Today we talk about The Mara, it's a fast casual dining location that's located on the first floor of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Mara story is located on the menu board outside just before you enter The Mara.
I wasn't able to get a good photo of the menu board as the sun was very bright, so I did take several pictures inside of the menu items.
As you walk out the back door of the first floor of Animal Kingdom Lodge...
You'll pass by the swimming pool located here (there are others on the property as well)
After the pool you will see the following sign overhead.
Continue on that path and you will pass by a lot of outdoor tables where you can dine outside if you like or if you have wet bathing suits on.
Once inside you will see a queue for ordering your main meals.
Here are the menu boards that were available on this day.
We chose the Braai Chicken Flatbread from this menu. What is Braai? Braai is Africans for Barbecue or roast.
It was a large serving, about 14" x 7" I would estimate. With Oak Fired Chicken, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, Bacon, Red Onion, Mozzarella and Sag Dahi Ranch dressing. What is Sag Dahi, translated Sag means greens and Dahi means yogurt. The surprise ingredient here was cilantro. We aren't fans of cilantro and it would have been nice to know that it was an ingredient so we could ask for it to be left off. But we were able to pick it off and still enjoy the flat bread. This was a great flavor with lots of meat and cheese.
From this menu we chose the African Potjie. What is Potjie? It's translated as a "small pot of food". It's a stew usually prepared outdoors. This one is a stew with beef, turkey, ham and vegetables served over Basmati rice with Kulcha Bread. What is different about Basmati Rice, it's a long grain rice like jasmine rice originally grown in India. Basmati comes from the Hindi word for "fragrant". It's nutty and floral in nature. What is Kulcha bread? It's a mildly leavened flatbread that originates from India. This was a generous portion and the stew was a taste of Africa with spices like cinnamon. I enjoyed every bite of this item. However I did share a few bites with my husband. The bread was a wonderful accompaniment to the dish.
They did have the following board posted for the Dining Plan customers.
You could either get a fountain drink that comes with 3 free refills, they also sell the refillable mugs here.
Or you can get a bottled drink from the refrigerated section.
You can also get ready made sandwiches and salads from the refrigerator.
And of course frozen Disney treats are available in the freezer.
There is a dessert, coffee and slushy section off to the side of the main queue.
They have a selection of fresh fruits.
And a help yourself dessert case.
Here's the menu for the desserts that were offered this day.
We chose the Kudu Cookie. It's a butterscotch cashew cookie with a vanilla buttercream filling. Sort of like a very thick oatmeal sandwich cookie in flavor. It was very good. A bit sweet. But still very good. We ended up taking it apart by unscrewing it and each took half. That helped to cut a little of the sweetness.
They have a large wall of pre-packaged snacks.
Once you get your food you can head outside to eat or you can eat in the indoor dining room.
If you don't finish all of your food they have a take out station set up in the dining room.
Now more about the hotel. Because you should absolutely take a walk around this resort. Animal Kingdom Lodge opened on April 16, 2001. In February of 2008 they added the Disney Vacation Club expansion of Kidani Village with more than 300 villas opening in 2009. We have actually stayed in this hotel. We were in the concierge level of the main hotel before the DVC expansion was done. We wanted to try out a concierge room before we went to Disneyland in California to see if it would fit our needs out there and were glad we did the trial run because the concierge level rooms to us were so worth it.
On our way in to the hotel we did see a hidden Mickey we hadn't noticed before.
To the left of the front doors above the roof line there are these two figures.
If you look at the left most figure his mouth is actually a hidden Mickey.
You notice as soon as you get to the doors that this is a Disney Vacation Club resort because they all say "Welcome Home" to the owners.
This hotel is very impressive with it's multi story lobby.
You'll find a cozy fireplace off to one side where you can sit, and read a book or just chat with friends.
Around the lobby you will see many artifacts but none is more impressive than this one. Standing nearly 2 and half stories tall this Ljele is a mask that is 16 feet tall, 240 pounds and is carried on the head of a single dancer. This one is the first of its kind to ever leave Nigeria.
Around the display are the following displays explaining the item.
Here is a close up of the workmanship of the Ljele.
On this day as we walked around the Ljele we noticed a room that we'd never noticed before in the lobby. Off to the left of the Ljele is this room. It appears to be a game room or a place to sit and visit or read.
There are many places to sit in this room.
And one of the things we love most about Disney properties is their attention to detail. The ceiling of this room looks like a basket.
But there are many interesting things in this room. First there is a cabinet on the right side of the room that looks like this.
I noticed it had a plaque on it and was very surprised to read what it had to say. I thought this was very cool. And would love to be there when it's opened.
There's also this wall of photos as you go up or down the ramp.
With this plaque.
If you walk outside you can see the animals on the savannah. This day we could see several giraffe, and Watusi cattle.
On the main floor (which is actually the second floor) there is a gift shop to the right side of the lobby.
There are so many beautiful things to see in this shop. We always love looking around to see what they have. We have purchased many souvenirs from this shop.
One of our favorite things is the lion head art on the back wall over the cash register station.
If you ever get the chance to visit this hotel, by all means do so. Even if you don't plan to stay there you can always go to the hotel, eat something and take in the splendor that is Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you have kiddos that love animals they can get a glimpse of them here.
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- Tags: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney Dining, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Eating at Disney World, Fast Casual, The Mara