boma-dinner

REVIEW: “The King Has Returned!” Boma – Flavors of Africa Dinner Buffet is Back at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

After being gone for nearly a year and a half, buffets have finally returned to Walt Disney World with the reopening of Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. After breakfast this morning, we returned to Boma for dinner tonight.

Dinner is priced at $49 per adult, plus tax and gratuity, $27 per child, plus tax and gratuity.

Restaurant Overview

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As before, guests check in at the reception desk before being seated. A sign in front of the desk reminds guests that they can check in or look for availability on their mobile devices.

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As we entered the restaurant, we noticed plenty of signage reminding guests to keep their face coverings on until they were actively eating or drinking at their table, as is policy at all indoor locations.

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Otherwise, little has changed in the restaurant’s setup since it closed back in March 2020.

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Tables with bench seating were distanced out, though the larger tables remained close together.

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To help curb the possible spread of COVID-19, a hand sanitizer dispenser is stationed at the entrance to the buffet line.

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As is usual at buffets, plates and bowls are stacked up at the beginning of the line.

Buffet Overview

Kids’ Meals

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More face covering signage can be found above the food stations. For kids (or picky eaters), there are chicken bites, macaroni and cheese, penne pasta, marinara meatballs, and corn, peas, and carrots.

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This seems like an odd thing to complement, but these were the best Chicken Breast Nuggets I’ve had at Walt Disney World. The exterior wasn’t super hard and the inside was tender and juicy.

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All of the offerings for the young ones were at least good, and they’re good options if you bring adults who are picky (like Colleen and Shannen).

Rice and Vegetables

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There are warnings throughout about how the self-service buffet is susceptible to cross-contact. Guests with dietary concerns can consult a chef or Cast Member.

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This station includes basmati rice, West-African black eyed-peas and stewed tomatoes, spiced green beans with golden raisins, and peanut rice with coconut, soy sauce, and ginger.

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The basmati rice was plain as you would expect, but it was the proper consistency and had a light scent and taste, a perfect accompaniment to many of the other items on the buffet.

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Not a top tier dish, the black-eyed peas were somewhat bland, just like the musical group.

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The green beans were among the best we’ve had at Walt Disney World. The texture was perfect as it wasn’t too crispy or too mushy. They were quite savory.

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This tastes pretty much like peanut butter rice. It was among the favorite offerings at our table.

Meats and Sides

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The next station had Senegalese salmon with Yassa sauce, olive oil herb-crusted potatoes, and sweet corn pudding with spinach and chakalaka jam.

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The salmon was flakey and delicious.

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The rosemary was a little too strong for the potatoes and they could have done with a bit more garlic.

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The sweet corn pudding was definitely one of our favorites and some of the team went back for seconds. It was sweet, as advertised, but not overpoweringly so. It had a nice flavor and the texture was soft and creamy.

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Here you can watch Cast Members carve African strip loin and spiced pork ribs with tamarind-honey barbecue sauce. The three sauces available on the side are Boma mustard (chipotle and teriyaki mustard sauce), horseradish, and tamarind barbecue sauce (tamarind-leguminous free indigenous to tropical Africa).

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A meat carving station is a great addition to the buffet. The rich, smokey flavors were all there on these ribs. The BBQ sauce was very mild. They had a brown sugar coating that we thoroughly enjoyed.

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The meat itself was a bit dry and some parts were tough to chew.

The strip loin was tender and the tangy tamarind BBQ sauce compliments this offering very well. Personally, I’m a big horseradish guy, and this is one of the few Walt Disney World Restaurants willing to let me have as much as I want, and one of the few that has straight horseradish for that matter.

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Next is Boma’s classic Bobotie, which is a South African dish including ground beef, lamb, mushrooms, and egg. This dish has a spongy texture. The eggs have a nice sweet flavor. It was a bit thin on mushrooms, but overall a nice offering.

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Next to the Bobotie is Durban-style roasted Chicken. Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. The chicken was tender and juicy with a well-seasoned exterior.

Soups, Salads, and Fruits

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As in the past, the soup station is the star. You’ll find cote d’Ivoire (seafood gumbo), sambal chicken corn chowder, butternut squash soup, and Ghanaian oxtail stew (Western African-inspired tomato-based stew with tamarind).

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The soups were mostly great, with the sambal chicken corn chowder and butternut squash soup as the favorites. The oxtail soup was a little to salty for us.

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The butternut squash soup might have been the best version we have ever had. It was perfectly creamy. It had more cinnamon than we expected, but it worked extremely well. All of us went back for seconds.

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This station has marira and the avocado, papaya, and grapefruit salad.

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The marira is a lentil stew, a good protein for a vegetarian. For such a dish, it was very good.

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As at breakfast, we found this to be an odd combination that just doesn’t work.

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Tunisian couscous and shrimp salad, North African cauliflower salad, tabbouleh salad, berbere chicken salad, pasta salad, and kool slaw reside at the next station.

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Honestly, we enjoyed all but the Tunisian couscous salad, but the pasta salad was far and away our favorite.

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There are plenty of extra dressings and toppings alongside the mixed green salads. Guests can add on Sag Dahl buttermilk dressing, kalamata olives, lentils, feta cheese, chickpeas, chili cilantro vinaigrette, cucumber, onion, and tomato.

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This has the most options of any salad on Disney property.

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The salad is exceptionally fresh and the chili cilantro vinaigrette was phenomenal.

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For a tasty and nutritious pick, the next stop is fruit. There are grapes, strawberries, and watermelon, plus the Boma fruit salad, and spiced cottage cheese with berbere-glazed pineapple.

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Breads

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A meal wouldn’t be complete without some breads and spreads. Guests can enjoy mealie bread (sweet cornbread), pita bread, and french rolls, with butter, hummus, coriander hummus, and sun-dried tomato hummus.

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Other than the cornbread, the breads are noting special, but hummus fans will enjoy the variety available.

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Despite its name, the mealie bread was not as sweet as one would expect, but it still had a nice amount of sweetness. It wasn’t crumbly or gritty as some corn muffins can be. It makes for a good bite-sized addition to your plate.

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The pita bread was very dry, but the various hummus accompanying it were excellent. We liked the coriander hummus the best.

Desserts

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Finally, we have lots to choose from for dessert. Banana bread pudding has its own station with vanilla sauce on the side.

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This banana bread pudding was delicious. It was served warm with a rich flavor and the right texture. It’s crunchy on top and soft and sweet on the inside.

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Next is a Mickey head of mini cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were pretty stale and the cupcake was nothing to write home about.

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Luckily the other stations have some amazing alternatives.

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Here you’ll find passion fruit mousse, hazelnut brownies, zebra domes, Kenyan coffee tarts, and pineapple financier.

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Of course, the Zebra Domes are still the star. The rich amarula cream flavor is super sweet, perhaps even sweeter than before. It comes over a vanilla cake, but the combination remains a favorite.

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The colorful passion fruit mousse was the sleeper hit. It is profoundly tart, which is offset by the creamy mousse. Overall it’s a nice counter-offering to the super sweet dessert lineup.

The brownies are usually the most forgettable dessert on these buffets, but they elevated the item with a crunchy, sweet hazelnut coating. It’s worth a try for sure.

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The coffee tart is a HUGE downgrade from the previous version. It lacked much flavor, with only a harsh coffee taste on the back end. Please bring back the old version.

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The pineapple financier (top left) is good for what it is, featuring more of an apple cinnamon flavor than pineapple.

Drinks

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A drink menu is provided at each table, featuring wines and cocktails.

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Overall Thoughts

Thankfully, Boma is one of those returning Walt Disney World experiences that has come back pretty much exactly as we remember it.

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In this case, actually, I’d dare say dinner was even better than I remembered it. This is not an easy feat to accomplish on your reopening night.

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Boma remains the gold standard for all-you-care-to-enjoy dining at the Most Magical Place on Earth. If you’ve been in the past, you should return, and if you’ve never been, make a point to try it on your next visit.

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