Disney Animal Kingdom
505 N Rainforest Road
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Downtown Disney. A destination location without a doubt. Flooded with families and young children on a hot day in Florida, the scene is a quintessential vacation scene. Sun, fun and shopping. What’s not to like. Especially for the kids. But there is a dark side. When it comes to eating, things can become a) quite pricey as they have you a virtual hostage and b) choices are limited. With only two hours to kill and figuring we should at least check things out (no kids in tow of course) on a business trip, a colleague and I tried to squeeze in both some gift shopping and a late lunch. Seeking shelter from the bright sun, our reprieve from the unwavering heat ended up being the Rainforest Cafe. Not the only choice nor a preferred one, just the closest one…
In hindsight, I’ve learned this is a big chain in the States with roots in thirteen states. As well, they have some international representation in places such as Tokyo, London, Paris, Mexico City and Dubai! I suppose this theme-style restaurant that stretches the ideal through its menu and motif remains a popular one, despite the downturn of other such adventurous chains like Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe. Inside and once seated, we got that “have you been here before?” query, no doubt something each server is required to ask patrons. The reason? Well, if it were not for the “warning” regarding the every-thirty-minutes sudden explosion of sights and sounds that occurs throughout the entire restaurant – attributed to the animal-themed decorations and props – I’m sure there would be quite the number of shocked customers. Heart attack-inducing loudness I might add. Complete with a thunderous roar of artificial sounding thunderstorms and lightning. Yes, we are after all, in a rain forest people.
Again, trying to stick with something from the sea and relatively healthy, my order turned out to be this grilled plate of prawns and scallops, as well as some vegetables. Charred, perhaps too much on the scallops which are more delicate over the coals, the quantity left me wanting more. Apologies for the cell phone generated photos. Served with a very sweet, sugary fruit salsa and some regular brown rice, it was a mix of flavors and not smothered with any extraneous sauce. Of the two, the shrimp was better off, still juicy inside though could have used some salt.
Your typical safe and standard mixed grill. Nothing special about it, just adorned with several ingredients, enough to satisfy the tourist’s appetite. If you are with children and are in a more festive mood, I’m sure the interaction with the ambiance would be a big draw. Though the rain shower show after two turns through it does become a little repetitive. I suppose the frequency is there to ensure that most diners get to experience it at least once during the course of their stay. Oh and one last comment. They had these ridiculous desserts, think it was called the Volcano. Complete with a sparkle stick, these came out to the dining area with great fanfare. How someone could put away that alone is beyond me, it was a tower of chocolate.