The other Disney dining reviews I’ve written so far have all been table service restaurants, but this one’s a little different today: it’s a quick service dining review. For those non-Disney goers among you, there are a few different categories of dining at Disney:
- Quick/counter service: a meal where you (usually – there are a couple of exceptions!) order at a counter/window then are given your meal on a tray and choose where to sit.
- Table/waiter service: a meal where you’re seated a table, choose off a menu and are served by a waiter.
- Signature dining: a higher level of table service, usually quite a bit more expensive. If you’re on the regular Disney Dining Plan, this counts as two table service credits.
Generally, each resort tends to have at least one table service, one quick service, a pool bar or two and sometimes a signature restaurant or character dining location. The parks all have a mixture of these, but there are a lot more quick services as they’re cheaper and, of course, quicker for dining for busy people in the parks.
See more of our Disney Dining Reviews here:
I’ll be talking more about our experience on the Disney Dining Plan and how well it worked for us soon, but for now, this post by The Money Saving Mum is really handy to read to understand and use it better.
We had an equal number of table and quick service credits to use up, meaning we had a number of quick service meals under our belts by the time we left. We’ve also visited a lot more quick services in the past too because of this.
ANYWAY, onto the main point: I’d say that, by and large, quick service restaurants aren’t as well renowned as table services for good food – they’re more comparable to a fast food location. However, I’d beg to differ in this opinion for some of them, and Satu’li Canteen in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of these. In fact, I’d go so far to say that the food we ate at Satu’li Canteen was one of our favourite meals from the whole trip, let alone of the quick service restaurants!
Satu’li Canteen is one of the newer dining locations in the Walt Disney World resort, which I think helps towards its slightly more innovative and interesting menu options. It opened with the new land of Pandora back in 2017 (we just missed this opening on our previous trip!) and is the whole area is beautifully themed. I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of Avatar – I’ve watched the film but never sat down and watched it all in one go, meaning it’s not a big draw for me. But the theming was so immersive and just plain wonderful in this land.
Satu’li Canteen is no different: this is themed as a former RDA mess hall with indoor and outdoor areas for dining. It’s all completely immersive, and to the left of the entry was a sight that was very awesome: the meat for your meal being cooked over open flames. The menu choices are designed to reflect “Pandora’s natural abundance” of fresh “locally sourced” produce.
We used the new mobile order option at Satu’li Canteen which allows you to place your order via the My Disney Experience app then pick it up once it’s ready, or once you’re nearby enough to pick it up – you can order in advance then tap the app to let it know you’re ready to pick up and they’ll prepare it for you to pick up at a separate counter. This was super handy and meant we didn’t have to join the usual queue – it wasn’t particularly this day but was still fun too!
I chose the Shrimp and Noodle Bowl which was served with red pepper, broccoli and green onion in a honey-soy dressing with a cucumber and mango slaw. This was really tasty and fresh – the veg was nice and crunchy, and the dressing complemented the dish perfectly while not overwhelming it with a sweet but tangy flavour. I’d highly recommend it.
I also chose an interesting drink as part of my meal – the Pandoran Sunrise. With a quick service meal, you have a drink included as part of your credit so I was pleased to see a nice one on there. This was a blend of tropical fruit juices with Powerade Melon and was good – it wasn’t amazing but was refreshing and tasty.
Ben’s meal was really the star of the show though: he chose the Combination Bowl. The beauty of this meal is that you have a vast range of options to build your own bowl specifically to your tastes – this is something cropping up in various new Disney dining locations and I think is really the future of dining in Disney. Ben’s choices were combination chicken & beef, mixed wholegrains and rice, and a charred green onion vinaigrette. There are several other amazing sounding options such as red and sweet potato hash, black bean vinaigrette and different protein choices.
All I need to say here is that THIS.WAS.AMAZING. It was so delicious with a variety of different but very well matched flavours and all cooked perfectly. The beef is slow roasted, sliced and marinated in garlic, herbs, spices and red wine vinegar, and the chicken thigh is marinated in garlic and olive oil. Both were tender and juicy, with the flavour running all the way through. The bowl was also served with a fresh and crunchy vegetable slaw and boba balls – I think Ben would say he could go without the boba balls but I loved them, they really added a fun twist to the bowl for me. You are also able to customise the bowl by not including the slaw or boba balls if you prefer, or selecting a preference for how well your meat is cooked. As I said, I think this is truly the future of Disney dining as it allows every member of your party to create a unique dish that works for them at the same restaurant – and one which tastes SO good too.
Overall, Satu’li Canteen got a huge thumbs up from both of us. We’ll definitely be returning there on future trips, and possibly multiple times! I think next time I’d try a combination too and try that red and sweet potato hash – it looked so good!