The Disney Experience with an Allergy: Animal Kingdom

I know, totes adorbs ;)

Viv-and-Hunter

This is the 3rd post in our 4 part series about DISNEY WORLD! What? Ahh! Yeah. I know.

During our trip to Disney, we wanted to share with all of you some of our favorite places to eat, tips for Disney Dining, and the overall experience of being at the Most Magical Place on Earth with an allergy!!

You can read our first two post here: Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Like I said in our previous post, the Disney cast members, chefs, and anyone who works for Disney World does an excellent job of being well informed about our allergy and taking all the precautions necessary to allow Viv and me to enjoy our trip to the fullest without any worries of a reaction. I even think I forgot that I had an allergy a few times, and for someone who deals with an allergy, you know that we never get a break from checking every little thing that we eat, so it was very nice!

I recommend making reservations for everywhere you’d like to eat because it gives the restaurant time to prepare for your arrival. And, when you are going to a restaurant with special requests it’s courteous to let the establishment know ahead of time, but I also just showed up at a few places (especially for lunch) and the service was the same. I also emailed Disney at special.diets@disneyworld.com a few days before our trip (they ask you to email them at least two weeks ahead of when you are going if you have multiple allergies or more than one person in your party with allergies) and they emailed me an awesome list of most of the restaurants and parks on property and what they might have that is dairy-free. It was the perfect go-to when deciding where to eat and I often referred to it when ordering dessert. If I knew that a restaurant had Enjoy Life cookies on the list, then I would specifically ask for them for dessert.

In this post, I am writing about the lovely Animal Kingdom! We actually stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House, yo.) so this is a two parter – Animal Kingdom Lodge and Animal Kingdom. Hold your horses (even though there are no horses at either of these lovely places, but there are zebras. They’re like horses, right?), and get ready to learn all about eating at the newest park and hotel in Disney!

My personal favorite rides at Animal Kingdom are Mt. Everest (Duh, I’m so adventurous. Not.), the Dinosaur Ride, and Primevil Whirl (wouldn’t do it after lunch though.)

And make sure to get fast passes for Kilimanjaro Safari, the best!

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Breakfast

 Concierge

So our Dads, being their usual awesome, had told us that we were staying at the Swan, which we were super excited about. But, no offense to the Swan, Animal Kingdom Lodge is our favorite. So when we were on our way down, they surprised us and told the family that we were actually staying at Animal Kingdom! Woo! Party!

We were super excited, and lucky us, we got the concierge level (word to the wise, don’t stay on the actual concierge level or you’ll have the top of the roof in your way and won’t be able to see the animals… just get concierge level service).

What was extra spectacular about having concierge service was that when we talked to them about Viv and my allergies, they gave us a special number to call the chef ten minutes before we went up to the 6th level (concierge level) and he would bring us dairy-free snacks, any time of the day, whenever we wanted.

How. Awesome. Is. That?

And sure enough, he did!

The first morning that we were there, Viv had a fruit loops, fruit, and quinoa from the 6th level with an orange juice. Yum.

Hunt-Breakfast

I went extra light (I’m not a breakfast person) and had a bagel, fresh grape jelly, and raspberries. Yum Yum.

Kids Options: 10/10

Adult Options: 10/10

Service: 10/10

Taste of Food: 10/10

Overall Experience: 10/10

Would we recommend? Great quick breakfast or afternoon snack spot. Everyone is helpful!

We had an awesome first meal in Disney World, thanks to the amazing people at the concierge!

Boma

A few mornings later, we decided to go down to the buffet in the lodge called Boma, and boy were we glad we did!

We hadn’t made a reservation or anything, but upon telling them about our allergy, they sent out a chef right away. He went through the entire buffet with Viv and I and told us everything that was completely dairy free, and then he made our eggs in the back and brought out GLUTEN FREE DAIRY FREE MICKEY WAFFLES! I KNOW! I KNOW! AND DONUTS!

Vivian was happy, happy, happy.

Buffet-Breakfast-6

And so was I….

Buffet-Breakfast-7

Buffet-breakfast-1

Eggs, grapes, and dairy-free potatoes (home fries)

Buffet-Breakfast-2

Dairy-free oatmeal!

Buffet-Breakfast-3

Dairy-free grits, eggs, fruit, and bacon!

Buffet-Breakfast-4

Our yumtastic donut and muffin and cupcake tray (for breakfast?! Why not?)

Buffet-Breakfast-5

The gluten-free, dairy-free mickey waffles!! Eek! So good. We also got dairy-free butter to put on top as well!

Buffet-Breakfast-8

Inside the restaurant

Buffet-Breakfast-10

Buffet-Breakfast-9

Our breakfast at Boma was incredible!!!

Kids Options: 10/10

Adult Options: 10/10

Service: 10/10

Taste of Food: 10/10

Overall Experience: 10/10

Would we recommend? YES!!! Boma is top 3 of my favorite restaurants on Disney property for handling allergies. They provide us with so many options (I mean, donuts?) and the chef even walks us through the entire buffet and makes whatever we want in the back as well. Incredible.

 Animal Kingdom Park

Giraffe

We spent Vivian’s last day at Animal Kingdom. We were excited to do some rides and see some characters on Viv’s last day! We had a blast. We got to ride all of our favorite rides and saw tons of animals on Kilimanjaro Safari, like the giraffe in the picture above. The weather was beautiful and we couldn’t have been happier.

Nuts

Quick snack before lunch: cinnamon glazed pecans. You can get them at the little airstream next to Primevil Whirl, by the exit, in the back where all the fun games are. I have read the ingredients list and talked to the people running it and it is definitely dairy-free. And definitely delicious.

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Our favorite place to eat at Animal Kingdom is Yak and Yeti. It’s a hideaway next to an outdoor food service and the monkeys, painted purple, kind of hard to spot, and can be a wait if you didn’t make reservations (like us, join the club!), but so worth itttt. I mean, it is tasty.

Vivian-Soy-Sauce

Per usual, a chef came out, gave us all of our dairy-free options, and took our order. When you’re eating at Disney restaurants, make sure to always go through the chef when ordering, to keep it all consistent and to make sure your food is handled properly. Vivian got soy sauce with a side of vegetable lo mein (ha ha, kidding. that girl seriously loves her soy sauce though).

She loved her meal! Ate almost every bit of it!

Great choice for kids, fun to eat and so so tasty.

Hunter-Meal

I got the bourbon chicken. It was amazing!! I loved the flavor, and the side of white rice was perfect.

Here’s some shots from inside the restaurant…

Inside-Yak-And-Yeti

Inside-Yak-and-Yeti-2

Great atmosphere, great food, great service, I just love Yak and Yeti!

Kids Options: 10/10 (tons of options)

Adult Options: 10/10

Service: 8/10 (a little slow)

Taste of Food: 10/10

Overall Experience: 9/10

Would we recommend? Yes, amazing food and so many options for dairy-free peeps.

Animal Kingdom Lodge: Sanaa at Kidani Village

Menu-for-Africa

Kidani Village is the other building inside Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s about a five minute walk from Jambo House and from what I understand, is strictly for Disney Vacation Club Members. They just opened a new restaurant in Kidani Village called Sanaa and everyone at Jambo House said we had to try it.

Kidani Village is a lot like Jambo House, just a little bit smaller. They don’t have room service or anything like that because it’s the Vacation Club and most rooms have kitchens, so they have a giant gift shop with tons of food available to purchase. It’s like a mini grocery store in there.

We walked downstairs (with our friends we rode over with. They were from England and had just enjoyed the day at Typhoon Lagoon, in February. In 50-60 degree weather. For us Floridians, that is cray cray.) where the restaurant was, put our name in and reminded the hostess about my allergy (Unfortunately, Viv’s family had to leave before our dinner.. so it was just my family that night) to which she put a giant red ALLERGY stamp on our ticket, and then she suggested that we walk outside and see the animals, to which my dad responded, “it’s dark out there.”

Little did we know that they have state-of-the-art night goggles. Cool!!!

We got to see zebra and gazelle all under night vision just roaming around and doing some late-night snacking. Again, cool!!!!

Africa-dinner-lights

This is the inside of Sanaa, I really love those cool lantern lights.

This place is totally family friendly. It was nice but not too nice to not be able to wear jeans. It would be the perfect place to bring the young kids if the parents want a night at a “kind of nice” restaurant that still allows the kids to be themselves (does any restaurant at Disney not encourage kids to be there? Now that I think of it, I doubt it.)

If you go, make sure you ask for Danielle. She was our waitress and had been there since the opening day of Sanaa. She really knows the menu and is super helpful. The chef of course came out, a really sweet girl, and went through the menu with me. I actually had my OWN DAIRY-FREE menu so I didn’t even have to worry about finding something to eat. And let me tell you, about 80% of their menu is dairy-free to begin with. The chef also assured me that everything I eat will be cooked in a separate, clean, area and it will be completely safe. AWESOME!

Menu-dairy

My special menu, ha ha, shouldn’t it say for those without dairy? ;)

Africa-Appetizer

For an appetizer, we got the Indian-style Bread Service. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have the naan. So they brought me out the dairy-free Pappadum. We also got a ton of sauces and only one had dairy in it; it was that creamy one on the end.

The dips ranged from super spicy to pretty mild.

Beware: if you don’t like spice, you might not like Sanaa. Everything is a little spicy. My meal wasn’t, but it definitely had a strong non-spicy spice, if that makes sense.

Africa-Apps

Another appetizer I got was the potato and pea samosas. They were amazing, and the mango chutney on top was so good, but super, super spicy. Probably the spiciest thing I ate.

Africa-meal-1

For my meal, I had the Sanaa Vegetarian Sampler. It was amazing. You get to choose between all these awesome dishes; I decided on basmati rice with chana masala and lentil dahl. Holy guacamole it was tasty. So so good.

Africa-Dinner

I’m a food mixer. I love mixing what I’m eating (for some weird reason, it helps me digest my food easier. Do any of you experience that?) and at Sanaa they encourage you to mix your dishes! Yay!

Africa-Dessert

For dessert, I had the rice pudding. It was a different taste than I’ve ever had, so I wasn’t a real big fan. But everyone else at my table loved it!

Sanaa is a really great restaurant. If you’re riding the bus, it’s the first stop at Animal Kingdom Lodge (before Jambo House) and if you’re staying at Jambo house it’s an easy walk. I would highly recommend this for people with allergies because they have great service, are extremely knowledgeable on what we can and cannot eat, and a lot of the food are already naturally dairy-free (and probably gluten, soy, and nut free as well).

Kids Options: 10/10

Adult Options: 10/10

Service: 10/10

Taste of Food: 9/10 (only if you struggle with spicy, like me. But the taste was incredible)

Overall Experience: 10/10

Would we recommend? YES, YES, YES!

 ———

So as you can see, Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge offer us people with allergies amazing experiences. We really love staying at the lodge and the park is just as great. Here’s a few pictures of Viv after she got her face painted: we of course had to have a photoshoot!

Viv-Face-Paint

Vivian-Tree

Check in next week for part 4 of 4 on our Disney Adventure! We are going to MAGIC KINGDOM!

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