It’s pretty much impossible to narrow down the endless list of Disney World restaurants to the few that can be crammed into a Disney vacation. You can search for hours online for the perfect place to eat but clicking the “reserve” button on one place means missing out on all the others.

Tusker House” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re planning a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and want a special place to eat, Tusker House might be right for you. This unique dining experience stands out from other restaurants in Animal Kingdom. It’s a great place to dine if you’re wanting to simultaneously meet characters and eat!

Overview

The Tusker House Restaurant is in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, so you’ll need a ticket to enter the park if you’re wanting to eat here. Once you’re in the park, you can find this restaurant in the Harambe Village area within the Africa section of Animal Kingdom. The food is primarily based on African cuisine through breakfast, lunch and dinner options. It offers a large buffet style of dining, and characters interact with guests at every meal.

Theme

This restaurant’s theme is so incredible that it almost entirely blends in with the other buildings and walls around Harambe Village. The outside is made to look like an authentic village building, and the inside is just as immersive. Within the restaurant you can find themed signs, décor and architecture that makes you feel like you were teleported to Africa. Like Disney does, every single detail is important and keeps you entertained.

Beautiful fabric is strung from the ceilings and tribal masks are showcased. The buffet area is made to look like a market with the food placed on vendor carts and detailed stands. The dining areas are bright and welcoming with features of an interesting culture.

The atmosphere is very family-friendly, but it’s not very fancy. If you are looking for a classy or romantic restaurant, this is not the place. It’s not a dim-lit and quiet place for those looking to get away from the hectic Disney environment and noisy kids.

Tusker House is a restaurant catered toward families or adults looking for a casual and fun table service restaurant. Children can enjoy the characters and kids’ buffet options. Adults can appreciate the theme and variety of unique foods.

Character Dining

Waiting in line to meet your favorite characters can take up precious time during a vacation. At this restaurant, characters come to you during every meal time! Tusker House is a character dining location where characters come to tables and interact with the guests.

Meet characters like Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy as they travel around the dining area to each table. Cast members can take photos of your family with each character, and you have a little bit of time to interact with each one before they move to the next table.

Character dining is great for families with kids because you’ll get the chance to meet your favorite Disney friends without the hassle of waiting in line or walking around in the Florida heat. They conveniently come to you, and they are so fun! Disney characters do a great job of keeping you entertained with silly antics and cute interactions.

They might not be able to talk to you, but both children and adults can find the characters at Tusker House to be very fun. Daisy, Donald, Mickey and Goofy wear coordinating outfits that match the theme of the restaurant and most of Animal Kingdom. The four characters wear hats, vests, boots and outdoor gear that make them look safari-ready. You’ll be inspired by their adventurous outfits and ready to explore the rest of Animal Kingdom.

Meal Periods

*Hours May Vary

Reservations are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served from 8:00 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. Lunch is available from 11:00 a.m. 3:30 p.m. Dinner begins at 3:35 p.m. Depending on when you have a reservation, you could possibly see an overlap of these different meals. Lunch and dinner meal options will be the same or very similar, so don’t try to plan specifically for the meal time.

The dinner options won’t be “fancier” than what’s for lunch because it’s a buffet. You can expect the same food for both. When it comes to planning a meal here, it’s ultimately up to what reservation times are available, your other scheduled plans and what time of day you want to eat a big meal.

Making A Reservation

Tusker House is a table service restaurant, so a reservation is the only way to guarantee a table. Go online or use the app to make a reservation as soon as you can if you are interested in eating here. Reservations can be hard to get during busy periods. Reservation dining is convenient because you are assured a seat around the time requested.

If this is your only scheduled reservation, it’s easy to organize rides and show times around it. Instead of desperately looking for a place to eat last second or waiting in extremely long lines, Tusker House gives you the chance to check in and eat in a comfortable and private area.

It’s nice to reserve because you won’t feel as rushed when you are inside the restaurant. The hustle and bustle of the parks are avoided in the building. You are free to take your time and enjoy the food.

Escape the long lines, Florida heat and rushed service that you can find at quick-service restaurants. Cast members make you feel welcome and taken care of at Tusker House. It’s a very family-friendly restaurant, so the entire family can enjoy the atmosphere and characters.

A major benefit of making a reservation at Tusker House is the dining package that is offered. This is one of two restaurants in Animal Kingdom that give guests tickets to a private seating area to view the Rivers of Light show.

This seating area is reserved, and it has a great view of the show.  Basically, making a reservation here simultaneously reserves you a seat for the Rivers of Light show. That’s a pretty great deal because Disney shows have a tendency to be extremely crowded and premium seating is rare (unless you want to show up two hours early).

Price

Tusker House is a buffet-style restaurant, so the pricing will be standard. Adults and children (ages 3-9) pay different rates. Even if you only eat a slice of bread, you will have to pay for the entire experience. Breakfast tends to be cheaper than lunch and dinner at most Disney restaurants, but buffet-style dining is going to cost a lot compared to quick-service and non-buffet counterparts. Eating in Disney World is pricey in general, so don’t try to avoid spending most of the vacation budget on what and where you order.

If you are wanting to splurge on a few special dining experiences, Tusker House would be great choice. It has much to offer for a flat fee or by using a Disney dining plan. You can use either a Disney Dining Plan or a Disney Deluxe Dining Plan at this restaurant. You need one entitlement per person to cover the cost of this meal.

Buffet-Style Dining

Buffet-style dining offers quantity, but you lose a little bit of quality. This is a casual dining restaurant, and it is represented in the food. The food is delicious, but it loses a bit of its quality when it’s made in bulk.

This is not a fine dining restaurant, and you won’t have the option to choose made-for-you dishes. You’ll have several options from the buffet, and you are welcome to fill up as many plates as you’d like. Let a cast member know if you have any dietary restrictions, and you will be accommodated.

This restaurant is a great place for anyone wanting to try a different style of food during their trip. The meals here are unique and filled with flavor. With the mixture of American and African cuisine, there is much to choose from. At Tusker House, you have the chance to try new foods or just stick to the basics. With recognizable foods like Mickey waffles or fruit salad, picky eaters will find typical foods to eat.

Also, there are two different buffets: a kid section and an adult section. That doesn’t mean kids can’t choose from the adult section and vice versa. The kids’ buffet is available for those younger Disney visitors that might be picky and not interested in trying new foods or eating big portions. This buffet is in the same area, but it’s located in a separate section. Here, you can find foods like mac & cheese or mashed potatoes that adults are welcome to try too.

Menu

The breakfast menu is primarily basic breakfast food like bacon, croissants, scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls. There are still some unique African options served like beef bobotie, a baked South African dish made with spiced minced meat and an egg topping. There are many options in the breakfast buffet ranging from sweet to savory foods that are sure to fill you up.

For lunch and dinner, you can find many African dishes throughout the buffet. The savory foods are packed with protein to give you the needed energy after hours of speed walking through crowds. The buffet serves many meat choices, but there are vegetarian options as well. Of course, you can find a selection of delicious desserts too.

Some menu options during lunch and dinner:

  • Fruit Chutney
  • Curries
  • Peri Peri Whole Salmon
  • Spit-roasted chicken
  • Roasted Pork
  • Basmati Rice and Curry Chicken
  • Black-eyed Pea Salad

Most drinks are included in the price of the meal, but specialty drinks add an extra cost. There are also alcoholic drinks available to those guests over 21 years old. Some of the included beverages are fountain drinks, juice, milk, tea and coffee. There’s also a very popular drink called Jungle Juice, also known as POG juice at some locations, that is included in the Tusker House meal. This refreshing drink is made of passion fruit, orange and guava juices! This juice is only available at select restaurants, so be sure to try it here.

Rating

I would rate this restaurant a 4 out of 5 stars. The food is unique and cultural, so it’s nice to step away from the common foods served at other restaurants. The theming is amazing, and the atmosphere is family-friendly and welcoming. Character dining and Rivers of Light tickets are unique advantages for this Animal Kingdom restaurant.

The disadvantages of making a reservation here is the lack of food quality because it’s a buffet. It’s also expensive, so visitors with a limited budget might want to look at the quick-service options in Animal Kingdom.

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