There's still no opening date for Tiffins, the still-under construction restaurant coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom later this year. However, it looks like Disney is now making preparations for guests to make their first reservations for this restaurant, as as an official "coming soon" page has been put online (which you can check out here). While it will probably still be a few months before this table service dining location opens, it's likely that reservations both for regular service as well as the rumored Rivers of Light dining packages will be available well before this establishment opens its doors.
However, if you are thinking about making reservations for this restaurant (when they become available), there are some things you should definitely be aware of first.
1. No dining plans accepted?
One of the most common ways that Walt Disney World guests experience table service dining at the theme parks is with a Disney Dining Plan. Though each individual guest should decide for themselves whether a dining plan would save or lose them money, the fact remains that this option is still quite popular with guests, despite some of its drawbacks.
However, according to the aforementioned “coming soon” page that is currently up on the Walt Disney World website, this new restaurant, at least when it opens, will not accept the Disney Dining Plan. This is in sharp contrast to other table service dining restaurants around Walt Disney World's theme parks, including Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot’s Le Cellier, and The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Though Disney has not confirmed this development outside of the current "coming soon" page, if this restaurant will indeed not participate in the Disney Dining Plan, it would be a radical departure from what we’ve come to expect from the majority of in-park dining establishments, and could affect this restaurant’s early popularity.
2. An adventurous menu
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has earned a reputation over the years for its amazing food choices. From the flavorful street food found at the Harambe Marketplace to the smoky and satisfying choices at Flame Tree Barbeque, this park has always offered dishes that appeal to those who crave something a little more adventurous than your normal theme park fare.
Tiffins will expand on this idea by offering some truly unique choices that guests simply won’t find anywhere else. Though the full menu has yet to be published, we now know that dishes like lobster-popcorn Thai curry soup, grilled octopus, frog legs tempura, black-eyed pea fritters, and chicken liver pate will all be available for guests to nosh on when Tiffins opens.
While other, more “standard” offerings like Berber-spiced lamb chops, pork tenderloin and salad drizzled with champagne vinaigrette were also mentioned on the website, it looks like on the whole this dining establishment's menu will be a reflection of the park in which it resides and will dare hungry guests to dine on the wild side, which could be both a good and bad thing.
On the one hand, guests who go to Walt Disney World looking to try something interesting and new have generally had to wait for the annual Food & Wine festival every year. With Tiffins, they will find one-of-a-kind menu items year-round, which will certainly draw so-called “foodie” fans to Tiffins immediately as they seek out the most interesting and flavorful dishes on property.
However, the flip side to this is that such an ambitious menu might alienate those looking for more innocuous fare. It’s no secret that over at the Magic Kingdom the Jungle Cruise-themed Skipper Canteen has failed to attract substantial crowds during mealtimes, and often serves guests in half-empty dining rooms. Though some of this could be due to the strange reservation system employed at this restaurant, many have blamed the menu, which features dishes that you might not expect to see at the Magic Kingdom like Shu Mai, falafel, and rice noodles with pho broth.
While the cuisine selections at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are a little bit more varied overall than what you might find at the Magic Kingdom, Tiffins selection could scare away less adventurous diners which might limit its prospects as a major dining location in this park, and could potentially shift hungry guest load back over to the already overcrowded Tusker House, which features more moderate fare