Menu Monday: Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal KingdomMy family and I love the Rainforest Café. As we travel around the country, we always take every opportunity that we get to stop and enjoy a meal at this restaurant. Over the years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Dallas, Galveston, Denver (now sadly closed), Las Vegas, Downtown Disney and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The location in Animal Kingdom is by far one of our favorites with its spaciousness, enthusiastic wait staff and high quality cuisine. Please read on to learn more about this delicious destination and our exciting morning in Animal Kingdom. Your adventure is about to begin!

Art of Animation

The Day Begins

On this day of our Disney vacation, my boys and I woke up early and had a quick breakfast at Landscape of Flavors at our home base for this trip – Art of Animation. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this Disney resort yet, I would recommend just stopping by to take a look around. It has a huge gift shop, a fun arcade for the kids and lots of great photo opportunities without all of the crowds. After our tasty breakfast of pastries and fruit smoothies, we headed out to the bus stop for our ride to Animal Kingdom.

Our Adventure

Tree of LifeWe were pleasantly surprised at how quickly the journey went and in less than thirty minutes we were standing in line to enter the park with our touring plan in hand. For this day we had booked three Fastpass+ reservations in addition to our advanced dining reservation (ADR) for the Rainforest Café. Our plans included a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, then a 9:25-10:25am Fastpass+ for Expedition Everest, followed by a 10:25-11:25am Fastpass+ for DINOSAUR before heading to our 11:15am ADR at Rainforest Café. After lunch, we had a 12:30-12:50pm Fastpass+ reserved for Finding Nemo – The Musical. We knew we were going to be pushing it to fit everything in and if we encountered another pack of giraffes wandering in the road like our last safari, we would be sunk, but we pressed on feeling determined and up for the challenge.

Kilimanjaro SafariOnce we were in the park, we made a beeline straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Luck was with us and the line was short. We were on the attraction enjoying the spectacular views in less than 20 minutes. The morning was cool and lots of animals were up and about. Lucky for us, none of them stopped in our path and our safari cruised right along. We checked the time after exiting the safari and it was only 9:45am, plenty of time to make it to Everest.

Expedition EverestAfter the required pre-Everest pit stop, we were checking in for our Fastpass+ reservations around 10:00am. After enjoying the thrills of Expedition Everest, we made our way quickly through the gift shop, being very careful to avoid the place where some poor soul had lost their breakfast. Note to Self: Always eat light before riding Expedition Everest!

DINOSAURThe time was just 10:20am, five minutes before our DINOSAUR Fastpass+ window was to open, our touring plan was working perfectly as usual. We are fast walkers so by 10:30am, we were checking in for our DINOSAUR Fastpass+ reservation. Even though Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland is far superior to DINOSAUR, I still can’t help but love this attraction. After having a blast traveling back in time, we exited the attraction at 11:00am with only 15 minutes until our Rainforest Café ADR on the other side of the park. We kicked it into high gear and took off for the restaurant.

Lunchtime At The Rainforest Café

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal KingdomWe arrived with just a few minutes to spare giving us some time to explore the spacious outside waiting area and gift shop where we met up with grandma and grandpa. Keep in mind when dining at this location, you are actually leaving Animal Kingdom and you will have to enter again if you plan to spend more time in the park after your meal.

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal KingdomThe restaurant wasn’t busy yet so we were seated within a couple of minutes after checking in for our 11:15am ADR. The Rainforest Café menu is large so we spent a few minutes surveying our options before making our selections. My youngest son chose the Rainforest Rascals (two mini grilled burgers from the children’s menu), my oldest son went with the Rainforest Burger, I picked the chicken tenders with a side of French fries, and grandma and grandpa decided to share the Rainforest Pita Quesadillas. Rainforest Café also has specialty cocktails and a full bar. Since we had a full afternoon and night planned in Epcot, I decided to stick with water. Over the years, I’ve tried several of their specialty drinks and while delicious, they don’t pack too much of a punch. Our food was delivered quickly and looked incredible.

My youngest son loved his Rascals. They were cooked perfectly and dressed with all of his favorite toppings that we had requested. My oldest son enjoyed his Rainforest Burger with the addition of bacon at his request. It was well seasoned and still juicy in spite of ordering it well done. My chicken tenders were wonderful – crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and served with a sweet honey mustard and a tangy barbecue sauce. Grandma and grandpa enjoyed their shared order of quesadillas that had just the right amount of spice and plentiful toppings. As we munched away at our meals, we soaked up the amazing atmosphere that the Rainforest Café is famous for. No details have been overlooked and you definitely have the feeling of a fully immersive experience. Your senses are bombarded with the sights and sounds of lush foliage, wild animal animatronics, aquariums brimming with colorful fish, and simulated thunderstorms. While my school-age children love all of this over-stimulation, it can be quite another story for tiny tikes. This restaurant is loud, really loud, especially during the thunderstorms, so don’t be surprised if you hear the faint sound of young children wailing right along with the thunder. And if you are a parent with one of those little kiddos that might be as noisy as the animatronic gorilla, don’t worry, no one will notice. This place is just that loud.

After we finished up our entrees, we picked desserts; for my boys – Lava Mud. This sweet treat is a combination of chocolate pudding and crushed Oreo cookies topped with gummy worms. My guys were in heaven. My parents and I chose to split a piece of Chocolate Diablo Cake. It was rich, chocolaty and devilishly delightful. The desserts were a perfect ending to our tasty adventure in the rain forest.

Wrapping Up Our Time At Animal Kingdom

Finding Nemo The MusicalA quick check of the time and we realized our Fastpass+ window for Finding Nemo – The Musical would be opening in 5 minutes. We quickly paid the bill, said good-bye to grandma and grandpa, and made a mad dash for the show. We arrived at the theatre too late to make use of our Fastpass+ reservation, but with just enough time to snag some empty seats right up front. All-in-all, it was a fabulous morning at Animal Kingdom.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Here’s a short video clip to give you a feel for what the restaurant is like during the “thunderstorm”:

Just The Facts

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal KingdomIf you are planning a visit to the Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, here are the important details that you’ll need to know.

  • This location serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is served from 8:30am – 10am and the lunch and dinner menu is served from 10am to closing. The restaurant generally stops seating 10 minutes before park closing. (subject to change)
  • The Rainforest Café does not require park admission. There are two entrances to this location. One is next to the Animal Kingdom park entrance and the other is inside the park which requires that you exit the park before entering the restaurant.
  • You can make advanced dining reservations by clicking here. If you are unable to secure a reservation online, you can also try calling the restaurant directly at 407-938-9100.
  • The Rainforest Café offers a 10% discount for Annual Passholders and DVC Members. (subject to change)
  • The Rainforest Café is part of the Landry’s Select Club. This club has a one-time $25 membership fee and includes the following perks: priority seating (you will be seated at the first available table even without a reservation), $25 welcome reward (available approximately 24 hours after registering your membership online), $25 for every $250 you spend, $25 birthday reward every year, 10% off retail purchases and exclusive member-only offers. I have been a member of this club for years and have found it to be very beneficial. For more information or to join the club, please click here.

Have you dined at the Rainforest Café in Animal Kingdom? What was your experience?
Please leave a comment!

Kristi Fredericks

Kristi is a lifelong fan of all things Disney and has been visiting the resorts since she was a baby. She is thrilled to share her passion for the Disney parks and feels that there is nothing better than enjoying a Disney vacation with the ones you love. Kristi is the author of "A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World" and "501 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Walt Disney World Vacation" and founder of the blog DisneyWorldEnthusiast.com. She can be contacted on Twitter @DWEnthusiast, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/disneyworldenthusiast or by email at disneyworldenthusiast@outlook.com.

5 thoughts on “Menu Monday: Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • January 26, 2015 at 9:21 am
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    Hi great post, just one question if I join the Landry’s Select Club before our trip do I still need to make an ADR?

    Reply
    • January 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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      Hi Marc! So glad you enjoyed the post. Because I love to plan and am a huge worrywart, I still like to make an ADR for Rainforest Café even though I have the Landry’s Select Club. However, we have decided on the spur of the moment to dine at the Downtown Disney location without a reservation. Although it was prime dinner hour and extremely busy, we were given the next available table even though we didn’t have a reservation. We’ve also shown up with no reservation, because we couldn’t get one online and were still seated promptly. You do need to have your membership card with you to show them at the check in stand. Hope this helps! 🙂

      Reply
  • January 26, 2015 at 9:57 am
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    We really enjoyed this trip report and review. Rainforest is a unique restaurant and is a natural extension of the Animal Kingdom theme. The food and service at this location has been consistently high quality and we plan to visit again on our next trip. Nice Photos and Video, including the Gorilla. Thanks

    Reply
    • January 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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      Hi Don – I’m glad you enjoyed my trip report and Rainforest Café review. Have a wonderful time on your next adventure! 🙂

      Reply
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