New theme park restaurants are opening nearly every month, and the new eateries and shops at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are worth checking out. From chain restaurants to unique sweet shops, you’ll find familiarity as well as never-before-experienced menus. One thing is for sure, an animal appetite is sure to be tamed!
New Theme Park Restaurants include Starbucks Coffee Shop
On the familiar side of new theme park restaurants in Animal Kingdom is the Seattle-based company of Starbucks. This new chain restaurant opened in April and is now represented in all four Walt Disney World theme parks and two additional locations in Downtown Disney. (Starbucks are also located within Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk). The Animal Kingdom Starbucks is located outside of the entrance to “Africa” on the west side of the Orlando theme park. You’ll find it as you approach the iconic Tree of Life, just before the bridge.
Starbucks offers a unique souvenir at this store. The Disney “You Are Here” mugs come decorated according to the park you are in. The Animal Kingdom mug shows the Tree of Life, Expedition Everest, a jeep (Kilimanjaro Safaris) and a giraffe. They make great souvenirs.
Zuri’s Sweet Shop Now Open
In the Harambe Market within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a new dessert shop recently opened called Zuri’s Sweet Shop. At this new theme park restaurant you’ll find dozens of never-before-experienced treats. In fact, the menu is raising all kinds of “stink.” Let me explain…
Editor’s Note: After only a few weeks Disney has announced that the poo desserts will no longer be offered. After testing (and maybe the publicity?), they will no longer restock these items.
Along with candy apples, chocolate bars, African-spiced popcorn, animal-shaped lollipops and 80 other new items, Zuri’s is now selling animal poop! Inspired by dropping of the large game animals of Africa, the chefs at Zuri’s decided to have fun and create desserts you won’t turn up your nose at. Four types of poo are offered at $3.99 per serving (enough for two people). Choose from giraffe, rhino/hippo, elephant and cotton-top tamarin. You’ll have fun just picking out the dessert, because you have to match the “poo” with the species! Ingredients include:
- giraffe: pellets of fudge/brownie
- rhino/hippo: chocolate fudge, caramel-brownie, peanut butter and oats
- elephant: oats and peanut butter
- tamarin: pretzels, chocolate-peanut butter fudge
The theme park shop is an experience all in itself. All of the sights, sounds and flavors of Africa can be experienced here. Be sure to try the African Spice popcorn. With just a hint of cardamom, it is very addictive. You might need to purchase an extra bag for later.
In addition to the new restaurants, Disney has also started incorporating allergy-friendly menus within their theme parks. The menus have been tested for common food allergies and intolerances. So far, over a dozen locations have adopted the menu. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the newest locations to offer one. If you or your child have a special dietary need, consult with a Cast Member. They can assist you or consult with a chef about your needs.
Tree of Life
If you’ve not experienced Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently, check it out. The Tree of Life’s roots have expanded and include new animal carvings. The 145-foot tall by 50 fee wide structure has more than 103,000 leaves and over 300 meticulously detailed animal carvings in its trunk and roots! Inside the tree is a theater where “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” is performed. There are dozens of places to grab a bite and a couple of very nice full-service restaurants.
Like all Disney theme parks, there is plenty to do and see. Now there is even more to taste. A full day is sure to leave you “pooped” and with a bag to take home as well!