I freakin’ loved my deluxe resort experience. The amenities and rich themeing of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Kidani Village were unparalleled, especially as compared to moderate and value resorts. But there is one area where I personally believe VALUE resorts reign, and that’s the food court. With that said, let’s talk about The Mara, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s quick service restaurant.
The first thing to note is that as a DVC resort, Kidani Village does not have its own real food source; you can pick up some groceries and such in the gift shop there, but if you want hot food made for you you’ll have to go to AKL. It’s at most a 10 minute walk, or if you want you can take the bus.
The Mara is a bit out of the way – from the lodge entrance you’ll need to walk through the resort bar, down through the shared Boma/Jiko waiting area, out of the building, past the pool, and there you are. There’s limited seating inside as well as tables outside in a shady area.
“Food court” might be a bit of a stretch as there’s one line for ordering and the options are pretty limited. They didn’t even have my go-to prerace pasta kid’s meal. Some menu items have a strong Afro-Indian flavor, and some are more commonplace food court items, like a burger and a turkey sandwich. In effort to try something a bit more unique that at the same time wouldn’t weigh me down pre–marathon, I went with the falafel plate.
This was… okay. As far as the falafel itself was concerned, it was decent. The spice was mild to accommodate less adventurous palettes but it was fried to a nice crisp. It came with a largely tasteless naan that would be a disgrace in an Indian restaurant, but as far as a piece of flatbread to dip in the cup of raita it was good enough. The remaining salads and pilaf were pretty soggy and anemic in taste. I wouldn’t go so far as recommending this item but if you’re strictly vegetarian and it’s your only option you should be able to tolerate it.
I went back later that night for a pre-race flatbread. This was a pretty standard-issue flatbread as far as Disney is concerned. The crust is thin and crisp and the cheese is plentiful if a little bland. My main complaint would be the sauce, which I felt there was not enough of, but then I’m a big fan of marinara. Normally this comes with a Caesar side salad but I was allowed to order it without.
I purchased one more item from The Mara, in the bakery, but it was such a showstopper I’m going to give it its own post. 😉
I don’t mean to suggest that value resorts offer better food court food, necessarily. But value resorts tend to offer a lot more options in a better organized setting. Of course, at AKL you can always go sit at the bar in a sit-down restaurant, so I guess you could argue it doesn’t really matter.
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