Location: Animal Kingdom (Africa)
Type: Table Service
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Cuisine: American with a touch of African (likely more African at Lunch and Dinner)
Reservations: Yes (recommended)
Characters: Currently only for Breakfast, Lunch added later this year
The Tusker House, previously a counter service location, currently offers a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One of the more popular meals is the character breakfast, “Donald’s Safari Breakfast”. The breakfast includes characters meets with Donald, Goofy, Mickey, and Daisy (subject to change of course) along with a buffet of Mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, ham and flavorful dishes with an African influence.
Mark your calendars; Tusker House will soon be adding Donald’s Safari Lunch (December 4, 2011) which will be a new character dining experience for Animal Kingdom. No changes will be made in the buffet at this time.
Our review will concentrate on the Safari Breakfast, the only meal we have experienced at the Tusker House.
Welcome to Tusker House! Smile for your picture. Now shove that food down your throat and get out.
Once your name is called you will be ushered into a line where you’ll wait to get your family’s picture with Donald. After you get your picture you’ll be seated. TIP: Be sure to ask to have a cast member take a picture with your camera as the pictures offered while you eat will cost over $30.
Similar to other character style buffets, this buffet is a bit loud and feels incredibly rushed. The building is not as unique as other buildings on property but does have some cultural flair to help you feel as though you are in an African Village. Be sure to look up at the ceiling as you grab your food from the buffet.
The buffet is free flowing, meaning there is supposedly no line. This seems to cause confusion even though cast members mention it over and over. So if you go, remember, don’t line up, just get the food you want and smile at the people giving you dirty looks.
Food is average buffet food, nothing spectacular and, not as good as some of the other breakfast buffets on property including the Supercalifragilistics Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare. But if you like Mickey Waffles, scrambled eggs, and sausage you’ll do fine. Be sure to try the Jungle Juice as it’s one of the best parts of the meal. As you sit, you’ll be visited by Mickey, Goofy and Daisy who will quickly sign your book, take a picture and be on their way. There’s also a parade in which children can line up behind their favorite characters and dance along to African music.
Tip: If the park opens at 9 be sure to make an early reservation to the Tusker House. This will allow you to get into the park a little early and snap some great photo’s with few people on your way to the restaurant. You are not allowed to roam the park, but you do have a view of the tree of life and other nice spots on your way.
Our Rating is 2.5/5
Rating Reason: There is a certain aura of anxiety when dining with characters at Disney restaurants. Even when the servers are as kind as can be, you know they want you out as soon as possible so they can get the next gazillion people in to eat. It’s usually not a problem, but at no other restaurant have we felt more rushed than Tusker House. Maybe it’s because we schedule an early breakfast, so they are just trying to get all guests in and the process flowing, but it often leads to an aggravating meal. Donald no longer comes to the tables, so getting his autograph can be a problem. And of course there’s always the pressure of buying that expensive photo.
Overall, the food is decent and it provides a good fill up at the park before your day begins. Also, if you get in before park opens you are right at the entrance to the Safari to begin your tour of Animal Kingdom and eating with characters is always easier than standing in character lines in the hot Florida sun. But because of the frantic pace, you might end up feeling overly rushed.