*This post contains a gluten free and dairy free dinner review. It also includes information about fish/shellfish free, peanut free, and chicken & turkey free options too.
Dinner at The Mara
The Mara, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House, is the resort’s quick service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Recently, we had dinner there with friends the night before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as we had a mini staycation booked there for the weekend.
Because we were with friends, neither one of us did a very good job of getting photos. You can see more photos of the restaurant’s interior and ingredients for the gluten free Zebra Domes in the last review we did of dinner at The Mara.
One of the things that I do love about the themes at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants is that they reflect where they are located in the resort. The Mara, for instance, is located near the pool and several water features. The restaurant is named for a river flowing through Kenya and Tanzania — so being located near the water is definitely fitting.
Because we were getting up extremely early for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, we all wanted something fairly filling but nothing fancy. The Mara has a variety of options and offers an allergy-friendly lunch and dinner menu.
Guests with special dietary needs can also speak to a chef or a manager about additional options too. On this visit, we did speak to a manager about modifying a dish to be gluten free and about the allergy-friendly fryers for Brandon’s chicken & turkey allergy.
While there are quite a few gluten free options on the allergy-friendly menu, I had my eye on the Hand-carved Turkey and Avocado Club Sandwich. The manager told me the only modification needed was to swap the bread.
The sandwich was served on a Local Oven bun and came with Hand-carved Slow-roasted Turkey Breast, Berbere-spiced Bacon, Pickled Red Onions, Arugula and a Chunky Avocado-Mayo Spread and French Fries. This was made gluten free and dairy free and the allergy-friendly menu also indicated that it was fish/shellfish free and peanut/tree nut free. The fries were also made in the dedicated allergy-friendly fryer.
The sandwich itself was really good. The only exception to this was the gluten free and dairy free bun, which was very poorly heated. Parts of it were rock hard and other parts fell completely apart. I have found that the Local Oven buns don’t hold up the best, but this was entirely an issue of poor heating on this occasion. Still, all of the components of the sandwich were outstanding, and I loved the chunky avocado-mayo spread. I would definitely get this again, despite the poorly heated bun.
Brandon ordered the Black Angus Cheeseburger which included a Grilled 1/3 lb Black Angus Burger topped with Sharp Cheddar on a Brioche Bun served with French Fries. The burger was safe for fish/shellfish, peanut, and chicken & turkey allergies.
The only challenge was the cooking of the French Fries. Unfortunately, the allergy-friendly fryer is used for cooking allergy-friendly chicken tenders. The manager on hand said that they did not have a vegan fryer on hand at the time. With this in mind, she ended up baking Brandon French Fries so that he could have them as a safe option. The chicken & turkey allergies can be a challenge with the allergy-friendly fryers, we have found. So, we always double-check with a chef or manager to ensure he has safe options.
Brandon said the cheeseburger was pretty good. And, he was really impressed with how good the baked French Fries were. He said he’d definitely eat them again and wasn’t at all disappointed that the couldn’t get them fried.
While nothing fancy, we both agreed that the special dietary needs options at The Mara are not only pretty plentiful, but that they’re very tasty too. We both appreciate that the managers and chefs at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants go above and beyond to accommodate as much as they can for guests with special dietary needs. This meal was a great example of that. We both agreed we’d order the dishes we got again too!
Have you been to The Mara? What did you order when you dined there?