The newest Walt Disney World table-service restaurant is part of the biggest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Tiffins, in the park’s Discovery Island area, opens this summer with dishes inspired by the world travels of the park’s creators.
“Tiffin” is the Indian word for a lunchbox used by travelers (also a mid-day meal), and the 252-seat restaurant in the park’s Discovery Island area will open daily for lunch and dinner with menus that takes diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
A detailed map within the restaurant’s entryway sets the stage for an immersive dining experience celebrating world travel, with bold artwork derived from sketches, journals and research from those who created the theme park.
“Tiffins is the signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrating the culture of design and research that went into creating this unique park,” said Emily O’Brien, Walt Disney Imagineering executive show producer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
O’Brien describes the interior design as “a gallery you can dine in with artwork that is a direct result of travels to Africa, Asia and South America which influenced the design of the park.” The ideas of the park’s design team, including sketches, photography, architecture and textures, are all presented in a way that is uniquely Disney.
“All the senses are explored and turned into amazing works of art,” said O’Brien. “The galleries, or dining rooms, focus on Asia [Trek Gallery with 74 seats] and Africa [Safari Gallery with 64 seats], and the third [Grand Gallery with 114 seats] pays homage to animal species that the Disney Conservation Fund works to protect.”
The travel-inspired artwork includes a static, three-dimensional piece that features prayer flags blowing in the wind. “As our research team traveled up the high mountains of Nepal, the winds were strong,” explained O’Brien. “The prayer flags are rarely seen hanging, they are always blowing.” This portrayal of the motion is realistically captured in the display which will hang above a corner booth in the Trek Gallery.
“Tiffins is not about a make-believe place, it’s about real people and places,” said O’Brien.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is about the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action, and the adjacent Nomad Lounge brings into focus these core values. With beautiful waterfront views, the lounge focuses on storytelling, and also on guests’ travels, with large banners as “artistic representations” of answers to travel questions written on the perimeter wall. For instance, “what do you always do when traveling” or “what was your most adventurous moment?”
“We’re trying to tell the story of how guests can make a change,” said O’Brien. While the answers of Disney experts are displayed, guests also have the opportunity to purchase a tag that supports the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and to write their own answers to the questions to display above the bar– a way to share their own travel stories “so they can be a part of the story,” said O’Brien.
Up next: The inventive food and beverage menus for Tiffins and Nomad Lounge.