by Passholder Diva
While the recently opened Pandora – the World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom is certainly stunning, it’s not very large, and if it’s a crowded day (which is just about every day lately!), then there are very few spots to chill out while you are awaiting your coveted FastPass+ timeslot for Flight of Passage or Na’vi River Journey. Fortunately, we have discovered a veritable hidden oasis to hang out in just steps from the entrance to Pandora, and we now make it part of our trip every time we head to the park: Nomad Lounge.
Nomad Lounge is actually attached to Tiffins restaurant, just to the right of the bridge to Pandora. It features both indoor and outdoor seating, but we have only ever sat outside on the lovely, shaded porch. This porch features comfy couches and wicker lounge chairs. In the summer, there are ceiling fans to cool you off and there are outdoor heaters in the winter time (we actually needed these on President’s Day weekend this past January). We like the outdoor seating because it has a view over the water and the bridge into Pandora that fits in perfectly with the world traveler/adventurous explorer theme of the restaurant. Indoors is also lovely, though, and there are great artifacts relating to the Imagineering of Animal Kingdom in the hallway on the way to the restrooms.
The food menu is small and a bit exotic. It has changed a few times over the past year or so. But we have found everything that we have ever tried to be very tasty. On some occasions, we have been offered the opportunity to order from the appetizer menu from Tiffins as well.
I wouldn’t suggest this as a place to get a full meal, it would be quite pricey for that, but if you just need something to tide you over before your evening ADR (or a meal at our favorite Animal Kingdom counter service spot, Satu’li Canteen), then there are a lot of great choices. The Signature bread service featured on both Tiffins and Nomad’s menus ($10.00) is fantastic. The breads and the dips have changed a few times, but have always been good.
Another favorite that we’ve had several times is the Vegetarian Pad Thai with spicy peanut sauce ($11.00). It comes in a cute ceramic bowl that looks like a takeout box.
The African-Spiced Wagyu Beef Sliders with vinegared potatoes ($15.00) are essentially burgers and fries, with an African twist.
In January, with temperatures dipping down into the 50s, we tried the Butternut Squash soup from the Tiffins appetizer menu. While it was tasty, the portion size was a little small for $13.00.
I tried the exotic Roasted Beets and Burrata salad ($14.00) which features Beet Sponge, Cashew Nut Kashata, Pickled Blackberries, Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil, also from the Tiffins menu. It’s very interesting, and somewhat “deconstructed.” I’m glad I tried it, but I don’t know that I would rush to order it again.
The real stars here, though, since this *is* a lounge, are the alcoholic beverages.
Don’t judge, but over time we’ve tried quite a few of the Signature Cocktails. We’ve decided our favorites are the Tempting Tigress — Russell’s Reserve 10 yr Bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Tamarind Syrup, and Lime Juice – and the Snow Leopard Salvation: Snow Leopard Vodka, Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, Mint, and Lime Juice topped with Ginger Beer.
While I’m not a huge gin fan, the Annapurna Zing, Bombay Sapphire East Gin, Passion Fruit Purée, Mint, Simple Syrup, and Lime Juice topped with Ginger Beer, is both pleasing to the palate and the eye.
On our January visit, we also sampled the Mustang Coffee, which is Crown Royal, Brown Sugar, and Butter with hot Coffee. This is said to be inspired by famed Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and it certainly hit the spot on a chilly day.
We haven’t had a chance yet to sample the Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale Draft, which is brewed especially for the location by Concrete Beach Brewery in Miami and is a nod to the long-gone Adventurers Club at Pleasure Is
The one drink I really didn’t care for is the Dalang’s Delight: Starr African Rum, Batavia-Arrack van Oosten, Vander Hum Tangerine Liqueur, Mountain Berry Tea, Simple Syrup, and Lemon Juice. For some reason, the berry tea, lemon, and simple syrup combined, in my opinion, for an almost cough medicine-like taste.
The atmosphere of this lounge is laid back yet luxe (it is, after all, attached to a signature restaurant). Families and kids are definitely welcome, though. We’ve brought our kids each time we’ve gone here, which is part of the reason we choose the outside seating. Nomad is a great place to take a breather before you head into Pandora, or to regroup after you’ve stood in line for a couple of hours.
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