Inspired by the traditional African kraal, step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. The horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that are home to over 200 hoofed animals and birds. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a Deluxe Disney resort and likely the closest thing to a true African journey without crossing the ocean. Delight in exciting animal programs, dazzling pool areas, and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States.
Probably the closest most families will get to an African vacation. Disney visited numerous African countries and over 20 African lodges in their quest to create a culturally relevant resort that celebrated the people, wildlife, art, and cultures of the vast African continent and their attention to detail is impeccable. Standard rooms are some of the lowest priced of the Deluxe resorts but you really want to upgrade to a Savannah view to take advantage of all this resort has to offer.
Even if it is still a bit higher to stay onsite, the benefits can far outweigh the added cost. I have laid out those benefits for you to see how staying at a Disney resort is a good value for you in my blog “Benefits to Staying at a Disney Resort.”
On lower price of Deluxe Resorts
Bus Transportation Only
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Standard View– Some of the least expensive rooms at a Disneyworld deluxe resort. These rooms overlook rooftops and the parking lot.
Pool View – Overlooks the pool area.
Savanna View – These rooms overlook the Arusha Savannah, which is the most central savannah.
Savannah View / Deluxe Room – These rooms have three different setups: 2 queen beds, 1 queen bed and a bunk bed, or a king bed and daybed. These Overlook the Savannah areas.
Club Level / Pool View or Savannah View – These rooms are the size of the deluxe rooms but offer extra amenities.
Club Level / 1 Bedroom Suite – Pool View or Savannah View – These rooms have one bedroom with 2 queen sized beds; the parlor area also has a queen sized sofa sleeper – this suite can sleep six.
Club Level / 2 Bedroom Suite – Savannah View – These rooms have two bedrooms – the first bedroom has a king bed; the second bedroom has 2 queen sized beds; and the parlor area also has a queen sized sofa sleeper – this suite can sleep eight.
Jiko (Table Service/ Signature Dining)
Discover a delicious blend of traditional African, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine.Crackling wood-burning ovens, vibrant spices, and boutique South African wines transport you to the heart of Africa. Steak, chicken, seafood, vegan, and vegetarian dishes are infused with a uniquely bold blend of tantalizing flavors and fragrant spices. With one of the finest collections of South African wines in the U.S., sommeliers at Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge love sharing tastes. Each Wednesday from 3-4 p.m., take a journey through the wine regions of South Africa and sample three delicious vintages paired with cheese and fruit. Cost is $25 plus tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made at 407-938-7149.
Boma (Table Service)
Enjoy Boma-Flavors of Africa Buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Guests will bask in the warmth of this expansive and inviting family buffet, which resembles an African marketplace. Experience open kitchens and watch the creative culinary team prepare salads, vegetarian dishes, grilled seafood, and roasted meats — inspired by the varied flavors of over 50 African countries from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Capture the magic of the alluring tapestry of tastes and textures that make up the flavors of Africa at Boma Buffet.
Sanaa (Table Service)
Experience the art of African cooking with Indian flavors, as exotic animals roam the Sunset Savanna before you while you dine at Sanaa.
The Mara (Quick Service)
Named for a river flowing through Kenya and Tanzania, this savanna-like space serves African stew, half-chicken dinners, and more. American favorites like burgers and flatbreads are also available, as is breakfast until 11:00 AM.
Victoria Falls (Lounge)
At Victoria Falls Lounge, Sample suds from South Africa before or after dinner inside this intimate bar overlooking Boma restaurant. Victoria Falls Lounge also features a host of South African wines, all of which can be enjoyed in the flickering ambiance of the fire pit outside.
Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar
Sample South African wines at this intimate watering hole near Jiko – The Cooking Place. Enjoy an appetizer and wine pairing prior to your meal at Jiko, or order from the full Jiko menu and dine at the bar. A full bar is also available.
Uzima Springs Pool Bar
Invigorate your senses at this “spring of life.” Uzima Springs Pool Bar offers cocktails, frozen drinks, salad, snacks, and more!
Maji Pool Bar
Swahili for “water,” the secluded poolside Maji Pool Bar offers other liquids as well, in addition to sandwiches, salads, fruit, and other snacks. Private dining is also available.
Unique Dining Experiences
Wanyama Safari and Dinner (Dinner only)
Dine with an Animal Specialist (Lunch only)
Whether you’re hungry for a late dinner or you just want some breakfast when you wake, private dining is the ticket. With Disney Resorts Private Dining, you can choose from a variety of American favorites—along with some specialty items particular to your Disney Resort hotel!
The Main Pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge is the Uzima Pool featuring zero-depth entry and 67 ft long water slide, a child pool, 2 whirlpool spas, and the Hakuna Matata Playground. Kidani Village also has a feature pool featuring zero-depth entry and 128 ft long water slides and 2 whirlpool spas. Children will enjoy Pumbaa’s Fun & Games Arcade while adults can get relax at Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center. AKL has some of the most incredible resort activities with animal programs and private night vision safaris for resort guests only.
Animal Kingdom Lodge also hosts Movies Under the Stars in two locations.
Activities and programs are subject to change. Although the activities vary by day and by resort, here is an example of some of the trivia, arts and crafts, dance parties, games, and bingo you might find.
Check your tv for the schedule during your stay.
Laundry rooms can be found at the following locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: First Floor, Zebra Trail and Second Floor, Kudu Trail.
Zawadi Marketplace at Jambo House stocks Disney character apparel and souvenirs as well as Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas logo merchandise. In addition, there is a large variety of African treasures that are fun and unexpected. You can also find snack foods, beverages (including adult beverages), magazines and books, and other general sundries.
Johari Treasures at Kidani Village offers authentic African-themed merchandise including Zulu baskets, hand-loomed clothing and hand-carved masks, snack food, and breakfast options. Open from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Johari Treasures also sells Disney-branded items like apparel, toys, and Disney Character plush.
Disney’s bus service is available to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, as well as Disney Springs and the Disney water parks. There are two bus stops for this resort outside of the lobby area of AKL and one at Kidani Village.
These times are approximate, provided to give you an idea of average travel times. Please plan on up to a 20-minute wait for Disney transportation in addition to walking time to resort or theme park transportation stops.
Magic Kingdom – 22 minutes by bus, 35 minutes by car (with transfers)
Epcot – 18 minutes by bus, 18 minutes by car
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 15 minutes by bus, 16 minutes by car
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 11 minutes by bus, 7 minutes by car
Disney Springs – 20 minutes by bus, 18 minutes by car
Blizzard Beach water park – 18 minutes by bus, 14 minutes by car
Typhoon Lagoon water park – 25 minutes by bus, 17 minutes by car
Take time to walk around the resort, including down the halls. Notice the artwork displayed throughout. At the end of the halls in Jambo House there are outdoor stairways; they are great places to watch animals from two different savannas at the same time.
Be sure to check the schedule for many extra activities including bead art, storytime, night-vision viewing, and more.
Strike up conversations with the Cast Members working here. Most of them enjoy talking about their country and it can be a very interesting experience. Many are on a cultural exchange program and it is like having your own personal guide into African life and the land. If you get a chance, also talk with the animal keepers, including the ones you see out on the savanna.
Discover all the overlooks throughout the resort. Walk around and explore the hidden wonders that bring you closer to the animals. Each overlook has information about the animals you may see.
Walk the trail around Arusha Rock. You will often find a Cast Member there who can answer questions about the animals.
When you check-in at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you should receive an activities and recreation information sheet. Take advantage of the fun and cultural activities offered at the resort. Children can even earn Animal Kingdom beads after they complete each cultural event at the lodge.
Walk past the Uzima pool on the left-hand side by the spa to discover flamingos and a great overlook of the Uzima Savanna. Giraffes tend to enjoy eating in this area of the savanna.
The animals on the savanna tend to be more visible during feeding times like early morning and late afternoon.
Animal Kingdom offers transportation between Kidani Village and Jambo House allowing you to explore both areas of the resort, and enjoy both swimming pools and unique dining experiences.
Explore the artifacts and cultural pieces displayed throughout the resort. It is educational as well as fascinating to see actual pieces from different areas of Africa.
Jambo House offers night viewing of the animals on the safari. Check the resort activities; it is typically offered between 8:30/9:00pm – 11:00pm each evening. Night-vision goggles are available to share in limited quantities.
For the safety of the animals, balloons are not allowed inside the Animal Kingdom resorts. Any balloons brought to the resorts will have to be checked with Bell Services for the duration of the guest’s stay. They will be returned upon departure.
The right resort can upgrade your entire Disney vacation—but with more than 25 Disney resorts and hotels to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed! I can help you so you can choose the perfect-fit resort for your family—based on your budget, travel style, and family’s interests. DOWNLOAD the Guide to Choosing the Right Resort to understand the differences in amenities, how to choose the resort with the right location and which resorts offer the activities you are looking for.
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