I get many requests for recommendations of where to eat on a Walt Disney World vacation, and I know that most times they are talking about “where in the parks”. But of the top selections I normally provide, most are outside of the theme parks. One in particular I consider an absolute “must do”, and that is Boma-Flavors of Africa in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are two reasons for this, the first is that Boma is a great place to eat, with the exotic overtones of an African village experience but within taste of the American palette.
The second reason is that Boma is in Animal Kingdom Lodge. The entirety of that story is another article, but to not experience the great theme of this resort, including the visual wonder of the wildlife, is depriving you and your family of the Disney you won’t learn about without being there. Photos and videos do not do it justice.
Location: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Type of Restaurant: Buffet
Disney Dining Plan: Table Service Credit Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Food and Drink: African Accented Foods
Family Friendly: Yes Cost and Value: Moderately High ($$$) but a Good Value. Hours: 10:30am – 9:30 pm
Seating: Inside, lots of tables Dress Code: Casual Reservations: Yes, and highly recommended
Sending people off site is not the easiest sell. If you are staying at a Disney resort and using Disney transportation, there is extra travel time that people will often avoid since their goal is to maximize park visits and attractions. But Mary Ann and I consider the entirety of Walt Disney World as the experience we need to enjoy, and food draws us to many different places.
Now this is a Disney buffet, which means the cost is much higher than anyplace else off site. Simply, this is expensive for a family. And if you are driving like we do, getting away for a few meals away from WDW will still be a great time and also save some money. But in this case, the unique special dining experience at Boma, and absorbing the ambiance and activity of AKL, does seem to be worth the money at least every couple of trips. I also love the open kitchen concept, so I can watch some of the preparation which is part of the show.
Why do I love Boma? The food is fresh, and the wide varieties of selections do have a familiarity even though some of the flavors look and sound a little exotic. It is a buffet, so I can have anything I want and there is enough of many types of foods for even the picky eater (or kids), vegetarians or those on special diets. Disney says that over 50 nations are represented in the menu; OK I’ll accept that, especially since there has to be well over that number of items spread around the entire (and very large) buffet areas.
Here are some excerpts from the Breakfast menu listed on the AllEars.Net website. You will find typical choices like egg varieties, pancakes, French toast and breakfast meats carved fresh such as ham and pork loin. But you will also find Pap (corn meal), Boboti (a corned beef mixture), African pastries and much more. The juice selection includes West African Frunch (a combination of lemonade, pineapple juice, guava juice, orange juice, and papaya juice) which is really good. And you can get a pressed pot of Kenyon coffee, but that is extra.
The dinner menu is also from All Ears and I won’t even try to list them all; just visit the All Ears site. But as an example of exotic dishes there is a selection of African stews and soups, Moroccan Seafood Salad (Couscous, mussels, scallops and shrimp), Bobotie - lamb and beef quiche with onions, raisins and bread, and FuFu - sweet and white potatoes mashed with coriander and cinnamon. But there is also chicken in various versions, carved meats, seafood, vegetables and lots of salads.
And, I always go to Boma hungry, because it is a buffet and I’ve yet to encounter anything I didn’t like. And did I mention that there are more dessert diversity here than another buffet I’ve found on site. Plus, I just love those Zebra Domes – chocolate and creamy, so take two they are small. I’m told it’s the Amarula Liquor that draws the crowds, but you will only find these at AKL since they are made at Boma.
Boma is also one of those restaurants that everyone seems to enjoy. Just bounce around the Disney community and forums, and it’s rare to see ratings under 90% or reviews less than “a favorite” or “top choice”. This is why you definitely need reservations, any time of the year. And like most attractions of the Disney World experience, you will find representatives and young people of African nations working here, so feel free to ask around and discover the culture of the region. Here is an official Disney description.
[Disney] The lodge’s lobby overlooks Boma-Flavors of Africa, where wood-burning grills create sensational aromas from morning until night.
Boma in Africa is “an open, natural space that provides safety and shelter in the bush.” The 270-seat “marketplace” restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, featuring an exhibit kitchen and bakery that allows guests to walk up to a half-dozen side-by-side cooking stations and have their entrées freshly prepared. Curries, chutneys and other Indian and Asian influences add fabulous flavors to grilled fish, meats and vegetables. Diners find authentic soups, stews, tossed-to-order salads and other market-fresh fare on the daily menu.
Soups, from hearty chicken corn porridge to smoked tomato, are a highlight, along with salads such as avocado, grapefruit and papaya, or roasted chicken with chili-cilantro vinaigrette. Entrees include seafood, slow-roasted ribs and whole-spiced chicken, accompanied by couscous, saffron rice or sweet potato pancakes. Add chutneys, a peppery sambal or a sweet-and-sour chile papaya sauce for a delightful international treat. Breads, too, are African-inspired, including golden-brown naan, light and flaky chapatis or a blue cornbread.
Cultural representatives from Africa serve as hosts and hostesses, greeting guests as they enter the thatched-roof eatery. “This personal interaction helps our guests understand African culture,” says Clark. “Diners will find food they’re used to, but also new and unusual versions of African cuisine.” For children, there’s a separate cooking station with its own chef.
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Company Description: Boma – Flavors of Africa – is a family-friendly buffet-style restaurant serving breakfast and dinner in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.Designed to resemble an African marketplace, the exotic restaurant serves dishes inspired by the varied flavors and seasonal dishes of over 50 African countries, from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.Watch as Boma's chefs prepare dishes in an open kitchen with a wood-fire rotisserie grill. Morning offerings may include fresh fruit, African pastries, omelets, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, carved ham, breakfast potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs and corn beef bobotie—a type of quiche.The dinner buffet offers favorites prepared with African flair, which may include signature vegetarian selections, traditional dishes, fire-grilled meats, seafood, soups, salads, and desserts. (Source: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/ani...boma-flavors-of-africa/)