The Walt Disney World Resort is home to an endless array of dining options from food carts to signature dining experiences, many of which can be found in the hustle and bustle of its four theme parks.…
Trips to Walt Disney World are expensive, so it is great to find an often overlooked, free activity for foodies like me that is available all year ’round, the Jiko & Boma Culinary Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is easily one of our favourite resorts. It’s remarkably stunning and tranquil. We often hear that staying there is like a vacation within your vacation. As of now, the Culinary Tour of Jiko – The Cooking Place and Boma-Flavors of Africa is still available. Guests are encouraged to meet in the lobby near Jiko – The Cooking Place prior to the 4:15 p.m. start time.
This review is presented by a loyal Mouse Travel Matters reader and is written in the first person. We have yet to experience it. Next time.
This tour gives guests the opportunity to walk around, to learn more about the restaurants, the cultural symbolism incorporated into the theming, and sample a few of the things offered during dinner service. This tour does not give information on ingredients, offer recipes, or the chance to talk to the chefs. The tour takes just over 30 minutes and is a welcome respite from the Florida sun.
[thrive_text_block color=”teal” headline=””] NOTE: If you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, check the Recreation Calendar that you are given in your Welcome Packet at check-in to confirm the start time. [/thrive_text_block]
There were 14 people attending the tour and 2 hosts, one at each restaurant. We started at Jiko, which means The Cooking Place. Our guide described the decor – The birds on the ceiling are called prosperity birds, the ceiling in the restaurant is blue representing the sky. The multicolour tiles in the pillars represent the multi-cultures and all the countries in Africa.
The African wine collection is one of the largest African wine collections in the world outside of Africa.
The pillars had gold coloured rings that represented status symbols. The pillars had different numbers of rings to represent different statuses of people. The more rings an African woman has around her neck, the higher her status. We were shown the ovens, representing traditional cooking hearths, and were treated to a flatbread service with various dips that were bursting with flavour.
We then transferred to Boma where we passed a replica of the Victoria Falls before we entered the safe area ‘Boma’ which protected us from the animals. In one part of the Boma is the Kings table. The King’s table is colourful and has a sample of an African woman’s cloth fabric within the tabletop.
The rest of the tabletops within the restaurant are a plain dark brown wood colour. The is another special table that is actually in the shape of Africa. We toured the buffet and learned about some of the food. A few buffet items were pointed out to us before we tried Spicy Peanut soup. I don’t do well with spice and had no trouble enjoying it. We also got to try the delicious Zebra domes dessert.
Making Zebra domes is a 3-day process and contains the Amarula fruit which they say makes the elephants tipsy. The desert is cold and smooth, not too sweet.
The whole tour was less than 30 minutes and went so quickly I would like to do it again.
When the restaurant was opened guests were welcomed with drummers and music. We went upstairs for a Smoked Turkey cocktail and Magical Star Cocktail before wandering around the beautiful, unique resort and appreciating the savanna.
Things To Know Before The Tour
The free Boma and Jiko culinary tour is offered daily. Registration is not needed, which makes this a perfect way to weave in some spontaneous fun during a relaxing afternoon. Tour time is currently 4:15 p.m., though this is subject to change so reviewing the Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities Guide is highly recommended. Those wanting to do tour meet at the entrance of the Boma restaurant.
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Walking around the World Showcase in EPCOT is like taking a trip around the world in an afternoon. Each pavilion is a whole different experience. I have visited all of them but there are some that just simply pull you in and you have to keep coming back. I personally have never been to the country of Morocco; it is a dream that I have but the family has been able to visit and they told me all about the amazing the culture, architecture, and markets.
Until I can visit, I love going to the Morocco Pavilion in EPCOT. It is one of the few pavilions that I think is true to the culture. It is also the only pavilion that was set up by the government of the country that it represents. So let’s talk about what makes the Morocco pavilion so wonderful.
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Pavilion and Shopping
I like that I can take the watercraft directly from Future World. And because it is one of the least favored pavilions, it is usually quieter and easier to find a nice spot to eat, get a drink, and relax. The food is spectacular and there are several great shops where you can find all sorts of nick nacks including your very own magic lamp, carpet, or belly dancing costume.
These stores don’t carry the usual Disney fare and you will find many things typical to Moroccan markets. You almost feel like you are walking around in a bold Mediterranean market. There are several shops in this pavilion and they all have things that you would love to buy. My favorites are the genie lamps and the belly dancer costumes, there are many chotchkies and clothes to choose from as well. If you are in the mood to shop, you won’t be disappointed. As you walk around the world showcase you will also find a henna artist that will tattoo you as you take in the sights from around the world showcase as well as listen to the music.
As you follow the corridors you get a great idea of what it was like to live in an old home with a great courtyard. This style of home is common in Morocco. The courtyards have inward facing windows to provide privacy from the hectic outdoor life. The tower is a replica of a 12th Century mosque and the detail all the way down to the tiles used in the mosaic designs is breathtaking. Even the plant life is local to the county. The tiles come directly from Morocco and a special designer was sent to make sure that the designs were laid out properly. You will eventually wander into an old museum with little bits of Moroccan history.
The Tower of Terror, located at Disney Studios, was painted in the same shades of pink as the tower in Morocco, as it can be seen from behind the pavillion. The reason for this is that they were trying to recreate a Casablanca feel for the story so they tied in the colors as well as some of the plants that are used in the Morocco area to continue the authentic Moroccan feel throughout the parks.
Tangierine Cafe is an amazing quick service restaurant. The food is fresh and delicious. You can try something different and not be disappointed. Cafe’s are quite popular in Morocco life; it is not uncommon to find people socializing and having afternoon treats and mint tea. At the Tangierine Cafe, you can walk through and pick from several choices and the prices are very reasonable for Disney.
My son loves their hummus so we always make sure to get that. Dishes here include Falafel wraps, Shawarma chicken and lamb, and even vegetarian dishes. We usually get different dishes and try a little bit of everything. After we have our meal we walk back to the coffee bar and find some great desserts. We love the baklava but there are tons of choices to choose from.
You can also choose a table service restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, which has great reviews. I have never dined there but it is something I hope to do and the outdoor menu looks quite amazing.
They have the most amazing band that often plays, Mo Rockin. Their show times are posted so make sure to stick around for the next show. The music is authentic to the Moroccan region and it will always make you want to dance.
And speaking of dancing, they have a wonderful Belly Dancer. I often find myself walking away with a little shimmy in my steps. Mo Rockin is always around to create a wonderful ambiance, which is one of the reasons that this pavilion stands out and feels unique.
So, is the Pavilion accurate to the Moroccan culture? This is what Wikipedia had to say,”
The Morocco Pavilion, designed to look like a Moroccan city with a realistic Minaret, features the only pavilion in which the country’s government aided in the design. Guests to the pavilion gain insight on the lifestyle and culture of the Moroccan people through the Gallery of Arts and History. Restaurant Marrakesh, along with the Tangierine Cafe, serves Moroccan fare. Six shops adorn the pavilion, selling patrons everything from rugs to leather goods, and traditional Moroccan clothing.”
As I had mentioned, I have never been to Morocco personally, however, I feel like I am able to visit and experience just a little bit of Morocco through the Epcot Pavillion. There are things that could be a little different, but for me, it is a great experience and one that you should have too. Take time to walk around and rest and take in the surroundings. This is by far one of the most unique pavilions that the World Showcase has to offer.
World Showcase can be completely immersive and an experience for the mind and soul. Most of the pavilions will transport you to their country, some more than others. This is what makes EPCOT amazing. You enter a future world and then walk back in time to see the past of some of the worlds most intriguing countries and areas.
Watch this video to see the Pavillion and to experience some of its wonders before your next trip.
This post was written by…
Alex of Coffee with PixieDust
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