Boma Buffet Reopening at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Walt Disney World has announced the reopening of Boma – Flavors of Africa at Animal Kingdom Lodge as a buffet for breakfast and dinner. In this post, we’ll offer opening dates, Advance Dining Reservation timeframes, plus what else we can expect from WDW dining for the next few months. (Updated August 16, 2021 at 6 pm EST.)

Before we dig into the details, let’s cover some of the good news on the Walt Disney World dining front. A ton of additional restaurants since last month. Here’s just a partial list of restaurants that have opened in the last few weeks: Columbia Harbour House, Nine Dragons, Pizzafari, Toledo: Tapas, Seafood & Steak, Trader Sam’s, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Crew’s Cup Lounge, ‘Ohana, Trail’s End Restaurant, and Citricos. In fact, our List of Open & Closed Restaurants at Walt Disney World has mostly minor locations left in the closed column, which is a pretty significant shift as compared to even a month ago.

This is further aided by Walt Disney World starting to turn a corner on its staffing shortages. The College Program officially restarted in mid-June and has expanded in August 2021. The hiring initiative is also paying off–tons of new employees have gone through Traditions training and been assigned to locations around Walt Disney World in the last two-plus months.

Many of these new Cast Members have been working for a couple months, and now have the knowledge, skills, and comfort level necessary to make an impact. As these fresh faces have learned on the job, Walt Disney World restaurants have started filling more tables. We’ve experienced this firsthand, and also heard from friends and readers who have dined at the same restaurants we did in June or July–but now with significantly more tables in use.

In addition to this, off-season is here, schools are back into session, and crowds have already decreasing as compared to their end of July highs. Consequently, Advance Dining Reservations are becoming easier to book for mid-August and beyond.

This is all great news. Walt Disney World has been playing catch-up since (at least) spring break, and for the first time in a while, it feels like there’s some sense of relief to the supply v. demand imbalance. With Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary–and its accompanying crowds–less than 50 days away, this might be short lived, but it’s nice for now…

Let’s start with the official news: Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge reopens on August 20, 2021. Advance Dining Reservations will be available for booking starting Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

This has been an open secret for over a week. In fact, we were expecting a “Disney Foodie News” update about this (and more) towards the end of last week. Instead, the return of Boma was revealed via Tweet, which itself says “just announced” (where?) rather than the Disney Parks Blog, which is odd and inconsistent with past practice.

UPDATE: Walt Disney World has confirmed that Boma – Flavors of Africa will return with all-you-care-to-enjoy buffets at breakfast and dinner.

Per Disney, breakfast offerings include creamy pap, turkey bobotie, pancakes, waffles, deviled eggs with salmon, and delicious freshly baked items from the Boma bakery.

For dinner at Boma, the rotisserie area will offer pork ribs, salmon, African-spiced strip loin, Durban rotisserie chicken, and lamb bobotie. The kid’s cooking pod will have pasta and meatballs, mac n’ cheese, and chicken bites. The rotating selection of soups, stews, and chowders are back, as well as tasty salads like berbere chickpea salad and North African cauliflower salad.

For dessert, Guests can enjoy delicious Zebra Domes and a variety of other sweet treats.

Beyond that, all we know is that Boma slated to be the first buffet to return to Walt Disney World.

In fact, the Boma buffet is one of several dining updates (all of which are improvements that will be well received among fans!) that are slated to be occurring in the very near future at Walt Disney World.

After Disneyland brought back buffets last month, it’s an inevitability at Walt Disney World. Nevertheless, we can already anticipate outrage over this. Just keep in mind that “banning” buffets was never a legitimate health safety measure–it was always health or hygiene theater. As we’ve been stressing for months, there is no compelling scientific reason to not bring buffets back at this point.

Fomite or surface transmission is exceedingly rare and unlikely, thus handling serving utensils or being near communal food does not present any meaningful degree of actual risk. This is not to say buffets are the most sanitary thing–just that they’re no more “dangerous” than they were in January of last year. The highest risk activity at Walt Disney World is indoor dining, as has been the case since reopening. Adding buffets to the mix does not change the risk profile in any non-trivial way.

We didn’t eat indoors at Walt Disney World for roughly 9 months, so I can understand and respect the decision of others to do the same. However, since being fully vaccinated and comfortable dining indoors, we see no rational reason to be uncomfortable with buffets.

More than anything else, I’m excited about this from a “getting back to normal” perspective. We’re at or near the point where some cuts made under the guise of health safety might become permanent for other reasons, such as cost-savings. I feared that might happen with buffets, at least in the short term as demand outstripped dining capacity. Thankfully, it appears that won’t be the case–and the tables are already starting to turn on ADR availability.

Ultimately, this is exciting news and another step in the right direction. Even if you’re not a fan of these particular restaurants or don’t dine at buffets, this should be great news to all Walt Disney World fans–more normalcy everywhere is better for everyone. Moreover, the return of buffets is another signal that staffing levels are improving, kitchens at Walt Disney World are getting back to normal, and there’s less emphasis (at least in one area) on cost savings.

As previously noted, we’re now at the point when reopening news will slow down. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if we only got another announcement or two about additional restaurants reopening for the remainder of this year. There are still several locations on my personal wish list–Takumi Tei, Monsieur Paul, World of the World Lounge, and Artist Point all come to mind–but it wouldn’t surprise me to see some of those not return until 2022. Hopefully that’s wrong and everything is back later this year–after all, Disney stated during the quarterly earnings call that things would be 100% by the end of this year!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of this news of restaurants reopening at Walt Disney World? Excited for the return of Boma and Flying Fish? Looking forward to the return of more Signature Dining at Walt DIsney World? Any restaurant reopening announcements that you’re still anxiously awaiting? Hoping for more ‘restored normalcy’ announcements in the near future? Planning on going to Walt Disney World for the start of the 50th Anniversary celebration? Does this have you optimistic or pessimistic for more dining to reopen at Walt Disney World? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

34 Responses to “Boma Buffet Reopening at Animal Kingdom Lodge”
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