Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Mara - Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Yesterday, I stopped at The Mara, a quick service restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, to check out their allergy-friendly menus.  The Mara is one of my favorite quick service restaurants at Disney World.  Their allergy-friendly menus list options for people with gluten/wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.  I have also included some pictures and food reviews from previous visits.

Oatmeal is on the menu as being gluten/wheat friendly, but I would not order it unless I confirmed that it is made with certified gluten free oats.

The bounty platter at The Mara is served with scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, sausage, and gluten free Mickey waffles.  My daughters and I loved their breakfast potatoes, and we thought the scrambled eggs were very good as well.  The sausage was much better than the bacon, so we decided that we would skip the bacon and just get sausage on our next visit.

An adult order of waffles comes with three gluten free Mickey waffles, with a choice of bacon or sausage.  We asked for turkey bacon, which is available at most quick service restaurants.  

Chef Frank told me that The Mara uses a mix of Bob's Red Mill and Namaste Waffle & Pancake Mix to make their gluten free Mickey waffles, which are some of the best on Disney property.  

The Mara also offers a bobotie platter for breakfast.  Bobotie is a traditional African dish with ground meat, seasoning, and an egg custard baked on top.  The bobotie at The Mara contains turkey, peppers and raisins, and tastes exactly like the bobotie served at Boma for breakfast.

The bobotie platter is served with pap and chakalaka.  If you like grits, you will enjoy the pap.  I wasn't sure I would like the chakalaka, because I am not a huge fan of cooked tomatoes, but it had a really nice spicy kick, and I enjoyed eating it on top of the pap and my bobotie.  I thought the bobotie platter was great, and would order it again. 

The Mara also has some great gluten free options for lunch and dinner.  Update  - These menu pictures are up to date as of July 8, 2016.  

My favorite entree for lunch and dinner is the African Stew, which is served over basmati rice.  The stew contains beef, turkey, ham, carrots, potatoes, peas, chickpeas, and raisins.  This dish is incredibly flavorful, and I love the combination of the meats with the sweetness of the raisins.  

Gluten free zebra domes are our favorite dessert at The Mara.  They are not listed on the allergy-friendly menu, but they are available from the back.  Avoid the zebra domes in the refrigerated case, because they are not gluten free.  

Zebra Domes contain an Amarula cream liquor mousse, which is made from the fruit of the African marula tree, and tastes a bit like caramel.  The mousse is coated in white chocolate, then drizzled with dark chocolate, and has chocolate bits on the bottom.  My daughters and I love this dessert, and never pass up a chance to get zebra domes at The Mara or Boma.

The Mara also sells mini brownie cupcakes from Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC in Disney Springs, which are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and vegan.  The cupcakes, which are available in the refrigerated section, are always consistently good, and I would eat them more often if the zebra domes were not available.

Friends of mine with celiac have ordered the vegetable flatbread made on an Udi's pizza shell with Moroccan chermoula (herb sauce) and mozzarella cheese topped with portobello mushrooms, zucchini, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions.  They raved about it the whole time they ate it, and my friend Jennifer described it as flavorful, with enough spices to compliment the vegetables. July 8, 2016 Update - I ordered a vegetable flatbread for lunch today, and it was delicious.

On past visits, I have been told that some of the soups, and the oak-smoked rotisserie chicken are also gluten free, so if you are interested in those dishes, or the hand-carved sandwiches, be sure to speak to a manager or a chef.  I love their butternut squash soup, which is smooth and creamy, slightly sweet, and full of my favorite fall spices.

My friend Sarah has several reviews of The Mara on her website Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW.

You can read more about The Mara, and view their menus and hours on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at The Mara?  


  1. I have consulted your blog many times over the past year. My 5 year old son has Celiac. We stayed at the Polynesian and had some success at the Captain Cook's and we enjoyed eating at the Comtempo Cafe at the Contemporary as well. We stuck to the quick service because our kids are not great eaters. My son found something to eat everywhere we went. I consulted quite a few of your reviews for various Disney restaurants when I was booking the trip. We're looking at the staying at the Animal Kingdom Resort next so here I am checking out the Mara. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. It has made it so much easier for me and I can relax a little knowing Matthew will have some good choices :)

    1. The Mara is one of the best quick service restaurants for special diets, and has amazing Mickey waffles. We ate there several times on our recent trip, and I have a new review on my blog you can check out if you have not already seen it. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorite Disney Resorts, because they have such great restaurants.