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Enjoy Unique Quick-Service Dining at This Disney World Gem

Enjoy Unique Quick-Service Dining at This Disney World Gem

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Don’t sleep on this quiet Disney quick-service option. Some of Disney’s best treats await you.

The Mara

Credit: Jamie F

Every Walt Disney World Resort Hotel has quick-service dining available for Guests. And, some of them offer great options! You can see a list of the best resort quick-service restaurants right here.

The best part is that you do not have to be staying at the resort to enjoy the offerings. While you cannot park at a Walt Disney World resort without a hotel reservation or a dining reservation, you can arrive via Walt Disney World Transportation.

Credit: Katie P.

One of the best quick-service offerings you will find at a Walt Disney World resort hotel is The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This little gem, which is named after an African river, serves up plenty of standard theme park fare as well as food with unique flavor profiles inspired by India and Africa. You will also find exclusive treats that you can’t get outside of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Every table-service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is delightful: Boma, Jiko, and Sanaa. And The Mara rounds out the mix perfectly by differing something quick but delicious and potentially interesting if a culinary adventure is your thing.


Credit: Maggie

Tucked out of the way, the Mara is typically a quiet place to grab food except during its very busiest hours. You will find it on the first floor of Jambo House.

Since the Mara is located on the bottom floor of Jambo House, it is not as convenient as some of the quick-service locations at the smaller Walt Disney World Resorts. Guests don’t pass it on the way to the bus. However, it is still easy to get to. It is an elevator ride away and a short stroll if you are staying at Jambo House. If you are staying at Kidani, you will need to ride over on the internal bus.

Even so, it is simple enough to find. And, it is just a bus ride away if you are already in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and want to grab some treats to take back to wherever you are headed.


Credit: Katie P

Unlike Mara’s Lunch/Dinner offerings, the options for breakfast are, like the options at most Walt Disney World Resort hotels, relatively standard. In fact, most of them can be found at locations around the park.

I am always a fan of classic Mickey waffles. Honestly, the kids’ portion is a great deal as it comes with waffles, 2 sides, and a beverage. The adult portion comes with an extra waffle with berries and cream, but one less side and no drink.

Credit: Katie P

During our stay, we also tried the French Toast Bread Pudding. This is available at several resorts. It is Brioche Bread Pudding served with Madagascar Vanilla Bean Sauce.

It is every bit as good as it sounds, but it is sugary and can leave you feeling like you are running on empty later. So you might consider pairing it with protein or enjoying it on a day when your lunch plans aren’t too late.

Credit: Katie P

We also tried the Bacon and Gruyère Quiche. This dish is made of Freshly Baked with Smoked Bacon, Gruyère, and a savory Egg Custard. It is served with Crispy Potato Barrels.

The quiche is pretty good! It is flavorful and a nice change from traditional hotel breakfast items. And, friends, I can say that the Mara did NOT skimp on the potato barrels.

Credit: Katie P

There are also breakfast platters with eggs and breakfast meat, breakfast sandwiches. All of it is good for fast food hotel meals. It’s not Boma, but it will do!

Lunch and Dinner

Credit: Katie P

The lunch and dinner menus are nearly identical for The Mara. However, unlike breakfast, the options are not identical to what you will find around other Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

Entrees include standard food like burgers and chicken tenders. However, the burgers are not your typical theme park burgers.

At the Mara, the burger is made with a special blend. It is described as Signature-blend Ground Beef, Bacon, Cheddar, Berbere Spice, Lettuce, and Tomato on a Brioche Bun. It comes served with French Fries.

Credit: Katie P

The blend does have a unique and earthy kick to it. My husband, who also tried it, said he didn’t really notice it much. But, I thought it was different from a typical quick-service burger.

Instead of pizza, the Mara offers various flatbreads. You can also order cold sandwiches. I tried the tuna salad wrap.

Credit: Katie P

This wrap was pretty good! It was large enough to eat half for lunch one day and half the next. Or, it can be shared. I especially like that it came with a side of olives!

The Mara also offers rice bowls featuring various proteins, veggies, or combinations. These were not available when I visited, but I would try one if I were to go back! They sound delicious with ingredients like Pilau Rice, Kale Slaw, Cucumber-Tomato Salad, and Chermoula Sour Cream.


Credit: Katie P

One of the best parts of the Mara is the dessert options. There are lovely choices that can be enjoyed in the restaurant or taken to go!

First, the Nyala Brownie is extremely popular, and for good reason. It is a Mickey-shaped brownie (everything is better when it is Mickey-shaped, right?). This brownie is topped with amazing Peanut Butter Buttercream and a Vanilla Buttercream Stripe.

Credit: Katie P

This is one of my favorite desserts anywhere on the planet. If you love chocolate and peanut butter, chances are you will love it too.

Because the Nyala Brownie is only available at the Mara, I have been known to scoot over there after a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom just to grab one. And, while I am there, I also grab another iconic Disney World Food: Zebra Domes.

Credit: Katie P

Zebra Domes have developed a bit of a fan following in the Disney snack world and for good reason! This treat is a dream blend of Chocolate Mousse baked with Amarula Cream Liquor-coated White Chocolate drizzled with Chocolate Stripes and topped with Chocolate Shavings.

It is utterly delightful in terms of flavor. I love to grab a box at the Mara to keep in my resort hotel to enjoy throughout my stay. You can also find them on the Boma dinner buffet.

Credit: Katie P

However, if you try to travel home with this treat, keep in mind they MUST be kept cool. I forgot to put my last 2 domes in the cooler on one trip, and they met an unsavory fate. So, know these treats don’t travel well. It makes indulging in them while in Disney World all the more special.

Do you know anyone planning a trip to Walt Disney World who needs to know where to go for a good meal? Be sure to pass this along. Have you ever had food at the Mara? What dishes and treats did you love? Let us know in the comments.

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