Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

Opened in 2001, this Disney Deluxe resort is located about one mile from the Animal Kingdom Park. The theme of this resort is an African Savanna and Lodge. Everywhere you look, you will see the animal theme from the architecture to the live animals in the savannas. The lodge has nearly 1300 rooms and is home to more than 100 birds and animals, including zebras, giraffes and gazelles.

The lobby is filled with colorful artwork and includes a large fireplace made of mud. A suspension bridge floats high above the lobby area. As you explore the grounds you will experience remarkable views of the animals. The resort is filled with animal viewing areas with comfortable seating and some even have viewing binoculars to help you see the animals “close up”.

Animal Kingdom Lodge The resort offers both standard view rooms and savanna view rooms. The standard view rooms usually face the parking area. While the savanna views are more expensive, the greatest appeal of this resort is the ability of a guest to view the animals from their rooms. In the savanna rooms you will be able to see the animals as they feed and roam in the savannas.

Most rooms have two queen sized beds, while some have a queen bed with bunk beds for the kids. The bathroom area includes the vanity/sink area outside of the actual bathroom which is helpful when more than one person is getting dressed at the same time. Rooms include refrigerators and in-room safes.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge has activities for children that will allow them to learn about the African culture and about animals in Africa. Children are encouraged to participate in these activities to “earn” beads that will be used to create a necklace or bracelet that they can keep as a souvenir.

The pool at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is quite large and offers a zero-entry feature. This allows you to walk into the pool without a dramatic drop into deep water. Kids will love the water slide as well as the Hakuna Matata Playground nearby.

Animal Kingdom Lodge The resort also includes a fitness center and spas (hot tubs) around the pool area. Another nice feature of the resort is an open area fire pit that is right outside of the lobby. Here guests can enjoy night time story telling by cast members, many of whom are from Africa and enjoy the re-telling of folk tales and fables of their homelands.

When booking a room at the resort it is wise to study the layout of the room locations and choose one that is close to the lobby/parking lot or bus station. This is important as the resort is quite large and a walk to your room after a long day at the Disney parks will not be a good way to spend you time.
The best location of the rooms in the savanna section would be near the lobby and also within a comfortable walking distance to the food areas and pool. The savanna rooms on the zebra trail seem to be the best in this category.

The Animal Kingdom Resort is a place where you will enjoy your stay and visitors could easily spend a great deal of their time exploring the hotel, as there always seems to be something exciting to view or an activity to enjoy.

Animal Kingdom Lodge – December 2, 2004 – 8 nights
Animal Kingdom Lodge We were very fortunate to secure rooms at this resort at a time Disney was offering good deals on their deluxe resort locations. We were interested in this hotel as we had heard how wonderful it was to view the animals from your room so we booked a savanna room. The first thing we noticed about the Lodge when traveling there was how far it is located from all the Disney Parks (except of course the Animal Kingdom Park).

When we arrived, we were able to check into our rooms right away. The lobby was breathtaking and as it was decorated for the Holidays, the sights were even more enjoyable. The room was very nice and included a queen sized bed and bunk beds. If you have any concerns about having bunk beds in your room you should request the two queen beds when you make your reservations. Our children were young and it took them a few nights to warm up to the idea, so Dad spent a few uncomfortable nights in the bunk before the kids moved out of the queen bed. The amenities in the room were nice, from the refrigerator (which came in quite handy) to the safe and vanity area outside of the bathroom.

One thing we were not pleased about was the physical location of our rooms. We were put in the Uzima Savanna which is one of the furthest savannas from the lobby area. It was quite a hike to the room, and was particularly upsetting when we arrived back to the resort after a long day at the parks. In the future, I would definitely request a closer location as the distance from the lobby really made the difference for us.

The pool area was quite large and therefore did not feel “crowded” at any time during our stay. Flotation vests are available at the resort to be used during the length of your stay (at no charge). These came in handy at the pool when children needed them. The Uzima Pool Bar located in the pool/spa area was convenient for a pina colada or other cool drinks. The main food area (for fast food) is called the Mara and is located very close to the pool area. It serves food cafeteria style, with many choices from hot foods to sandwiches, yogurts, ice cream and bakery items.

The resort also had a game room and a baby sitting club (Simba’s Clubhouse). One feature that we enjoyed was daily activities for children. From arts and crafts, to games and story telling this resort is extremely “family friendly”. Some activities allow children to earn beads and create a necklace that they can keep.

Animal Kingdom Lodge The Animal Kingdom Lodge has many areas set aside for animal viewing and as you walk the resort grounds you will see rocking chairs, benches and viewing machines that allow you to get a very good view of the live animals. On selected nights the main savanna area offers you night time viewing with special night vision goggles.

We found the best time for viewing animals from your room was in the early mornings. You will see resort workers drive through the savannas with food for the animals. They would refill the food in certain areas and we would then see the animals come for a feeding. It was great to be able to see the animals so close up. The balconies were used quite a bit just watching the animals go by.

We would consider staying at this resort again. If we did we would be sure to be more specific about where we want our room to be located. We would also be sure to have our own rental car, as the only transportation is the bus service, and the distant location of this resort leads us to believe the bus trip would be quite long.

Overall this is definitely a deluxe style Disney resort that has something for everyone to enjoy.
Creative Commons License Photo credit: Darren Wittko

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