Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge address:
2901 Osceola Parkway
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Phone: (407) 938-3000
Number of rooms: 1293
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is said to be one of the best themed resorts at Walt Disney World. Capturing the essence of a lodge in the African savanna, this resort is the perfect blend of nature and architecture. Through an ingenious barrier system, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, elks, kudus, gazelles, wildebeests, and exotic birds come incredibly close to the resort. For the best views of the free roaming wildlife, book a Savanna View room. (There are common areas on the grounds where everyone can see the amazing menagerie.)
Animal Kingdom Lodge is divided into two areas: Jambo House, which is the main guest resort area, and Kidani Village, the Disney Vacation Club villas. To get back and forth between the two, you can either make the 5-10 minute walk or use the internal shuttle. From Jambo House, the Disney Springs bus will stop at Kidani Village first and from Kidani Village, any of the theme park buses will stop at Jambo House first where the internal shuttle goes back and forth between the two.
Walking into Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it's tough not to be totally blown away. The lobby alone induces the kind of awe and magic that Disney is known for. There are comfortable seating areas for relaxing and a large mud fireplace with a cozy fire always burning. You'll also find a number of televisions playing classic Disney cartoons which makes it easy for families with children to rendezvous without the little ones getting bored.
One word continually comes to mind as you explore the Animal Kingdom Lodge: discovery. Everywhere you go, you'll find something new and interesting. The presence of wild animals on the grounds of the resort adds a sense of unpredictability to what would otherwise just be a place to sleep in between visiting Disney theme parks. The floor to ceiling windows offer a breathtaking view of the Arusha savanna and there are plenty of common areas that offer excellent views of the animals. The outdoor areas have informational signage to teach you about the animals in the savanna and there are knowledgeable cast members on hand to answer your questions.
Most of the views in this resort are breathtaking, offering looks at some amazing animals in a very natural-looking habitat.
The resort is laid out like a horseshoe with the lobby in the center and hallways extending out on either side. It can be a bit of a walk to get from the lobby to a room at the end of either hallway, but it's all indoors and air-conditioned, so it's not too bad. The walls are lined with artwork and there are displays of African masks and sculpture found throughout this resort. Skilled artisans were employed in hand-crafting the furnishings, making many items one of a kind.By creating an authentic Africa savanna experience, you may notice that this resort tends to be "dark." The use of artificial exterior moonlight at night is kept to a minimum in order to allow the animals their normal rest cycle.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge has an 11,000 square foot zero-entry pool which features a small water slide, a children's pool and two hot tubs. More impressive is the location of the pool alongside the Uzima savanna. Here you'll find a fascinating flock of flamingoes as well as the other animals that this resort is noted for. Nearby the pool is the Hakuna Matata Playground and you can enjoy a refreshing drink at the Uzima Springs pool bar.
In this area you will also find Zahanati, the resort's full service spa and fitness center. Guests staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge can use the state-of-the-art exercise equipment at no charge. There are sauna and steam rooms available. For a bit of pampering, schedule a massage, body treatment or facial.
The Zawadi Marketplace is one of the best resort gift shops around. They sell original artwork inspired by the resort, African-themed sculptures and percussion instruments, and even resort-specific t-shirts. Of course, there's also a section dedicated to all of the toiletries and non-prescription medication you may have forgotten while packing.
A concern that's often expressed about the Animal Kingdom Lodge is its location. There's no question that you'll be at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in minutes, but the other parks aren't all that far away. Don't discount this resort and all that it has to offer simply because it may take a few minutes longer to arrive at the Magic Kingdom. Our trip from the resort to Magic Kingdom took only 20 minutes total, which isn't bad at all.Jiko - The Cooking Place" is the signature dining establishment in Jambo House. They have a fairly extensive and exotic menu including flatbreads, wild boar tenderloin, seared duck breast, and wild striped bass, as well as the typical fare including seared salmon, beef short ribs and a filet mignon. The menu changes every so often so if you don't see one of your favorite items listed, don't hesitate to ask your server if it can still be made. (Reservations are strongly recommended.)
"Boma 'Flavors of Africa" is a buffet-style restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner with a wide selection of main dishes and sides that are sure to please everyone in your group. The meat selection includes a salmon dish as well as roasted chicken and a carving station serving up fresh-cut strip loin (New York strip). Also on the buffet is a salad station, various soups including an incredible and unique peanut soup, pasta, rice, couscous, and a dessert station. (Reservations are strongly recommended.)
The Mara is the resort's quick-service food court that serves some basics along with a few surprises. You can get the typical burger or chicken nuggets, but they also serve some really great sandwiches and flatbreads. They also offer a number of quick options from the cooler; pre-made ham sandwiches, salads, and fruit bowls, as well as a few dessert options. At The Mara, you can eat inside or take your food out to one of the tables near the pool, a great option if you're on a food run for your little swimmers.
Over at Kidani Village is Sanaa, another full service restaurant offering unique African dishes with an Indian-inspired flare. They also offer more exotic choices like a lamb kefta (same as the burger but with lamb), shrimp with green curry sauce, and a fish-of-the-day with curry broth. And that's just for lunch; the dinner menu differs slightly.
The Victoria Falls Lounge is one of the most intimate you'll find at any Disney resort. It opens daily at 4:00pm and features specialty coffees and teas in addition to being a full-service bar.
One thing we noticed about dining at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was that they seemed to duplicate much of the food throughout the restaurants. The "vegetable pizza" at The Mara was nearly identical to the Kalamata Olive flatbread appetizer at Jiko. The little dessert balls at The Mara called "Zebra Domes" were also served on the buffet at Boma and were on the menu at Jiko. Each restaurant still has plenty of original dishes as well.
The room layout is fairly typical with two queen beds (one queen bed with a set of bunkbeds or a king bed with daybed are also available), television, refrigerator, table with two chairs, closet, and a vanity area separate from the tub and commode. After further inspection, the details that make this a deluxe resort began to show; ornate wood-carved furniture, two under-mounted sinks in the vanity with a marble countertop and modern fixtures, an LCD HDTV with a separate box to plug in your own devices (HDMI and composite connections for everything from a Blu-ray player to an Xbox)...these are the things that set Disney's deluxe resorts apart from the rest.
Each guest room also has a private balcony. The Savanna View rooms have views of the 33-acre wildlife preserve. For information on which rooms face which savanna/animals, CLICK HERE
Other Room amenities:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge also has guest suites and concierge level accommodations. The Concierge level accommodations offer access to the Kilimanjaro Club lounge, bathrobes, turndown service, and the ability to participate in two unique safari experiences (for an additional fee.)
This is a Disney Deluxe Resort and offers the features you would expect at this level. Valet or self-parking, room service, bell staff, and concierge desk are all here for the use of their guests.
By far the biggest draw to the Kilimanjaro Club upgrade is the opportunity to take the Sunrise Safari tour. Sundays and Thursdays, guests with concierge access have the option of taking this unique tour through Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari ride. The experience costs $65 for guests ages 10 and up, $32.50 for ages 3-10 and must be booked in advance (prices are subject to change any time, so be sure to check when you reserce the experience). Guests meet their guides in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge at 7:00am and are taken by bus through the back gate of the park. Once there, you're split up into two groups and are taken to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Rather than take the typical 15-minute themed ride through the safari, you're treated to an hour-long ride with one of the animal trainers as they tell stories about their experiences and how they train the animals. They take their time driving through the animal exhibits and they'll stop for as long as 10 minutes at a time so that everyone can get plenty of photos and watch the animals. It was a really fun experience, especially if you've done the safari ride a number of times and wish that you could just sit and watch the animals for a while instead of speeding past them.
Special requests should be noted at the time of your reservation (such as room view preference), but you should be aware that these are not guaranteed.
primary source of recreation at Animal Kingdom Lodge
is its 11,000 square foot pool. Located off
the Uzima savanna, the pool has many places to explore. There are two-eighteen person hot tubs located
on either side of the pool. Between them is
small playground, and a small alcove that overlooks
the Flamingo area of the Uzima savanna. Often
times at night, you will find Thompson's gazelles
and/or zebra in this area, drinking from the watering
The pool area is expansive, with an abundance of lounges surrounding all areas of the pool. There is also a fairly good sized pool bar as well.