DiningWalt Disney World (FL)

Review: Nomad Lounge Is Great For Families

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Animal Kingdom makes a strong case for having one of the best in-park dining slates in all of Disney World. Go to Tusker House for characters, Satuli Canteen for customizable bowls, Yak & Yeti for … almost anything you could want to order, Flame Tree BBQ for flavor and Everest views, and even Tiffins for a fancy night out. There are SO many options. So why out of all of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom should you spend one of your mealtimes at Nomad Lounge? Because it’s the hidden gem that more people need to know about. My family of four had dinner at Nomad Lounge during our last WDW trip, and we decided that more families need to know about the excellent food, drinks, views, and service that are found here.

Nomad Lounge Logistics

Location and Transportation

Nomad Lounge is located at Animal Kingdom, near the entrance to Pandora, and in the same building at Tiffins. You can either enter through the Tiffins door and head left for an indoor route, or you can go directly to the outdoor check-in station, which is just past the Tiffins entrance if you’re walking toward Pandora from Discovery Island.

If you’re relying on Disney transportation, you have all of the normal options for getting to Animal Kingdom. Namely … busses. Or, you can get yourself to Animal Kingdom by driving, using Uber/Lyft, or taking a Minnie Van. All of this is thankfully straightforward.

Reservation Availability

Nomad Lounge doesn’t accept reservations, but it can still get very popular on crowded days or anytime between lunch and midafternoon. The lounge is open from 10:30 am until the park closes, so your best options are:

  • Arriving before 11:30 am
  • Arriving after 5 pm (or within the last 30-60 minutes that the park is open)
  • Joining the virtual walk-up list from the My Disney Experience app, which will display an approximate wait time based on your party size


At the time of this writing, pricing for small plates at Nomad Lounge ranges from $10 to $16, and cocktails are priced from $15 to $18. That’s before taxes and gratuity. Annual Passholders and DVC members currently do not receive any discounts at this dining location.

Kids’ meals are mostly shared with the Tiffins kitchen/menu, so they are very high quality, but also shockingly expensive. One of the on-menu kids menu items will set you back between $14 and $19. But there’s a secret off-menu “kids meal” that anyone can order – the best chicken nuggets that you will find anywhere in Orlando, and they’re only $11.

You can use the Disney Dining Plan at Nomad Lounge but it may not be the best choice. Since it’s a lounge, you’ll have to spend Table Service dining credits here. And that table service credit will only get you one small plate and one beverage. That means you’ll get a maximum value of $34 for your credit. You can do much better elsewhere.

Nomad Lounge Atmosphere and Service

Nomad Lounge is an oasis in the middle of Animal Kingdom – a park that itself feels like an oasis compared to the hustle and bustle of other theme parks. There are two seating areas – indoor and outdoor. If you sit outside on the porch, you are seated nearby (or right beside) “Discovery River”, aka the waterway that wraps all the way around the Tree of Life. Even I had to Google its name. From here, you’ll get to see the various character flotillas as they make their way over to the large basin where KiteTails and Rivers of Light used to perform. If you opt to sit inside, there are so many design details that it will take several meals to discover most of them. This is an environment rich in theme and thoughtfulness.

The servers at Nomad Lounge are some of the best that I’ve encountered anywhere at Disney. They’ll talk you through all of the food options and answer any questions you have about them. Their beverage knowledge is even more impressive – they’ll make recommendations based on your specific tastes or preferences, and they’ll make sure you can enjoy any drink you want, even if you want to make it non-alcoholic.

Nomad Lounge Food

Grilled Chicken Satay – $14
Grilled Skewered Chicken Thighs, Curry Marinade, Cilantro, Pickled Green Papaya, and Peanut Sauce

Perhaps it was a slightly off day when I ordered these thighs, but the meat was surprisingly dry – especially considering that they had been marinated. The peanut sauce paired nicely and added back in the needed moisture though. It’s two relatively small skewers of chicken for $14, but if I got not-dry chicken, I wouldn’t have minded the price.

Cuban Sliders – $16
Shoestring Potatoes, Spiced Ketchup, Yuca Fries, Sour Orange Mojo

When my husband ordered this dish, it definitely had some sort of pork on it – so either that’s missing from the official menu description, or the kitchen has shaken things up. The menu changes over somewhat regularly here, so that wouldn’t surprise me. Still, my husband devoured these sliders and the yuca fries that came with them. If you’re a crispy-crunchy french fry fan, these aren’t the fries you’re looking for. But they’re still excellent. And at $16 the version with pork was a relatively good value for two filling sliders and a side.

Tuna Poke Bowl – $16
Steamed Rice, Red Cabbage Kimchi, Edamame, Sesame-chili Glaze

Winner winner tuna dinner. In a sea of fried foods and heavy meals, this poke bowl was the refreshing dinner I needed during my Disney vacation. The tuna was very high-quality, and the flavors from each of the components all melded well. I would order this again in a heartbeat and feel good about giving my body a little bit of good fuel. And for $16, it was a filling and satisfying portion.

Kids’ Grilled Steak – $19
Served with choice of two (2) Selections and choice of Small Lowfat Milk, Small DASANI® Water, or Small Minute Maid® Apple Juice

My big kid ordered the steak off of the Tiffins kids menu for her meal, with a fruit cup and cookies’n’cream brownie. To the kitchen’s credit, this steak was perfectly cooked. I would have been happy eating it as my meal. It had a little seasoning, but really they let the steak shine. The fruit cup was disappointingly tiny. The brownie was a smash hit with both kids, and it probably would have cost $5 or $6. So that makes the $19 price tag for the meal slightly less painful. Slightly.

Off-Menu Chicken Nuggets – $11
The best dang chicken nuggets you’ll find anywhere. Served with two sides.

Now, I hadn’t fully done my research prior to taking my family to Nomad Lounge. That’s on me. So we just ordered “nuggets with fries please.” And we were served six large nuggets and enough fries to feed our entire family. It turns out, the nuggets come with any two sides from the kids’ selections that you’d like to pick. We could’ve gone fries/brownie and had a really large meal for $11. Or you could be healthy-ish and pick green beans or seasonal veggies or a fruit cup. My 5-year-old goes on the record saying these are “the best chicken nuggets ever” – and I have to agree with her. They’re hand-breaded and unbelievably good.

Churros – $10
Vanilla Crema, Seasonal Sauce

The seasonal sauce during our meal was chocolate, and as a professed chocoholic, I couldn’t have been more pleased. These churros are not your average theme park snack cart fare. The kind that disappoints Disneyland regulars when they come to Disney World. Nay. These are the perfect crunchy outside, melt-in-your-mouth inside, sugary, flavorful churros of your dreams. And they’re gluten-free! $10 gets you a decent amount of churros, but if you have more than three people in your party, you’ll need more than one order. Don’t fight over the churros.


Between my own drink orders and trying what friends have ordered here and at Tiffins, I have sampled five of the cocktails available at Nomad Lounge. Four of them were stunningly good (and strong). One was pretty sweet – and I’m a sweet and fruity drink type of person. I’m not going to review the drinks individually because the servers and bartenders here will make anything right for you. My husband ordered a mocktail during our family dinner, and our server told him that any cocktail on the menu could be made in a non-alcoholic version, and offered several other options as well. You will find something to drink here, and it will be lovely.

Is Nomad Lounge Right For You?

  1. Are you trying to maximize your Disney Dining Plan credits for your meals? Then Nomad Lounge is not the place to eat. It’s one of the worst potential uses of a table service dining credit.
  2. If you’re looking for a place with comfortable seating, good views (inside or outside), and friendly service, you can’t do much better than Nomad Lounge.
  3. If you enjoy trying different beverages – and especially if you have a mix of alcohol drinkers and non-drinkers, Nomad Lounge can help you discover new favorites.
  4. My 8- and 5-year-old both mentioned Nomad Lounge as their favorite restaurant of our most recent trip – a trip that included character meals, dinner shows, and even other meals where they ate their normal favorite dishes (mac and cheese, and grilled cheese, respectively). I can now say that Nomad Lounge is a family favorite – and we’ve seen many other families dining there too.

Are you a Nomad Lounger? Would you consider adding it to your next Animal Kingdom day? Let me know in the comments!

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

3 thoughts on “Review: Nomad Lounge Is Great For Families

  • Can an adult order off the kids’ menu? By 3 or 4 days of massive Disney table-service dinners, that small steak would be a better deal for me than trying to decide which adult entree seems smallest.
    (As an aside, my wife and I often order 1 or 2 appetizers and an entree to share between us, and it sometimes feels like too much food)

    • So I think at most table-service restaurants it’s a technical no-no. But I _know_ adults can order the chicken nuggets here whenever. And I’m guessing at lounges things are more wishy-washy and fine.

  • Nomad Lounge also has a top-tier background music loop, for those that might be interested in such things!


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