For those with an adventurous palate and seeking an unique dining experience, I introduce the exciting and exotic world of Sanaa. Sanaa is open for lunch and dinner and is one of four dining options at the impressive Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) consists of two large buildings, connected by a half mile walking trail. Sanaa is found in Kidani Village while Jambo House hosts other dining options, such as Boma–Flavors of Africa (Read a full review here) and Jiko–The Cooking Place.
We honestly discovered Sanaa by complete accident. For a Christmas gift, I made reservations for my daughters to dine with an animal expert, an event that just happened to be hosted at Sanaa. Click here to read a review of that experience.
My daughters (ages 11 and 12) and I returned to Sanaa the very next day because we wanted to try the full menu and enjoy the breathtaking views again!
Our guest room was in Jambo House so we used the trail and walked to Sanaa. When we entered the Animal Kingdom Villas-Kidani Village lobby, we noticed multiple African cultural items and interesting artifacts on display. We were able to view them all as we walked to the opposite end of the lobby and took the stairs to Sanaa’s location one floor down. An elevator is also available.
Because I made advanced dining reservations (ADR) using My Disney Experience (MDE), my daughters and I checked in at the Sanaa counter and were seated quickly to a small, intimate table.
I noticed immediately that Sanaa is a causal and beautiful restaurant, decorated with African baskets, art and unique light fixtures. Nine foot windows overlooking the Sunset Savanna showcase breathtaking views of a landscape brimming with interesting wildlife. Like my kids said, “It’s like dinner AND a show!”
Sanaa is the Swahili word for “art” or “work of beauty” and the restaurant’s name describes the scenery, as well as the food offerings. The menu is a delightful fusion of African and Indian cuisines, creative pairings and full of savory, slow-cooked meats, exotic vegetarian dishes and several vegan specialties.
We ordered the Indian-style bread service, which consisted of five different naans and nine distinctively flavored accompaniments. (There is a gluten-free and vegan option!) My daughters and I loved the onion kucha, paneer paratha, tamarind chutney, tomato date jam, mango chutney, spicy red chili sambal, and garlic pickle. I could eat this every day! Seriously, who doesn’t LOVE dip?!?
As a vegetarian diner, I ordered the salad sampler with chickpeas, cucumbers and tomatoes, watermelon with fennel and Nigerian root vegetables with citrus. It was an outstanding dish, full of complex and fresh, bright flavors.
Potje inspired entrees give guests the opportunity to choose one item from the “journey” and one item from the “harvest”. Choices include butter chicken (my daughters favorite), lentil dhal, chickpea wat, braised beef and seafood curry all served with Basmati rice.
The lunch and dinner menus are similar and can change according to seasonal offerings. Dinner presents several more robust items to enjoy, though. Flavorful and interesting dishes to consider–Oxtail Umng qusho, grilled New York strip, lamb shank and African-inspired Biryani with seasonal vegetables, to name a few.
For dessert, I recommend the Afrika Povu, which is an exceptional Tanzanian chocolate mousse. Kenya Coffee is also available, as well as a full service bar and substantial wine selection.
Like most Disney restaurants, Sanaa has a kid’s menu with more traditional items, such as pizza, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese and salad.
Sanaa offers full service bar and a good wine selection.
After your meal, go experience the savanna! There are several public viewing windows and outdoor survey posts where you can observe giraffes, impalas, ostriches, waterbucks and cranes.
Though the service was a bit slow and our waiter lacked friendliness and timely attention, the food was spectacular and we plan to return and enjoy new, exciting dishes! The view alone is reason enough to visit this little gem inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas–Kidani Village.
There is no pineapple Dole Whip available at Sanaa, but I still highly recommend you putting this restaurant on your “must do” Disney bucket list!
Keep in Mind:
Additional items are available for guests with special dietary needs. Ask your server for an allergen-friendly menu.
The current menu at Sanaa can be found on the Walt Disney World website under the “dining” tab.
Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dinner is served 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Operating hours for all Disney restaurants can change due to seasonal crowd levels and refurbishments.
Advanced dining reservations are recommended and can be made online through My Disney Experience or by calling (407)-939-3463.
Dress is casual.
Sanaa does accept the Disney Dining Plan and is considered one table service meal per guest.
If you have advanced dining reservations (ADR), you can park your vehicle in the self-parking lot or parking garage for free.
Valet parking can cost between $20-$25.
At the time of this post, there is no direct transportation between Disney resorts. The quickest and easiest way to travel to Sanaa from a Disney resort is to take Disney transportation to the Animal Kingdom theme park and then board the Disney bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can get off of the bus at Jambo House and walk or you can stay on the bus until you reach Kidani Village.
If you are at a Disney theme park, the best way to travel to Sanaa is to board a Disney transportation bus that is headed directly to the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort.
Annual pass holders (AP) receive 10% discount.
Disney Vacation Club members (DVC) receive 10% discount.
Tables in Wonderland card members receive 20% discount.