REVIEW: Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom Surprisingly Raises Expectations for Counter Service Pizza

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I had been hearing good things about Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom since they had reopened from a lengthy refurbishment a few weeks ago. Someone had told me that the pizzas were different now, not the practically inedible, circular, heartburn-inducing death-discs that they had been at WDW counter service restaurants since the dawn of recorded time. I had to see this for myself…

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The menu still has pizzas, but quite a bit has changed

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The pizza prep process was completely revamped, with the pies being made fresh rather than prepackaged pizzas that were simply heated

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I decided to start with the garlic knots. These were pretty good. Better than I expected at least and the marinara dipping sauce was a good accompaniment. You actually get a rather large serving for $6.99, whcihc really puts some Epcot festival offerings to shame as far as value.

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The shrimp flatbread was our favorite item of the day. I couldn’t believe this was a counter service item. It tasted very fresh and was a nice lighter option compared to heavy with cheese pizzas. All of the pizzas also came with a small cup of antipasto salad.

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I got the meat lover’s pizza. Again, I was shocked how good this was. It’s not going to change your life, but it is a million times better than the previous incarnation. Pretty much tasted like Pizza Hut, which I still think is a vast improvement over what it used to be.

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When I saw a counter service restaurant had tiramisu, I had to try it. Again, it was really solid. The only issue we had was that the cake layer was a little frozen, but otherwise it tasted good. I would equate my shock level to the first time I had counter service cheesecake at Disney World: this shouldn’t be good, but it is.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by my experience at Pizzafari. This is possibly the best counter service pizza at a theme park that I have ever had (including the often overrated Red Oven at Universal Orlando). Being from New York, I am extremely harsh on fast food Italian offerings, but this is such an improvement over what came before that even I was won over. I’m praying that this kind of menu is what we see when Pizza Planet returns as a new restaurant at Hollywood Studios later this year, because it is honestly what it should be. Is this the best counter service at Animal Kingdom now? No, but now it’s a viable option at least.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

2 Comments

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  • The pizzas at Pizzafari were previously pre-made and just heated? Yikes. When I worked there in 1999, they were all made onsite. Wonder why they changed that. Glad they are no longer doing that!

  • I had the new pizza today and was very unimpressed. The old version was
    so much better and we are sad to see it go. It tasted like cheap Pillsbury pizza dough. We also didn’t like they took away the side caesar salad and replaced with an antipasti salad. I can only hope that this doesn’t come to the old Pizza Planet.

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