One of the benefits of eating around Walt Disney World Resort is the ability to explore a variety of tastes, cultures and experiences. Whether immersing yourself in the backwoods barbecue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness or enjoying island cuisine at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, there is a little something that makes each restaurant unique and memorable. During our recent Walt Disney World excursion, we booked dining accommodations at Boma ~ Flavors of Africa, a themed table service restaurant found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here, we not only savored new flavors never tried before, but we also enjoyed the view as exotic creatures roamed around the savanna located at the resort.
Disclaimer #1 All expenses for this evening were paid by me. This post was not requested, nor compensated for its publication.
This trip, we were staying at Kidani Village, one of the two houses on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge property (the other being Jambo House). Since Boma ~ Flavors of Africa (for the rest of the piece, we will just refer to it as Boma, if you’re okay with that) is located at Jambo House, we were able to take the designated bus that runs back and forth between the two. And I’ll tell you ~ we were experiencing a serious summer downpour, so we were pretty grateful for that bus!
Because we were unfamiliar with the transportation between the two houses, we chose to leave the room early in an effort to avoid any chances of being late. With the weather the way it was, we had no idea how long it would take.
We actually arrived QUITE early and found ourselves sitting outside of the restaurant for a period of time.
Boma ~ Flavors of Africa
Boma is a family-friendly African-themed buffet located on the lower level of the Jambo House. Guests coming in at the main lobby level can either take an elevator to get there or the stairs taking a scenic route through the center of the resort. We chose the stairs – mainly because I wanted to snap some photos along the way.
The motif of the restaurant resembles that of a lively African marketplace where Guests dine under thatched roofs and are surrounded by various African artifacts. The buffet is stocked with foods from over 50 African countries, but don’t worry, picky eaters. There are some traditional American dishes served, as well.
I checked us in as soon as we arrived, despite being so early. I wanted to beat the mad rush that DID come about five to ten minutes before seating began. When I checked in, they took my cell phone number and said they would text me when it was our time to be seated. From there, I returned to my family who had found seats to the side. (I was praying I would NOT run out of battery – no charger on hand and down to 36%. Gulp!).
About five minutes or so before they began seating Guests, three or four Cast Members began a drum beat. Another Cast Member came out to the entrance of the restaurant and announced that, every night, they showcase and celebrate one visiting family.
Nope – it wasn’t ours…..but it was fun to see them lovingly pull in the chosen family and incorporate them into the opening ceremony.
“Brown Family ~ You’re Table is Ready”
It wasn’t long after that my phone buzzed with the text message stating our table was ready. We gathered together, moved our way to the front and announced we were there. Our host took us to our seat, as I snapped photo after photo of everything I saw. Yup – I’m THAT girl. To think, I can’t even be considered a tourist anymore.
We found our seats ~ a very spacious booth right near the buffet ~ and Isi, our server, made his introduction. He explained the buffet, where everything was to be found and made a few suggestions. He also told us to sit tight and he would have the Chef come to our table to discuss our son’s food allergies.
So, Let’s Talk Food Allergies For A Moment….
Because that’s what we often do here.
I willingly admit this one was a nervous one for me at first. It wasn’t the buffet part of the meal – we know how to manage buffets by having the chefs prepare the food separately in back. No. I was more concerned because we weren’t dealing with traditional American fare. I did reach out to some food allergy friends on Facebook to see if any of them had any experience at Boma and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So……I was looking forward to meeting the chef.
Meeting Chef Pamela
While Hubby and the two older boys spared no time and made their way to the buffet, I sat with Logan waiting for the chef to arrive. When she did, Chef Pamela introduced herself and we did the same. Logan and I immediately reiterated the severity of his medical condition and his sensitivity with regard to cross contamination. At first, Chef Pamela made me cringe…but she was obligated to say this. I get it. Disney is unable to absolutely guarantee the absence for the potential of cross contamination simply because there are allergens in the kitchen. However, she still made it a point to say that she was going to do all she could to prevent that from happening.
Within a minute or two, I was a little more relaxed as we began to discuss the menu together. Chef Pamela knew exactly what was on the buffet that night and what would be the best options for our son considering his particular list of food allergies. We started with her buffet item sheet, but then took our discussion to the actual buffet line, where Logan was able to pick and choose what he wanted after Chef Pamela noted what would be safe for him to consume.
By the time we reached the desserts, we had already designed a smorgasbord of foods for our little guy. I wasn’t sure where he was going to fit it all, but he was certainly intrigued by what was coming.
So back to the buffet…
The other three “boys” had already been to buffet once or twice by that point and were enjoying themselves immensely with the plethora of options before them. One very strong recommendation our server, Isi, made was to try the butternut squash soup, so we all made sure to do so.
OH – EM – GOODNESS! (yeah – I say that a lot). It was awesome!
THAT soup brought us all back to Massachusetts in the fall ~ one thing we all agree that we miss about New England. The soup had the best flavor and every single one of those amazing spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander) enhanced the experience even more! I could have honestly eaten that all night, but the boys were too determined to try everything else, too. (PS – I went home and found the recipe ON-LINE!!!)
Some of the other items we tried during the course of the evening included Ghanian Oxtail Stew, Chicken Corn Chowder, Tunisian Couscous, Spinach and Quinoa Salad, Salmon, mashed potatoes, spiced sweet potatoes, Basmati rice, Spice-crusted Beef Sirloin and more!! There were a number of sauces to try – a lot of which had a bit of a kick to them (oh, those spices!!!). The favorites at the table included the honey mustard and tamarind BBQ sauce.
Logan’s Meal Arrives
It’s always tough when someone at the table has to wait for a special plate to arrive ~ watching everyone eat while you wait for your food. However, when it does come, it is usually worth the wait!
Chef Pamela brought Logan’s first course out and he was ready! Fortunately, he was able to try the butternut squash soup, as well, along with one of the other soups. Out of the two, he really liked the butternut squash soup just like the rest of us.
His main course came and we were all floored!!! The amount of food that was on his plate could have fed all of us!! Check out the pixie dust that was placed in front of him. Chef Pamela went above and beyond ~ even to get Logan ribs, which were not even on the buffet that night.
For dessert, there was a little concern over whether or not something safe could be made for Logan. In light of that, we went with the safest option of raspberry sorbet with Enjoy Life sugar cookies as Mickey ears. It hit the spot and Logan was very happy. That’s all that mattered.
What about the rest of us?
Oh, trust me! We did not leave without our fair share of sweet treats either. From zebra domes and bread pudding to Kenyan coffee tarts, I’m surprised we were able to remove ourselves from the table and walk out of the restaurant that evening! I mean – take a look at all these options!!
Trying a new restaurant is always fun and nerve-racking at the same time for a food allergy family. However, we have been so fortunate with Disney Chefs and have had so many successful experiences. It was fun to test our taste buds, expand our palate experience and enjoy some different flavors at Boma. We look forward to returning at some point in the future.
Have you dined at Boma ~ Flavors of Africa before? Have you enjoyed the breakfast or dinner buffet? I’d love to hear your experience and what your favorite item was on the buffet! Feel free to comment below as I say “Kwaherini,” my friends (good-bye in Swahili).
“Hadi wakati mwingine” ~ Until next time…
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING?
If you enjoy following along with Footprints in Pixie Dust, take a moment to consider subscribing to our email list! By doing so, you will keep up to date on the latest information and latest posts. You will also hear what’s coming before anyone else through our weekly newsletter. Interested?
**YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE BY CLICKING HERE!**
BE SURE TO FOLLOW FOOTPRINTS IN PIXIE DUST ON:
- Facebook at Footprints in Pixie Dust by T.M. Brown
- Twitter at @footprintsinpd
- Instagram at @footprintsinpd
- Google +