By Jennifer Stuart
The Mara Restaurant is a quick service restaurant located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World. The Mara serves both American favourites and some items with an African twist. Read on for more information about the location, the seating and of course, the food.
The Mara is open all day and serves breakfast until 11am. This review covers items that can be found at lunch and dinner service.
The Mara is located in Animal Kingdom Lodge on the lower level near the main pool. You don't need to be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat here. We recommend it for anyone who is visiting Animal Kingdom and wants to take a break from the parks and eat somewhere that makes everyone happy. You can always take Disney transportation (bus) to Animal Kingdom Lodge or take a quick Uber.
Seating at the Mara is mainly indoors and air conditioned, but there is also some limited outdoor seating between the restaurant and the pool area.
The food at the Mara is a good mix of standard favourites and some good vegetarian and African flavoured foods.
If you have read several of my posts you will know that one of my go-to choices is a chicken caesar salad. This one came in a plastic to-go style bowl but was freshly made. This was a big salad with a lot of romaine lettuce. The chicken breast was nicely cooked and had good flavour. On top there was some grated parmessan and some croutons. Personally I would have liked a couple more croutons but that is personal preference and most likely varies. Definitely a solidly dependable choice if you are looking for a lighter meal.
This was a hearty half-chicken dinner plate. It included some naan bread, rice and vegetable stew. The chicken was well cooked and not too dry. The flavour was OK but not great. The bread and couscous were pretty bland, and the vegetable stew, while having strong flavour, would probably not be to everyone's taste.
Both the pizza (flatbread) and the burgers are pretty similar to most quick service Disney restaurants. So nothing too special, but nothing to offend. If you like Disney flatbread pizza then you will like this one. The burger was defiinitely a hit and the fries were solidly good too.
There are several slushy drinks available - which are another standard Disney option - but which make my kids very happy.
The desserts at the Mara are definitely a highlight and make this a worthwhile stop if you are looking for a good counter service option.
The cupcakes all looked delicious but I went with this limited time Violet cupcake. This one was a really moist chocolate cupcake with a surprise custard centre and a good amount of icing on top. It looked almost too pretty to eat but sooo good once I took that first bite. The custard centre helped to keep the cake moist and to balance some of the sweetness of the icing. I will definitely be back to try more cupcakes here in the future.
The Nylla Brownie is one of the specialty desserts that you can only get at the Mara and is definitely a winner if you are a chocolate and peanut butter fan. This is a Mickey-shaped brownie base with peanut butter icing on top and a few chocolate accents to make it look like a nylla (African butterfly). It is a really good size and definitely shareable as that peanut butter icing makes it pretty rich. This was also a kid pleaser.
You can find a menu for the Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge here. As in many resorts there is also a grab and go section for those who would like to take their food and eat in their rooms or elsewhere.
If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in some of our other Disney World posts.
Photos by Jennifer Stuart
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