*This gluten free dining experience took place in October 2018. It includes information about dairy free options.
Dinner at The Mara
The Mara, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House, is a restaurant that serves classic quick service-style fare along with African inspired meals. Although I have not been to The Mara in a while, I always appreciate the options and flexibility that the chefs there provide guests. On this visit, we decided to stop by in the evening after work for a quick meal. We were getting ready to leave on a Disney Cruise soon, so neither Brandon or I were feeling like cooking as we got ready for vacation.
The Mara is named for a river flowing through Kenya and Tanzania. And, it’s theming reflects an African savannah. You’ll see lots of light fixtures and beams that are made to resemble trees and leaves.
In the ample seating area, you’ll also find a lot of gorgeous murals surrounding the restaurant’s exterior walls that features various African animals.
I have to admit that I’m always charmed by the artwork on these walls. And, with that in mind, I usually find a seat against the walls so I can look at the artwork more closely.
Like most Disney owned restaurants, The Mara has an allergy-friendly lunch and dinner menu. When you arrive at The Mara, ask for the allergy-friendly menu and to speak with a chef or manager. They will take your order and help ensure whatever you get is both safe and delicious.
On this visit, both Brandon and I were craving allergy-friendly chicken tenders, so we both ordered those. If you’re both gluten free and dairy free, you can also find the following listed on the allergy-friendly menu as safe options:
- Black Angus Burger served with French Fries
- African Potjie served with Basmati Rice and Allergy-Friendly Bread
Do ask a chef for additional options, as we saw several menu items that we thought could easily be made gluten free or gluten free and dairy free with slight modifications. So, it’s definitely worth asking.
Once we ordered, we were given a pager and told we could find a seat. I would say the overall wait for our chicken tenders was about 10 minutes from ordering to pick-up.
Our Allergy-Friendly Chicken Tenders were served in to-go boxes, which was a nice touch. We did, however, opt to eat in the restaurant since we didn’t want our food to get cold. As you can see, the chicken tenders here are still the Ian’s brand of allergy-chicken tenders versus the new brand being served at Columbia Harbour House. As always, these were delicious and a great dinner option that we both enjoy.
In addition to the allergy-friendly chicken tenders, the manager encouraged us to try the Gluten Free Zebra Domes. Believe it or not, I had never had these! Since I was dairy free for so many years, they were not an option and also have never appealed to me now that I reintroduced dairy back into my diet. But, we decided to give them a try. As you can see, they do contain egg, soy, and dairy.
With 4 Zebra Domes in a package, I was glad we each had a chance to try these. I found them to be just a little too sweet for my taste, but Brandon loved them. These are definitely one we’d pick up for him anytime we’re at The Mara. In fact, we were just talking about getting dinner there again soon, and Brandon mentioned we should get them! So, they definitely are a winner for him.
The Mara provides several delicious quick service special diets friendly options for guests visiting the resort. I always recommend speaking to a chef about additional options beyond what’s listed in the allergy-friendly menu, as I have found them to be an excellent quick service restaurant for customization. Of course, if something simple like allergy-friendly chicken tenders is what you’re craving, you can find that at The Mara too.
Have you been to The Mara? What did you order when you dined there?