Posted by Jamie Collins on 6:19 AM // 1 comment
One of Disney World's newest Restaurants is called Sanaa and you can find it in the Kidani Village section of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
This Disney Dining establishment is about far more than just food. Being true to its name, which means "Artwork" in Swahili, Sanaa is practically a mini art museum showcasing artwork from a number of African Countries and cultures.
Not Your Typical Restaurant Tour
During a recent stay at Kidani Village, I saw that they were offering daily tours of Sanaa. On one rainy afternoon my daughter and I decided to check it out, and we are very glad that we did.
On the day we took the tour there were only 6 of us in all making it easy to ask questions and really get a good look at all of the artwork throughout the restaurant.
Our tour guide was named Charlie and he was from South Africa. He had a wealth of knowledge about the various African cultures represented by the artwork in Sanaa and he did a great job explaining this to our group.
The first thing that struck us as we entered Sanaa was the decorations that made the restaurant look like several large trees were integrated into the design. The interior was amazing. Note the trunks and branches rising from the floor to the leaf canopy along the ceiling in the pictures.
Everywhere we turned there was more works of art to see and Charlie explained where they originated from and their purpose.
African Love Letters
One of the most memorable tour stops was when Charlie explained the beaded "Love Letters." Charlie explained that the patterns of the beads told a story and each color represented a different emotion. Often the husband may have to travel to the city to get a job and his wife would communicate to him by creating a beaded "Love Letter."
This would explain how she loved him and missed him and wanted to know when he would return. The husband then would add beads to the letter, explaining that he loved her and missed her too and when he would see her next.
Authentic works of art surrounded us as we made out way through the 150 seat restaurant. In the above pictured Charlie is explaining the origin of the beaded necklaces shown on the wall.
As we toured the restaurant we also saw the amazing views of Kidani Village Resort's Savannahs through the 9 foot high windows. Here you can see a variety of animals grazing and passing by. They ranged from giraffes, zebras, Ankole Cattle, and ostriches.
The hanging lamps are examples of how the African craftsman can take even normal glass bottles and turn them into useful works of art.
Here we see examples of intricate beadwork created to tell a story within the overall lizard shaped design.
There are several side booths that mimic individual huts, complete with thatched roofs creating a special little room for diners to enjoy. You can also see the Hidden Mickey in the artwork pictured above.
Tour Includes Food Tasting!
At the end of our tour we learned that we were going to get to enjoy a complimentary tasting of Sanaa's Indian Bread Service featuring 3 different types of authentic breads cooked in the Tandoor ovens along with a selection of 6 different dipping sauces ranging from sweet to spicy. One of Sanaa's Chefs came out from the kitchen to explain the different types of bread that we were tasting and all of the dipping sauces.
Unexpected Disney World Treat
The tour that we took was not something that we had planned to be part of our Disney World experience. It was truly a spur of the moment decision that we decided to take advantage of.
This is one of many unadvertised Disney World activities that are certainly worth experiencing. The care that the Disney Designers and Imagineers take to make even a restaurant more than just ordinary is all part of the magic that is there for you to enjoy.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, I would highly recommend taking the time to visiting Sanna. Whether you get a chance to enjoy the food or not, it is worth your time to explore the restaurant just to see all of the artwork that is there.