Sanaa, Jiko or Artist Point on Arrival Day?

We have three-generation party that is staying at the Marriott Cypress Harbour (convenient to MK and UO). However, on arrival evening (Tuesday b-4 Thanskgiving) I’d love my nearly 7 year old son (and all of us, grandparents included,) to “feel” Disney, since we aren’t staying on property. For context, we also have a 10 month old, hence the need for “earlier-side” reservations.

I am sitting on 2 reservations, but trying to get a third (and would like to release the ones we won’t use as soon as possible)
Jiko - (5.35pm) a bit tight in terms of getting there from a 3.40pm airport arrival, but doable
Sanaa - no luck yet, but know reservations keep popping up.
The Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge (6.20pm) - the best time

What do you all recommend? I love the idea of seeing the safari animals outside, but it might be too dark at 6pm to get the benefit. I know that Jiko is Lion-king themed, and the significantly higher rated restaurant, but it will be a tight turn time to get there. The Artist Point is at the Wilderness Lodge is the best time. The lodge is very “Disney” themed, but the restaurant itself is relatively lower rated in terms of food.

It’s important to note:
We can go back to Jiko on Friday evening , but also could go to the Flying Fish Cafe on the Boardwark. Not sure we need to do 2 “African-esque” dinners, so probably need to decide between Sanaa and Jiko, For example, I wouldn’t do Sanaa on Tuesday and Jiko on Friday.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

We haven’t eaten at Sanaa or Jiko, but we have eaten at Artist Point, and it was absolutely marvelous! The resort will be decorated for Christmas by then, and the lobby will be so beautiful. I would vote for Artist Point, especially since you have Jiko in mind for Friday night.

I have eaten at all of the restaurants you are considering and really they are all very, very good.

Jiko is my favorite restaurant. It is beautiful and a very different restaurant. The staff will welcome you, explain the symbols that decorate the restaurant and then bring you warm scented towels. All that is one thing- but trust me- the wild boar appetizer may be the most amazing food I have ever eaten.

The outside of the restaurant is beautiful as is the whole resort!

You can also view the animals at night with night vision goggles ( at least keep one of your ADRs here!

Artist Point is lovely! It has such great food. I love the soup. I always think of both Jiko and Artist Point as "quieter restaurants but both are family friendly.

Sanaa has great food but one of the best advantages of Sanaa is the view of the animals that will be lost at night. I find I can eat pretty cheaply at Sanaa since we will get the bread services and then split entrees.

I enjoy Flying Fish. It has great food but is a little louder than the others.

You will have a great time regardless of your choice. Wow! You have great taste in restaurants.

Thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback. Quieter is good, as my father and mother in law can’t do noisy restaurants (hence Rainforest is definitely out).

Hello, fellow Touring Planner! Of the three restaurants you mentioned, Sanaa would be my first choice for dining with a 7-year-old, simply because of the views. However, at this time of year, it tends to get dark sooner, and today (Friday 13th) it was pretty dark by 7:00pm EST, which makes viewing the animals difficult. I have eaten at all three restaurants. My dining experience at Jiko had more of a romantic feel (quiet, warm, exceptional service, great food). My dining experience at Artist Point wasn’t that great – good enough – not great. It was very spacious, my server was great, but (honestly) I don’t remember much about the food. We are adventurous foodies and that makes Sanaa one of our favorite places to eat when at Disney (which will be Thanksgiving week, too). If you are more adventurous, I wouldn’t pass up trying to get a Sanaa rezzie! If most of your party are “meat and potatoes” eaters, then Artist Point would be your best bet, in my opinion. Of course, there’s always the Boma buffet, which is great for families! Hope this helps! Safe travels!!!

I have also eaten at all 3. To me Jiko is definitely a “date night” choice; I’m not sure how much a 7YO would enjoy it (although the Lodge is amazing). I think AP would be a better signature choice for a 7YO than Jiko. Sanaa is one of my favorite non-signatures in WDW; the flavors are more “exotic”; not sure what might be on the children’s menu. But as far as the food goes, all 3 are excellent choices.

All great advice. Thanks so much to everyone.

I think Artist Point makes the most sense in terms of timing, my son (and my mother quite frankly) will love the Christmas themed lobby of the Wilderness lodge, and my mother in law loves salmon (a specialty there), and my parents can find heartier fare there too. I think I was conflicted as to whether to use one of just two planned disney dining experiences on the Artist Point, which doesn’t get as much culinary attention as other properties.

The reality is I am catering to many in my party. 1) my interest in kicking off our first night in a Disney-themed restaurant (since we aren’t staying on property), - 2) catering to my ‘foodie’ mother in law (and the fact its her birthday weekend), 3) making sure the noise level is on the lower side, which generally means nicer/more expensive restaurants and 4) availability. I only sat down a month ago to plan the details of the trip not having any idea how late in the game I was. If I had been able to snag reservations at other restaurants, the choices may have been different. I.e. it’s been a non-starter at California Grill for that evening. The WDW Restaurant Finder app has been a life-saver. It’s given us many more options than we would have otherwise had.

I think you will be very, very happy with Artist Point. My grown son had the “duck three ways” last December and I had the scallops. Both were excellent but I will warn you if the duck is on the menu it it a ridiculous amount of food! The service was great and as you said, the restaurant and resort are just lovely at Christmas. Enjoy!

I lived in the PNW for 3 years (and have visited many times since), and the salmon that I had at AP was some of the best I’ve had anywhere - and salmon is one of my very favorite foods.

I’ve only done sanaa and AP. You can’t go wrong with either. AP was one of our favorite meals. The restaurant wasn’t crazy and I cannot even describe the beauty of WL at Christmas. One thing my 7 yr olds loved was the dessert painting…