Also the name of Animal Kingdom’s Signature Dining Experience, “Jiko” is Swahili for “a cooking place.” So “Jiko – The Cooking Place” literally means “A Cooking Place – The Cooking Place.” In true “cooking place” form, Jiko has two wood burning ovens that make you feel as if you are actually standing next to a fire. The chefs prepare offerings in an open kitchen for all to see.
Here are five things not to do if you decide to enter Jiko:
- DON’T wear a bathing suit and flip flops. You might be at a Disney Resort, close to the pool level, but this is a Signature Restaurant and there is a dress code. According to Disney, Signature Dining restaurants provide unparalleled cuisine in upscale, elegant surroundings, sampling only the finest fare Disney chefs can prepare. Dress for the occasion! At least cover yourself up!
- DON’T expect to see any animals while you dine. Jiko does not have any windows overlooking the African Savannah. Disappointed? Don’t be. The food on your plate will be so delicious and inviting that you won’t be able to focus on anything else.
- DON’T forget your wallet – this restaurant is pricey. Two points on the dining plan and anywhere from $70-150 per adult. Don’t worry. No need to bring African currency – the restaurant takes US dollars, credit cards, and Magic Bands! For those who are wondering, US dollars are also very popular in Africa and can usually be used as currency without converting. Many places frequented by the Bantu people also use shillings as a form as currency – but currency throughout Africa varies.
- Looking for a red wine to go with your steak? DON”T expect to see Malbec or your favorite French Wine on the menu. Jiko is known for authentic African wines. There are wines that you won’t be able to find anywhere else on property and very few locations across the US outside of Disney World. For you wine fans out there, this is a great opportunity to try and experience new flavors and test your wine palate. If you want to take this experience to the next level, you can schedule a wine tasting that is offered on Wednesdays. You will get to sample wines from the South Africa region along with cheese pairings. The wine pairing experience is by reservation only. For guests over 8, the Wanyami Safari Experience (special reservation through Guest Service) allows time for you on a trek through the African Savannah and then a multi-course dinner with wine tasting is supposed to be incredible!
- DON”T be afraid to try new foods – because I guarantee, if you are not familiar with African culture, you will not understand more than half of what is on the menu. But it is tasty, I promise. Start out with the “Taste of Africa” you will see!
- DO bring your appetite! We were stuffed after this experience. Because you do not want to miss a bite!