The African-themed Tusker House is where you can meet many of the most popular Disney characters while enjoying excellent food in a relaxed setting. This character meal is a Disney World must do for us.
We love that the Tusker House characters don’t seem rushed. There is a laid back vibe for both the characters and the diners. The characters will stay at your table for as long as you want, so feel free to get lots of photos and cuddles. And if you need a break from racing from ride to ride, sit back and relax. You can stay as long as you want. The characters will continue their rotations and will keep visiting with you as long as you stay at your table.
No-one will be encouraging you to vacate your table here.
Walt Disney World character dining
Just like the Big 5 animals to see on an African safari, at Disney World there are the Big 5 characters that most people are keen to meet – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.
While you can head to Chef Mickey’s and hit all five characters in one go, we didn’t love our experience there. Hollywood & Vine and Tusker House are the other Disney World character dining opportunities where you can meet at least three of these popular characters. And Tusker House is definitely our favourite.
Find out how to plan your first visit to Disney World here.
Tusker House at Animal Kingdom
Bookings are offered continuously all day, starting with breakfast, which merges into lunch and subsequently into dinner.
All meals are buffet-style with a very relaxed attitude to how long you stay. Most people have a busy schedule around the park, but you are welcome to stay a while and relax.
We love getting a booking around 10.30am, which means breakfast is being served when we arrive, but it changes to lunch while we’re there. There is often no break in service with breakfast food simply being moved to the smaller serving areas and lunch food replacing it at the larger serving areas. Eventually all breakfast food is removed.
Tusker House characters
Traditionally this is Donald’s Safari meal, so you will definitely meet Donald Duck. Disney gives no promises about the other characters, but you are almost certain to meet Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck and Goofy.
As Tusker House restaurant is located in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom, all the characters will be in their safari gear, ready to go in search of animals.
The Tusker House breakfast food is always a winner with the kids – Mickey waffles! – whereas David and I enjoy the Asian and African influences of the lunch offerings. We find the quality of the food to be particularly good here.
Tusker House breakfast
The buffet breakfast offerings are similar to what you will find at many Disney World restaurants – scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, frittata and cereals.
Make sure you leave room for the array of pastries including the ever-popular Krispy Kreme donuts and heavenly chocolate croissants.
Tusker House lunch and dinner
In the kids’ section you will find American favourites like macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and mashed potato, while in the adults’ section the food gets a bit more adventurous.
Try a Malaysian curry or chicken with African flavours. With plenty of choice including more familiar offerings like roast pork, baked salmon and salads, there is sure to be something to please everyone.
Tusker House prices
Prices are variable with Disney giving a price guide of US$35-60 per adult.
We found in early 2019 that breakfast is about US$34 per adult, and lunch and dinner are about US$44 per adult. Kids are around 2/3 the adult price.
More information and bookings on the Disney site.
Bookings open 180 days in advance and I recommend diarising to make your booking at that point. Remember that you don’t have to pay anything until you have your meal and you can cancel bookings up until 1 day in advance without penalty. If you’re not sure when you want to go, then make a few bookings and cancel the ones you don’t want at a later time.
Five Tusker House tips
1. Have the kids sit on the outside of the table closest to the characters so they can easily jump up for a hug.
2. Get your autograph books open at the page you want signed. And don’t forget a pen! A texta or Sharpie is easiest for the characters to hold and write with.
3. There are no Photopass photographers inside the restaurant, so be ready with your camera or phone when the characters are getting close. Stand up and try to have your back to a window for the best light in your photos.
4. There is a musical parade around the restaurant once every hour or so. Younger children will love following the characters around the restaurant playing musical instruments. My kids loved participating in this parade last visit when they were 8 and 6, but felt they were too old for it this time at 11 and 9.
5. Be sure to get a photo just outside the restaurant entrance, where there’s a great backdrop.