Tiffins restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park opened last week as a new Signature Dining location at Walt Disney World. Tiffins is also one of two restaurants offering packages to the new The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic show that debuted over Memorial Day weekend (this show is a temporary one until Rivers of Light eventually opens). We decided to combine the two experiences – Tiffins and The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic – for a dining package review. Tiffins offers a dining experience that is exotic for a theme park, and I’m a more picky eater. Yet I did find something in each category to enjoy (appetizer, entree and dessert). Tiffins dining packages cost $67.00 plus tax and gratuity for adults, and $32.00 for children 3-9. Our server Bob was outstanding as well. We did pay our own way.
I’ve already posted my first thoughts on a soft opening of The Jungle Book: Live with Magic, so I’m not going to talk too much about the show itself in this article.
My first visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom was prior to the grand opening in 1998. It took almost 20 years for Disney to create a nighttime environment for guests, and more will be coming next year with Pandora: The World of Avatar.
I mentioned that Tiffins is a Signature Dining location. That means 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan, and the lowest entree price is close to $40.00. If you’ve ever seen the lovely movie The Lunchbox, you will recognize the tiffins carriers above the sign – they are used in India and other parts of South Asia to hold lunches. Tiffins means lunch or midday meal.
Beautifully carved doors greet guests.
A tiger with birds surrounding him is on this panel.
Inside the restaurant is a map, which includes castles where Disney parks are in the world.
Here is a look at another section of the map.
Guests can provide a phone number to receive a text message when their table is ready. I like this better than the pager system, it allows for walking outside within a short distance.
Before delving too far into the article with review, here is our video of the restaurant and food.
There are cases in the lobby area with artwork inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The baobab tree is noted a few times around the restaurant, it is actually commonly referred to as the “tree of life”. A man-made one can be see on the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
There are three dining rooms (or “galleries”), and the first one is ahead. The door way is flanked by a wine case on the right and a set of pictures to the left.
Photos appear to show Disney Imagineers in their Asia travels.
Imagineer Joe Rohde is in this photo.
There is a wide variety of wines to choose from.
This is the Grand Gallery, and is the room where we dined. A friend advised this as the room to request, but all three galleries (dining rooms) are interesting and distinct. This says that the gallery “reflects on some of the folk influences that have led to the design of the park”.
I’ll have the most photos from this dining room, since I spent the most time here. There is a lot to see in each dining room, I chose a small sampling from each.
Along the wall are a variety of decorations, including animals lit up.
An elephant almost appears to be in motion.
On another wall, butterflies.
I started with the Sinaloa Sangria. It is a South American sangria ($9.75) made with Miguel Torres Rose’ Wine, Barsol Quebranta Pisco and fresh fruit. I’m not sure I’ve had a rose’ sangria before, and I prefer the lighter taste (I also tried the sangria here with a white wine, which was very good as well).
I believe Tiffins is the only restaurant anywhere to serve Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale ($8.75) on tap, and Jeff enjoyed this quite a lot.
Pomegranate bread was brought out as part of the meal. For myself, it was a little heavy – I like pomegranate but it isn’t my favorite either. Three pieces arrived, and more could be ordered.
Here is a look at the appetizer menu (menus are always subject to change).
Through the process of elimination, I chose the Black-Eyed Pea Fritters for my appetizer ($11.00, but all food items here can be included on the package – one appetizer, one entree, one dessert). Other choices on the menu include Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup and Flash-Fried Icy Blue Mussels. The other choice I considered was the Tiffins Signature Bread Service, which looked of interest. These were actually pretty tasty, crispy on the outside. They weren’t extraordinary, but good.
Jeff had the Marinated Grilled Octopus ($16.00). This was his first time eating octopus, and he would order this again – it was juicy and he expected it to taste more like calimari (which apparently it doesn’t).
Here are the two pages of entrees.
There are nine entrees, two which I thought I might like. I went with Wagyu Striploin and Braised Short Rib ($53) because it sounded good and is the best value on the package. If you are going to purchase this entree anyway, you might as well book the dining package. Our server said the suggested temperature is medium rare, I bumped it up to a medium. As someone who used to eat beef very well done, it was still a little close to medium rare for me, but the meat was excellent and a larger portion size than I expected. But it is also a very expensive dish, I wouldn’t normally consider it for $53. Entrees begin at $29.00 for the Roasted Market Vegetable Curry and then top out at this entree. Tiffins is similar in price to other Signature restaurants, including Le Cellier at Epcot’s Canada pavilion.
Jeff ordered the Pan-Seared Duck Breast ($39.00). He says that just like one he had in Paris, it was tender and delicious.
Here is a look at the Night Monkey drink in a gorgeous glass.
This is the dessert menu, with 5 distinct choices.
My choice is usually chocolate, and that is what I ordered – the South American Chocolate Ganache with Carmelized Banana, Cocoa Nib Tuile. The portion size isn’t huge, but the chocolate is extremely dense and filling.
The Calamansi Mousse ($12.00) says it has Mango Lava and Swiss Meringue. I tried a bite, but mostly I just remember the chocolate ganache (which would have overpowered anything else I was tasting at the time).
Guests can choose to order a pressed pot of coffee as well, which is an extra cost – Indonesian or Ethiopian.
Guests are given a small print designed by Imagineer Joe Rohde. I have heard that the print will change regularly, but we’ll see. Also, here are our two tickets to the show. There are no refunds for inclement weather, but from what I’ve seen, guests will be able to use the tickets within the next few days if rained out (but if there were too many rain days, I’m not sure if that would be the case).
Here is a look at more of the animals on the walls, including a rhino.
Sea creatures are also part of the decor.
The server said – and I’ve read elsewhere – that these highly detailed, carved totem poles came from the former Camp Minnie-Mickey that was located where Pandora: The World of Avatar will be. I looked through photos and video and could not find any of them anywhere. It turns out (thanks to Jason at DisneyGeek.com for finding his photos that he shared with us) that they were closer to Pizzafari previously. I’m sure they will do well being inside instead of out in the weather.
These totem poles were my view, and an excellent one at that.
One more photo of the beautiful carvings.
Here is a look at where the totem poles were previously, for anyone who is interested.
One of the poles sits next to a windsock a number of years ago. Thanks again to DisneyGeek.com!
There are a variety of masks on the wall, reminiscent of the former Adventurers Club on Pleasure Island.
One of the masks close up.
In the Safari Gallery, it says that “Imagineers and animal scientists have explored the towns and savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa that collect the details that give rise to Harambe”.
This is a cozy dining room, filled with art.
There is so much to look at all over the restaurant.
Here is a representation of the baobab tree.
Underneath this piece, it says “Electrical wiring in the Swahili towns that inspired Harambe can become so complex and interwoven that it takes on its own artistic value as sculpture”.
The sign continues, “This piece celebrates the beauty of such commonplace masterpieces”.
Next up is the Trek Gallery. The sign says “Imagineers and animal scientists have traveled throughout South Asia, from Bali to the Himalayas to create the world of Anandapur”.
The Trek Gallery can be found just off the Nomad Lounge.
To the right is a Yeti.
On the sign below, it says that “The bronzes at Expedition Everest were commissioned from traditional artists in Patan, Nepal. This figure is a digital print from a scan of the original wax model used for our bronzes”.
This is the full wording.
The original Tibetan mural that this was created from is gone.
Here is more information on the artwork.
This is called a “Tiger Fresco”. It reminded me immediately of the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
It says here that “murals in the Maharaja (spelling different than the official name of Maharajah) Jungle Trek are based on the Shekhavati mural tradition in Rajasthan India”.
This is called a Lungta, or prayer flag. The signage says that, “Local people believe that each time they flutter, a prayer is sent forth”.
Outside of the restaurant and Nomad Lounge, it looks like a well-traveled path.
Just a quick look into the Nomad Lounge, which is a very comfortable spot to enjoy a drink. I really enjoy the traveling aspect of it, including quotes about travel.
Guests are told to arrive for the viewing location for The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic 15-35 minutes early. In reality, an hour early will help you get better seats. The seats open up 90 minutes or so before the show. 15 minutes is definitely not enough, the guests in front of me were saying they didn’t understand why the seats were so packed when they arrived 15 minutes early.
The upper seats were better for seeing the water screens. We’d sat below during a soft opening evening, where we could see the performers better. We were in the last row so we could stand up against the wall for this showing. The water screens are not as clear as going to the World of Color at Disney California Adventure, so your mileage will vary depending on the wind.
The performances are live, the show is a summer replacement for Rivers of Light until that is finished. So for a minimal amount of time to get the show ready, it is really decent.
There are numerous barges with performers.
A quick bit of pyro ends the show.
This barge includes several singers, all of them excellent.
My favorite part of the night offerings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is the Tree of Life awakening with projections. This is my one not-miss new nighttime attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom now.
One last look at the Tree of Life as it now looks at night.
The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic dinner package was a fantastic overall value when compared with just paying full price for a meal. The overall package was less expensive than our food, and show tickets were included (and we didn’t have to arrive 90 minutes prior to the show, as we did with the Fastpass to get good seats). Tiffins is not an inexpensive restaurant, so having the set price – lower than the food cost – made it easier to relax and not worry about going with less expensive entrees.