One of the biggest regrets I have after a trip to Disney World is that I usually spend every waking moment inside one of the theme parks (or at our pool...) Rarely do I venture to the resorts. I'm not sure why. Maybe its the fact that with small kids I want to stay close to attractions that entertain them or maybe I have just overestimated the effort and time it would take to actually travel to the different resorts. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is the perfect example of this. In my mind it is SO far from Disney's parks that going there just to eat lunch or dinner felt like a momentous task. Well not anymore! My last trip I decided to make a true effort to branch out, try new restaurants, and throw the "park only" mentality to the wind. First up, Sanaa!
For months I had heard that Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was truly remarkable. Not only is it a more moderately priced table service restaurant with a great view (more on that later) but the bread service was one of the most delicious meals on Disney Property. So I made a reservation!
The act of getting to Sanaa had been one of the biggest hurdles, but in the end it was quick and easy. I had already spent the morning at the Animal Kingdom (this makes the most sense for planning purposes). To get to Sanaa, you walk outside the park to the nearby Disney Bus pick up points and wait for the Animal Kingdom Lodge Bus. I didn't have to wait more than 7 minutes! Thats just not that long in the world of Disney Buses! The ride to the Kidani Village stop at the Lodge was just another 5. So a total of 12 minutes was spent to get from the front gates of the Animal Kingdom to the Animal Kingdom Lodge...not exactly difficult or time consuming.
Location and View
I arrived at the Kidani Village, and immediately headed to the restaurant located on the bottom floor. I was early for my reservation, but I wanted to request a table by the window. As luck would have it, I was the first one there and so getting that request was not an issue. The only problem was that I had way overestimated the time I needed to get to Sanaa and lunch service would not begin for another 30 minutes...Ok. Better early than late I suppose. So for my 30 minute wait for lunch to begin, I decided to explore the area. The back of the Kidani Village's main building has a decked area perfect for enjoying the open savannah. One of the biggest perks of staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is the savannah view. From your windows (or in this case the back deck) you can watch gazelles, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, and other African animals. This is a pretty neat feature and one of the reasons I got to Sanaa so early!
Overall the menu at Sanaa has quite a range to satisfy many different guests. In addition to the bread service, the appetizers and entrees range from Tandoori Chicken or Shrimp to a South African Sausage to Fish. Another great thing (at least if you have picky eater kids like mine) is that their kids menu has both typical Disney fare of Pizza or Cheeseburger and the more Indian/African inspired shrimp and chicken dishes.
Even though this was lunch and I was starting early, I began with a margarita. Its vacation after all! While this is not one of Sanaa's specialty cocktails, it was perfectly made. And strangely paired well with the more exotic flavors of the bread service.
On to the real reason I trekked to Sanaa: The Indian-Style Bread Service. On this particular trip I was only a party of one but I knew that the bread service was calling my name . They offer the bread service in two sizes. The first is with Five Breads and Three Accompaniments (you can pick from the long list - see below). The second size (and my eventual choice) was to order all the breads and all NINE accompaniments. I knew that I wasn't going to be very hungry after this (and I wasn't...) so instead of an entree, I ordered the Lamb Kefta Skewers to come after the bread.
The bread service lived up to every expectation I had. The 5 Breads: Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kucha, and the Paneer Paratha, were all warm, and delicious but each having its one distinct flavor. The Garlic-Ginger Naan was my favorite and I am pretty sure I could have made a meal purely from that...
The accompaniments included (from mild to spicy): Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney (My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!), Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, and the Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle.
And I really could have ended my meal right then. I was stuffed. Had I been sharing the bread service, I think I could have more easily enjoyed the lamb kefta skewers or even a full sized entree. Regardless, the skewers looked amazing and so I had to try them. And they were delicious as well. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the sauce on top was tangy and spot on flavor wise. Even though I could barely move after eating so much, I don't regret a single bite!
Overall, I cannot recommend the bread service at Sanaa enough. Not only was it well worth the 12 minute trip from Animal Kingdom, it would have been worth going even farther! If you have not been to Sanaa, give it a go! You will not be disappointed! BUT definitely get there early and ask for a seat by the window...
Now what other amazing resort restaurants have I been missing out on???
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!