DIS Contributors review meals and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and special offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, Tables in Wonderland, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the easiest Walt Disney World Theme Parks to navigate when it comes to clean, healthy eating. From the steamed edamame at Caravan Road in Asia to the curried roasted vegetables at Harambe Market in Africa, the park’s food options showcase the best and most nourishing flavors from across the world — and the addition of Pandora – The World of Avatar has taken the food service to a whole new world.
Our group stopped by Satu’li Canteen to curb my appetite before an estimated 235-minute standby wait for Avatar Flight of Passage. Nobody wants to be around a hangry Disneyphile in a four-hour queue, after all! The canteen has become one of my favorite restaurants on Walt Disney World property due to its refreshingly colorful, fresh, and flavorful menu. Thankfully, the rest of my party was game to give it a try.
Satu’li Canteen is nestled at the base of the Valley of Mo’ara, not far from the entrance to Flight of Passage. With plenty of spacious indoor and outdoor seating, it’s never difficult to find a seat offering views of Pandora’s bioluminescent forest and vast floating mountains. The restaurant serves as the mess hall for Alpha Centauri Expeditions Guides, who greet guests and introduce them to the fresh and flavorful dining experience.
The menu is based around the idea of building custom bowls — a popular fast-casual dining concept similar to Chipotle or Q’doba. You’ll begin by choosing a protein option: beautifully wood-grilled chicken, slow-roasted steak, chili-garlic shrimp, or spicy toasted tofu for a vegetarian option.
Then add your base of choice. I always have a difficult time choosing between a savory sweet potato hash and a hearty salad of kale, roasted cauliflower and flavorful quinoa. If you like to keep things simple and filling, go for classic black beans and rice.
Finally, choose from three flavorful sauces to bring your bowl together. I’ve always opted for the tangy charred green onion vinaigrette, with a black bean vinaigrette and creamy herb dressing rounding out the options.
Most dishes are topped with a crunchy vegetable slaw and boba balls for a pearly pop of flavor. (Although they sound exotic, have no fear — eating a boba ball is similar to biting into a juicy grape!) Younger travelers might also try an adventurous Cheeseburger Steamed Pod or “Teylu” Hot Dog wrapped in dough — or, if they’re like my niece, enjoy a simpler side of brown rice. The menu is complete with vibrant dessert options like the bright blue Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse. To cap off an early dinner, our group ordered the Hawkes’ Grog Ale, a fruity green-colored beer, which we were allowed to enjoy as we waited in the standby line for Avatar Flight of Passage after our meal.
All in all, this modern fast-casual dining option is a godsend for guests feeling deprived of colorful, fibrous veggies after a few long days on Disney property — and it’s delicious enough to satisfy everyone in your group!
Postscript: Our evening ended on a particularly magical note, thanks to the cast members at Satu’li Canteen who helped our group locate a missing MagicBand. One member of our party realized his MagicBand had vanished just a few minutes into our estimated hours-long wait for Flight of Passage. Rather than give up his place in line, we decided to take a chance and check in with at the Canteen after our flight. In a magical twist of fate, our wait ended up lasting only 75 minutes, and as luck would have it, our missing MagicBand was waiting at Satu’li Canteen when we finished our flight. Dreams really do come true at Walt Disney World.
Lauren Sparkman is a podcast producer, creative consultant, and Disney-phile from Indianapolis. As a DVC member and Annual Passholder, she visits Walt Disney World several times a year with her family and friends. Her favorite Princess is Pocahontas, her favorite dessert is Dole Whip, and her favorite Disney is Roy. O.