Mango Joe's is a quick service restaurant, tucked in a slightly out-of-the-way pocket area at SeaWorld Orlando (listed on the map as the "Sea of Power") and as such it doesn't seem to get much attention. That's really too bad because they have a couple of great, healthful options that can be hard to find at other SeaWorld counter service locations.
The Mango Joe's building itself has a rather small looking facade that's located in a very large courtyard between Shamu Stadium and the Wild Arctic attraction. Even though there's actually two food pick-up and payment lines on either side of the building, it still "seems" small. Both lines are open only during extreme peek dining periods though, so you'll usually only find one side open at any given time.
Most of Mango Joe's seating, is actually hidden behind the restaurant, and that's what makes this location a bit of a hidden gem. Only guests that are willing to explore a bit ever find the fully covered patio seating area around back.
We have even been to Mango Joe's around what would be considered an early dinner time (4:30pm-ish) and have had the entire patio to ourselves! While there's not much going on, the view across Bayside Lagoon is peaceful and can provide a quiet break from the hustle and bustle that surrounds other quick service dining locations at SeaWorld
This is one location that can get swamped with guests though, especially right after the main Shamu Stadium show lets out. If things seem backed up… they won't be in a half hour.
For lunch, I decided to try out Mango Joe's signature salad, the "Mango Fruit Salad". I wish they would change the name to "Mango Joe's Signature Salad" actually, because the term "fruit salad" kind of has you thinking this is something else. The salad really is an entree-sized, meal type dish, and not a sweet, syrupy fruit cocktail type of side-item.
Combining real (not dried) chunks of cut mango with carrots, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, some feta cheese, and a few diced apples, the mix is an honest to goodness, genuine salad… and there's even some green lettuce under all of that stuff!
If you don't like fresh mangos, this dish isn't going to change your mind… they are yummy, but some find the golden tropical fruit to be a bit slimy when cut like this.
The only missed opportunity here (from a culinary standpoint) is that there's not a house-made dressing. SeaWorld seems to use various pre-packaged salad dressings at just about every location, except for Sharks Underwater Grill
. Which is fine. I totally understand why… and this time, for just this one salad… it totally gets a pass from me. Mostly because the Mango Salad is practically good enough to eat without any dressing.
Like most of the salads we've found at SeaWorld, you may want to ask for a spare plate before digging in. They put all of the great looking stuff on top, and if you eat it that way… you'll end up with a bowl of lettuce. I find that deconstructing their salads a little bit onto a spare plate helps spread things out, and allows you to get a more even mix of the components.
Between this Mango Salad, a great Chicken Salad Croissant and a multi-level Turkey and Ham Stack Sandwich, what Mango Joe's lacks in immersive theming, it makes up for with great food options… that might just be a little better for you than some of the more commonly found items at other counter service locations.