Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Dining tips for Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma Flavors of Africa restaurant inside the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a popular Walt Disney World restaurant. It is known for African cuisine amid deluxe resort accommodations. Hubby and I had heard about the reputation of Boma. When we saw the restaurant on the Disney Dining Plan we immediately moved to reserve our table.

Walt Disney World Monorail
Secret dining tip
You don't need a park ticket to eat at Boma doesn't. Resort restaurants are open to the public. All you need is a reservation. The folks at 407-WDW-DINE can book a table or you can do it online.

Transportation tip - You can't get there from here.
There is something that I wish reservations (or someone at Disney) had told us. Disney does not offer direct transportation between any of the resorts. The problem is that no one tells you this.

Guests going from one resort to another should go to Downtown Disney first. Then guests can transfer to the bus that suits their needs. Getting to our Boma reservations on time was a close call. Be sure to allow at least an extra half hour for transportation.
 
Location
Once we finally arrived we couldn't help but be impressed with the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Imagineers at Walt Disney World designed to recreate an African Lodge. From the soda machines to the carved and polished walls the theme is carried throughout the resort. It is impossible to not be impressed.

Directional signs in the lobby make finding Boma easy. Take the lobby elevators to the ground floor and follow the sign to Boma. The hostess stand will give you a pager that will buzz when the table is ready.

Waiting
Disney suggests arriving at least 15 minutes early to claim the reservation. The pager signal reaches outdoors and to the gift shop. Waiting for a table inside the Boma restaurant is unnecessary.

Why wait there when you can possibly see the animals that graze outside of the lodge? The doorway leading outside to the Savannah overlook is next to the Boma entrance. Animal viewing there is best during the daytime but early evening may be good too.

If this isn't your style why not visit the second floor gift shop? Disney imports much of the merchandise from Africa. This gift shop is one of the best places to buy unique souvenirs at Walt Disney World. I was happy to find out that asking is all it takes to be directed to the clearance merchandise. This made shopping at the resort more affordable.

Ambience
Our pager vibrated before I could purchase much so we headed back to Boma. The crowded Disney restaurant was hard to navigate and our seats were initially disappointing. Alternative seating isn't possible in a full restaurant. Initial disappointment soon lifted.

We came to Boma at Walt Disney World for a different kind of dining experience and we got it. Drums are being pounded constantly near the front of the restaurant. Being seated farther away made conversation possible.

Food
Only a limited number of exotic dishes were on the buffet. Everyone can find something they like at Boma. African foods are served along with kid pleasing macaroni and cheese. Everything I tasted was excellent but I was hoping for more African Inspired dishes.

The lamb curry wasn't overly spicy and the African steak compares favorably to a high end steakhouse. I thought the nut crusted salmon had a light texture that worked well. My favorite dish at Boma was the fork tender Durban Chicken.
I was delighted to find the recipe at AllEars.Net and can't wait to try it at home. The Durban Chicken is is seasoned with a mixture of cinnamon, coriander and other spices. The result was mouthwatering delicious.

Salad bar options at Boma included tabboule, a couscous salad with raisins. There were three types hummus including white bean and the strongly flavored olive variety. Pita and pan bread were both available and Boma had a couple of native soups. The variety was flavorful if not expansive.

Desserts
One of the signature desserts at Boma is the Zebra domes. White puffs are drizzled with dark chocolate to resemble a zebra print. They are cute but the Kahlua and espresso makes them inappropriate for kids.

Kid-friendly choices include caramel cheesecake, chocolate cinnamon mousse and apricot tart. Adults will also enjoy them.

Prices
Walt Disney World doesn't do inexpensive meals. Dinner at Boma is $35.99 per person plus a suggested 18% tip. Our service was good but not stellar. The tip is high for a buffet but reasonable for servers who have to share with the rest of the staff.
Everything considered, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, food and ambiance put Boma at the top of my Walt Disney World repeat list.