Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge exterior at night

©Disney

ots of people dream of taking an African safari. Yet for many, it seems otherworldly and out of reach. Of course, leave it to Disney to make dreams come true. When you stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll experience all the creature comforts of a world-class Resort while feeling like you’re on the best kind of safari. Think no canteens, eminent danger, mosquito nets or hot nights. Did we mention up close encounters with giraffes grazing and ostriches padding along the savanna?

Authentic Touches

Designed in the typical African kraal style, the horseshoe shaped Resort overlooks four savannas. Although the Resort’s main lure is the magnificent wildlife, Disney does a phenomenal job of integrating African art, culture and cuisine into its AAA Four Diamond-rated Resort.

Upon entering, guests are greeted by towering ceilings strung with impressive chandeliers, a thatched roof, a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the savanna and an enormous fireplace perfect for storytelling.

Jambo House is the original Deluxe Resort and the Kidani Village, a Disney Vacation Club® Resort, both have the air of an exotic locale, but at the same time feel warm and welcoming as if you’ve come home. Although the savanna-view rooms are optimal, each floor offers an open-air balcony with stunning views and rocking chairs beckoning guests to unwind.

Animals aren’t the only amazing view. Peruse one of the largest collections of African art in the world featured throughout the resort. Behold the Igbo Ijele Mask, towering at over 16 feet and eight feet in width. Whatever you do, carve out time to chat with Cast Members who are actually from a wide range of African countries. These ambassadors are more than willing to share their stories and histories, which only add to the rich quality of the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge experience.

Majestic Wildlife

Zebra outside of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

©Disney

Besides a true African safari, where else could you wake up and walk out onto a balcony and spot a zebra? A state-of-the-art barrier system allows Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge guests the opportunity to view wildlife in a setting like no other.

The four lush savannas are home to over 200 animals representing over 30 species. Be prepared to marvel at the wildlife right outside your balcony or even in the common lookout areas.

For your convenience, each guest room is equipped with a Wildlife Guide Book making it easy to identify and learn about the majestic animals roaming the savannas. Animal guides are on hand to share wildlife information and even impart practical know-how on animal tracking. Some of the animals you may track are zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu, Ankole cattle, water bucks, wildebeests, geese, cranes and flamingoes.

Culinary Explorations

Couple laughing while dining at The Cooking Place in Animal Kindgom's Lodge

©Disney

In keeping with the African theme, all restaurants at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge feature African-inspired cuisine as well as American cuisine. At Boma — Flavors of Africa, it’s a buffet to beat all buffets for breakfast and dinner. Omelettes, carved ham, French toast and exceptionally fluffy scrambled eggs are big hits with the breakfast crowd.

At dinner time, stroll in and watch chefs prepare savory roasted meats and grilled seafood. There’s also a nice balance of vegetarian specialties and salads. Zebra domes are a dessert standout. Almost truffle-like, this sweet concoction is a combination of a thin layer of cake topped with an Amarula cream liquor mousse coated with white chocolate ganache. Chocolate drizzle forms stripes that give this yummy creation its namesake.

Distinguished as fine dining, Jiko — The Cooking Place, is not to be missed. For starters, you want to try the artisanal cheese selection along with a wine pairing from their extensive wine collection. Entrees vary from lobster tail to Bostwana-style seswaa beef short rib to maize-crusted halibut. As for dessert, the Ghanian chocolate & Kenyan coffee pot de crème is a delightful finish to a meal that undoubtedly will leave a lasting impression.

Venture to Sanaa for a variety of flavorful slow-cooked meat entrees, inventive salads and seasonal vegetarian offerings. Casual or on-the-go diners will enjoy The Mara where guests can sit down for a tasty African stew or select from plenty of American fare — salads, sandwiches and more. Best of all, they even sell packaged zebra domes for those with a sweet tooth on the go. And crafted specialty cocktail like the Mt. Kilimarita or an ice-cold Casa Blanca lager from Morocco are available at Victoria Falls Lounge — a great spot to congregate before or after dinner.

Safari Dreams

Giraffes passing by car at Animal Kingdom Lodge Wanayama Safari

©Disney

Wanayama Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge guests can upgrade their experience by adding a safari adventure to the mix. During Sense of Africa (purchased separately), you’ll set out on a 3-and-a-half-hour tour that begins with an introduction to the authentic African storyline of this wildly unique Resort destination, breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa, and the opportunity to climb aboard a private safari vehicle and head backstage for a series of up-close encounters with some of the savanna’s most beloved animals!

Or, the Wanayama Safari (purchased separately) features private safari encounters with exotic animals such as giraffes, okapis, ostriches, antelopes and wildebeests. It all begins with a pre-safari reception at Jiko followed by a 90-minute safari excursion in an open-air jeep vehicle with a private guide. Upon returning from your safari, a multi-course feast at Jiko with South African wine pairings will await you.

The only resort drawback is saying goodbye. Long after you’ve packed your bags and headed home, the stories of amazing animals and adventures will remain in your heart for years to come. The best stories always do.

The Perks

Lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

©Disney

Relaxation is inevitable while lounging by the pool, and this one is a zero-entry, 11,000-square-foot pool with a 67-foot water slide, which mimics a natural watering hole and also features a children’s wading pool as well as two hot tub areas.

The Samawati Springs Pool has a water slide and two hot tub areas. It also boasts an animal-themed water playground named Uwanja Camp, where squirting Venus flytraps, a rope bridge and water cannons make this the ultimate, fun-spirited playground.

Every day, families can also take advantage of scheduled animal-related activities and educational workshops. At sunset, weather permitting, there’s even a Disney movie under the stars at the main pool.

If shopping is your thing, then head to Zawadi Market Place, an authentic purveyor of African crafted jewelry, baskets, masks and a variety of one-of-a-kind souvenirs. And for those seeking other indoor activities, the Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center is the perfect spot to grab a quick workout or decompress with a relaxing massage. As the sun dips and night falls, you’re in for a special treat — a campfire with storytelling, sing-a-longs and scrumptious roasted marshmallows under a night sky.

Benefits and Amenities

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge pool and resort exterior

©Disney

As a guest of a Disney Resort hotel, you will also enjoy distinctive benefits and amenities. These magical touches have been designed to provide the most time-saving, convenient and entertaining vacation possible.

  • Extra Magic Hours: Each day, one of the parks opens early or stays open longer, so you can enjoy select attractions (valid theme park admission and Disney Resort ID required).
  • Early Access to Disney FastPass+ planning: Get access to reserve some Disney FastPass+ attractions, shows and more — up to 60 days before you arrive! Plus, receive complimentary MagicBands.
  • Complimentary Resort Transportation & Standard Theme Park Parking: Motor coaches, water taxis and the world-famous monorail make getting around Walt Disney World Resort convenient! Plus, enjoy complimentary standard parking at Disney Theme Parks! You also receive complimentary motor coach transportation between Orlando International Airport and your Disney Resort hotel via Disney's Magical Express service.
  • Entertaining Amenities: Themed pools with slides, poolside games and outdoor Disney movie screenings are just a few of the fun activities that are available at select Disney Resort hotels.
  • Disney Dining Plans: Dining plans are available to fit every budget. With everything from quick service meals to character dining experiences, you can enjoy the convenience of knowing your meals are pre-paid.
  • Certain benefits are also available to guests of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, and Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels.
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