Animal Kingdom Kiosk dining

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer
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Sometimes the best meal is one you have to work for. Well, in this review, I had to work for my supper. No longer content to simply sit in a chair and order my meal, we decided it would be fun to make a meal from the newly sprung quick service kiosks around Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Most of these Kiosks are just past A Bug's Life around the Tree of Life. Photo by Roan Poulter

There are some who might credit food trucks with this boon, though I suspect it has something to do with the overwhelming popularity of the Epcot Food and Wine festival as well. Regardless of the reasoning, there have been great strides in the past few years in creating high quality one hit wonder kiosks and I couldn't be happier about it.


The menu from the Eight Spoon Cafe is small, but the results are fantastic. Photo by Roan Poulter

Now that isn't to say that it doesn't come with its fair share of downsides. Seating and utensils being first and foremost. There are few things more annoying than trying to cut through a steak served on a piece of cardboard balanced precariously on a garbage can with a plastic knife. Nobody really wins in that scenario and while Disney has been quick to add menu items, seating and tables seem to have been too often forgotten.


Kiosks seem to be springing up like daisies, if you don't find what you like, keep searching. Photo by Roan Poulter

This review will focus on three Kiosks, Caravan Road, Mr. Kamal's and the Eight Spoon Café. Each Kiosk focuses on one entrée, with a couple of side dishes or alternatives. This configuration does have a downside if you're wanting to make a meal out of multiple locations. Unless you send runners to wait in lines simultaneously, you might find yourself waiting in line for quite a while.

What we had:

Eight spoon Café - Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Pulled Pork – A masterpiece of savory goodness. The Mac and Cheese has the correct oven baked texture and authentic cheese flavor, no Velveeta here. The pork is good if not overly flavorful, but balances out the starch nicely.

Eight Spoon Café - Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Shrimp and Sweet Chili sauce – I wanted to like this. The Mac and Cheese are the same bit of delicious as the Pulled Pork version, but the shrimp lack the savory punch of the pork. The Sweet Chili sauce is excellent and in fact I wished they would have added that sauce to the pork, that would be in my opinion that best possible mating of all ingredients.


A platter of Mac and Cheese is always promising. Photo by Roan Poulter

Caravan Road - Teriyaki Beef Slider with Pickled Cucumber – A highly flavorful bit of decadence. Ample teriyaki beef, falling apart and set off with the acidic cucumber. The only problem with this slider is that there's not enough, my gluttony wanted at least a second.


So delicious I could have eaten three of them. Photo by Roan Poulter

Mr. Kamal's Seasoned Fries – First things first, make sure you've washed your hands recently before you get these fries. You're not going to want to try and eat them with a fork, that's cowardly, instead get in there on every bite, soaking in the tzatziki salad and sriracha ketchup until your taste buds threaten to explode. Not as hot as one might fear, the organic healthiness of the cucumber in the tzatziki sauce really helps ground and balance what might otherwise become a standard fried food dish.


The surprise hit of the meal, these fries are a flavor dynamo. Photo by Roan Poulter

Our ratings are as follows:

Dad (42): 4.2 of 5 Each dish was well prepared. Not totally sold on waiting in multiple lines or fighting for tables.

Mom (42): 4.1 of 5 – The fries were wonderful. Why can't there be more tables?

Daughter (19): 4.0 of 5 – Not much here for the gluten avoiding crowd. Did enjoy the fries though.

Son (17): 4.3 of 5 – Since my sister wasn't there, didn't have to split. Sounds like a winner to me, the Philly was just icing on top; and of course the icing on top of the chocolate cake that I ate most of.


You know it's time to eat when people are gnawing on the railings. Photo by Roan Poulter

Reviewer's Request: If you have a restaurant you've always wanted reviewed, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise I'm wandering the parks, forced to stumble upon some worthy establishment by dumb luck. Please realize that I won't be able to eat at Victoria and Albert's every week, I live on a budget too ya know.

 

Comments

  1. By Dave1313

    Good article!

    While I didn't actually try it yet, I was considering Eight Spoon on a previous trip - those Mac n Cheese options did sound interesting! I hadn't realized all these little kiosks were necessarily new, I just thought I hadn't noticed them much before.

    I have to agree the seating situation for these types of kiosks leave a lot to be desired though. I did eat at (maybe I should just say "near") Terra Treats on Discovery Island right near the bridge to Africa once. I decided I wanted to try their Buffalo Chicken Wings. Wings were decent, IIRC, and not a horrible value for the money, but I ended up perching on a rock wall across the pathway near the bathrooms. Not the most ideal seating scenario, especially when trying to eat wings with some slippery sauce (and keep track of a beverage to go with them since they were a bit spicy) without getting it everywhere or losing them (or the beverage) to the ground.

    IMO, it works at Epcot for F&W and other events with kiosks due to the huge open areas along most of the pathways where it's easy to set up standing tables when events are going on. It might be much harder to do that at DAK, or at the least, such tables could take away from the theming of being "in the wild" a bit. (Maybe I am reaching a bit for a reason they don't do it there, but I can't imagine Disney wouldn't have set up some of those Epcot type tables near these kiosks if it was easy to do so)

  2. By stan4d_steph

    There is a seating area along the river behind Mr. Kamal's. There are also some picnic tables across the walkway from Eight Spoon Cafe, or you could walk over to the seating area for Flame Tree Barbecue.

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