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Disney Dining Review: The Mara @ Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Mara is a Quick Service Restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  It is a family favorite, and in our humble opinion, offers some of the best quick service options on site! We visit this restaurant on almost every trip, even if staying offsite. (Disney allows FREE non-guest parking for day visits, perfect for dining and shopping!)

Fun Fact: The Mara is named for the the Mara River and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Africa.  Learn more about their conservation efforts here: https://www.maratriangle.org/.

The Mara is located on the bottom floor of the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House).  It is conveniently located next to the resort pool and the new Simba’s Clubhouse.  https://midwestmainstreet.com/a-visit-to-simbas-clubhouse-at-animal-kingdom-lodge/

Inside, the decor follows the Animal Kingdom theme, with animal murals gracing the walls of the seating area.

The menu offers a welcome departure from the usual quick service selection. Options include African Potjie, Falafel Bites (Vegetarian), Butternut Squash Soup, and a Tamarind Barbeque Pork Sandwich. But, if you prefer more familiar choices, the usual burgers, flatbreads, chicken nuggets and salads are also available. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom-lodge/mara/menus/lunch/

But what keeps us coming back on almost every trip?  We LOVE the Braai Chicken Flatbread. Disney describes this offering as a “Freshly prepared Flatbread with a Sun-dried Tomato Pesto topped with Oak-fired Chicken pieces, Bacon, Red Onion, Mozzarella and Saag Dahl Ranch Drizzle.” We describe it as DELICIOUS!  Many Disney pizza options seem bland and underwhelming, but this pizza is an exception.

The kids menu provides the usual options, but the large cooler area provides a nice array of “side” options for kids. Our kids opted for the chicken nuggets, fries, grapes and chocolate milk.
The other item that brings us back? The Zebra Domes! If you have listened to the podcast, you know that the Zebra Domes are one of our top 5 Disney foods. They are absolutely delicious! These scrumptious little treats are only available in 2 locations, Boma (Animal Kingdom Resort Table Service Restaurant) and at the Mara. You will not find them on the menu, but in the grab and go cooler section. Though difficult to accurately describe,  Zebra Domes are essentially white chocolate covered ganache on a light layer of sponge cake. The ganache does include a low level of alcohol. The treats are so popular that the cashier related that she has seen customers come and buy up to 30 packages (of 4 each) and place in a cooler to take home! There are also a number of recipes online if you want to give it a try at home (we did, they didn’t look as good, but the taste was excellent). They are also available in a gluten free version. We know this because we accidentally bought them! Although still tasty, we prefer the original. One large difference in the gluten free version is a thick chocolate base in place of the light sponge cake. This makes the dessert extremely rich. But, we still ate them! They provide a decent option for those who require gluten free.
In addition, the Mara provides a number of bakery items, grab and go snacks, and even a wine selection.

Another favorite? The Mara also offers “Jungle Juice” slushies. This is a frozen blend of Passion, Orange and Guava Juices. The non frozen version is available at Boma as well as the Tusker House restaurant inside the Animal Kingdom park .

On our last visit, over Mother’s Day, there were also specialty desserts available. These offerings will vary seasonally.
The Mara is a great Quick Service Option, give it a try on your next visit!
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