Recently, I was lucky enough to attend an Annual Passholder Preview for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and of course, as your resident dining reviewer, my first priority was trying out all the new food options available at the land’s quick service restaurant, Satu’li Canteen. I was also excited to try out the new mobile ordering option from the My Disney Experience app, currently exclusively used at Satu’li Canteen. I’ll run through the process of how to use mobile ordering (it’s super easy!), and give a few first impressions of the food I sampled in this Satu’li Canteen review.
Mobile Ordering Basics
First things first, you have to have the My Disney Experience app installed on your mobile device, and for optimal use, you’ve got to have location services and notifications enabled for app use. Currently, mobile ordering does not support the use of the Disney Dining Plan for payment, either – only credit cards, so keep in mind if you want to make use of your plan credits, you’ll need to order at the counter as you would normally at a quick service location. Also keep in mind, mobile ordering is only available for guests taking part in a preview of Pandora at this time, as the land is not yet open to everyone (May 27th is almost here, though!)
Mobile ordering is a pretty straightforward process (if you’ve ever used UberEats, you’ll be an expert already) – essentially, you order your food on the app, then once you arrive at the restaurant, you click “I’m here!”, at which point they’ll make your order. They’ll notify you once it’s ready, and since you’ve already paid through the app, you simple pick up your food and you’re on your way. Think of mobile ordering as a FastPass+ to skip the sometimes-lengthy ordering lines at every quick service restaurant.
The app will remind you what menu you’re ordering from (breakfast vs lunch/dinner), and will tell you the cut-off time for picking up your mobile order from Satu’li Canteen. At the top of several pages in the process, I saw a warning saying I had to pick up my order before 8:00 PM (when the restaurant closes). Basically, once a meal period starts for that day, you can order anytime between opening and close, and just show up when you’re ready. Simple, right? Very… I was really impressed that I didn’t have to pick a time to return, but I’d also warn to keep in mind that the food isn’t made until you arrive (more on that shortly), so if you pick a busy time of day to return, you’ll still wait a little for your food.
Building Your Order
Now that we’re all set with the basics, we can actually order! On the main page of My Disney Experience (after you’ve swiped your character avatar up to show the menu), you’ll see an “Order Food” icon under “My Plans”. Then, you’ll see a list of restaurants supporting mobile order (currently just Satu’li Canteen), which you’ll select, and then be brought to the restaurant’s main page. Click “Order Food” once more, and we’re on our way…
Now we build our order by selecting each item we’d like, selecting sides, sauces, bases for the bowl dishes, any customizations (no sauce! No boba balls!), and finally, adjusting quantities of each dish. This process is very easy, but you’ll notice, aside from a few customizations, there’s not a lot of wiggle room here. If you have any dietary restrictions or are very picky and like everything on the side, there’s not really a space here to specify special instructions. For now, it’s best in those situations to use the standard staffed ordering kiosks on your visit.
Once you’ve added all of your food and beverage selections to your order, you can click “Review Order Summary”, make sure everything is in order, and then click the green “Purchase” button. You will have to give credit card information at this time, but it’s important to note that your credit card is not charged until you arrive at the restaurant and hit “I’m here!”. In this early esting phase of mobile ordering, there’s always a chance your order will disappear from the app (mine did!), but have no fear, you aren’t charged until you hit “I’m here”.
After you’ve arrived at Satu’li Canteen, you’ll open My Disney Experience again, and select your mobile order from the main page. Click “I’m here!”, and then “Yes, Please” to confirm you’d like them to prepare your order now. Follow the instructions to pick up your mobile order – basically, you’ll see a progress bar up top you can follow along, and the app will also send you a push notification when your order is ready. Then, head to the far left side of the ordering stations, confirm your order number and name with a Cast Member, and enjoy your food!
… You forgot you placed a mobile order? My Disney Experience has your back – they’ll send you a push notification 30 minutes before the restaurant closes telling you “hey, go pick up your food!” (in a nicer way, see?). If you don’t pick up your food, your order will be automatically cancelled (Disney also sends a notification for this, too).
… A member of your traveling party has an allergy or dietary restriction? Use the standard ordering kiosks for now. The plan is to include restaurant specific allergy menus in the future, but for now, it’s easier and safer to stick to the status quo.
… Your family is using the Disney Dining Plan or a discount (once available)? Use the standard ordering kiosks for now. It’s also likely these will soon be built into the app, but for now, the only way to pay with dining plan credits or take advantage of any discounts offered (AP discount should be available once the land is fully open) is through the regular line.
So, How Was The Food?
The ordering process was super easy, but how was the food? How’s Satu’li Canteen’s atmosphere? In short, I loved it all. I was really, really impressed. I’ve previously reviewed all of Animal Kingdom’s popular quick service locations you’re most likely familiar with, and this restaurant will blow away all of those in any updated park-wide review I write (yes, it’s even better than Flame Tree!). The restaurant itself features a TON of indoor and outdoor seating in a bright, spacious, warm restaurant, full of “artifacts” from Na’vi culture. Be sure to explore the whole location to spot all the details.
When you walk in, just on the left-hand side before you enter the ordering area, you’ll see a beautiful show-grill, where Cast Members tend to the grilled meats served in many dishes in the restaurant, a great touch for a quick service location. The other big difference you’ll notice from other quick service locations? Satu’li Canteen serves its food on REAL PLATES! With REAL SILVERWARE! Just like the recently opened Geyser Point restaurant at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Satu’li Canteen’s food feels a bit fancier because of this, but the prices are still quick service level (and dare I say it, fairly reasonable).
You’ve already seen a sneak peak of what I ordered in my screenshots from the ordering process, but in my visit for dinner, I tried two of the most popular entrees and both dessert options available. First up, the Cheeseburger Steamed Pod Boa Buns ($10.99), served with your choice of two sides (veggie slaw and veggie chips are the two options available). I was… worried about these before tasting them – cheeseburgers inside traditional Chinese steamed buns?
Surprisingly, though, it worked. Ground beef, savory cheese-like flavors (I say this because they aren’t “cheesy” in the traditional sense, but taste like it), and a few diced veggies fill two large steamed buns, filling and tasty enough to make your mind think you ate a cheeseburger, but without all the mess! On the side: a vinegar-dressing veggie slaw with sour-sweet popping boba balls on top makes for a fun, relatively healthy side, and seasoned Terra chips (various root vegetables, including potatoes, make for crunchy chips). This is a solid dish for picky eaters who’d normally stick to Restaurantosaurus in Animal Kingdom, if you can convince them it tastes like a cheeseburger in spite of its shape (and it does, trust me on this… I know what a good cheeseburger tastes like!).
Our second entrée was one of Satu’li Canteen’s signature bowl dishes – a sort-of Chipotle-esque choose-your-own-adventure quest in dining. Basically, for all the bowls at Satu’li Canteen, you’ll pick a protein (grilled chicken, steak, panko-crusted fish, fried tofu), pick a base (quinoa and veggie salad, red/sweet potato hash, mixed whole grains and rice, romaine and kale salad), pick a sauce (charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette, creamy herb sauce), and then customize. Each dish comes topped with the same sweet sour popping boba balls and veggie slaw as the cheeseburger pods, and your sauce. You can choose to include or exclude any of those, or exclude the base, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I chose the grilled chicken bowl with quinoa and veggie salad and charred onion chimichurri ($11.49), since it seemed like it would be a good option for those in search of a lighter meal. I received what can only be described as the prettiest, and probably healthiest, plate of food I’ve ever eaten at Animal Kingdom (and any quick service in Walt Disney World). The salad was perfectly crisp and green, with a little quinoa running through it for extra protein, well-dressed by the delectable garlicky, herbaceous chimichurri sauce. A solid portion of chopped grilled chicken came in the bowl alongside the base and slaw, creating a dinner-sized plate of food that was satisfying, flavorful, but didn’t make me want to take a nap, as meals at Flame Tree Barbecue and Pizzafari often do. I cannot wait to get back to Satu’li Canteen to have another one of these bowls, probably my new favorite quick service meal.
For dessert, we sampled both signature items, the blueberry cream cheese mousse ($5.29) and the chocolate cake ($5.29). The chocolate cake was supposed to have crunchy cake bits on the bottom, topped by chocolate mousse and small scoop of banana mousse, and while it was very rich and chocolatey, it was a little textureless. This will work for anyone in search of a chocolate fix while in Pandora, and is rich enough that two could share this, no issues.
The winner for dessert for me, though, was the blueberry cream cheese mousse. It’s a very dense cheesecake texture (don’t let the name fool you), topped with a sour and sweet passion fruit curd that expertly cuts through some of the richness of the blueberry cheesecake. While it may be disconcerting for some to cut into this and see bright purple cheesecake, it’s sure to be a hit with inquisitive kids, and it’s tasty, to boot. I really enjoyed this dessert, not just for its taste, but because it’s definitely one of the prettiest desserts I’ve seen in a while – a nice way to send off a meal at Satu’li Canteen.
A Few Parting Notes
I should mention that Satu’li Canteen serves several alcoholic beverage options, including wines only available in Pandora, a sangria/blue curacao mixture that looks very much like an adult kool-aid drink, and green beer. I did not try any of these on this visit, so I can’t give any competent recommendations here yet, but hopefully I’ll sample something in a future visit. If you’re sticking to non-alcoholic options, the drink stations are self-service (think Electric Umbrella and Backlot Express style), and convenient to the seating areas.
I’m also looking forward to trying a few of the breakfast options here once Pandora opens in full and I’m able to visit earlier in the day. Mobile ordering is also available for breakfast, which features oatmeal topped with whiskey-soaked raisins, a breakfast version of the steamed pods, and chorizo hash – a few unique options that sound pretty exciting, if they’re as tasty as the food I sampled for dinner!
Overall, I’m very impressed with Satu’li Canteen. It’s not often I can’t wait to visit a new quick service location again, but that’s definitely the case here. The ordering experience is easy, the food options are diverse and unique to the location, and most importantly, everything was actually really good – at the end of the day, that’s the best I can ask for at a Walt Disney World quick service.