    Great update. I”m always amazed at how themed the food is even at the quick service locations. And very happy to see more craft beers available.

  2. Different Josh says

    $8 for a 9.5% beer must either be: 1) an introductory price (like Harambe Market wines); 2) a 12 oz pour; or 3) the price fixers don’t know what a good deal that makes it . If it’s a 16 oz, it’s a better bang for your buck than the Unibroues at the Canada Cart (although perhaps an inferior beer(?) at a (temporarily?) inferior setting). I can’t imagine it’ll be the same price when River of Lights opens.
    I’m sure the wine price increased so drastically to account for spoilage. Those bottles have been sitting open since Lisa left town 😉

  3. Brandi says

    “It’s like one of those Starbucks they build to “fit in with the community” only it doesn’t say it’s a Starbucks so nobody goes and then the few people that do go are turned off and leave because it turns out that it’s a Starbucks. That’s everything you need to know about Portland in one sentence.”

    That’s hilarious.

  4. Sarah says

    The Victory Golden Monkey is going to rocket to the top of my list of best drink values at WDW (along with the Unibroue). One thing I miss since I moved out of PA is having the fully complement of Victory beers easily accessible.

  5. Olivier says

    Great update as ever. I find the new design always “clean” (no overdesign that makes it difficult to navigate) and the menu bar at the top is a huge improvement.
    By the way, let me say that in April I went to WDW with my family and with friends that were going there for the first time (we live in France). We were 12! And it was a perfect trip thanks to your advices and the crowd calendar. Now, our friends wants to go back, but only with my family and I in order to benefits from your advices (they could go to your website but are not very fluent in English…). 😉

  6. Scott says

    How often do the CMs refill those jugs for the premixed cocktails? I would assume they’re always making new batches since they serve so many guests. The jugs in La Cava are even smaller. Maybe I just tell myself that the margaritas are fresh-ish to justify spending that $15+


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