From the moment you step into Tiffins, the first Signature Dining venue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you know you are in for something special. This signature dining experience has been described by Joe Rohde, Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, as “a restaurant inside an art gallery inspired by the travels and adventures that led to the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” Tiffins offers a journey into the extraordinary for those seeking culinary excellence. The name, Tiffins, means a midday meal but is also an Indian word for lunchbox used by travelers. If you have ever taken part in the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you are familiar with the layered metal lunchbox.
Guests dine in three different dining rooms decorated with photos, sketches and artwork from travels to Africa, Asia, and South America, encompassing all of the aspects of the park. The Trek Gallery focuses on travels in Asia; the Safari Gallery highlights adventures in Africa, and the Grand Gallery pays homage to the animals protected by the Disney Conservation Fund.
We had the pleasure of dining at Tiffins on two different occasions, once in the Safari Gallery and once in the Grand Gallery and both times did not disappoint. Quite the contrary, both visits were wonderful experiences. The international flavors are exquisite, and the artwork is a feast for the eyes with inspiration from the park evidenced on every wall.
The Grand Gallery is the largest of the three and celebrates the inhabitants of the park, as well as folk art influences from around the world. To the left, the Lantern Wall inspired by the wildly anticipated Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular features illuminated animals such as elephants, monkeys, and gorillas amongst a backdrop of a colorful, patterned cloth.
On another wall, a colorful kaleidoscope of butterflies and insects.
The Safari Gallery is influenced largely by the towns and savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa and celebrates the details of the Harambe Area of the park. The wall of African textures is an impressive display of plaster and wood carvings – some by Swahili carvers and some carved by Disney Imagineering.
The remarkable Baobab Tree sculpture is a nod to the distinctive feature in the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction.
We started off our culinary adventure with a 2010 Argentinian Cabernet Franc and the Tiffins Signature Bread Service because who doesn’t love bread? The Signature Bread Service is served in a Tiffin and includes authentic Naan bread, crispy Lavash flatbread, and a warm Pomegranate Focaccia. It comes with a sampling of sauces: Pomegranate-Olive Oil, Harissa Yogurt, Black-Eyed Pea Hummus, and a Zhough Yogurt. A delightful start and the Pomegranate-Olive Oil is fantastic!
The creative chefs at Tiffins feature a sampling of the tastes of Africa, Asia and South America with beautiful presentations that are works of art. The flavors of South America are evident in the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Huitlacoche Tamale, Hominy Succotash, and Red Mole Sauce – an excellent choice. The pork is fork-tender and wonderfully flavored with just the right amount of spice paired perfectly with the red mole. The masa tamale is moist and delicious and filled with seasoned pork. Curious about the name Huitlacoche? Huitlacoche is a fungus that grows on corn, but don’t let that turn you away from it. It is considered a delicacy especially in Latin cultures where chefs use it to flavor food. The tamale is outstanding!
The Wagyu Striploin and Braised Shortrib is served with rainbow carrots, roasted Peruvian potatoes and accompanied by a fresh chimichurri and is one of the top dishes served at Tiffins. Wagyu beef is known for its intense marbling and is one of the most expensive cuts of meat, but it is also so tender you can cut it with a fork. The chefs have one fantastic dish on their hands with this one. Give it a try and be “wowed” by its exceptional flavor and tenderness.
The Pan Seared Duck Breast with leg confit accompanied by Chanterelle mushrooms, parsnip purée, a truffle reduction and Peach Gastrique – Magnifique! The duck breast is cooked rare but can be ordered to guests’ specifications if a rare temp is not desirable. The duck is tender and delicious and paired with the sweetness of the peach Gastrique, which is caramelized sugar deglazed with vinegar – culinary perfection.
On both occasions, my family and I were too busy savoring the incredible flavors of the entrees to order dessert although the ones I saw looked sinful. On our next visit, we will request the Trek Gallery and share meals so that we have room for dessert.
All in all, Tiffins is everything you would expect from Disney Signature Dining, not only with the cuisine but with the artful atmosphere as well. I wouldn’t recommend it for a picky eater (though there is a child’s menu for the little ones), but If you have an adventurous palate, this is a lovely place to add to your Walt Disney World dining experiences.
Located in the Discovery Island area, Tiffins is near what will be the entrance to Pandora – The World of AVATAR once it opens in the Summer of 2017. Reservations are strongly recommended. Tiffins is on the Disney Dining Plan and uses two (2) entitlements on the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. Guests using Disney Premium Plan and Disney Platinum Plan can expect to use only one (1) entitlement. Tiffins also accepts Tables in Wonderland.
To book your next magical vacation and reserve a table for a unique dining experience at Tiffins, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.