Find out where the best vegan food is in the Animal Kingdom PLUS pro tips for visiting Pandora.
***This post contains affiliate links.
Last weekend, we drove up to the Animal Kingdom for the day so we could thoroughly experience Pandora and have lunch at Tusker House!
It was such a fun day! In the past, we’ve quickly walked through Pandora to grab lunch at Satu’li Canteen (because it’s one of my favorite vegan quick service spots in all of Disney World!) but we’ve never really taken the time to explore and enjoy the beauty of Pandora.
Pandora: Atmosphere, Rides, and Food
Pandora is stunning; the giant floating rocks, the beautiful waterfalls, other-worldly creatures, and exotic foliage were out of this world! It’s just like I remember it looking like in the movie.
Pro Tip – Make sure you see Pandora during the day and at night. After the sun goes down, all of Pandora starts to glow and its bioluminescent flora comes to life. It’s magical!
We went straight to the Avatar Flight of Passage ride because we wanted to ride it before our lunch reservation at Tusker House.
Luckily, we had fast passes but now that we went on the ride and experienced how amazing it was, I would happily wait in line to go on it again!
It was next level– AMAZING. I described it to my mom as being like Soarin (at Epcot) but on steroids!
Pro Tip – Bring an antibacterial wet wipe with you so you can wipe down the glasses they give you to wear for the ride. You never know who wore them before you…
The ride simulates flying on the back of a banshee through the enchanting world of Pandora. You sit on a machine the way you would sit on a motorcycle, you get strapped in, put your goggles on, and you connect with your Avatar. Once connected, you take off flying through Pandora!
Some parts of the ride are a little intense but it’s all so beautiful! They do warn you before you board that you shouldn’t go on the ride if you’re prone to motion sickness, which I am. However, I didn’t get motion sick at all. I closed my eyes for a few seconds when the banshee was jumping around really fast but I felt completely fine besides that.
Pro Tip – If you’re also prone to motion sickness, do not go on Mission Space at Epcot! We did and I was woozy for a solid hour after the ride.
You even feel the banshee breathing between your legs, it really feels like you’re riding on the back of this massive dragon-like creature. It’s the most immersive ride I’ve ever been on.
We also went on the Na’vi River Journey. While extremely beautiful and immersive in its own way, we definitely preferred the exciting Flight of Passage. The river ride is very calm and would be great for little kids or if you want a relaxing break from the heat.
Pro Tip – If you plan on visiting Pandora but can’t get fast passes for the rides, arrive at the park as soon as it opens and head directly to Pandora and get in line for Avatar Flight of Passage. That will be your best shot at getting on the rides without having to wait in line for 2-3 hours.
It was pretty warm by 12pm, so I put on my life-saving necklace fan and we ordered a refreshing, frozen, non-alcoholic Night Blossom drink from the Pongu Pongu quick service beverage stand.
I wish they would lose the artificial food dye buttt it was delicious and a fun Pandora-themed treat. See below for a picture of the ingredient list for the Night Blossom drink from the allergy menu.
If you get hungry, the Satu’li Canteen quick service restaurant has delicious and inexpensive vegan food! Click here to see our favorite vegan meal from Satu’li Canteen.
We didn’t eat at the Satu’li Canteen that day because we made lunch reservations at Tusker House. I’ve always loved Tusker House but I haven’t been in a few years.
Now that Travis and I are vegan we wanted to see what options they had for us.
What’s the Tusker House Restaurant Like?
The Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is definitely a casual, laid-back restaurant. Don’t worry about dressing up, most of the guests have been hanging out at the park all day too. The whole restaurant is decorated to look like a rustic African market and the food is also African-inspired fare.
There were tons of kids, probably because it’s an interactive character meal. Don’t let that stop you from making a reservation if you don’t have any kids or don’t want to interact with the characters.
We don’t have any kids and we didn’t want to take pictures with Mickey, Goofy, Donald, or Daisy, so we just waved hello but didn’t make any move to get up for pictures when they stopped at our table. They got the hint and moved on pretty quick.
What Can Vegans Eat at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom?
When I made the reservation online, I checked the allergy box because they didn’t have a vegan box to check. When we checked in, we were automatically given an allergy menu that clearly listed all the food on the buffet. I thought that was a nice touch.
Travis and I were looking specifically for vegan options, so we were a little concerned when we only saw vegetarian options on the list. However, our waitress assured us that everything labeled vegetarian was actually vegan.
I found that to be a little strange. I wish that they would just label it vegan if it’s vegan– not vegetarian because they definitely don’t mean the same thing. I asked our waitress to have the chef come over to our table so he could show us what we could safely eat on the buffet.
Chef Dennis was awesome! We really appreciated him taking us through the buffet and listing all the ingredients in the vegan dishes.
Surprisingly, there were a ton of vegan options on the buffet! Watch the video below to see all the vegan food on the buffet at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.
Almost half of the buffet is vegan!
On the allergy menu, two of the buffet items that are marked “vegetarian” also had checks next to the dairy box. Chef Dennis explained that that meant that those items might not be 100% vegan due to cross-contamination by being cooked in a shared fryer.
However, Chef Dennis right away offered to make us our own plate of tofu to share that was definitely 100% vegan. We accepted and he brought a huge, delicious platter to our table! We were thrilled because it ended up being my favorite item on the buffet!
Did We Like the Food at Tusker House?
After we toured the buffet with Chef Dennis, we grabbed our plates got a little bit of everything vegan on the buffet so we could report our findings.
Overall, everything was very tasty. Each dish had a lot of flavor without being too salty. The following items were our favorites:
- Tandoori Tofu with Basmati Rice
- Roasted Vegetable Couscous
- Roasted Potatoes
- Fried Hummus
- Trek Salad
- Black Eyed Pea Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Sauteed Green Beans
We didn’t care for the collard greens, the hummus, or the corn medley– they were just meh.
We were going to start with a salad but we saw two young boys fighting over the tongs and touching the part that touches the food, so we skipped that station. Gross!
Please, please, please go up with your kids to the buffet so you can help them. I don’t want to get sick because of germy hands touching the food. Let’s keep it sanitary!
Unfortunately, there are no vegan desserts on the buffet. However, if you ask your server, they can bring you a bowl of Toffuti chocolate ice cream and chocolate chip cookies! Travis loved the ice cream so we were happy with that.
It would be nice if they had at least one vegan dessert on the buffet. Hopefully, one day more options will be added to the dessert bar!
A drink is included in the price of your meal, so I ordered coffee with our ice cream. However, they don’t have any dairy-free creamer available. Our server brought me a juice box of vanilla flavored soy milk (not organic).
I asked if there was anything plain available because I didn’t want vanilla flavored coffee. She said no but went to the kitchen to check anyways and came back with an insulated creamer container of “coconut milk.”
I’m guessing it was the type of coconut milk from a can that is used for curries because it was very thick and it separated before rising to the top of my coffee cup. Definitely not a good option for coffee creamer. Bleh!
Would We Go Back To Tusker House Again?
Well….let me break it down to help explain our decision.
- Tusker House has a ton of vegan options on the buffet that you don’t have to special order (more than any other Disney buffets that I’ve been to).
- The food is adult and kid-friendly, there’s something for everyone to eat.
- The food is delicious and you definitely won’t leave hungry.
- Upon request, a chef will walk you through the buffet and show you what’s safe to eat based on your allergy or food preference.
- If you are worried about cross contamination, certain dishes can be made to order and brought directly to your table.
- The restaurant has a fun atmosphere and if you have kids, they’ll love the character interaction!
- If you’re an annual passholder, you get 10% off your bill. Make sure you tip on the original amount!
- Tusker House is located inside of Animal Kingdom so you have to buy a ticket (or an annual pass) to get into the park so you can go to the restaurant.
- The buffet is expensive. Lunch and dinner is the same price, breakfast is cheaper. For lunch and dinner, adults are $45, and kids are $27.
- I didn’t like that the dishes were labeled vegetarian when they were actually vegan. The allergy menu needs to be corrected, it’s confusing to the guests.
- We had a reservation for 2:30pm but didn’t get seated until 3pm. The restaurant was busy but I was really surprised that we had to wait so long just for a two person party.
- There is only one vegan option for dessert.
- There is no plain vegan coffee creamer available.
Overall, we really enjoyed eating lunch at the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. There were so many delicious vegan options– much more than at any other buffets in Disney, but we’ll probably only go back for a special occasion. Why? Mainly, because almost $100 for two people for lunch is very expensive for us.
If money was no object then we’d love to go back to Tusker House every time we visited the Animal Kingdom! It’s definitely the best vegan buffet on Disney property!
Have you been to Tusker House in Animal Kingdom? What’s your favorite buffet item? Let me know in the comments!
NEVER MISS A STACEY HOMEMAKER CREATION!
Add me on Snapchat to see what I’m cooking today! – StaceyHomemaker
You might also like…
Tusker House in Animal Kingdom Tusker House in Animal Kingdom Tusker House in Animal Kingdom Tusker House in Animal Kingdom Tusker House in Animal Kingdom Tusker House in Animal Kingdom