Picnic in the park. A new dining experience at Disney World.

I love visiting some of our favourite places to eat when we visit Disney World, but discovering new places can be pretty exciting too. Our most recent trip was no exception.

If you’ve ever visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom park you know it’s not like any of the other theme parks in Disney World. Walking through it you feel like you’re in another world, with large trees and exotic animals. Well now you can eat lunch out among the trees, a picnic.

A picnic in the park

When you enter Animal Kingdom, visit the Island Mercantile store not far from the entrance. Just around the corner from here you can pre-order your picnic. But make sure to order by 1:30 p.m. (it takes at least an hour and a half  to prepare your food from the time you place your order).

You have the option of ordering a selection of cold sandwiches or hot chicken and ham. All orders come with a choice of sides and dessert, as well as water to drink, napkins, plates and utensils. And everything is packed in a nice reusable canvas bag (that you get to keep).

Choose a hot lunch with chicken and ham...

Choose a hot lunch with chicken and ham...

...or a cold lunch with assorted gormet sandwhiches

...or a cold lunch with assorted gourmet sandwiches

When you place your order you’re given a map of the park outlining designated spots to eat. They’re spread all around the park so you can pick one in an area you enjoy or perhaps one close to the next attraction you plan on visiting. When your order is ready (you can select a pick-up time as long as it’s at least an hour and a half from the time you order), you can pick it up at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, adjacent to the Tusker House Restaurant in Africa.

Provided map marks all the picnic areas around the park

Provided map marks all the picnic areas around the park

You can order meals for two, three, four, five or six people in your party. And you can use your Disney Dining Plan for this too. One order equals one adult Quick Service meal.

Our family loved this dining option

When we tried the Picnic in the Park dining option, there was no line-up to place our order or to pick it up. This may change as the option becomes more popular. I was worried that the dining areas would be small and therefore full. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the designated eating areas were rather big and tucked off the main path. We had our choice of table in a shady area over looking a lagoon. It was nice not waiting in one of the food lines and eating in a crowded restaurant.

Since our visit to the park was on a hot day, we opted for the cold sandwich option. We tried a mix of sandwiches (we were ordering for four people) and they tasted very fresh. I was pleased to see they didn’t skimp on the sandwich contents; they were loaded with turkey and ham and whatever else we ordered. At the suggestion of the lady at the order counter we order chips as one of the sides, which meant everyone received their own bag, and balanced it with some nice fresh fruit salad. I was glad to see fruit was also a dessert option, though they did have sweets like brownies and cookies.

The Picnic in the Park was a huge success with our family and is definitely on our dining list the next time we visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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