*This gluten free dining experience took place in August 2020. It includes information about dairy free options, as well as fish/shellfish, peanut, hazelnut, cabbage, and chicken & turkey allergies.
Lunch at Yak & Yeti
Yak & Yeti Restaurant, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, reopened in July 2020 after the Disney Parks & Resorts closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brandon and I consider Yak & Yeti to be our favorite table service in the Animal Kingdom theme park for affordable meal options that work well for our special dietary needs. We hadn’t been to both the theme park or Yak & Yeti since February 2020, so we were both really looking forward to this visit to the restaurant on our recent mini-staycation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort.
COVID-19 & Reopening Notes
On this particular visit, we did not make a dining reservation for Yak & Yeti, as we were unable to find any reservation openings. The restaurant is owned and operated by Landry’s, and on this visit, we utilized our Landry’s Select Club membership ($25 one time purchase) that offers priority seating for guests. We’ve found this membership really worth it for us as locals, particularly when dining at Yak & Yeti and the other Landry’s restaurants on Disney property (Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex Cafe). With this in mind, we inquired at the restaurant about wait times and priority seating and were pleasantly surprised to be able to get a walk-up priority seating with a very short wait.
Yak & Yeti itself featured many mechanisms to provide sanitization, social distancing, and safety for both guests and cast members. All servers in the restaurant wore both facial masks and protective shields. Seating was modified to offer social distancing, and we noticed hand sanitizer available for use in the lobby of the restaurant. Unlike the Disney owned restaurants that we’ve experienced in the resorts, we were not required to have temperature checks. However, we both assumed this was because we had to have temperature checks to enter the theme park itself. Since this is currently (at the time of writing this review) the only theme park restaurant we’ve been to, we’re not sure if this is standard across the parks and restaurants.
As a note, at the time of writing this review, we have been to several Disney Resorts, including the Contemporary Resort, Old Key West Resort, and Riviera Resort. We have also only been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. All locations have the same protocols, as far as we have observed. Be sure to check with restaurants and the official Disney World website for additional information about current guidelines and recommendations.
We’ve written a lot about the theme of Yak & Yeti Restaurant. Located in the fictional area known as Anandapur, which is inspired by Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, and Thailand. You can see a lot of this inspiration in the Yak & Yeti Restaurant itself.
Perhaps our biggest recommendation for those guests dining at Yak & Yeti is to look around at all of the decor. We have been told that much of the decor is authentic or is a reproduction of authentic artifacts.
We especially love sitting on the second floor where you can get incredible views of the Asia section of the Animal Kingdom (if you’re lucky enough to sit by the windows) and get a chance to see a lot of the beautiful decor.
The second floor, in particular, always feels very well decorated with a lot of unique and interesting artifacts. I also love how the seating includes mismatched chairs and beautiful wooden designs.
As you can see by the photo on this visit, social distancing seating was in place at Yak & Yeti — with signs on tables currently unavailable for use.
Because Yak & Yeti Restaurant is not owned and operated by the Disney Company, the do not offer the standard allergy-friendly menu that you see at many Disney owned restaurants. They do offer a gluten-sensitive and allergy-friendly menu that guests can review along with the ability to speak directly with a chef — which I highly recommend.
We have learned throughout our visits that the gluten-sensitive menu is a great starting point but does list options that are not safe for those with celiac disease (such as French Fries that are made in a shared fryer).
If you have celiac disease or food allergies, it is always advised to speak directly to a chef. We have found that the chefs there take special dietary needs very seriously and have always gone above and beyond to accommodate us so that we can enjoy a safe meal. I also recommend looking at the regular Yak & Yeti menu, as many dishes may be able to be easily modified for special dietary needs.
On this visit, I chose to order the Grilled Salmon brushed with Garlic Ginger Butter served with Jasmine Rice and Stir-Fry Seasonal Vegetables and a side of gluten free soy sauce (tamari) which is gluten free but does contain dairy. If you are dairy free, the only modification in this dish is to omit the garlic ginger butter on the salmon — otherwise, the vegetables, rice, and GF soy sauce are all great GFDF options.
This is one of my go-to dishes at Yak & Yeti for something that is filling, tasty, but not overly heavy. I always love the flavors of the grilled fish and the stiry-fry veggies are always so delicious too. This is definitely a dish that I will continue to get again and again.
Brandon ordered the Lo Mein, which normally comes with chicken or shrimp. Because Brandon has both a fish/shellfish allergies and a rare allergy to chicken & turkey — he was able to get beef in his Lo Mein instead.
Brandon is also allergic to cabbage, so the chef ensured that they did not include Bok Choy in his dish. In addition, if you have a fish/shellfish allergy, do speak with a chef, as they usually have to adjust the sauce normally used in the Lo Mein. Usually, they make Brandon’s noodles with gluten free soy sauce to ensure there are no issues with his allergies. All in all this dish is made to be safe for fish/shellfish, peanuts, cabbage, hazelnut, and chicken & turkey allergies.
This is Brandon’s must order anytime that we go to Yak & Yeti. He has tried other dishes, like steak, at the restaurant. But, overall, he the noodles are by far his favorite dish. If you like noodles, this is a great option.
As an aside, I have also ordered the Lo Mein here before. The noodles are rice-based, and like Brandon’s version, they will use GF soy sauce in place of their standard Lo Mein sauce. So, if you’re gluten free and dairy free — this is another good option to choose too.
If you want to get more information about our visit to Yak & Yeti, we did film our visit and included it in our Mini-Staycation video day 1 on our YouTube channel.
Yak & Yeti Restaurant continues to be our top table service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We absolutely love the decor, the special dietary needs options, and the chefs who have always gone above and beyond to help us enjoy safe meals. We were so glad to dine there after so many months of not being able to and look forward to whenever we get to go back to the restaurant again.
Have you been to Yak & Yeti Restaurant? What was your experience dining there?