Showing posts with label Animal Kingdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animal Kingdom. Show all posts

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yak and Yeti

At Disney, the imagineering department makes sure that a ride is never just a ride; that a resort room is never just a resort room; or that a restaurant is never just a restaurant.  Animal Kingdom's Yak and Yeti restaurant is truly not your average table service location.  It has a story.

As you enter, you are transported to Anandapur in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains - and the home of Arjun, a wealthy merchant who has fallen on hard times.  Arjun has turned his lavish home into a hotel and restaurant - Yak and Yeti.  All the decor and artifacts throughout the hotel were collected by Arjun in his travels throughout Southeast Asia.

For this visit we had lunch reservations.  I like to arrive early so that I can really have a chance to look at all artifacts that Arjun has collected.  The restaurant has a really cozy feel with a series of rooms both on the main level and up the stairs (there is an elevator for those who need it).

We like to sit upstairs by the windows - we have a great view and it's fun to people watch.  If you'd like, you could even schedule an early dinner here and have a fabulous (and air conditioned!) seat to watch the Jammin' Jungle parade.

 Food wise, the general flavors of Yak and Yeti are pan Asian.

First - I ordered a Yeti Blast.  There is an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version.  It's like a giant slushie with lime, mango, and strawberry flavors.

We decided to have appetizers - trying the pot stickers and the wok fried green beans.  Oh.My.Word.  The green beans come with this sweet Thai chili dipping sauce - so so good.  I am always a sucker for pot stickers and wontons - so these are a must do every time for my family.  And now.  The wok fried green beans are a must do!

For entrees we had the Malaysian seafood curry (which they can make extra spicy for you if you want!) and the Shaoxing steak and shrimp.

And then for dessert there was mango pie and chocolate cake with raspberry sauce.  Now, I am a firm believer that fruit does not equal dessert.  And that chocolate should not mix with fruit.  So, when I asked them to substitute the raspberry sauce for chocolate sauce it was no problem - and our waitress said that it's actually a pretty common request.

Yak and Yeti is one of our favorite tables services at Disney.  The themeing, the decor, and especially the food make this a stand out! about you?  Have you had a meal at Yak and Yeti? 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom

My very favorite counter service in all of Disney World is the Flame Tree BBQ found in Animal Kingdom Park.  It's located on Discovery Island, right between the bridge to Asia and the entrance to Dino-land.
Why is it my favorite?  Well, there are two main reasons:  Food and Atmosphere.
First - the food.  It is simply delicious.  My favorite thing to get is the pulled pork sandwich.  (You can get all the extra sauce you'd like at the condiment stations that are placed around the seating areas)  It comes with a side of coleslaw.  I am not a fan of any coleslaw, but my husband says it's really good.  Sometimes I'll even split this sandwich with my youngest - it's a pretty big serving.

(by the way, that liquid on my plate?  That is where one of my girls spilled some coke.  We are always stylin' here at Keys to the Magic Travel)
With some menu options, you'll get baked beans as your side.  We usually purchase one side of fries and one side of onion rings to share amongst the four of us.  And those onion rings.  Yum just does not seem to state strongly enough as to how good these are!
Another favorite menu item is the ribs.  I really like that they are smoked with a dry rub and then you add your preferred volume of sauce.  We tend to like ours as is!  (You do get wet wipes with your meal too in case you like lots of sauce.)
 And then sometimes my youngest prefers to get a kids hotdog meal instead of splitting a sandwich with me.  I don't protest too much.
Dessert offerings might be the only thing lacking at the Flame tree.  There are two options - a key lime mousse and a chocolate mousse.  I have never tried the key lime.  But the chocolate is okay.  
I think the bigger issue is that in the heat of this place, no one wants to eat pudding that has been sitting on the table while you finish your bbq.  If you are not on the dining plan, I'd skip dessert entirely and have a Mickey bar later in the day.

Food - check (amazing!)

Atmosphere:  Flame tree has atmosphere in spades.  It's all outdoor seating - but it's really not a problem, even on the warmest of days (well...except for your pudding).  There are quite a few covered pavilions with ceiling fans (and those condiment stations).  The vegetation is lush, and there is seating tucked away along pathways - with lots of shaded areas.    Those pathways wind around to a large pool/fountain with lots of shade and a cool breeze coming off the lake.  There are lots of native birds - like egrets - some of which can be a bit bothersome as they hope for a snack. 

And by that fountain - well, you can get the most amazing view.
So...what about you?  Do you have a favorite counter service restaurant?  What do you like to order at Flame Tree BBQ?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jammin' Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom Park

In our first few trips to Disney world as a family, I don't think we ever saw a parade.  My girls could not fathom sitting still for so long.  Or "wasting" park time by waiting instead of riding.  Or the worst option - sitting in the sun and sweltering while we waited.  Finally, I had to put my foot down and insist.  We finally managed to see the Halloween parade and the Electric Parade in Magic Kingdom.  And the Pixar Pals parade in Hollywood Studios.  And we finally managed to see Animal Kingdom's Jammin' Jungle Parade.

It's my very humble opinion that the Jammin' Jungle Parade is the best parade on property.  It does have the Disney characters.

But.  To me, it's charm is in its creativity and whimsy.

In fact, the abstract animal designs were created by Michael Curry who designed the puppets for the "Lion King" show on Broadway.

When we claimed our spot to watch this parade in June, I was all set to take lots of pictures.  But then.  I realized that my memory card on my camera was completely full - and I really had no time to go and dump some of the pictures - so all the pictures in this post were taken with my iphone.

Speaking of claimed spots - let's talk about where to watch the parade.  A key element to making this happen was to find a nice shady spot to wait.  (Shade being a prerequisite for us to watch a parade - it's the whole reason why we've NEVER seen the 3:00 parade in Magic Kingdom!)  And actually in Animal Kingdom, that is not too hard to find.  We not only found a shady spot - but a spot where the cast members allowed us to bring chairs from the tables by the water up to the tape marks.  We were seated across from the entrance to the "Flights of Wonder" bird show.

Here is a map of the park - and if you notice the dotted lines that run from Africa, around Discovery Island, and back to Africa - that is the parade route.

If your family is like mine, and not fans of waiting for a parade - you can head to Africa about 15 minutes after the parade has started - and catch it on it's way back.  You'll find yourself with a front row seat.  No crowds.  An no waiting.

So...what about you?  Do you have a favorite Disney parade?  Where is your favorite spot to see it?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Expedition Everest - What happens when it breaks down?

I just got back from an almost two week visit to the most magical place ever!  I was able to experience lots of new things:  lunch at Tusker House restaurant, we stayed in the new Royal Rooms at Port Orleans, went to the Hoop-Dee-Doo revue at Fort Wilderness, and dined with an imagineer at Hollywood Studios.  However, the thing that was the most memorable - the thing we keep talking about - telling stories about - is when we got stuck on Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

When we get to Animal Kingdom, our first plan is to always keep riding Everest until there is an actual line.  We also like to ride in the front row.  First time around, my husband and oldest daughter sat in the front row.  Second time around, my husband and youngest daughter sat in the front row.  Well.  We never got to finish our second time around.

This is what Expedition everest looks like.  See the train going up the tracks?  That is where we got stuck.

We sat there for about 5 minutes - and then we noticed that cast members were headed to the mountain.  We could also see people from other trains being led toward the loading platform from wherever they were when the ride broke down.

Another 5 minutes went by.  I kept snapping pictures.  We could see Epcot.  The Swolfin.  Hollywood Studios.  And downtown Disney.

If you turn around you can see Kali river rapids.

Off in the distance - with the thatch roof - that's Animal Kingdom Lodge (and that "hut" across the water is the Flame Tree BBQ).

You can see the tree of Life as it stands above all the other trees.

And completely behind us - where I couldn't quite turn enough to get a photo - you can see Cinderella's castle and Space Mountain.

And then our sherpas - errr - Cast Members arrived to help us out of the cars and escort us from the mountain.  They had to wait for an engineer to arrive to put a rope at the bottom of the stairs - and once that was done, they went to the last car and started helping people out of the train and onto the steps.

Because we were in rows one and two - we were the last ones off.  It's kinda difficult to get out of the seat because we are at such an angle - you had to pull yourself forward - and then maneuver out of the seat - onto a running bar (kinda like what they have on an SUV) - and then onto the stairs.  I had the train to use to hold onto - as well as some very helpful cast members.

 Here is my husband - last one out of the train.

When they were getting us out - they said that if we couldn't get out or were unwilling to walk down stairs - they had options - I don't know what those options are - but they said they could make whatever you needed work!  (Oh, and there is a speaker system that they used to talk to all of us)

Once everyone was out - we all walked UP the mountain - and they told us to put away cell phones and cameras - but I did manage to be safe and still take some ninja photos for you.  Here we are waiting at the door to go down.

Then we walked down 13 flights of stairs - it was a regular stairwell - you couldn't see any part of the mountain from in there.

And then we were at the bottom.  We stopped for a second and our sherpas --- errr - tour guides - errr - cast members told us a little of what we were looking at:

The beams are all color coded - black and red - with one of them coordinated with the mountain and the other with the tracks - and neither touch the other.  Where we are standing here is directly under the Yeti.

Finally as we walked out we were met with a sea of cast members making sure that everyone was okay - we each got a bottle of cold water and a set of fast passes that could be used anytime over the next 10 days!

Breaking down was actually a rather cool experience.  And proved how out of shape I am as my legs felt like jelly after walking down all those stairs. about you?  What ride would you like to break down on?  Have you ever been evacuated from a ride?