Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Wall Disney World’s premier resorts. Although the signature dining experiences, luxurious spa, and picturesque pool make the Animal Kingdom Lodge popular, people stay here for the chance to get close to African wildlife.
I recently had the chance to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and really enjoyed it! It surpassed my expectations and showed me, yet again, that Disney does things best.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is an incredibly unique safari adventure. A lush savanna surrounds the resort, allowing guests to get close to exotic animals and birds. There are more than 30 species of African wildlife on the savanna, including zebras, giraffes, flamingos, and gazelles.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is divided into two properties: Jambo House (the main resort area) and Kidani Village (part of the Disney Vacation Club).
The Jambo House has a beautiful lobby, with two guest halls extending off of it. Glass-lined walls allow you to see the animals throughout the resort. African Art hangs along the non-glass walls, giving you even more to look at on the walk to your room.
As a Deluxe Resort, self-parking is $24 and valet is $33 per night. Your stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge includes concierge service, Disney merchandise delivery, wi-fi, access to Extra Magic Hours, and bus transportation to the four theme parks, two water parks, and Disney Springs. The property is cash-less; you may tip in cash, but all other transactions must be completed on a credit card or your Magic Band.
There are more than 1200 rooms at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
In the main hotel, choose from a Savanna View, Pool View, or Standard room. All come with a private balcony, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, in-room safe, and mini-fridge. You can even get bunk beds in your room, allowing for even more of a safari adventure. Rooms with a view of the savanna come with an animal identification guide to help you identify animals from the comfort of your balcony.
Enhance your Animal Kingdom Lodge experience by booking a Club Level Room (choose from a Suite or Savanna View). These rooms give you access to the Club Lounge, serving refreshments from 7 AM to 10 PM.
The Kidani Village offers studio rooms and villas, both giving you an exquisite view of the savanna.
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Award Winning Dining
Some of the best food at Walt Disney World can be found at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are 9 dining experiences to choose from.
- Jiko-The Cooking Place
Jiko is the most upscale restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, serving seasonal African, Indian, and Mediterranean Cuisine. Food currently includes Manti Dumplings, Green Tomato Gazpacho, Mrouzia-style Moroccan Lamb Tagine, and Durham Ranch Elk Loin, all prepared in an open kitchen.
On Wednesdays, indulge in Jiko’s Wine Tasting. Sample wines from across South Africa, paired with a savory selection of cheeses.
Take your evening one step further with the Wanyama Safari Dinner. Begin with a 90-minute private animal encounter followed by a multi-course meal at Jiko. This is the ultimate Animal Kingdom Lodge experience!
You can make reservations at Jiko 180 days in advance.
Note: Jiko has a dress code.
- Boma-Flavors of Africa
Boma serves an all-you-care-to-eat buffet during breakfast and dinner. For breakfast, indulge in made-to-order omelets, French Toast, plantains, African pastries, and fresh fruit; Enjoy a variety of seafood, roasted meats, soups, rice, and salads during dinner.
You can make reservations at Boma 180 days in advance.
Sanaa is an East African inspired eatery showcasing African cooking with Indian flavors. Although the sampler platters and South African wines are noteworthy, the Indian-style bread service with 9 accompaniments is the star of the show.
Interested in learning more about the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s animals? You can dine with an animal specialist during lunch while having a 4-course meal.
A quick service breakfast is served at Sanaa from 7 to 10 AM.
Enjoy an appetizer or cocktail and watch the animals roam around on the savanna at the Sanaa Lounge.
You can make lunch and dinner reservations at Sanaa 180 days in advance.
- The Mara
Animal Kingdom Lodge’s quick service restaurant is The Mara. Here, you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Maja Pool Bar
The Maja Pool Bar serves alcohol, salads, sandwiches, and snacks in the Kidani Village.
- Uzima Springs Pool Bar
Enjoy a frozen drink, cocktail, African beer, salad, or snack from the Uzima Springs Pool Bar.
- Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar
Here, you can sample a variety of South African wines. Have an appetizer and wine pairing or order a full dinner from the Jiko menu.
- Victoria Falls Lounge
Stop by the Victoria Falls Lounge before or after dinner for a glass of wine. This intimate bar overlooks Boma.
- Room Service
After a long day at the Disney, you might not feel like going back out. Enjoy dinner from the comfort of your room and spend the evening relaxing.
Food is served from 6 AM to 12 AM.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Amenities
The most popular amenity at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is the Uzima Pool. Totaling 11,000 square feet, enjoy a zero-depth entry pool, waterslide, 2-whirlpool spa, and children’s wading pool.
Kidani Village also has a pool (Samawati Springs), 2-whirlpool spas, waterslide, and animal observation themed water playground, Uwanja Camp.
Parents can send their kids (ages 3 to 12) to Simba’s Clubhouse and enjoy an evening by themselves. For $15 per hour (per child), your children will play games, eat dinner, make crafts, watch Disney movies, and meet new friends.
Other amenities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are Campfire Activities, Pumbaa’s Fun and Games Arcade, a 24-hour Hakuna Matata Playground, luxurious spa, fitness center, and Disney Movies Under the Stars by the Uzima Pool.
My Stay At The Animal Kingdom Lodge
Although I am a Disney Passholder, I rarely stay on property. My parents live an hour and a half away so we typically just drive up for the day. When I found out my mom would be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for her TravelingMom conference, I jumped at the chance to go with her. Staying on property is a treat–and the Animal Kingdom Lodge was no exception!
I was immediately blown away by how beautiful the resort was. The lobby is enormous and there are small details playing into the safari theme everywhere you look. It was a pretty long walk to our room, but we enjoyed looking out at the savanna and seeing all of the animals.
Our room had bunk beds; although not ideal for a pregnant 25-year-old, I thought it fit the resort perfectly. We loved being able to see the animals from our balcony! I also appreciated the separate shower and sink areas, allowing us to get ready in the morning without being on top of each other.
Since I was staying on property, I took advantage of Extra Magic Hours. I didn’t spend much time relaxing and enjoying the resort, but I did make time for Mickey Waffles at The Mara every morning.
I really enjoyed staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and would definitely do so again.
Experience The Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Animal Kingdom Lodge provides a unique safari experience that you won’t find anywhere else. The attention to detail and incredible theming separate Disney resorts from all others. The next time you visit Walt Disney World, consider staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s much more than just a place to sleep!
Our room was comped as part of the TravelingMom annual retreat. We did not receive any other form of compensation.
As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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Taylor Pittman Hardy wrote this article.