A look at the Tusker House breakfast featuring Safari Donald and friends:
A few weeks before my most recent Disney World trip they announced that Tusker House restaurant in Animal Kingdom would be reopening serving a family style meal (it has previously been a buffet) with a modified character experience. It’s been ages since I’ve been to Tusker House and I love the characters in their safari outfits, so I was excited when we were able to snag a late breakfast reservation here! We actually had only been able to get a lunch reservation when they first opened, but after checking often we found an opening for breakfast a few days before our trip. So keep checking!
Tusker House is located in Animal Kingdom park in the Africa area. If you are coming from Discovery Island you’ll cross over into Africa and Tusker House is one of the first locations on your left, right next to the Dawa bar. If you kept going to the left past it you’d be heading towards the Festival of the Lion King, and if you kept going straight you’d hit the safari. The host stand is tucked away from the main walkway past some of the tables and seating area for the Dawa bar.
Once you get inside Tusker House it has a neat vibe, made to feel like an open air marketplace in Africa. There are a few smaller rooms but we were in the biggest main room. The host who seated us told us many of the items you see around the restaurant are actually from Africa. The ceiling is made to look like a bunch of tapestries hung up and the walls are made to look like they are very old and crumbling (don’t worry, it’s just Disney magic – everything is safe and sound!). There are also things like woven baskets and African artwork.
How does Tusker House breakfast work?
Though this used to be a buffet, Tusker House was turned into a family style meal when it reopened. This means that a selection of foods will be brought to your table with enough to share. If you want more of anything you can just ask for refills of what you like. There are two courses for breakfast. You start off with a selection of pastries and fruit, and then the main course comes after that. You pay one set price for the meal which includes standard beverages.
Currently the character experience is a little different due to COVID protocols, but you’ll typically see Donald, Daisy, Mickey, and Goofy. Normally they’ll come around to the tables like traditional character meals, but right now they pause for selfies at a bit of a distance.
Keep in mind that breakfast in particular is a popular dining location and reservations go quickly – be ready to book right at 6am the first day you are able to do so!
One of the reasons why Tusker House breakfast is so popular is because of the characters! Even with them being at a distance we had so many fantastic character interactions here. To begin with, they are all adorable in their safari outfits and it’s perfect for Animal Kingdom. They also did a fun dance for us!
What characters are at Tusker House?
You’ll find Donald, Daisy, Mickey, and Goofy all wearing safari outfits. They all have their own unique outfits that are a variation on the safari theme, with fun hats, vests, jackets, and other items that fall into the dark green, khaki, and brown color scheme.
Modified character experience at Tusker House
Currently Disney is doing modified character dining. The characters don’t come right up to your table and take pictures with you. Each one enters the restaurant and then walks around near each table. They pose and you can take pictures of them, as well as selfies with the character over your shoulder.
To be totally honest I actually felt like some of the character interactions we had here with them at a distance were better when the character interactions when they came right up you. Before the modifications you’d fall into a traditional pattern of a character coming up, saying hi, taking a photo, and moving on. Now they really have to be creative to interact with you and it was just a ton of fun. Donald in particular was really playing it up for us. He was posing and modeling and just being fantastic.
The characters come out one at a time and make a loop around the restaurant. Once all four of them have been through a song comes on and they do a bit of a dance through the three rooms and encourage everyone to clap along.
Most of your basic breakfast drinks are included in the price of the meal, so if you want things like coffee, tea, juice, water, or soda there’s no additional fee. As part of your meal you can get the “POG juice” here (also known as Jungle Juice or other names throughout the parks). It’s a passion fruit, orange, and guava juice. You can also opt to purchase specialty beverages but I decided to stick with the trio of coffee, water, and POG juice.
Since the food here is served family style, you don’t really need to make any decisions about what to order – they’ll just bring a bit of everything out to the table. There are also allergy friendly options and plant based dishes available on request so if you can’t eat from the regular menu make sure to communicate with your server and the chef.
The meal began with a few appetizer type items brought to your table. One of these is a pastry plate, which had “safari bread,” multigrain croissants, and corn muffins. They were served with a trio of spreads that consisted of whipped butter, a chocolate-hazelnut spread (basically just nutella), and strawberry preserves. Nothing was super amazing on this plate but it was all decent. I liked the corn bread, and the croissants were my favorite. They were really soft and I like the fact that they are multigrain. The safari bread looks awesome but it tasted somewhat bland and dry.
You also start off with a bowl of fruit that comes with a honey yogurt sauce. The fruit itself is fairly standard – we had cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, and strawberries. However, the honey yogurt sauce was really nice and a good accompaniment to make the fruit a bit more interesting.
There are a number of items served as the main course, and a majority of them come in a big skillet to the table. These consist of mostly standard breakfast items like eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, and potatoes. I like the Lion King waffles here as it’s fitting for Animal Kingdom. Most items were about what you’d expect. I will say I don’t have Disney waffles very often because I always feel like there are more interesting things on the menu, but I do have to admit I like these better than a standard waffle. Their batter is very good. The potatoes had some really nice seasoning to them as well.
The other main dish is a bit more unique and was certainly a highlight for me. You got a bowl of Durban Chicken & Egg Curry with Jasmine Rice. This was really, really good and something a bit different. It was very flavorful with a bit of spiciness to it but not overly spicy. If this was served on a menu as an a la carte breakfast item it would absolutely be at the top of my list as something to order.
While overall I typically have had good experiences with service at Disney, our breakfast at Tusker House was a little bit of a let down. I work in public service so I am very understanding and accommodating, but this breakfast took absolutely forever. I know our server had a number of tables, but once our food was brought out to us he never returned. We had empty plates and had finished eating for close to half an hour at the end of the meal with no sign of him stopping by. The characters had all been through at least twice at that point. We finally had to grab another server to get our checks. This is a bit of a bummer especially at a theme park meal when people and families probably have a lot of other things they’d like to do. A meal like this shouldn’t take almost two hours, especially when 40 minutes of that was sitting around waiting. Hopefully since it’s newly reopened they are still learning the ropes and that aspect will improve.
Is Tusker House breakfast worth it?
Like any character meal, this question is pretty subjective and a lot depends on what is most important to you. If you’re looking for high quality food and a delicious meal, you probably won’t get your money’s worth here – the food is good but not worth the $42 per adult price tag in that sense. However, when you combine it with the character experience I think it’s worth doing. I’m a big Animal Kingdom fan so I definitely get a kick out of seeing the characters in safari outfits. And the curry dish puts this one over the edge of some of the other character breakfasts for me.
Tusker House FAQs
Is Tusker House a buffet?
Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown Tusker House was a buffet. It is currently operating as a family style restaurant, where you pay one set price and have a variety of foods brought out to you for your table to share.
Is Tusker House a character breakfast?
Yes, you will currently had a modified character dining experience at breakfast.
What characters are at Tusker House breakfast?
Typically you’ll find Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy in safari outfits.
How much is Tusker House breakfast?
The current price of the Tusker House breakfast is $42 per adult and $27 per child.
What are the hours for the Tusker House character breakfast?
Breakfast at Tusker House runs right now from 8:00am-10:30am. At 11:00am it switches over to lunch.
Are characters at Tusker House only at breakfast?
Tusker House is a character meal all day, so you can also meet the characters at lunch and dinner.
Have you experienced the Tusker House breakfast? What do you think of this option?