Skipper Canteen is fun. There’re lots of silly references to imaginary adventures of imaginary people going to (mostly) imaginary places.
Then, there’s Tiffins, the new signature restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is loaded with photos, stories and vision boards inspired by the real life adventures of real Imagineers traveling to amazing, far-flung places. Tiffins tells the story of Animal Kingdom itself. And it is way more than fun.
You enter the eatery through two large, heavy doors that are beautifully carved.
Ahead: The host station. To the left: Nomad Lounge. To the right: Tiffins. While you wait: Several cases of artifacts and photos celebrating the work that went into creating Animal Kingdom Park.
Tiffins itself is actually made up of three different dining rooms: The Grand Gallery and the Safari Gallery are to the right of the host station, but your server will lead you through Nomad Lounge to get to the Trek Gallery, which is on the left. (It’s an odd set up, and I’m not entirely sure why it’s set up this way, but it doesn’t impact the experience.) Each of the dining rooms is decorated according to its own theme.
The Grand Gallery celebrates the folk artists who informed and created the design elements in the Park. The pieces are big and beautiful–and none of them would seem out of place in a museum. These images provided ideas for the look of Discovery Island–and the big animal-shaped lanterns are a first-look at the inspiration for the Rivers of Light Ceremony (whenever we finally get to see it).
The Safari Gallery features works of art that represent Eastern and Southern Africa–the inspirations for Harambe. I’ve always loved the details in this area of the Park, and I was delighted to see how thoughtfully they were recreated.
The Trek Gallery celebrates the sights of South Asia that are reflected in the Park. Again, the tiny little details that I love so much are reflected in the real life stories brought to the Park by Imagineers, and it made me so happy.
Dan and I were seated in the Grand Gallery, and I just want to start off by saying that all of the Cast Members we spoke to were absolutely lovely and amazing. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Plus, the table and menus were absolutely beautiful, so we were overall thrilled.
But the food! Even if the restaurant was a hole in the ground, Dan and I would come back for the absolutely incredibly delicious food.
We ordered two appetizers: Black-Eyed Pea Fritters (which were delish but needed salt) and Tiffins Signature Bread Service. The bread service was wow! Not as wow as Sanna bread service. But still quite good. The sauces are Harissa-Spiced Yogurt, Black-Eyed Pea Hummus, Zhough Yogurt (which is very slightly spicy … but I hate spicy foods, and this was my favorite of the four!) and Pomegranate Olive Oil.
For dinner, we split the Pan-Seared Duck Breast. This was. Just so amazing. Weeks later, we still look at each other and say, “duck breast.” And we’re right back in that moment, both of us working hard not to make audible mmm noises. The breast came with leg confit (life changing), hen of the woods mushrooms, parsnip puree and peach gastrique.
After a few minutes of deliberation, we settled on the South American Chocolate Ganache for dessert. And, boy! I am so glad we decided to split it because it was the richest, most chocolatey dessert I’ve ever had. I definitely couldn’t have finished it on my own.
When the check came, there was yet another happy surprise in store for us: Each time you visit Tiffins, you receive a small print of a drawing by Imagineer and the Godfather of Animal Kingdom Joe Rohde. I believe our server told us there are seven distinct drawings.
After dinner, we headed over to Nomad Lounge for some after-dinner drinks–but that’s a review for another day. For right now, suffice it to say that we were very impressed with both the restaurant and our meal. Sure, it’s a Signature Dining Experience, but it was worth every single penny. I can’t wait to go back and sample some of the other offerings …
Have you experienced Tiffins? What did you think?? Tell us in the comments!