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NEWS: Limited-Time Lion King Dining Experience Coming to Jiko-The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s “The Lion King” is celebrating its’ 25th Anniversary and in honor of the film, a new dining experience is coming to Jiko-The Cooking Place. Found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Jiko-The Cooking Place is a fantastic restaurants and we can’t wait to check this out. Get all the details below:


Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Alex Dunlap:

Get ready to celebrate the circle of life with a new limited-time prix fixe dining experience inspired by “The Lion King!” Starting June 30, 2019, join us as we toast to the popular film at Jiko – The Cooking Place.

Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko transports you to the heart of Africa with its vibrant spices, crackling wood-burning ovens, and a delicious blend of traditional African wines and cuisine, making it the perfect place for this special celebration. Starting June 30, you’ll be able to partake in an exclusive three-course menu crafted as a one-of-a-kind culinary celebration of Simba’s story. As the dinner progresses, wildly talented musicians will join in on the fun with vibrant African melodies as well as live performances of the award-winning movie soundtrack.

Credit: Disney

The menu will feature dishes inspired by The Circle of Life: Nants’ Ingonyama, a story celebrating Simba’s journey through life. Each dish follows our lion prince as he grows up, highlighting each stage of his life through unique flavors and spices. You’ll start your meal off with the “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” starter – a dish featuring Young Cedar Creek clam malata, potatoes, pomegranate, and a bone marrow finish. This dish symbolizes the playfulness of Simba’s joyous childhood and his desire to one day become king.

Credit: Disney

Moving on to the main event: Be Prepared. Choose from two entrées: Bone-In Ribeye with hibiscus, nettles, and fregula or Lobster Sosatie with red shrimp, squid, mussels, and fragrant rice. These dishes are inspired by the eerie elephant boneyard and Simba’s courage to persevere through trials and tribulations.

And the third course, Hakuna Matata, celebrates balance as Simba grows up and learns what is truly needed to successfully lead the Pride lands. This dessert features caramelized orange, chocolate choux, and playful foliage.

Credit: Disney

Finally, finish off the evening with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and reflect on your journey with a selection of friandeses and teas to cap off your meal.

This limited-time prix fixe menu will be available during the dinner period at Jiko – The Cooking Place starting June 30 in addition to Jiko’s regular menu. Pricing is $65 per person, tax and gratuity not included, with the option to add your choice of two levels of wine pairings at an additional cost. For more information and to book reservations, call 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463) or visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.

RELATED ARTICLE: 8 Things You Need to Know About Jiko: The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

by Christy Caby

Jiko: The Cooking Place is an absolutely amazing culinary experience at Walt Disney World.  This is so much more than just dining at a restaurant. This location is at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House.  If you have never dined here before, you definitely need to add this to the lineup for your next trip.  Here are 8 things you definitely need to know before you visit:


8 – The restaurant costs 2 Disney Dining entitlements (and it’s pricey if you are paying).

This location is on the pricey side.  Because of that, if you are on the Disney Dining plan, you can expect to spend 2 table service entitlements to dine at the restaurant as a Disney’s Signature Dining restaurant.  Gratuity is not included with table-service entitlements, so you will want to make sure to budget for that.  If you are paying for the meal directly, then you can expect to pay around $30-50 for the entrée, not including appetizers, desserts, and drinks.  You will definitely want to sample everything to enjoy the full experience, so be sure to plan ahead and budget for this one.

7 – There is a dress code.

The restaurant is a bit more upscale than many Disney table service restaurants.  Because of this, there is a dress code.  With the dress code, men should wear slacks, jeans, khakis or dress shorts with collared shirts.  Women should wear skirts, dresses, jeans, capri pants, dress pants or dress shorts.  There are no swimsuits, tank tops, cover-ups, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing or offensive clothing allowed at this restaurant or other restaurants on property that require a dress code.

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6 – There is a special wine tasting event.

Every Wednesday there is a wine tasting event at the restaurant in the afternoon.  This event includes samplings and tastings of South African wines.  They are paired with cheese offerings that help to bring out the delicious flavors of the wines.  The event is for an extra charge and reservations are recommended for the event due to popularity.  You must also adhere to the dress code for the wine tasting, just as you would for dinner.

5 – Wanyama Safari includes a meal at Jiko.

Wanyama Safari is an amazing event that used to be very exclusive in who was allowed to book a reservation.  Now it is open to all guests at Walt Disney World resorts.  The event begins with an exciting private safari including up-close animal encounters.  Once the safari concludes, then guests are brought to Jiko to enjoy a multi-course meal. The offerings include African slices of bread, a sampling of appetizers, beef short rib, African-style chicken, sustainable fish, dessert samplings and South African wine pairings (for guests 21 and older).  This event is only offered on select days.  It is extremely pricey but well worth the experience and a delicious meal.


4 – The menu, including drinks, is completely inspired by African cuisine.

The entire menu was inspired by African cuisine, as well as a little bit of Indian and Mediterranean influences.  It was created by expert chefs in the field.  The menu is extremely flavorful with fragrant African spices.  The menu does change seasonally to match the desired tastes and typical offerings of each of the seasons.  The restaurant is only open for dinner, other than special tasting events, so the menu is limited to a dinner menu.  We love the artisanal cheese board for an appetizer, as well as the Charcuterie.  My husband can’t get enough of the Grilled Buffalo Rib-eye, while I love the Botswana-Style Seswaa Beef Short Rib.  I really don’t think you can go wrong with anything that you order.  It all smells amazing.

3 – It’s an award-winning restaurant.

The restaurant has actually won the AAA Four Diamond Award.  You will quickly see why once you see the complete menu and sample the rich flavors.  The ambiance for the restaurant is perfect to enjoy the meal, too.  It is a great location to gather with friends, enjoy a fancy dinner for the entire family or even a romantic date night.  We love the diversity of the restaurant, and the culinary delights are definitely award-worthy.

Photo Credit: Disney

2 – The location has one of the largest African wine collections in North America.

At any given time the restaurant has more than 1,800 bottles of authentic African wine on hand.  This is a huge selection of African wine which earns it a spot at the top of the list for largest African wine collections in North America.  It is likely you may not have even sampled African wine before, so be sure to give it a try when you visit Jiko.

1 – The dining room décor is inspired by The Lion King.

We have mentioned before how the menu and just about everything about the restaurant is inspired by African cuisine and culture.  Not only that, the imagineers actually did pull inspiration from The Lion King when creating the restaurant.  The restaurant dining room is designed after scenes from the movie. The dual brick-oven is meant to represent the large African sunset, which was also a popular scene from the fan-favorite movie.


About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!