Disney World

Review: The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The savannah at Animal Kingdom LodgeEditor’s Note: This post is featured as part of the Disney Blog Carnival No. 43. Check it out for more posts on all things Disney!

A stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort is a pure adventure as we found out on our most recent vacation. The sprawling hotel is full of amenities and jaw-dropping vistas of the resort’s own savanna. Waking up from a room here, is like waking up in the middle of Africa. You can find a giraffe outside your patio one morning and a herd of zebras on the next.

Animal Kingdom Lodge has several different spots to satiate those elephant-sized hunger pangs you work up after walking in the parks all day. There are the three sit-down restaurants – Jiko, Boma and Sanaa – plus the quick service eatery, The Mara.

Let’s take a closer look today at The Mara…

Ordering at the Mara at Animal Kingdom LodgeYou’ll find The Mara located on the lower level of Jambo House, just off of the pool area. (There also is Kidani Village, a separate area for Disney Vacation Club members.)

As you enter the doors, make a beeline to your left to the “pods” to order your food with other guests. There’s a standard selection of eggs, waffles and sausage in the morning; and pizza or sandwiches for lunch and dinner. The Mara menu also has some dishes with an African flair so you may want to branch out of your comfort zone and order one of those instead.

Wines and chips at the MaraAlong one of the walls, you’ll find some African wines to pair with Doritos, potato chips or pre-packaged cereals.

Chilled salads at the MaraAlong another wall is a refrigerated area, stocked with pre-made salads or sandwich plates, fruit cups and yogurt parfait.

Bakery items at the MaraA little bakery section will fill that morning need for a Danish or your afternoon sugar rush for a little cookie or brownie. You can also order more sophisticated coffee drinks (like mochas or cappuccinos) from a cast member here.

Zebra domes at the MaraNo stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge would be complete without a little taste of one of the resort’s signature desserts – the Zebra Dome! These little chocolatey balls are covered in goodness and go down way too easily. It’s nice that you can get them right from the fridge and don’t need a reservation at Boma to get your hands on ’em.

If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, this dessert is covered by your snack option (as you can see it has the little purple icon next to its price – whenever you see that next to a dish, means it’s covered on your DDP – just pick it up and head to the cashier with your “Key to the World” card so they can deduct it from your plan.)

Frozen treats at the MaraThere’s also a freezer full of Mickey ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches and other icy treats to help cool you down when the Sahara breeze picks up on the savanna.

Cold adult beverages at the MaraThe adult crowd will like this – a fridge full of chilled wine, canned or bottled beers, and select mini-mixers like Kahlua or margarita mix.

Checking out at the MaraOnce you’ve found what you want to nosh on, head to one of the cashier lines to pay.

Refillable Mugs available to purchaseIf you require a lot of hydration – or just like to change-up your beverages throughout the day – you may want to pick up one of Disney’s refillable mugs. They come in several designs (changing from year-to-year) and you pay a flat-rate ($13.99) to refill them with coffee, tea or soft drinks of your choice for the length of your stay at the resort.

I LOVE these! Brett will get up in the morning and fill mine with iced tea so I can take my morning medications. Then, when we head down for breakfast I can easily switch to something else.

Condiments bar at the MaraThere’s a condiment bar with ketchup, mustard, and other fix-ins, as well as utensils and napkins. Surprisingly, it’s kept really clean. I always seemed to notice a cast member nearby wiping down the surfaces. If you want to take food back to your room, you can also grab to-go covers for your plates and carry bags here. They’re just stashed underneath.

Mug sink and beverage choicesOnce you grab your refillable mug, you can head over to the drink area (with Coke products, of course). If you’re switching between drinks, there’s a handy-dandy sink to rinse out your mug, too. No one wants the taste of coffee in their Diet Coke!

Mara Seating area at Disney's Animal Kingdom LodgeThere’s a fairly large seating area inside but you could also venture outside near the pool where there are several tables located under umbrellas and shady trees. The indoor seating isn’t overly comfy or posh but you’re not staying too long. A TV runs in the corner playing Disney cartoons or movies.

Kid's waffle breakfast at the MaraFinally, on to the food! We had two breakfasts and a lunch at The Mara. Pictured above is the kid’s breakfast platter that comes with two Mini Mickey waffles, sausage, juice or milk and fruit. It’s a bargain for less than $5!

African breakfast at the MaraOn our first morning, Brett ordered the African-inspired breakfast platter that came with African sausage (a lamb mixture that had a little more bite), grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, pap (a kind of porridge) and chakalaka (a stewed mixture of tomatoes and onions). The sausage was super good!

Standard adult sampler breakfast platterOn the second morning, Brett ordered the ‘Bounty Platter,’ a huge combo of scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, sausage, Mickey waffle and a biscuit. Good grief I’m full just typing that! At $8.29, you could easily split this for two people and have more than enough to keep you going ’til lunchtime!

Breakfast croissant sandwichOn day 2, I opted for a bacon, cheese and egg sandwich on a croissant. Nothing overly spectacular here. I could easily have gone to Burger King for a similar meal at more than half of the $5.99 price tag.

Kid's pizza meal with friesOne day I stopped by for a quick lunch since we were going to be having a late dinner. I got the kid’s pizza – your standard cookie-cutter personal pizza with just cheese.

Mickey Milk and grapesIt comes with a side of fries (don’t know why), a drink (I got me some Mickey Milk!) and a side of fruit or veggies. At $5.49, this again, was another great way to save some dough but still get more than enough food. My father-in-law finished off the fries for me as an afternoon snack.

While my favorite quick service spot is still over at Port Orleans French Quarter (they have fresh-made beignets – can’t beat that!), The Mara food court is a quick and easy way to dine at Disney. You can avoid the huge rushes by dining a bit earlier or later but there were always a few people milling about.

The indoor seating area also got a bit loud. And, I noticed that the area to order food could get a bit hectic with people lining up to order or just grabbing items from the refrigerated cases. So, be patient and keep an eye on the kiddos here!


7 thoughts on “Review: The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  1. This food court was large enough so you could get around easily and when we went wasn’t all that busy so you weren’t bumping in to people. The African inspired dish was very tasty.

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  4. Thank you for the review! My family and I are going this fall and we’ll be staying at the AKL for the first time and a quick breakfast at the resort is something we always like to do. I’ve had quite a time finding first-hand experiences about this particular eating spot. So, thanks again!

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