By now, one thing should be abundantly clear to our readers – David and I love Disney Dining. Really, we love food in most forms, so when it’s put in the context of our favorite place (aka the most magical place on earth), it just makes sense that we love it even more. We’re those people that plan our trip around our dining reservations, and don’t care if you judge us for it. In the words of the great Taylor Swift, haters are gonna hate – and while you’re busy hating, I’ll be enjoying a nice glass of cabernet, and a perfectly cooked filet, in an atmospheric Disney restaurant. When the powers that be announced that The Animal Kingdom would be receiving its first Signature Dining Restaurant, we were thrilled. The Animal Kingdom excels at theming, so we knew that any signature restaurant that would be a part of this park would be incredibly themed, and hopefully, would have a great menu to go with it.
So what does Tiffins mean? We thought it was a made-up word at first (like we thought that Citricos or Narcosses was made up for the longest time.) Tiffins isn’t gobblygook though – it’s an Indian-English word, referring to a portable midday meal. A ‘tiffin’ can also be a container that the meal is eaten out of, like a lunch box. Not that I would know, I was strictly a brown bagger growing up, like all the other cool kids. Tiffins doesn’t decorate or celebrate cool, portable lunch boxes though. Instead, the restaurant is a celebration of travel, and the history of The Animal Kingdom. Each room has different theming, and memorabilia in it, from different rides and attractions, and parts of the park. You get to see so many models, scales, and sketches displayed from the Imagineers – for a Disney nerd, it’s amazing to behold. One of the coolest rooms, has a wall of lanterns that are inspired by the upcoming Rivers of Light show. If you look closely at this wall, you’ll catch a detail that is distinctly Disney – the fabric behind the display is made up of Cast Members costumes.
Take some time to walk not just through the beautiful restaurant, but also through the Nomad Lounge, where you can drink and eat without a reservation. The Nomad Lounge has both indoor and outdoor seating, and we have a feeling that when it’s not so hot outside, this will become our favorite place. For a dollar donation to the Wildlife Conservation Fund, you can purchase a banner, and write your travel story on it, and they will hang it from the ceiling. Obviously, we got one, and wrote down the story of the blog.
We were seated promptly, and greeted by not just a server, but by the manager of the restaurant, who spent some time at our table, talking to us about Disney in general, and different restaurants. Both the server and the manager were incredibly friendly, and the service was EXCELLENT. I’ve complained before (in a justifiable way, I think) that sometimes service at signature restaurants at Disney is not as good as it should be, because Disney promotes servers via a seniority system. I’ve had better service, on the whole, at non-signature restaurants. As someone who worked in the service industry for years, service is important to me. Tiffins had some of the best Disney servers, and managers I’ve encountered. They were a pleasure to be around (and made me want to go back to Tiffins even more than I already did).
Now for the food (aka the reason you’re reading this blog). We started with the Lobster Popcorn Thai Curry Soup (because eating hot soup in 100 degree weather is our thing) and the Marinated Grilled Octopus. Both of these dishes were presented perfectly, and ambitious for any restaurant, let alone a theme park. They were also PHENOMENAL. Like seriously, taste explosions of happiness. We followed with the duck, which I was a little hesitant to try, since I’ve never had a great filet of duck (it’s always a little dry for my taste.) This duck was amazing – better than many steaks I’ve had. The whole meal was perfect, on par with the best of the best in Disney Dining, falling short to only Monsieur Paul, our favorite restaurant on property.
All in all, we cannot say enough good things about Tiffins. We think it should be the hottest dining ticket on property right now, and we find it sad that it’s been so easy to get reservations whenever we look. BE ADVENTUROUS PEOPLE. We can all eat corn dog nuggets together later, but try something new! You might like (or even love) it.