With the opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World introduced their first fully immersive theme park land. Guests weren't just given a celebration of the mythology of James Cameron’s Avatar with some nice scenery and a few good attractions. Instead, Disney has created an absolute otherworld—an experience akin to stepping into a living video game where everything from the signage to the way your smartphone interacts with the environment reinforces the atmosphere of the Na’vi homeland.
Besides its two highly-praised attractions, one of the most anticipated elements of Pandora has been its food. Disney promised guests a dining experience like no other— Satu’li Canteen, a fully realistic restaurant based on an Alpha Centauri Expeditions mess hall in the valley of Mo’ara, featuring cuisine unique to Pandora.
With how insanely busy Pandora has been since its opening, it may be tempting to write off Satu’li Canteen as just another Disney counter service stand. I mean, how good can it possibly be with a drink on the menu that is literally just fruit juice and Powerade in a fancy cup (seriously, Disney)? Considering all the other amazing options Pandora has to offer instead, we initially assumed Satu’li Canteen would prove more hype than substance.
Boy, were we wrong.
We found five reasons why for some of us, it might be the best thing since swiss cheese.
1. Legitimately healthy food
Healthy dining isn’t necessarily at the top of many visitors’ list when it comes to picking Disney culinary choices. After all, part of the fun of a Walt Disney World vacation is casting aside restrictions to imbibe in a buttery School Bread or decadent Tonga Toast.
However, it is very difficult to enjoy your vacation if you feel lethargic, sick to your stomach, or you run face first into a sugar crash. Even so, most guests don’t want to be doomed to salads and wraps for the entirety of their trip just to eat clean.
Satu’li Canteen provides one of the best genuinely healthy dining experiences at Disney World, so long as you skip the fancy Pandoran cake at the end (and for goodness sakes, don’t order the Powerade-gone-wild.) The majority of the menu surrounds customizable bowls with your choice of beef, fish, chicken, or tofu. This is paired with a base of your choice featuring rice and grains, red and sweet potatoes, or quinoa and vegetables and a sauce of your choosing topped with (a surprisingly tasty) vegetable slaw.
We tried the beef and tofu bowls with the rice base and chimichurri, and it was legitimately one of the best healthy quick service meals we’d had at Walt Disney World. While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is already a frontrunner when it comes to healthy eating at the parks, Satu’li Canteen adds an entirely new array of flavors to the mix. Speaking of flavors…