Disney’s Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park Review

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Okay, who does not think this is an amazing idea?  When I first saw that Disney was going to be adding the Picnic in the Park meal at Animal Kingdom, I knew that I wanted to try it as soon as I could!  How fortunate that just a week or so after the meal option became available, Granuaile wanted to celebrate her birthday at Animal Kingdom!

Being on the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel, with all the expert knowledge I possess of all things Disney World, of course I had no clue where to go or what to do to order the picnic, other than I remembered something in my notes about going to Kusafiri bakery.  Next time, remind me to take my wealth of knowledge with me when I actually need it at Walt Disney World. 

I made my way to Kusafiri, which is the one thing I remembered, and I figured they would be able to tell me there what I needed to do.  Imagine my surprise when I asked the lady at the podium where you pay for your Kusafiri food if she had any information about the Picnic in the Park and she stared blankly at me and said, “Um, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I never heard of such a thing.”  I stared equally as blankly back, until she finally offered to go ask someone for me. 

When she came back, she had the list of picnic locations, but said she still didn’t know anything about it, and advised me to go ask at Tusker House.  Tusker House told me that I needed to go back to the entrance of the theme park, and there was a podium there where you could order.  Oh yeah – it’s all coming back to me now.

The lovely Cast Member, from Canberra, Australia, was very helpful – not to mention really friendly.  She gave us a leaflet explaining the picnic to us, and showing us the map where the picnic locations where.  She also pointed out that you are not obligated to eat your lunch at the designated picnic areas, and you could eat in line if you wanted to – which might be a great way for people to save time if they can’t get a Fast Pass for something with a long wait!

You get a choice of two types of baskets (and basket is used with liberal poetic license here, as it’s actually the canvas, reusable bag that is available to purchase throughout Disney World right now) – Tier 1 and Tier 2.  Tier 1 is the sandwich tier, and you can choose from a variety of cold sandwiches, which include a Turkey Focaccia; chicken wrap; ham grinder; or tuna pita.  Tier 2 features a hot entree – either rotisserie chicken or ham. 

Included with either tier, you get a choice of side dishes (how many depends on how many people you purchase your meal for), and your options here include individual bags of Lays potato chips; mashed potatoes and gravy; coleslaw; orzo pasta; and several other choices.  The side dishes are the same with either meal.  You also get bottled water – the short bottles – for each member of your party, and you get to each choose a dessert.  Desserts include a brownie, cookie, cornbread, orange, apple or crisped rice treat (also known as Rice Krispie Treats). 

There were four of us at the park today for Granuaile’s birthday, but one was me – with that whole gastric bypass, minimum stomach capacity thing I have going; and the other one was Granuaile, who eats as if the world is a buffet and another bite to eat is just around the corner.  We opted to purchase the meal for three – the smallest meal available – and we chose the rotisserie chicken option on Tier 2.  As our side items, we opted for macaroni and cheese, figuring if Princess Birthday Party refused all other sorts of food, she will always eat some mac and cheese; and the seasonal fruit salad.  For dessert, we opted for an apple (again, Granuaile might pass up many things, but almost never an apple); a brownie; and a cookie.

Tier 2 Rotisserie Chicken

Tier 2 Rotisserie Chicken

When you go to the podium to order your meal, they take down all of your choices, and ask what time you would like to pick your picnic up.  They request two hours, so I asked Miss Canberra CM what the earliest time was that I could get it was, and she told me any time after 12:30.  We chose 12:45, she gave us a pink slip, and told us to just present it at Kusafiri when it was time to pick up our picnic.

With two hours to kill, we rode the safari and the Triceratops Spin.  With still an hour to kill, we decided to go scope out a picnic spot.  We went to the area behind Tusker House, to find plenty of tables, most of which were pretty well shaded; piped in music; and a comfortable breeze. 

Picnic Area Behind Tusker House

Picnic Area Behind Tusker House

So Jim decides it’s lunch time.  I tell him we haven’t given them the proper amount of time, and he decides to go see.  Obnoxious, no? 

The girls and I relax at our table,

View from our table

View from our table

and Jim heads over to Kusafiri – and guess who’s there?  The same CM who told me she had no idea what I was talking about.  Jim hands her his slip and she says to him, “You know, I don’t know anything about this.  I just heard about it for the first time today.”  She now has to leave again and go find out what she is supposed to do.  She comes back and tells him that he does not pay her, he has to go wait in line at the bakery window, and they will tell him what to do. 

At the window, he gives them the slip, and they assemble the bag while he waits.  When I get home, I am going to insert photos here of the picnic, but it is just wonderful!  Oh wait, I’m not there yet.  You do not pay at the cashier like you would if you are buying pastries – you pay directly at the window.  If you want anything besides your picnic, you have to pay that separately for those other items.

The picnic is wonderful!  The green bag includes utensils, paper plates, napkins, condiments, our cookie, brownie, and apple, the fruit salad, our macaroni and cheese, three bottles of water, and the chicken.  The chicken is delicous – seasoned with rosemary and peppercorns, and so moist!  Jim wants to know why they don’t just sell the skin because he really enjoys it.  The mac and cheese is creamy and delicious, and the container is just the right amount for the four of us – Granuaile using it as the main part of her meal, me taking just a coupl of bites, and Eilis and Jim having it as a real side dish.  We eat most of the fruit salad, and it’s fresh – containing watermelon, pineapple, honeydew and cantaloupe. 

Another picture of the contents

Another picture of the contents

 Jim struggles to finish off the chicken – there is a bit too much for us, even though it’s only six pieces. 

Jim Inhales His Own Hand, Mistaking It for Juicy Delicious Chicken

Jim Inhales His Own Hand, Mistaking It for Juicy Delicious Chicken

We’re pretty stuffed, so I cut the brownie in half, then in quarters, and each of the girls takes a quarter.  Chocolately, rich, and very brownie tasting.  We don’t touch the apple or the cookie. 

The Tier 2 option for 3 was $29.99 plus tax.  Since this more than fed all four of  us, we’re talking $5 per person for lunch – at Disney!

On my way out, I stopped at a table where another family was eating their picnic and introduced myself as Anna from the Disney Moms Panel – only because it’s cool to do that.  But just so I didn’t look like a complete idiot, I asked them how they liked their sandwiches.  They all  had the tuna, and thought they were very generous with their stuffing, everything tasted good and fresh, and they thought it was a great value. 

Animal Kingdom really lends itself to this type of thing, and it really added a lot to our day.  We truly enjoyed the experience.  The only things I could say negative are that we were in a picnic area that was in fairly close proximity to a smoking section.  It was fine at the beginning of the meal, but at the end of the meal, there were quite a few smokers, so if you are sensitive to that type of thing, avoid this location.  Also, you have to order a minimum of a meal for three.  This uses 3 adult meal credits (quick service) if you are on the dining plan.  If you are a solo traveler or a couple, you might want to grab strangers off the street to share the meal with you.

I can’t say enough about what a lovely meal this was!  Here’s Jim’s final word on the picnic in the park -

Happy Jim Loves the Picnic In The Park

Happy Jim Loves the Picnic In The Park