A much anticipated restaurant, which has always been one of our favorites, has reopened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Tusker House has opened its doors but is no longer a buffet. This restaurant is serving family style and they have socially distanced characters.
We initially had a reservation booked to go here, but after speaking with Princess and the Bear, find their YouTube here, we decided it was not worth the current price to dine here as vegans. Currently the lunch and dinner price is $55 per adult.
The meal starts with a salad to share. The greens are dressed when they arrive and there is a side of vegetables to top your salad with. The veggie cup has marinated cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion.
According to Nastassia (Princess) the salad dressing was a very basic Italian style and it was heavily dressed. The salad left them both wanting more to it and less dressing on the greens.
After the salad comes a bread service. According to the chef working with them the whole bread service is vegan as is. It comes with a red pepper hummus, mango chutney, and coriander sauces to dip.
The board comes with a crispy bread, similar to the bread service at Nomad Lounge and Tiffins. It also comes with vegan rolls, which don’t really go well with the dips. The dips seem to be the same as the Indian-Style Bread Service dips from Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The main entree here is an Impossible Durban Curry. I personally find it weird to throw Impossible crumbles into a curry, Princess and the Bear agreed on that too. The curry comes on a bed of rice, which with the beans it is a nice combo.
The curry does have some chickpeas in it. The breakfast version of this doesn’t have the Impossible in it, so you can always ask for that one instead. It seems a bit unnecessary to add the faux meat here when this used to be such a great vegetable heavy location. Nastassia notes that this is one of the worst curries she has had, but it wasn’t awful. It seemed like a normal curry with a burger crumbled into it for no real reason.
For the rest of the main entree the vegan options include a plate of sides featuring a vegetable medley, rice (yes, more rice), and roasted potatoes.
The rice is seasoned well, but not really a needed option when there is already rice with the curry. The vegetables are a basic frozen veggie looking mix of corn, carrot, and green beans. They weren’t seasoned very well.
The potatoes at Tusker House have always been a hit with us. They are still very flavorful and cooked well. I am so happy to see they at least kept the potatoes the same as before!
For dessert here they have a unique plant-based Chocolate Mousse. The chocolate is nice and creamy, and paired with the strawberry it is reminiscent of chocolate covered strawberries. The crunchies that come with it are very similar (if not the same) as the ones on the Flamingo Cake at The Mara which is at Animal Kingdom Lodge. [We also had this cake at BOMA a few years ago].
Both Princess and the Bear said they had great service, and everything was given to them direct from a chef. They both feel that the options for plant-based diners are not worth it compared to the non-vegan offerings and that this is a sad version of what Tusker House used to be.
Nastassia had said one of her biggest issues with Tusker House wasn’t the food, but how they handled the characters here compared to other locations. “The characters have 1 designated path they walk through. People sitting away from the largest space in the main room have a lesser character experience. There’s several tables away from the designated path and you are not supposed to leave your table. The characters come around frequently so you’ll absolutely get to see Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy multiple times but getting a photo might not be in the cards if you’re sitting further behind other tables.”
As a whole this experience seems to be less worth it for vegans than it was in the past. This used to be one of our absolute favorite meals, but after chatting with Nastassia we had no desire to spend that much on the mediocre offerings. Thank you for sharing your experience with me Princess and the Bear! I hope Tusker House eventually goes back to what it once was and we know it can be.
Review from June 2021.