Recently, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa added a new breakfast service to supplement their already great lunch and dinner offerings. In a resort without a quick service immediately available for breakfast (at least without taking the shuttle to Jambo House to hit up The Mara), it seems like a smart move. Families in search of something more substantial to eat than what’s available in Johari Treasures’ refrigerated section can now wander just downstairs from their room to sample Sanaa’s options (both hot and cold, grab-and-go or not). It’s rare we see a new addition to resort dining that sticks around for very long, so I wanted to give this meal a shot in case it’s short-lived (though, based on how good it was, I hope it’s here to stay!).
All in all, Sanaa breakfast is a pretty simple set-up: once you arrive downstairs to the restaurant (anytime between 7am-10am daily), you’ll be greeted by a Cast Member with a menu of offerings, and led to the front dining room just to the right of the restaurant’s entrance. Here, all of the hot and cold grab and go options are available to peruse and purchase, along with bottled juices, milk, water, and sodas, plus disposable cups for coffee. Once you decide on your items, or choose from the menu, you just let the cashier know, where they’ll ring you up and give you a number to place on your table (painted on a cute wooden animal carving).
When I arrived towards the end of breakfast hours one day recently, the grab and go area wasn’t super well-stocked – a few of the items had run out, but Cast Members refilling items let me know that I could just ask if I wanted anything that was missing. Notable options include a beautiful fresh fruit platter, muffins, hot oatmeal, and slices of bobotie pie (African-style quiche). One other note – I was a little sad that you couldn’t get a fountain drink or cup of water here, like you’d find standard at a normal quick service. Be prepared that if you want water, you’ll have to pay for one of the small bottles that comes with the kid’s meals. Coffee was the only self-serve drink available. I realize this is a result of a restaurant not necessarily equipped for this kind of service, but it was still a little bit of a surprise to me, and different from what you’ll see elsewhere.
I was interested in trying a few of the options unique to this particular menu, so I grabbed an order of the banana bread with house-made African chocolate hazelnut spread (because they can’t say “Nutella”, but we can!) along with a bottle of orange juice and made my way to the register. There, I ordered two hot entrees (I had to skip the fruit sosatie with quinoa and the croissant egg sandwich, but both sound like solid options!), paid (with a discount – standard cast, Tables in Wonderland, and AP discounts were offered to me), and made my way to a table with my numbered giraffe figurine. The cashier let me know that my food should arrive within about 10 minutes, which I felt was pretty fair.
One benefit of the seat-yourself service? I got a window view of the animals on a rainy day, something I almost never get when dining at Sanaa for lunch or dinner, given the limited number of window-side tables. That view alone made it a pretty cool breakfast option, even if I’d just been grabbing a plate of fruit or muffin. While watching the animals (and waiting for my hot food), I snacked on the banana bread I’d pulled from the grab and go offerings. For $3.79, I was pleasantly surprised by the portion size here – four decent sized slices of the bread plus a nice scoop of the not-Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. Both were served cold, and as a result, the Nutella was too thick to dip the bread in, but worked well for spreading. Both were, as expected, pretty sweet, but for an atypical breakfast offering at Walt Disney World resorts, I was pretty pleased with it.
About seven minutes after I arrived at my table (already set with a cloth napkin and real silverware), my food arrived. It almost felt like I was at Disneyland for a second – a “quick service” breakfast, but served on real plates! My first few bites had to be of the Safari waffle ($8.99), a huge Belgian-style waffle topped with mixed berries (fresh, not in any kind of syrupy/saucy mess like you see elsewhere), and an enormous dollop of chai whipped cream. The waffle was fluffy and buttery, crisp on the outside, and perfectly cooked. The Chai cream really made this dish special, though – slightly sweet, lemony, and full of warmth from spices like cinnamon and clove. The texture of ricotta cheese (less like whipped cream than you’d think from the description), it was easy to spread across the whole waffle. If you (like me) miss Sanaa’s amazing chai cream dessert (RIP, tasty treat), you’ll love this cream – not quite as spice-forward as that dessert, but almost as sweet, and just as delicious. The waffle also came with a side of syrup, but I felt no need for it between the sweet and tart fresh berries and the cream.
Sure to be a popular option here, as well, is the Boere Breakfast ($10.99), this restaurant’s version of the “bounty platter” you’ll find at most quick service breakfast locations at Walt Disney World. Served with two cage-free eggs cooked to order (a luxury at this price!), tomato chutney. Tanzanian hash browns, boerewors sausage, bacon, and a coconut Johnny cake, it hits most of the major breakfast food groups and is the largest offering at this meal. My eggs arrived cooked exactly to my request (over medium), and I was happy to see that my three pieces of bacon were crispy and thick, not the flimsy Disney quick service bacon I try to avoid.
The boerewors sausage link, a traditional South African take on standard American breakfast sausage links, was a little dry but very flavorful, mostly beef but I could also taste a bit of pork in there, too. I expected the coconut Johnny cakes to be a bit less dense – these were kind of like biscuits, but they worked well to soak up my egg yolks; overall, though, they didn’t have any punch of flavor. The real stars of the platter were the herbaceous, sweet, slightly tangy tomato chutney that I ended up putting on everything on the plate, and the Tanzanian hash browns, filled with garlic chives and perfectly brown on top, tender on the inside. If you can live without the tomato chutney (though it was so good, I’d advise not to), you can order the Savanna platter for two dollars cheaper, which includes everything on the Boere breakfast except the chutney and sausage.
For the price, the breakfast entrees at Sanaa are a really great size and quality. Everything I tried was fresh and hot and served on real plates, definitely making my meal feel a little more upscale than a normal quick breakfast at a resort. On top of all of this, the fact that you get a morning view of the animals and a taste of Sanaa’s bold flavors without taking time out of your busy park touring day is just fantastic. I would highly recommend Sanaa breakfast if you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, and maybe even if you’re planning to just make a day of it around the resorts – this is definitely a worthy place to start your day at Walt Disney World.