Walt Disney World (WDW) has some of the most amazing restaurants on the planet. Many would think that these dining locations would be in one of the Disney parks, but in fact many of the best locations to dine are within the resorts themselves. I have had a few opportunities to have a meal at some of them and found that Sanaa, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, was by far one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. I say dining experience because dining, to me, is not only about the food. The experience is much better when the food, service, and atmosphere are all exceptional. This was the case for us when we visited Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL).
I would always suggest getting a reservation regardless of when you plan to eat there. This restaurant is very popular, and for good reason. My wife and I had an early evening reservation for our anniversary. We chose early evening because we wanted to be seated before it was too dark to see the animals. Sanaa is located in the lower level of the AKL with large windows for viewing the savannah. This is the only restaurant at WDW with this kind of view.
When we arrived at the restaurant to check in we were about 30 minutes early. If you are using Disney transportation make sure you plan for extra time. We were issued a pager that worked just about anywhere in the lodge so we were free to roam the area and take in the sites. Even if you are not eating at a restaurant in the AKL, it is still wonderful place to tour. Anne and I went out to the savannah viewing area where many savannah animals were in view. There was a fire burning in the pit and around the viewing are there were informational posters showing the various animals. After about 15 minutes of wandering we decided to get a drink at the Sanaa lounge. The lounge was right inside the entrance and is open to the public with no reservations needed. Once we got our drinks we were summoned to our table.
At this time the sun was still up and we were seated at a table right next to a window. The good part about this was that we had an awesome view. The bad part was that many parents don’t keep track of their kids, or teach them about boundaries, and we had a bunch of them around our table trying to look out the window and screaming at the animals. I guess we weren’t the only ones fascinated with the view. We were greeted shortly after sitting down by our server and she explained the menu to us. She was very thorough, but we had been dreaming about eating here for so long I think we had the menu memorized. If you ever talk to anyone about Sanaa, be prepared to hear about the bread service.
The bread service…. Your choice of 3 different flavors of traditional Indian Naan and at least 3 dipping sauces. You will want to pay a little more and get all 9 sauces, trust me. The bread service is a meal in itself, but you can’t stop there. After the bread that the two of us devoured, and knew that we wouldn’t have room for our meal, we received the main course. I ordered the Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry and 5 grain pilaf. The server accidentally brought me the Spicy Durban Shrimp instead of the Butter Chicken and quickly fixed the issue. The fix was to bring me the chicken and also leave the shrimp. I had no complaints with this. Anne ordered the Lamb Shank. Both of our meals as well at the bread service we delicious. Like I said earlier, it was our anniversary.
Disney always does something a little special for those types of occasions. After we had our meal we were brought 2 glasses of champagne and an anniversary cake. We’d had plans to try the dessert trio, but realized that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it since we were stuffed. The champagne and cake were compliments of Mickey Mouse. After we were almost too stuffed to move we took a stroll back out to the fire pit and relaxed for al little while before getting back to reality. Sanaa is a one of a kind restaurant that I believe is a must try if you find yourself at WDW and in need of a great meal.
Have you dined at Sanaa? If so, what did you have?
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