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Go on Safari with Disney’s Tusker House Character Dining

One of the most beloved things to do on a Disney World vacation is character dining. Not only do you get to eat a delicious meal in a unique, trans portative setting—you get to do it while hanging out with your favorite Disney friends. Character dining allows you to have a personal experience without the long lines of typical character meet-and-greets. However, some Disney World character dining experiences are better than others and none are exactly cheap. A select few are more affordable than others, and others are true standouts for families. One such standout is Tusker House at the Animal Kingdom. If you want to know why this hidden gem is a great find, read on.

WDW Character Dining Lifestyle Shoot. 2013. Photographer: Melanie Acevedo
WDW Character Dining Lifestyle Shoot. 2013. Photographer: Melanie Acevedo

First things first: This is a Disney character dining experience so who are you dining with? Donald and Daisy Duck are the main hosts, but other classic Disney characters appear such as Goofy and Mickey Mouse. Even more fun—the characters are dressed in safari gear ideally suited for navigating Animal Kingdom.

Located in the Harambe Marketplace of Africa, the character dining buffet excels for several reasons. The first is it’s one of the least expensive Disney character dining options, with prices for adults ranging from $29.99-$59.99 depending on whether you choose a breakfast, lunch or dinner dining time. Kid’s prices start at $15.99. I prefer to make reservations for the breakfast Disney character dining experience as it’s less crowded and a great way to start your day.

WDW Character Dining Lifestyle Shoot. 2013. Photographer: Melanie Acevedo
WDW Character Dining Lifestyle Shoot. 2013. Photographer: Melanie Acevedo

For my Tusker House character dining experience, I arrived about 10 minutes early and was then promptly seated by a friendly server. As breakfast is a buffet, it’s easy to design your own delicious meal. I was very pleased with the buffet selections. All of the standard American options are offered, including bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, skillet potatoes, biscuits and gravy, honey ham, and even Mickey Mouse waffles. I think the most popular item was the Mickey waffles—must be the design—but I really liked the more interesting menu items like the ham and cheese frittata, coconut-sweet potato casserole and banana-cinnamon bread pudding. A useful inside secret to know: book a late breakfast and you’ll be able to try some of lunch buffet offering as wells, which have even more of an African-inspired flavor.

WDW Character Dining Lifestyle Shoot. 2013. Photographer: Melanie Acevedo

If you do choose to opt for the lunch or dinner character dining experience, you’ll be treated to a large array of meats and fish. Among them are baked salmon, curry and rotisserie chicken, spit-roasted sirloin and coffee barbeque pork. The side dishes are the most inspired. I went back for seconds on the watermelon and feta salad, orzo pasta and tomato and cucumber salad with mint yogurt dressing. Needless to say, it’s one of the better buffets you can find at Disney World and authentic to the Animal Kingdom atmosphere. Although I prefer the more exotic dishes served, there are basics like macaroni and cheese that even the pickiest eater can enjoy.

My Tusker House character dining experience exceeded my expectations. From the food to the ample time with characters, I walked away not thinking about the money spent but how much fun it was. Add this activity to your Disney vacation and discover character dining at the Animal Kingdom.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
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