Tusker House Lunch

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When I went to Disney World with my family a few months ago, all of the planning was geared around the kids. I don’t always include character meals in my itinerary, but with young kids in tow it seemed like a no brainer.  After picking a resort, the family left most of the planning up to me. As I pondered where to take them, one place stuck out for me. There are tons of places where guests can have a good meal and interact with their favorite Disney characters, but Tusker House was one of the first things that can to mind for several reasons:

I knew we would be spending time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom since the girls are little veternarians in training. My nephew is nuts about Mickey Mouse and Tusker House is one of the only character dining experiences featuring the man himself. Since my family hadn’t been to Disney World in a long time, and some hadn’t been at all, I wanted to show them Disney cuisine is more than just cheeseburgers and fries. We opted for lunch here since that’s what best fit into our schedule and they had recently added characters to the midday meal. So was our meal a success?

When we arrived we waited a while to be seated since we had checked in late and it was a busy day in the parks.  We were honestly thinking about bailing when our pager finally lit up.  We weren’t thinking of leaving simply because we were impatient, but because my family had to get back to the resort by a certain time to pick up their Disney’s Magical Express bus back to the airport. If you wind up waiting a while you could grab a drink and relax by the nearby Dawa Bar. Guests should be aware the waiting area is outside so on rainy or hot days it may not be the most comfortable experience.

While you’re waiting you have the opportunity for your first character interaction of your meal.  Donald Duck is outside ready to take pictures with anyone who will be dining there. He wasn’t busy and the photographers were practically begging for people to hop in line to meet Donald so feel free to take your time with him. My nephew was the only one interested in meeting Donald, so he went up and played with him for a few minutes while we took pictures.  There is a Photopass photographer on hand to take pictures as well.

Eventually we were seated and when I let our server know we were in a bit of a rush he was great about it. Since this is a buffet it’s easy to make a fairly quick meal out of your experience. Our server quickly took drink orders and explained the buffet and allowed us to head right over to the food. I really love the food at the Tusker House since they offer something unique. If you like Boma or Sanaa I’m sure you’ll find something to please your palate here too.

Since the restaurant is in Animal Kingdom’s Africa there is plenty of African influence in the menu. There are several dishes prepared with curries and other spices you might not expect to find in a Disney theme park. I realize these kinds of choices aren’t for everyone, but I really love it and I encourage you to give it a try. There is a great variety here including a carving station as well as a good selection of fish dishes. Stews and hearty salads are also a specialty here. And of course there is plenty of dessert to go around. If the kids in your family aren’t adventurous eaters there is an area with typical kid friendly foods like mac and cheese available for people of all ages. Many of my vegetarian friends are pleased with the wide variety of items they can eat on this buffet.

While I really like the food here the main event is obviously the character interaction. Mickey, Daisy, and Goofy make the rounds to tables to greet kids of all ages. Even though we were rushing we still got to see these lovable guys during a couple of their rotations. My nieces and nephews loved their time spent with these furry friends and it was a blast to watch them give them hugs and giggle with them. My nephew got so excited about seeing Mickey he threw his head back and whacked it on a chair. It was an oddly adorable moment.

Although we were rushed since we were trying to get back to the resort so my family could catch their Disney’s Magical Express bus, I really liked our experience at the Tusker House. The character visits were more than adequate since we saw most of them multiple times. The food was excellent and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Service was friendly and quick. What more could we ask for in a Disney character meal? I’m sure I will return here again in the near future.

There are a few odds and ends about Tusker House guests should know before they make their Advanced Dining Reservations. First of all a credit card is required to make this reservation. If your party does not show up for their seating a $10 per person charge will be applied if your ADR is not canceled more that 24 hours in advance. This location will cost you one table service credit on Disney’s Dining Plan. If you would prefer to have breakfast with the characters that option is also available here. If you’d like to try the unique flavors at Tusker House but would really rather not dine with Mickey, dinner is offered without characters.

How about you? Have you had lunch at Tusker House? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

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Posted on September 12, 2012

16 Responses to “Tusker House Lunch”

  • This is the best lunch in all of WDW, in my opinion. My whole family loves it. Wife = loves the fresh and unique healthy salad items and dishes. 13 yr old boy = loves the carved meats. 8 year old girl = loves the chance to try little bits of new stuff. (And the desserts.) Me = loves the cinnamon-banana-bread pudding with vanilla sauce. I could go there and just eat that with a black coffee and be stuffed for hours.

  • I have 0830 reservations here and it’s just my Husband and me (no kids). I loved the breakfast buffet and the fact that we are deep inside the park before the gates open for the public is a HUGE plus. I look foward to dining here, I haven’t heard a big complaint other then noise levels. Excited…77 days and counting.

  • We lunched here in April. I have a son with multiple food allergies (dairy, egg, peanut). It was a very busy week in the parks (Easter)but all of the servers were wonderful. The chef was fantastic. She walked the entire buffet with me & even made special dishes for my son to make sure he would have a safe and delicious meal! She even brought out special desserts for him. They really went above and beyond.

  • Wanted to clarify again that the cancellation deadline is close of business the day before the reservation, rather than a precise 24 hours. So as long as the phone lines are still open, one can cancel the next day’s breakfast or lunch without penalty.

  • We did the Tusker House breakfast on our first Disney trip four years ago. It was one of our favorites. I love the buffets for the kids because they can get their food right away. Back then Donald came to the table too, but I love the idea of getting a nice family photo with him.

  • Thanks so much for your post. I am considering an ADR at Tusker House for our next visit, so this post was timely! I have read in other reviews that Donald doesn’t sign autographs. Was this your experience? Thanks

  • Our absolute fave breakfast place. We always make 8am reservations. We are done in time to be at safari when the park opens. The character interaction is awesome and the food is wonderful with plenty of variety.

  • We can’t wait to try Tusker a house for lunch! We loved the breakfast. Is the picture with Donald a package you pay for like it is for breakfast?

  • Tusker House is fantastic. First time we went (in 2011) was just for a regular lunch (before they added characters) and the second in July this year for a character lunch. The food is amazing, especially if you are a veggie, its one of the few places in Disney World where you can get a wide choice of healthy, tasty veggie meals. I just love the Piri Piri salmon and the curry’s. The character interaction was great, and we also saw the characters twice during our meal, the staff are very attentive too. It was my birthday during our visit, and at the end of the meal, I was given a birthday card signed by all the characters, and a cupcake (made by Tinkerbelle according to our waitress) – it made the meal even more special. Whether you are going for a special occasion or not I would highly recomend this restaurant.

  • We have reservations for lunch at Tusker House next month. It’ll be our first character meal ever (no kids, just the two of us), and I picked Tusker House because hubby loves Goofy. So happy to hear how good it is.

  • Tusker House lunches have become a staple of our Disney visits. We are booked there again for our trip in two weeks. Didn’t realize the characters had been added. BONUS.

  • We are taking a family trip to WDW over the Thanksgiving holiday. We have 6 adults, a 10 yr old, 4 yr old and 3 yr old (all kiddos are boys). We have heard such great things about the Tusker House character breakfast, so we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves. We have 0830 reservations. This will be our only character meal and I’m sure we will LOVE every minute of it. Really looking forward to seeing Mickey and Donald!

  • We just ate at Tusker House on Saturday Sept. 15. The food is very good. We did several character meals this trip since the dinning plan was free. What no one discusses is how much time you will spend doing these meals. We spent 15 minutes in line to check in, and another 15 minutes waiting to be seated. Our waitress took awhile to get out drink orders, then off to the buffet. Once the characters start rotating near your table you can’t leave to get more food, so we had to wait through all the characters in order to get dessert. Overall the lunch took 1 hour and 45 minutes (from arival to departure). It was great, but limited what we saw in the rest of the park.

  • We have 11:15 reservations which is technically still considered breakfast. I heard from someone else that went at that time that while the breakfast items were still on the buffet, they had the added benefit of also getting some lunch items because they were starting to prep for lunch. Anyone else have this experience?

    • Hi Melanie, yes that is the case. We had a reservation the same time and were able to get breakfast and lunch items. Although it was classed as a ‘breakfast’ reservation – we’d actually gone for an early lunch as we’d been up since 6am. The selections seem to move pretty quickly though, so often if we went back for seconds of a breakfast item – we found it had disappeared and been replaced by something else – just bear this in mind :)

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