By Jeremy Leichtenberg

Who wants to go on an early morning Safari with Donald Duck as the driver?  Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom lets you eat a meal with Donald and the gang, all while they are dressed up, ready to go on a Safari! 

Our first trip to Walt Disney World as a family of 5 had us a little overwhelmed.  From trying to find places our 10 month old twins could eat, to trying to find character meals that our 8 year old would also enjoy. We looked at many menus and reviews trying to find the best places for our family. While everyone raves about places like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Ohana, we wanted to find our own “favorite character meal”.

We had 7 character meals lines up from Akershus to Chef Mickeys. We decided to try Tusker House for a character breakfast. We made our reservation for an hour before the park opened that day, figuring our first trip to Animal Kingdom, we may need a little extra time to make our 8am reservation, we hopped on the bus from our Disney Resort early and we were on our way.  After we checked in at the front of the park, we were able to take a few nice family photos along the way to the restaurant.  We had many angles of our choice for photos in front of the Tree of Life, and with 3 kids ,we needed as many as we could to make sure we got a “good” photo.

Once we checked in at the front desk at Tusker House, located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom, they took us back to get a photo with all of us before we embarked on our Dining Safari.  This photo was added to our Memory Maker package for us, which we love!  Once our Safari Guide was ready for us, we were taken back to our table. 

Once we were seated, our Safari Guide poured us some delicious Jungle Juice. This alone was well worth it!  We have even tried to replicate the recipe at home numerous times!  We took our turns heading up to the seemingly endless buffet of Disney favorites including Mickey Waffles and scrambled eggs, along with many other options sure to fill you up!

Throughout our dining experience, we had 5 characters stop by for a visit, and one even tried one of the kids Mickey Waffles.  The #1 Duck himself, Donald Duck stopped by our table first. He interacted with us the most of any of the characters.  Next up was Daisy Duck.  This was special, because throughout all of our character meals, Daisy is not found at too many of them. We had fun laughing and taking photos with her. Mickey and Minnie also came along and played with the kids. Goofy was the last of the characters to visit our table.  He played with the twins, and even draped his ears over their syrup covered faces. All characters were sent on with hugs from the kids and waves from all 5 of us. 

One thing to be mindful of, is that your kids will be completely distracted while eating due to all of the character activity.  Whether it is across the dining room, the table next to you, or even your own.  Always plan for extra time for your children to eat and interact.  I always try to plan for an hour and a half for each character meal so that we don’t overlap a fastpass with enjoying a nice character meal.  Once we finished enjoying our meal, we went right on over to go on a real safari. Heading on over to  the Kilimanjaro Safari early in the morning has its own perks.  Sometimes the animals are more active in morning compared to the hot, Florida afternoons.

Overall, I found Tusker House for breakfast to be not only one the best character meals for interaction, but also for food!  Many of the other character meals we experienced on our trip did not have the selection that Tusker house offers.  We actually enjoyed it enough to be sure to make it the first reservation we made at our 180 day mark for our upcoming trip.