REVIEW: Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom Surprisingly Raises Expectations for Counter Service Pizza
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…
The menu still has pizzas, but quite a bit has changed
The pizza prep process was completely revamped, with the pies being made fresh rather than prepackaged pizzas that were simply heated
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.
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.
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.