Time for a pit stop on your journey around Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park? Refuel fast with a stop at one of the many Animal Kingdom quick service restaurants. Whether you’d like to take your tastebuds for a walk on the wild side, indulge in some classic American comfort food, or sip your stress away with a boozy beverage, you’re sure to find some quick service dining at Animal Kingdom to suit you and your family.
Keep reading as we dig into all the delicious options that are available, along with our list of the best quick service restaurants at Animal Kingdom.
All About Quick Service Restaurants in Disney World
When dining at Disney, you have the option of choosing between two different kinds of Disney World restaurants: table service and quick service. As the name implies, quick service – also referred to as counter service or fast casual – is Disney-speak for fast food. Generally, this means standing in line to order your meal at a counter and then waiting for your food to be ready so you can find an empty table nearby or eat it on the run.
Thanks to COVID-19 (gotta love those pandemic silver linings), however, you’re now also able to skip the line entirely by placing a mobile order on the My Disney Experience app. Not only is this great for supporting social distancing measures, but it also means you can now enjoy more time exploring the parks and less time waiting in line for your lunch.
There is a cornucopia of Disney World quick service options, from a small stand serving a few snacks and drinks and offering little to no seating up to an expansive restaurant with a lengthy menu and tons of tables. For the sake of this list of the best quick service restaurants at Animal Kingdom, we’ll focus on the fast casual and counter service options that offer the tastiest eats and most inviting ambiance.
Animal Kingdom Quick Service Restaurants
Animal Kingdom is a theme park that’s meant to be savored. Rather than rushing through, its lush, winding pathways dotted by animal exhibits invite you to slow down and appreciate the beauty of nature. So, at first, the thought of shoveling food down your face at one of the park’s quick service restaurants may seem a bit at odds with the whole experience.
However, with immersively themed restaurants and worldly menu offerings throughout the park, quick service dining at Animal Kingdom can really add to your park visit all without taking up much of your time or food budget. Best of all, similar to Epcot’s World Showcase, Animal Kingdom also offers a considerable amount of variety to satisfy even the most adventurous or pickiest of eaters.
Buying Alcohol From Quick Service Restaurants in Animal Kingdom
Unlike at quick service restaurants in Magic Kingdom, beer, wine, and specialty cocktails can be purchased from kiosks and restaurants throughout Animal Kingdom. Although you could sip on an adult beverage from one of the many drinks stands sprinkled across the park, we highly recommend you take some time to stop and enjoy a drink at Nomad Lounge at Tiffins Restaurant. On our list of the best bars at Disney World, it’s an especially relaxing spot for a nightcap (or a midday pick-me-up – no judgments here).
Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-Free Dining at Animal Kingdom Counter Service Restaurants
Living and traveling with a food allergy is no joke. The meal options can be dreadful, and even if you do manage to find something that sounds edible on the menu, there’s still the possibility of cross-contamination. Fortunately, that’s not usually a concern for those traveling to the Disney Parks.
Restaurants at Disney World are about as accommodating as it gets when it comes to food sensitivities, allergies, and other dietary restrictions – and that includes Animal Kingdom quick service restaurants too. That being said, eating quick service at Animal Kingdom with a gluten allergy or any other food sensitivity isn’t quite as easy as dining at a Disney World table service restaurant.
While you won’t receive a chef-led tour of the buffet line or a special off-menu meal, there is a decent selection of gluten-free dishes thanks to the omission or substitution of ingredients. Plus, many restaurants also have a designated fryer specifically for those with food allergies. However, not all quick service outlets at Animal Kingdom have a special fryer for those with Celiac disease, so be sure to ask before placing your order.
In order for you to have the best Animal Kingdom dining experience possible, we suggest you take some time to research before you head to the parks. Save yourself the time and headache of figuring out what to eat there by looking over the menus and allergy-friendly offerings for each of the restaurants prior to your vacation. Then, once you’re ready to eat, remember to inform the cast member of your dietary needs to help mitigate the chances of any cross-contamination.
Best Quick Service Animal Kingdom Restaurants
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is an ode to the natural world and all the creatures that live there. But, it also transports guests to far-flung places like the villages of Africa and Asia or an otherworldly outpost – not just with its attractions, but with its dining as well.
Of the 29 different quick service dining options available at Animal Kingdom, there are 5 restaurants that we return to over and over again. While some dish up kid-friendly eats, other restaurants feature more unique menu options. One thing they all share, however, is heaps of atmosphere.
If you’re looking for a quick spot to fuel up for more Animal Kingdom adventures, here’s our list of the best quick service restaurants at Animal Kingdom.
Flame Tree Barbecue | Best Quick Service Food With a View
A meat lover’s dream with tons of open-air seating, Flame Tree Barbecue is arguably the best Animal Kingdom quick service restaurant. Ideally situated near the front of the park on Discovery Island, this centrally located spot packs a punch with its smoky, saucy BBQ specialties. Stop in for hearty plates like the kid-friendly Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork or the Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich or St. Louis Rib Dinner with the restaurant’s signature baked beans. Or, go plant-based instead with the Hot Link Smokehouse Sandwich.
Aside from the tasty meats, Flame Tree BBQ’s seating area is another huge perk of this restaurant. There is a LOT of it, so you never need to worry about not finding a table. Plus, even though there’s no air conditioning, each open-air dining pavilion is shaded and cooled by a fan. To top it all off, some tables even come with another sweet surprise: sweeping views of Expedition Everest as it towers over the water.
Satu’li Canteen | Best for Healthy, Allergy-Friendly Dining & Good Atmosphere
Eat like the Na’vi at Satu’li Canteen, a quick service spot designed to look like an old RDA dining hall on the Earth-like planet of Pandora. As you might expect from this intergalactically inspired restaurant, the menu here is out-of-this-world. Dishes here are decidedly on the healthier side of things, with items like Beef and Chicken Bowls and a Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu Bowl on offer. You’ll also find playful Pandora-themed touches like Cheeseburger Steamed Pods (bao buns) and boba ball garnishes. While there, be sure to save some room for the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse, one of the best Animal Kingdom desserts.
Located near the exit to Flight of Passage, this is one of the more immersive restaurants at Animal Kingdom – and that’s saying a lot. From the fun ingredients to the Na’vi art throughout the dining room, you really feel as if you could be eating in some far-off land.
Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes | Best Quick Service for Asian-Inspired Dishes
Looking for some rations before heading into the Himalayas? Stop by the Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this quick-service location is a good place for a break any time of day. Breakfast consists of typical AM favorites like a Breakfast Bowl or an egg sandwich. Lunch and dinner, however, feature Asian-inspired dishes made for American palates like Honey Chicken, Vegetable Tikka Masala, and a Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich.
Just around the bend from Kali River Rapids and the Maharajah Jungle Trek, the Yak and Yeti quick service restaurant is ideal for grabbing a bite to eat as you dry off from your misadventures downstream. And while it’s not exactly what we would call authentic Asian food, it is a tasty substitute if you’ve got a craving.
Restaurantosaurus | Best for Picky Eaters & Diners Looking for a Laugh
Guests with a keen eye and a sense of humor will get a kick out of Restaurantosaurus. Located in DinoLand U.S.A., this quick-service restaurant is a must for anyone traveling with picky eaters. While Restaurantosaurus was once a glorified McDonald’s, it now serves up pretty tasty takes on all-American classics like a Chili-Cheese All-Beef Foot-long Hot Dog, an Impossible Spicy Southwestern Burger, and a Cobb Salad. Prior to the pandemic, it also offered a unique dining experience starring burgers and a build-your-own sundae bar.
Although the food isn’t anything to write home about, the real highlight here is the setting. According to its backstory, the restaurant is where the paleontology students used to stay when they were working on the dig site. Of course, hijinks ensued, and the remnants of their dino-themed humor can be found all throughout the restaurant.
Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery | Best for a Quick Lunch or On-the-Go Snack
While you won’t want to sit down for a full meal at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery in Africa’s Harambe Village, this counter-service location is excellent if you’re on the prowl for a handheld snack and some caffeine. In the morning, stop for a Spinach and Feta Quiche on your way to the safari. During the afternoon, pop by for some Shrimp Curry before your showing of Festival of the Lion King. Keep in mind that no seating is available here, so you’ll need to enjoy your meal while you’re on the move.
Other Good Quick Service Restaurants at Animal Kingdom
Although they don’t quite meet the mark for the best quick service dining at Animal Kingdom, these next counter-service restaurants are still worth a try if you’re looking for a special snack or drink. Their menus may be short and their seating areas small (if there are any tables at all), but they’re still decent places to pick up something to munch on as you go.
If we’re being honest, it was tough leaving Harambe Market off the best list. In the past, this adorable quick service location designed to look like a local open-air marketplace dished up unique African-inspired cuisine. However, that variety has slowly fallen by the wayside as more familiar dishes like ribs and salad have taken over. Fortunately, the charming ambiance remains, making this quick service restaurant still worthy of a visit every now and again.
With so many other delicious things to try, pizza isn’t usually the first thing on our list when figuring out what to eat at Animal Kingdom. However, for those traveling with less adventurous eaters, Pizzafari can be a great choice. Located on Discovery Island near the walkway to Pandora, this quick-service restaurant offers an assortment of basic pizza pies, each accompanied by a Caesar salad, along with a Shrimp Flatbread. While in the AM, guests can also tuck into filling breakfast favorites like a Breakfast Burrito. While it doesn’t compare to the slices you can get at the Italy Pavilion in Epcot, try telling that to the pizza-loving kiddos in your family.
Searching for a savory snack over near DinoLand U.S.A.? Look no further than Dino Diner. Part of the kitschy Dino-Rama, this snack stand offers an array of portable bites inspired by the mighty midway. Stop by for a nostalgic helping of Corn Chip Pie (that’s a walking taco without the convenient Fritos bag) or a classic Dino-Rama Chili-Cheese Dog as you make your loop around the park.
Eight Spoon Café
Trekking around Animal Kingdom all day long can get exhausting. Fortunately, it’s nothing that a little comfort food can’t fix. Nestled on the outskirts of Discovery Island near the Adventurers Outpost and the bridge to Asia, the Eight Spoon Café is the place to go when you’re in the mood for cozy eats with a creative twist. Swing by for playful eats like the Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork or the Pulled Pork – Jelly Doughnut Sandwich.
Looking for an adult beverage that’s out-of-this-world good? How about a sweet treat after soaring on a banshee on Flight of Passage? Not only does Pongu Pongu dole out unique eats like Pongu Lumpia, a dessert-style spring roll stuffed with pineapple and cream cheese, but it also pours some of the best drinks at Animal Kingdom. Grab a non-alcoholic Night Blossom, or sip on Avatar-inspired beer or themed specialty cocktails crowned with boba pearls.
If there’s one snack that everybody loves, it’s French fries. And our favorite place to snag some of the salty snacks is from Mr. Kamal’s snack stand near UP! A Great Bird Adventure. Available drizzled with either Korean Chili Ketchup or Curried Honey Mustard, Mr. Kamal’s Seasoned Fries are sure to satisfy your salt craving. Or, opt for the Chicken Dumplings instead for a more worldly snack.
Think you might go extinct if you don’t get something to eat? Pop by the Trilo-Bites food kiosk near the entrance to DinoLand U.S.A. for a couple of Animal Kingdom’s tastiest snacks. Once you’ve finished your Buffalo Chicken Chips and Trilobites Twist made with orange DOLE Whip and vanilla soft serve, wash it all down with a margarita or an ice-cold beer.
Searching for something to snack on as you explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park? Just down the walkway from Mr. Kamal’s, the Caravan Road snack kiosk serves up some of the more interesting snack offerings in the park. Both the Ginger Slaw Dog and Char Siu Pork dish out enough Asian-inspired flavors to satisfy without spoiling your appetite or budget.
Yak and Yeti Quality Beverages
Located around the corner from the other Yak & Yeti dining establishments, Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages often gets outshined by its more front-and-center counterparts. However, with its streamlined menu featuring light, Asian-inspired dishes like a Ginger Chicken Salad and Asian Chicken Wrap, this little counter-service location is a good spot to grab lunch.
Well ya’ll, that concludes our guide to the best Animal Kingdom quick service restaurants. Although there are plenty of other dining options to choose from, these restaurants are your best bets if you’re looking for good food and atmosphere, but you don’t have a lot of time.
Hoping to maximize your time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Don’t miss out on our 1-Day Animal Kingdom Theme Park Plan. Wanting to make the most of your budget instead? Be sure to check out our discount Disney World tickets.
Are you a self-proclaimed Animal Kingdom foodie? Which dishes are on your must-eat list? Are there any quick-service restaurants that shouldn’t be missed? Let us know in the comments!
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.