In case you can’t tell by the title, I’ve been watching a bit of “Still Star-Crossed” and I’m feeling a bit Shakespearean these days. And while Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge reminds me in no way of Hamlet or any other Shakespeare play, the title does best describe my feelings about eating at Sanaa. I had no idea what to expect and I often considered cancelling the reservation. (Hence, “to eat, or not to eat.”) Let’s just say that I’m glad we decided to eat at the best restaurant on Walt Disney World property!!! Let’s venture back in time to when I discovered this gem and I’ll explain to you the plentiful reasons why you need to add Sanaa to your list of dining experiences on your next trip to Walt Disney World.
It’s a 1 Credit Meal.
For those of you who have been on the Walt Disney World dining plan, you know what I mean. A quick explanation for the rest of ya. Basically, at Walt Disney World, you have the option to sign up for a dining plan ahead of your trip, which allows you to pre-pay for your meals. You get a certain number of credits based on the plan you choose and the length of your stay. Most of your sit down or “table service” restaurants are 1 credit. HOWEVER, some restaurants, the ones largely considered the best that Walt Disney World has to offer, take 2 credits. Meaning, if you have 3 Table Service credits for your 3 night stay, and you choose to blow 2 on Cinderella’s Royal Table, you will have to find another way to pay for a meal on one day of your vacation. Make sense? This is why you want to use your credits on restaurants that are equally as amazing as the 2 credit dining experiences, but only cost you 1 credit!
It’s Easier to Get a Reservation than Boma.
This is actually how we wound up trying this restaurant in Kidani village in the first place. I desperately wanted a reservation at Boma, but being that we booked our trip just past that 6 month “book your dining now or forever hold your peace” window, there wasn’t availability for a party of 6. This is when my Travel Agent recommended that I give Sanaa a try. I’d seen decent reviews but for some reason, I had my heart set on Boma. She begged me to try it and promised me that we would love it. I begrudgingly gave in and had her book the restaurant I was hardly interested in for our family trip. All I can say is thank heaven for Travel Agents who know more than I do!!! In the words of Woody, “if you don’t have one, get one!” They’re like vacation fairy godmothers (or godfathers) who just make everything better.
It is at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. (Insert mic drop here.)
This resort is just the ultimate for me. No, it is not on the monorail loop that gets you straight to Magic Kingdom, but it is the most incredible resort at Walt Disney World. This resort is so perfectly themed and detailed that you will absolutely forget you are in Orlando. You are transported to Africa and you’ve taken up residence at a place where you can wake up, walk out on your balcony to find a giraffe munching on some leaves. Literally, you can sleep in a room overlooking the Savanna, and it is incredible…in pictures at least. Someday, mark my words, I will stay at this resort!
We stayed at a much less extravagant value resort on this trip, but that is the beauty of it all. You can stay wherever your budget affords, but you can still go explore the other hotels you wish you could stay at! And explore we did! We actually arrived a littler early for our reservation so we wandered into a beautiful, and shockingly empty, gathering room upstairs from the restaurant. Soon after we arrived, a cast member from Africa came in with drums and taught the kids to play. This was actually one of our favorite moments of our trip. There is also a walk out right next to the restaurant that allows you to see the animals up close. Even better, if you schedule your meal time to be during the daylight hours (highly recommended,) you will have a beautiful view of the savanna from your table. Just imagine for a moment, eating the naan bread from your amazing bread service (which I’ll get to in a moment) and a zebra just strolls by. Incredible, right?
Best. Food. Ever.
You already know that I walked into this meal not really wanting to be here. I had seen some cool animals, amazing theming, and my kids got a private drum lesson, but I now had a migraine and was totally ready to just skip dinner and go to bed. Being that my kids were starving and way more enthusiastic about this experience than I currently was, I downed some caffeine and headed in for our meal. The one thing I had been told to get, by literally everyone I asked, was the bread service. However nobody told me that you had to pay extra for it and it wasn’t one of those “free bread with meal” kinda things. Not a big deal, but in case it is for you, something to note. It was so delicious that we were actually contemplating getting a second one as our main dishes came out.
This was the absolute icing on the cake of this already delicious meal. I ordered the “sustainable fish.” Since my head was killing me, ordering meant I just squinted my eye open and pointed at something on the menu and hoped that it wasn’t something gross. I wasn’t expecting much, but figured that fish was probably a pretty safe choice. It was indescribable. It had so much “spice” to it. Not like “OMG my tongue is burning off spicy” but just an abundance of flavor. I had never had food that was so packed with flavor, yet completely complimentary to the fish itself and not overpowering in the slightest. My husband got something he loved as well, but we both agreed that my “sustainable fish” was the best meal of the night. Definitely way better than the kids’ cheeseburgers. Oh yeah, they serve regular old Disney kid food here as well for the little ones. And the desert was great as well.
To see Sanaa’s current menu, head over to the Walt Disney World website and check it out! Their current offerings are every bit as good as the ones that I had from what I hear!
So…To Eat or Not To Eat???
No question. This is hands down our favorite restaurant on Walt Disney World property and you must try it. The food would have done the trick and made it a must see, but the ambiance of the hotel and the animals grazing outside while you dine earn this restaurant top marks from this family.
My quick tips for eating at Sanaa:
- Like I mentioned before, check what time sun sets on the date of your dining reservation so that you can see the animals from your table. This really just takes your experience to a whole other level of amazing.
- Beware of the spice. Okay, I know I just raved about the spices in the food and how I’d never had anything with that kind of spice. Take this fact in for just a second, and consider that my tummy was not used to digesting such spices. This might lead you to understand why I might recommend eating at this restaurant the day before a “non-park day” so that you can be free to GO when you need to GO.
- Get there early. I know you’re running around the parks and enjoying everything there is to offer there, but consider leaving a little early so you can just explore Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is truly incredible and well worth any time you can carve out to spend there.
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!