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Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: A Dining Review

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 9/25/2008

Many restaurants at Walt Disney World seem to get mixed reviews, but there are also a select few that seem to receive rave reviews from nearly everyone who dines there. One of these is the dinner at Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. That's a bit surprising, as it is home to some of the most unusual food on Walt Disney World property.

Boma is a buffet, offering a wide and varied selection of food from across the African continent. Much of it you won't have come across before, unless you're a very seasoned traveler, but having said that, there is still plenty that will be familiar to those more comfortable with meat and potatoes. One of the most frequent questions I hear about Boma is whether there's enough on offer for the picky eaters in a party? The answer to that is unreservedly "Yes!" and I say that, not because I've seen that answer from so many people over the years, but because I've also experienced it myself.

We've taken at least two people to Boma in recent years that would definitely fall into the picky eater category and they've come away praising the restaurant and saying that they would happily come back and eat there time and time again. So if that's a concern for you, have no fear. Everyone will be able to find something they enjoy.

But for us, the real enjoyment is sampling food that's new to us, and there's plenty of that to be found at Boma. The restaurant is designed to resemble an African marketplace and that's why you'll find a series of different areas called "pods," all with different types of food. There's one for soup and salad, another for vegetable accompaniments, one for meat and fish, and of course, one for dessert. There is an overwhelming choice, with probably more than 50 items available on any given night, and first time visitors often wonder where to start. Fortunately it's an easier choice for me, as a non meat eater, I usually head for the soups, followed by salads, then some fish with some vegetable accompaniments, of course leaving room for those desserts!

There isn't much explanation about any of the dishes you'll see, apart from their names and perhaps a couple of words about what's in them, but if you're unsure of anything or want more information, then don't be afraid to ask the chefs, who are always on hand, preparing more dishes for the hungry hoards. They're always happy to chat about the details of each dish and I've always found them to be very accommodating, particularly in pointing out which dishes are suitable for vegetarians. They'll also advise you as to how spicy dishes are, so you can judge whether you want to try them for yourself. And of course, that's the beauty about it being a buffet -- you can try a tiny amount at first and then if you like it, go back for more.

The way Boma works is that you just go up to the area that you want to sample. There's no line from one to another, like a conventional buffet, although the last time we were there, a lot of people were trying to do that and even the servers commented to us that they'd never witnessed that before. Don't worry if that happens to you - we did feel as if we were pushing in on occasions, but we've been to Boma enough times to know how the system should really work.

It's important to remember that the menu does change slightly every night, so you might not find all the items you see referred to here when you visit, but usually you'll come across some of them. My favorites include the wonderful curried coconut seafood soup, full of flavor, but not too hot and spicy, fufu - a porridge-like substance made from root vegetables, and the tamarind salmon. Again, this is another dish that's packed with flavor, but not so much that it overcomes the taste of the fish itself.

Perhaps one of the most famous items here and the one that certainly receives the most rave reviews are the zebra domes on the dessert table - a small pastry with chocolate coffee mousse inside, but stray beyond those and you'll also find some other wonderful dessert offerings, including chocolate mousse crunch and a pineapple upside down cake to die for.

Dinner is served at Boma from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm nightly, although hours may vary seasonally. Dinner costs $26.99 for adults and $12.99 for children between the ages of three and nine, plus tax and gratuity. The price includes non-alcoholic, non-specialty drinks. It's one of the Disney restaurants where holiday pricing does apply, so at certain times of the year, including Christmas, the main summer months and Easter, you may pay more than that.

Boma is also open for breakfast daily from 7:30 am until 11:00 am and the price is $16.99 for adults and $9.99 for children between the ages of three and nine. It features more than 40 items on the menu, including many traditional American breakfast items, along with a few more unusual ones, with the West African Frunch drink, made up of lemonade, pineapple, guava, orange and papaya juice a firm favorite with many morning visitors.

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 9/25/2008

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