Today I’m highlighting a Deluxe resort that sits alone in its uniqueness: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Animal Kingdom Lodge is perhaps one of Walt Disney World’s most stunning resorts, featuring a fabulous African theme. From the moment you step into its massive lobby, you’re transported to another world.
But what makes it unique? Let’s talk about some of its highlights:
An African Savanna
That’s right—Animal Kingdom Lodge features its own African savanna, with wild animals ‘roaming free.’ If you upgrade to one of AKL’s Savanna View rooms, you can watch wildlife from the privacy of your own balcony. While room view upgrades aren’t usually my thing, this is one exception I’ll ALWAYS make. Because of the lodge’s unique horseshoe shape, all savanna view rooms have a fantastic view.
If a Savanna View room isn’t in the cards for you, there are plenty of public viewing spots where anyone can spot animals. An insider tip: at night, the resort will provide you with night-vision goggles.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge features signature dining at Jiko—The Cooking Place. It’s not only the best restaurant at the resort. It’s arguably one of the best restaurants on Disney property. Featuring unusual fare that you won’t find on most menus, Jiko is an adventurous eater’s paradise. Because of its somewhat remote location away from the other resorts, it’s usually not too difficult to score a last-minute reservation.
Boma—Flavors of Africa buffet is no slouch either. It features adventurous African and Asian fare along with more traditional American dishes. In particular, Boma’s breakfast buffet is not to be missed.
A Quieter Lodging Option
Animal Kingdom Lodge is divided into two sections: the main building (Jambo House), and the Kidani Village building a short walk away. For a quieter experience, consider booking a Kidani room. You’ll have access to all of the amenities of the resort, but be in a smaller, quieter building. It’s a particularly good option if you have a car, as parking is located directly underneath the building so you’ll always be a short walk from your car. Kidani features its own pool and restaurant as well.
… and so much more.
There’s so much more that makes Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge great, including multi-bedroom suites, a fantastic pool, and unique activities not available at other resorts (like the Sense of Africa tour). Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is almost a destination unto itself, even if you never set foot in a theme park.
Are there any drawbacks?
Sure. As with any resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has its quirks. Because it’s located in a remote corner of Walt Disney World, near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, bus transportation times can be a bit long to get to the other parks. Some guests may find the resort a bit dark—artificial lighting is kept to a minimum outside, to enhance the African savanna experience and encourage animals’ normal rest cycles. That U-shaped design that makes for such outstanding views of the savanna all around the resort can make for a long walk between the lobby and your room. And standard rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are somewhat smaller than the standard rooms in Deluxe Resorts along the monorail line or in the Epcot area, limiting their capacity to four. (Though Animal Kingdom Lodge standard rooms also cost less than those larger alternatives). For many guests, the utter beauty of the resort makes those trade-offs they’re willing to make.
Author: David Platt
Mouse Master Travel Professional
David Platt is excited to be putting his vast array of Disney theme park knowledge to use as a Mouse Master℠. While he lives in the Portland, Oregon area, the Disneyland® Resort is his home-away-from-home. David first discovered Disney Parks® when visiting with his wife and daughter, and spends an average of ten days a year there. He’s well on his way to achieving his current goal of visiting every Disney theme park worldwide. He made a legendary visit to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2013. The remaining Asian parks, Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland, were tackled in the fall of 2017. All that’s left is a visit to Disneyland Paris. While he considers himself a Disneyland Resort specialist, David would love to help clients with any Disney Destination vacation they can dream up! You can keep up with David’s writing about travel in general, and Disney Destinations in particular, at his website, The Mouse Master. You can contact David directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone toll-free at (888) 41-MOUSE (66873), ext. 802.