Animal Kingdom - Downtown Disney
The Rainforest Cafe is a really neat place to eat. Where else can you eat in the middle of a rainforest complete with animals (real and animatronic), fishies, and a "real" live thunderstorm?
This restaurant is known for it's thunderstorms. Yep, you dine in a rainforest and every 20 minutes or so there is a downpour. (Food gets a little soggy at times but it's fun to watch. Not really, it only rains along the walls.)
Photo by Scott Smith
About Rainforest Cafe
The Rainforest Cafe is part of the Landry's chain of restaurants. There are 32 locations including 2 in Walt Disney World. One here in Animal Kingdom and one at Downtown Disney. Each restaurant is designed to features of the rainforest with mist, waterfalls, animatronic animals and real animals and growing plants and huge aquariums.
The aquariums here are spectacular. They are salt water aquariums and have species of colorful fish from around the world. There are aquariums everywhere. Some are tied together, some are stand alone, but for fish lovers, this is the place to be.
The Rainforest Cafe home page
Photo by CarrieLu
So, what happens in a rainforest? It rains. Duh. That's why, once every 20 minutes or so, a "thunderstorm" shakes the restaurant. (It is really loud.) First the room gets darker then lighting flashes and thunder roars and the "rain" falls down. The "animals" get restless and make lots of noise. It's a cool effect (the thunderstorm can be disturbing to younger children).
Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom
Photo by mrkathika
The Animal Kingdom Cafe is located right outside of the Animal Kingdom. Literally right outside the entrance. As you look at the ticket booths from the parking lot, it's tucked right over to the left. You don't have to even enter the park. But if you are in the park, you can enter through the park entrance.
Of the two, this location is the least crowded.
Because there is an entrance to Animal Kingdom from here, some people try to use this as a way to avoid the lines getting in to the park first thing in the morning. It may not be the best strategy especially if you need a stroller (stroller rental is located on the other side of the entrance.) There is only one turnstile here and things back up pretty quickly.
The Downtown Disney Restaurant
Photo by Christian Lambert
The Downtown Disney location of the Rainforest Cafe is located all the way over on the east side of Downtown Disney by the marina. If you arrive at the east bus stop, just walk toward the water and you'll see it.
You can't miss the big volcano that sits next to the restaurant or the sign on the volcano.
When you enter the restaurant, you enter into a huge gift shop called the Retail Village (finally some truth in advertising.). The check-in podium is located in the gift shop. (Browsing the gift shop gives you something to do while you wait for your table.)
This is a great place to grab a bite if you are spending some time in Downtown Disney.
The Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney has a brand new addition called the Lava Lounge. Yes, it's a big bar area, but the good part is the full menu is available in the Lava Lounge and there is rarely a wait. Don't have reservations? Try it out.
The dining room is divided up into different rooms. Each is a little different and has a different theme and it's usually an animal that the theme is built on. For example there is an elephant room with an elephant in the middle and a gorilla room with a gorilla in it.
The Retail Village at the Rainforest Cafe is huge. That's all there is to say about that. (When has that ever stopped me.) This is the gift shop. Like most Disney attractions, this one has it's own gift shop, but instead of going in to the shop after you finish, you go into this gift shop, both before and after your meal. The Retail Village is the entrance to the restaurant.
There is an exclusive "Rainforest Cafe" line of clothing and just about anything else you could imagine.
The Mushroom Bar Stools
Photo by sunshinewalks
Magic Mushroom Bar
The bar is quite an interesting place and sometimes a good place to grab a quick bite when the wait is too long. The stools of the bar are shaped like animals and the roof is shaped like a giant mushroom.
You can get one of the signature drinks or select from a wide range of appetizers. (Guest must be 21 or older to order drinks.)
The menus are filled with interesting sounding creations from around the globe. I don't know, taking a regular hamburger and calling it a Rainforest Burger, does that make it taste any better?
Breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe has some interesting offering for breakfast. Just don't know if I'm ready for a thunderstorm with my breakfast.
- Tonga Toast - Baked cinnamon French toast with warm maple syrup topped with fresh strawberries, bananas and walnuts.
- Breakfast of Bandits - Scrambled eggs, choice of bacon or sausage, served with breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit
- Benedict Bamba - Traditional Eggs Benedict: Toasted English muffin halves, poached eggs, Canadian bacon, topped with Hollandaise sauce. Accompanied by breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit
- Pie of the Viper - Fresh baked Mexican-style breakfast pizza brushed with salsa and topped with scrambled eggs, Roma tomatoes, cilantro, red, green & Poblano peppers, and cheddar cheeses and our four cheese blend. You can add bacon or sausage for an additional charge.
- Cisco and Pancho - A flat iron steak broiled to order. Served with scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes.
- Egg White Omelet - A little lighter fare, our egg white omelet is made with tomatoes, Swiss Cheese, spinach, and mushrooms. Served with fresh fruit and toast.
- Ozzie's Omelet - 3 egg omelet with your choice of cheddar cheese, onions, mushrooms, sausage, bacon or green bell peppers. Served with breakfast potatoes
- Forest Combo - fresh seasonal fruit and a hot bowl of oatmeal served with brown sugar. Fresh seasonal fruit included pineapple, strawberries and red seedless grapes
- Cha Cha's Wild Waffle - freshly made Belgian waffle served with fresh strawberries, bananas and maple syrup and a choice of bacon or sausage
- Breakfast Sliders - you're sure to love our mini egg sandwiches on toasted slider buns with bacon and American cheese. Served with breakfast potatoes
- Cranberry Waffle - freshly made Belgian waffle baked with cranberries and topped with raspberry sauce. Served with whipped cream, maple syrup and your choice of bacon or sausage.
- Breakfast Bandits - Scrambled eggs, choice of bacon or sausage, served with our version of breakfast potatoes
- Tonga Toast - Cinnamon French toast with warm maple syrup topped with fresh strawberries and bananas
- Cha Cha's Wild Waffle - freshly made waffle with maple syrup and whipped cream
- Tuki's Oatmeal - hot bowl of oatmeal served with brown sugar and fresh seasonal fruit
- Assorted breakfast cereals - Ask your Safari Guide for selections.
Photo by lymang
Lunch and Dinner Menu
The lunch and dinner menus at the Rainforest Cafe are very similar. In fact, they are totally similar. In fact, they are identical. Here's a sample of what's available -
- Raging Thunder Buffalo Wings - 1 pound traditional buffalo wings served with carrots, celery sticks, and blue cheese dressing
- Rainforest Pita Quesadillas - Grilled chicken, roasted peppers, caramelized onions and melted cheese on grilled pita bread, served with fresh pico de gallo and sour cream
- Coastal Calamari - Tender calamari deep-fried and served with chunky marinara sauce
- Awesome Appetizer Adventure - Great sampler for two or more, featuring Chimi-Cha-Cha, Big Blue Crab Delight, Caribe Chicken Tenders and Coastal Calamari
- Lava Nachos - a hot favorite - crispy tri-color tortilla chips topped with seasoned ground beef, peppers, onions black beans, corn, and queso sauce. Garnished with cheddar cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo
- Flying Dragon Pepperoni Pizza - marinara sauce, pepperoni and our four cheese blend
Sandwiches and Burgers
- Rainforest Burger - 1/2 lb. burger, char broiled and served on a toasted bun with tomato, lettuce, onion. Add bacon, mushrooms or cheese for an extra cost.
- BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger - Our char-broiled burger topped with our Smokin' Mojo BBQ sauce, Cheddar cheese and bacon. Served on a toasted bun with tomato, lettuce, onion and pickle.
- Rumble in the Jungle Turkey Wrap - Shaved turkey breast, Roma tomatoes, crisp bacon and Romaine lettuce tossed with Caesar Dressing, wrapped in a tasty tortilla and served with cole slaw
- Portobello Mushroom Burger - Grilled portabello mushroom with zucchini, roasted red peppers, and fresh spinach on a bed of Romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing, served on a toasted bun with tomato, lettuce, and onion
- Caribbean Coconut Shrimp - Tender shrimp rolled in fresh coconut and fried to a golden brown, served with a sweet mango sauce
- Maya's Mahi Mahi and Coconut Shrimp - Filet of mahi mahi grilled and topped with mango salsa. Paired with our Caribbean Coconut Shrimp
- Tribal Salmon - Atlantic salmon filet seared on a cedar plank and topped with roasted hazelnut and Frangelico butter
- Cyclone Crab Cakes - Two broiled crab cakes, made with lump crabmeat, garnished with lemon butter sauce
- Macadamia Crusted Snapper - Red snapper crusted with Coco Lopez, topped with macadamia nut crust and baked to perfection, served with a tangy teriyaki glaze and mango puree
Photo by mehlam766
Beef - Pork - Chicken
- Primal Steak - center cut NY strip aged 21 days! Char broiled to perfection, topped with steak butter and served with Napa vegetables.
- Chicken Fried Chicken - Breaded chicken breast, lightly fried golden brown and topped with country gravy and Napa vegetables.
- Mojo Bones - A full rack of slow-roasted pork ribs, basted with Smokin' Mojo BBQ Sauce, served with cole slaw and Safari fries.
- Ribs, Steak, & Shrimp Trio - A hearty platter featuring our Mojo Bones, Flat Iron Steak, and Caribbean Coconut Shrimp. Served with Safari fries and coleslaw
- Paradise Pot Roast- Tender thick-sliced pot roast and vegetables over mashed potatoes and served in its natural juices.
- Tuscan Chicken - Balsamic and tomato marinated chicken breast, char broiled and dressed with cucumbers, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, and a honey-dijon mustard sauce.
- Rasta Pasta - Grilled chicken, penne pasta, walnut pesto, broccoli, red peppers and spinach, tossed with garlic Alfredo sauce.
- Pastalaya - shrimp, sauteed chicken breast, bell peppers, onions and Andouille sausage tossed in a hot and spicy Cajun sauce and served over linguine
- Brave New World - Char broiled hand-pulled chicken breast and our Smokin' Mojo BBQ Sauce topped with our four cheese blend and chopped cilantro.
- Passport to Paradise - Provolone, Parmesan, Romano and Mozzarella cheeses, fresh basil and chunky marinara sauce.
Photo by hubsterdisney
Hey Dad, do we need reservations?
Yep, you need reservations most of the time (especially at Downtown Disney). You can now get Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR's) at both locations through Disney. You can either call Disney Dining Reservations (407) WDW-DINE or go directly to the Disney web pages. (Animal Kingdom - Downtown Disney) Or, you can call the Downtown Disney Rainforest Cafe directly at (407) 827-8500.
There are some sites out there that say the Downtown Disney site only takes reservations on the weekends. That's not true. You can make reservations any time for both locations.
You can always let someone else do the dirty work for you. If you book your trip through Destinations to Travel, they will be happy to make all your ADR's for you. No charge. I'm not kidding. It's great. Check them out ...
The Disney Dining Plan?
Is the Rainforest Cafe part of the Disney Dining Plan?
Yes, after several years, both locations are now part of the Disney Dining Plan. They count as a Table Service Credit at all meals.
Just how good is the Rainforest Cafe? Should you try it? Questions like this come up all the time. That's why we love reading reviews. Below you can leave a review or see what others are saying. Check it out.
Dad's Bottom Line
The Rainforest Cafe is all about the show. Portions are large, but the food is usually good but not outstanding. Don't miss the huge Retail Village (not like you could anyway).