Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge use to be a dream far off in the distance for me. It was an out-of-reach resort that I longed to stay at. Thankfully, before Dusty and I got married, we became Disney Vacation Club members and now those African savanna balconies are not just a dream.
Dusty and I had visited the resort a handful of times prior to staying there. One of our favorite places to eat on property is Boma, and we love the architecture and lounge areas. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great Walt Disney World resort inspired by traditional African savanna lodges and brilliantly themed with the adjacent Animal Kingdom theme park.
About the Animal Kingdom Lodge
We found that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was a super family-friendly resort. This seems to be an obvious observation at the most family-friendly theme park on the planet; however, this resort stands out above the rest. Here, you’ll find family-friendly rooms with bunk beds, outstanding cultural activities and animal programs, and rooms overlooking four savannas with over 200 animals and birds.
The lobby captures the look of an African savanna lodge and the lodge itself has one of the largest collections of African art in the United States which is displayed throughout the resort. It is arranged in a horseshoe design, with rooms and public areas that overlook the 33 acre wildlife preserve where over 30 species of African species graze and roam about.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge has two sections: Jambo House, the original resort and main area, and Kidani Village, the Disney Vacation Club resort space. Resort guests can use the facilities, swimming pools and fitness centers, throughout both areas and a shuttle van goes back and forth.
Although a Savanna View Room is highly desired, we chose for the lesser and cheaper option for an overlook of the pool area. We requested a high floor which granted us an amazing view regardless of our area. We also preferred staying at Jambo House over Kidani Village, as it is closer to many of the activities and restaurants. Although we are DVC members, we found that Jambo House was equally accommodating as Kidani Village would have been.
Our room included a queen sized bed, small couch with pull out bed, small table with chairs, a flat screen TV, a dresser with three drawers, a small refrigerator, coffee machine and a wardrobe with an iron, ironing board and small safe. The bathroom has my favorite Disney design, the split design, with the vanity and two sinks outside and a small room that consists of a toilet and shower with a bathtub.
Dusty is super critical on resort gyms; however, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s gym passed his “test”. The gym is located in the Jambo House section, which was another reason for us to stay Jambo-side. It has all the basic equipment – cardio machines, some free weights and weight machines – to get a good workout during your stay. There’s a spa that offers a range of massages and facials and a free sauna and steam room.
Although nobody should have to do laundry on vacation, we always seems to. There are a few laundry rooms around the resort that are efficient and easy to use. They are free to use select ones for DVC members so it is really convenient for us. A standard guest would pay $3/load.
I was also impressed with the resort’s calendar of activities, which included African culture immersion, poolside games, wine tasting, cookie decorating, music sessions and animal programs. We loved that there was always a family activity going on in the main lobby of Jambo House, games and fun at the pool, and we really enjoyed watching the nighttime movies around the pool area and the nighttime animal viewing. Some activities have a cost, but many do not and are free to guests.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers several dining options, from award-winning, African fine dining to quick service restaurants serving class American favorites. Our favorite restaurant is Boma, where they offer family-friendly buffets with a great selection of food from over 50 African countries along with typical American classics. We have yet to eat at the other two locations on property, Sanaa or Jiko; however, we did stop at the quick-service location a few times which also had African (and American) cuisine. We additionally stopped in for a drink at the lounge.
What is your favorite part of Animal Kingdom Lodge?