by: guide4wdw – Collin
Yak and Yeti Restaurant Review – The Overlooked Gem of Animal Kingdom?
Dining and Disney tend to fall hand in hand due to the sheer amount of guests that traverse the park from day to day. In fact, there are over 400 places to eat on the 47 square miles of central Florida that Disney owns (even though much of that is untouched land). It’s a staggering statistic but just goes to show that there’s always something new to try each and every time you return to the parks and resorts. Nobody has seen and done it all, and today’s article is a great example of just that. In our 20+ years of Disney experience, we had yet to step foot in Yak and Yeti until our most recent trip to the parks. I have no idea how or why we waited so long to give it a shot.
Actually, in a round about way, I do know why we had yet to eat at this dining location and it hinges entirely on how much time we used to spend in Animal Kingdom. An average Animal Kingdom day for us was a half day in the park to hit some highlights and then we would move on our way to Epcot or Magic Kingdom to finish out the day. Pandora and the nighttime entertainment of Animal Kingdom changed all of that. Now, just to hit the highlights of the park you have to spend a good portion of a day there and, as a result, dining in the park becomes a portion of that experience.
That single change in timing lead to today’s article but it also changed the way we look at dining at Animal Kingdom overall. Up until Pandora debuted, it was a shockingly rare night if we spent an evening in that particular park. For comparison, on our last trip, we left Animal Kingdom after the park officially closed for the night. The nighttime entertainment changed everything.
Moving on to today’s topic, Yak and Yeti arrived on our “dining radar” almost by default. Earlier in our trip, we had taken the time to stop by T-Rex at Disney Springs as a result of our Landry’s Select Club benefits (which we wrote in depth about in our How Our Party of 4 Guests Ate At T-REX for $15! – Disney Springs Dining article). For those of you who may not know, Yak and Yeti is technically a Landry’s operated restaurant.
The cast members in the restaurant don’t wear Disney name tags, you wont find distinct Disney branding anywhere inside the restaurant, and the reservation process is slightly different from Disney’s as well. You can book a reservation through the Disney dining website, but you can also walk up to the location and typically get seated. If you have a Landry’s Select card, you’re guaranteed front of the line access for walk up reservations. It’s a great perk and is the perfect way to escape the heat of the park for a great meal without having to worry about reservations.
The food itself is far better that I expected and we will be back in the future. Our typical travel group isn’t overly adventurous (which is probably another reason why we hadn’t tried this sooner), but it really doesn’t matter. The menu was great for us. If you wanted to, you could order Malaysian Seafood Curry, but if you want something simpler you can order the Kobe Beef Burger with sesame-soy mayonnaise and crispy shoestring fries. There is something for every dining preference.
As odd as it sounds, my personal favorite item that we ordered was the House Fried Rice. The rice isn’t your typical “take out” fried rice but rather a mixture of different flavors, chicken, pork, and so much more. The portion is outstanding and easily fed two adults as a side item for a meal at $6.99. I won’t go through the whole menu but if you want to check out all of your options, feel free to use this link.
Yak and Yeti isn’t a location that is is going to break the bank if you’re even remotely careful about what you’re ordering. Our family of four ate for well under $60 and had plenty of food. We decided to split meals and sides due to having another reservation later that day, but ordered the Firecracker Shrimp, 2 orders of House Fried Rice (pictured above), and one Kobe Beef Burger. As with most table service meals at Disney, we opted to drink water instead of soft drinks. Not only does it save you money but it also keeps you hydrated throughout the day when facing the Florida heat walking around the park.
If you’re looking to try something new in Animal Kingdom without facing the cost associated with Tiffins or Tusker House, put this dining location on your radar. The food is a great blend of flavor while being recognizable, and if all else fails you’re not out $100+ like you could be for the other options mentioned.
Additionally, I see this as an ideal table service lunch option for Animal Kingdom. If you’re still not sold, consider trying the quick service Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafe instead. The two locations are literally attached to each other and there is a fair amount of carry over between the two menus despite differences in portions and range of menu items.
In the end, our party of four all agreed that this was and is a great value dining location while touring Animal Kingdom. It gives you that needed break from the heat, the staff is incredibly pleasant and knowledgeable, and the overall experience is hard to beat at it’s price point. We asked our server 5 to 10 questions before ordering, and she knew every single answer without hesitation. Our drinks were never empty, our food was piping hot when it arrived, and the casual yet intriguing design of the building makes you feel like you’re in the heart of Asia. The theming is never broken from the park around it and everything exceeded our expectations.
One particular aspect of this location worth mentioning is that it isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for character meals or a direct Disney influence. It’s not going to give you that “Disney” charm that a character meal at Crystal Palace might, but it’s not designed to. It’s designed to stay distinctly authentic to the theming of the land it helps develop. In my opinion, the food is still incredibly kid friendly but if you’re looking for that kid specific experience you get from a character meal, you wont find it here. It’s a great meal, but typically more adult focused that some.
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