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Animal Kingdom Lodge Animal Kingdom Lodge
 
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2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista
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Average Reviewer Rating: 4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
Number of Reviews: 40 ( Displaying Reviews: 1 - 10 )
4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   4-14 Thru 4-10 2010
Reviewer: DJH62179 Columbiana, OH     August 11, 2010
What an awesome time we had on our stay, I have three young daughters and can't imagine a more perfect place for them to enjoy. The atmosphere in the lobby (my favorite part of the trip) was amazing, the smells coming from the two restaurants, Boma and Jiko, make it hard to go anywhere else. The rooms are very nice, however, we booked a bunk bed room and I have to say when we return I don't think we'll get another one. It made the room feel a little small not to mention they are more expensive. By the way, our rates were $240/night on the weekdays and I believe they were around $50 more on the weekend but trust me with all there is to do the price is great. There is a resort we go to a couple times a year close to where we live and the price is more than AKL and there is nothing to do. Any preconceived notions we had about the WDW resort pricing went out the window when we experienced AKL for ourselves.

That being said, I guess with anything there are things you wish were better. As good as Boma smells from the lobby the selection although varied was not the best, I basically focused on a couple of things and was happy but my wife did not like it too much and there wasn't a lot for the kids to choose from. I would still go back just for the atmosphere if nothing else. It is African cuisine after all so it may not suit everyone.

One of our favorite places was the lower level of the lobby in front of the glass wall overlooking the savannahs. My girls loved going up and down the stairs and dancing down below which was never crowded, we usually had the rocking chairs to ourselves. The fire pit outside is also very nice and the veranda overlooking it again is never crowded and a nice place to relax.

I think the Savannah views are a must if you have young children, my girls had breakfast on the balcony every morning and watched the animals and to my surprise all of them come pretty close. We were on the 3rd floor, a little scary for me but it had nice high railings. I never heard a peep from any neighbors which again was something I was worried about given past resort experience outside WDW.

All-in-all it was a near perfect stay, when we go again next year it will be hard not to come back to AKL, I highly recommend it!
 
20 out of 23 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   January 29 to February 7, 2010
Reviewer: deefordisney Ontario     February 18, 2010
I just came home from a spectacular 10-day/9-night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House. While I have stayed at and loved resorts in all value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa categories, I have never felt so at home in a resort as I did at Jambo House. From the first moment I walked into the jaw-dropping lobby and ventured outside to the Arusha overlook, to the very last moment when I picked up my suitcases and boarded Magical Express, I felt as comfortable as I do in my own living room.

The lobby at Jambo House is truly amazing. Take a few minutes to walk around and appreciate the art and artistry. The seating is comfortable and the whole lobby area is beautiful. And while I knew that AKL had animals, obviously, there is no way to describe the feeling of walking out the back door of the resort and coming within 20 feet of a giraffe. And red river hogs. And zebras.

I had a standard view room located close to the lobby, and ate at Mara, Boma, and Jiko over the course of the trip. I attended two cultural safaris in the Sunset Lounge, and saw the animals via night vision goggles on the Uzima Savanna one night. Both activities, and any of the many others offered at Jambo and Kidani, are highly recommended.

I remain convinced that the Arusha overlook in the middle of the afternoon (preferably in one of the rocking chairs) is the most peaceful place on earth.

While the lobby, savannas, and general atmosphere at AKL are breathtaking on their own, Animal Kingdom Lodge is made truly special by the people who work there. Animals guides on the savannas, the servers and hosts at Boma and Jiko, the cashiers at Mara and Ziwani Traders, registration and concierge hosts, and the people who stand around to give you directions are all available all the time to answer questions, give you assistance, provide company and conversation, and tell you anything and everything you want to know about the animals. Ive never had so many friendly and open conversations at one place in my life.

The one singular downside of the resort is the relative remoteness, considering AKL is a deluxe resort. All theme parks are serviced by buses, whereas at other deluxes, some destinations are serviced by boat or monorail. The commute is no further than that of the Port Orleans or All Star Resorts, however. Also, buses are only shared with Kidani Village, so it doesnt make numerous stops as some other buses do.

I will also add that I booked a standard view room, as many reviews recommended that animal viewing was perfectly fine from the outlooks and a savanna view room wasnt necessary. While I was fine with my standard view room (I had a view of the front entrance), if and when I travel to AKL again, I will book a savanna view room. The outlooks are fine, but Uzima and Sunset savannas only have small ones so you can only see a piece of each of those. While Arusha has a good size and beautiful overlook, you need a savanna view room to get any expansive view of the savanna or a view further back. Savanna view rooms would also be quieter, as they face the savanna my standard view room was a bit noisier, given that it faced the front entrance and experienced car and bus traffic, etc. My recommendation for future will be savanna view, though the standard view room was just fine.
 
28 out of 29 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   Early August 2008
Reviewer: Samrain Boston     February 13, 2009
What a wonderful hotel! We "splurged" as it was only the two of us and stayed in a savannah view room on the second floor - and I'm glad we did!

I recommend staying in the 2nd or 3rd building from the lobby (it's a long walk to the buses/lobby otherwise) on the "Kudo" or "Zebra" trails on the 2nd or 3rd floor (there are no rooms on the first floor and the 2nd & 3rd floors offer the best views of the animals) IF you want a savannah view.

Our savannah view was amazing and we were able to see such a variety of animals - it was great to start the day sitting on the balcony, drinking a cup of coffee and watching all the animals. The rooms were well themed, clean and comfortable. Noise wasn't an issue at all - we were actually right near an elevator and directly next to a savannah overlook deck and were never disturbed with noise from either.

The lobby is just beautiful and well themed and the gift shop is large and well stocked. We ate at all three restaurants: the Mara is the quick service restaurant near the pool. Great variety of your traditional burgers/fries but also some amazing African dishes - the stew is amazing! There was also a wide selection of drinks and grab 'n go snacks available, including a nice selection of "healthier options" such as homemade hummus (absolutely delicious!), fruit, and veggies.

We went to Boma, the buffet for breakfast on our last day and I wish we had only gone sooner! What an amazing selection and variety of foods. Again, your traditional breakfast dishes and African dishes which were delicious!

Jiko was amazing, expensive, but a great atmosphere and great food. It was a nice way to relax and I highly recommend the scallops. They're known for the steak over mac 'n cheese which was tasty, but I didn't care for the sauce and it overpowered the dish. Otherwise, I recommend the dish, but next time I would order it "light" on the sauce.

One of the best things about all of the restaurants was that traditional African dishes were offered for those who like to try new foods (ME!) in addition to your traditional American cuisine (which my boyfriend prefers!) so it worked well for both of us.

The pool was okay - we were there in August so it was very very crowded and we had difficulty finding lounge chairs. We didn't spend much time at the pool, but managed to find one of the hot tubs unoccupied frequently - the other is near the pool and always crowded. The game arcade was good - fun games, but on the small side. A few of the games were out of order the entire week we were there and no one was around to help if you had trouble with one of the machines.

The staff were very friendly all around - from the woman who checked us in, to the concierge and valet, the housekeepers - all were absolutely friendly and approachable.

We both absolutely loved this resort and unfortunately only have one complaint: the transportation. There was more than one occasion where we had to wait 45 minutes for a bus, most commonly in the early evening - around 6pm. At one point, there were quite a few people waiting and after an hour, a man went to another bus to see if the driver could radio TTC or another bus to come. We were heading to MK (unfortunately we had dinner reservations) and 3-4 buses came for every other destination, but none for MK. We waited 1.25 hours. It's unfortunate when you leave 2.5 hours before your reservation and you have to run across the park to make it.

Another drawback about transportation is that you are limited to the bus service - including to AK. I still hope that a walkway or ramp to AK will be constructed at some point, but for now, you're limited to bus only. Once on the bus, it's not a long ride at all to any destination.

The transportation wouldn't deter me from returning because the great things far outweigh this, but I would plan extra time when traveling to the parks in the evenings.

All in all, this is one of my favorite resorts and I highly recommend it!
 
37 out of 39 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   January 7,2002
Reviewer: JEANYLASER34     November 11, 2008
I love Animal Kingdom Lodge. Because the view of the animals. and the shops, dining looks awesome! the rooms looks good as well. I hope to stay in the Animal Kingdom Lodge for my birthday in January 2009. It will be awesome to see the animals again and the hotel too! Oh! the arcade is awesome! Those Castmembers at Disney can make a difference. Disney is Cool Castmembers. I love Disney!
 
3 out of 10 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   Sept 24, 2007 to Oct 9, 2007
Reviewer: RizzotheRat80 Chicago, Illinois     April 18, 2008
My sister and I loved this hotel. We used our vacation club points (all of them) for the stay. We had a Savannah View just off the main lobby. Throughout the day, you could see all kinds of animals; giraffes, zebras, bongo, etc. When staff was out on the savannah, if they were close enough to you, you could strike up a conversation and ask them all kinds of questions.
The food from room service and at Jiko's was great, no matter what you got.
The pool is shaped to look like a watering hole on the savannah; it was really nice. The hot tub was great after a long day at the parks.
The staff was very friendly and helpful, even at 4am when returning from Magic Kingdom Extra Hours.
Yes the hotel is far from the other parks, but you get a nice bus ride back because the hotel wasn't too busy and many people were staying at other hotels.
The only thing I did not like was having to walk through the smoker's section to and from the bus. (I just held my breath).
The room had two nice queen beds, refrigerator, tv, table, and bathroom. The African Map wallpaper was neat.
Had a great experience and would stay there again in the future.
 
21 out of 22 people found this review helpful
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1.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.0   FEBRUARY 2TH THROUGH FEBRUARY 9TH
Reviewer: Terk (petry1@aol.com) Bartlett,Illinois     February 23, 2008
We stayed in a Savanah View room, actually it took us 3 room tries so that we were satisifed with room. 1st room faced the contruction, 2nd room had another issue, finally the 3rd room was satisfacory. The cost of our room was 325.00 a night. AKL is to far from most of the parks, the shuttle service was great, the castmates at AKL who helped with ground service transportation were horrible. We used the pool our last day, it was a nice pool.

We were disappointed with the service/attitude we received from the management and employees. As upset as I was about issues, they were not compassionate at all and would tell you to have a Magical Day. We did not feel any magic until we were of AKL property.

With the exception of the employees and managers, the hotel is nice, we really did not see that many animals. We really did not feel that it was worth the money to stay there. It just makes me sick to think about how much we spent staying at AKL

I did send a detailed email to WDW, I don't expect to hear back.


 
15 out of 52 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   May 2006
Reviewer: sherry Atlanta,Ga.     November 30, 2007
When we first arrived I was thinking what have we got into, but once we entered the lobby all changed. This is a wonderful resort . So well themed down to the last detail. The service is excellent. We were checked in very fast and everything was explained to a tee. Our room was a standard but was not disappointing at all, we could see the beautiful pool , and in the morning it is one of the prettiest views there is, almost like you are on actual safari property. We never had a problem with room service and it was almost too quiet. If you go , April & May is ideal .There were Jacaranda trees and Raintrees in bloom outside our patio ,which will take your breath they are so beautiful.The area outside has cast members that will explain anything you want to know about the animals and flora, you see more animals in the morning and late afternoon .I would recommend this resort for all ages. We will definitely be back again and again.
 
24 out of 24 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   2-9 December, 2006
Reviewer: Klutch Colorado     November 07, 2007
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is world-class unique. I have visited a five-star hotel in Kenya and it wasn't as nice or as well-themed. It also didn't have numerous animals right on the grounds.

I booked a standard room as part of a discount package. Upon checking in, I learned I had been upgraded to a savannah room on the second floor.

The layout of the resort is unusual and somewhat confusing. It would be a good idea to study a resort map before checking in. The lobby is on the third floor. Therefore, my room was one level below the lobby. The first floor consists of utility areas and no guest rooms. Thus, there are no guest rooms at ground level. I would recommend the second or third floors for the best animal viewing. The higher floors are just too far above the savannahs.

The lobby is absolutely cavernous and packed with charming details. One can spend an entire day just exploring the grounds of the resort and the lobby itself could take an hour. There are inlays in the floor, custom iron railings, enormous lighting fixtures, a suspended bridge and so much more. One entire wall is glass and provides a spectacular backdrop.

Surprisingly, the pool area is among the least-themed of the resort. It's a nice area, but nothing spectacular. The pool itself is large and has a "zero entry" section. There are two hot tubs. One is near the pool and was constantly jammed with guests and their small children during my stay. (This seems to be a common problem at Disney resorts.) The other is further away from the pool. Apparently, most people don't know it's there because it was often empty or had only a few guests.

My guest room was of adequate size, but not large. The decor was interesting without going overboard. The doors and lights outside the doors are some the more interesting decorations at AKL. Each has a unique African shield. My room had a small balcony accessed through a sliding glass door. I was at a far end of the savannah. Early in the morning there were numerous animals, but they typically wandered to other areas later in the day.

AKL has numerous viewing balconies on the second floor with large rockers. Don't sweat it if you don't get a savannah room. Simply grab a coffee, pull up a rocker and enjoy whatever savannah you choose at any time during your stay.

There are also a few fenced-off viewing areas at ground level. Each is monitored by a young CM from Africa. I suggest making an effort to chat with them. They are quite charming and a major part of the theming of AKL. The CMs also offer animal viewing with night vision equipment after dark.

My wife and I enjoyed a drink at the lounge one evening. It's wonderfully themed and nicely lighted. However, the seating is somewhat awkward and seems to be designed for very large people.

The AKL food court is adequate, but nothing exceptional. I found the staff very nice and helpful. AKL restaurants are especially unique and deserve their own review. Briefly, I will state here that Boma is an outstanding buffet restaurant and Jiko is upscale and offers a somewhat exotic menu.

Although AKL is the most remote resort at WDW, bus service is outstanding. Even the furthest rides were brief and uncrowded. Of course, the closest ride is to the DAK park, but by no means is it nearby. Unfortunately, guests cannot walk from AKL to DAK park. It's really not within walking distance and connecting the two is only a four lane highway not at all accomodating for pedestrians. The savannahs at AKL are completely separate from the savannahs at DAK.

In the future, I would like to stay at AKL again and take much more time to enjoy the resort. There are daily activities for children as well as African performers and lectures.



 
25 out of 25 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   May 7 - 11, 1007
Reviewer: NeilPage Columbia, Maryland     May 14, 2007
We had a Savannah view on the 2nd floor. It was a long walk (especially carrying a sleeping 4yr old!) from the lobby and somewhat confusing level change. The room was very nice (clean, comfortable, accomodating) and the view was excellent (inside view of the Savannah). We saw many animals from our balcony, but would have preferred a better guide as to what some were. Also, the maintenance trucks were very prevalent.
As for restaurants, we ate breakfast at Boma twice, and it was excellent. The wait staff even took my ~4yr old son in the kitchen to be a Junior Chef, and gave us a photo & certificate of this treat. We were going to eat there for dinner, but the wait time was over an hour. Since we had a rental car, we drove to an excellent Italian restaurant outside of WDW.
I agree that the hotel is rather dark -- but we didn't spend a whole lot of time indoors. Is it worth $400 per night, I would say No, unless you enjoy the natural and remote surroundings and don't mind the long walk to your room. The amenities (pool, visuals, etc.) with this resort are very good.
 
13 out of 14 people found this review helpful
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3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   2/24/07 - 2/28/07
Reviewer: fshagan Oxnard, CA     February 28, 2007
All of the reviews have stressed the pros of the hotel, and I agree with most of them. But we still did not enjoy the stay as much as we could have. I'll focus on the "cons", not because we had a horrible time, but because we would have been happier at Port Orleans or Coronado Springs.

My wife and I stayed in a "Deluxe Savannah View" room, which is on the 5th floor. The deluxe rooms are a bit larger, with a balcony that juts out from the building (the space that would be the balcony on the lower rooms is part of the room, so you add about 8' to the length of the room.) But as others have stated, the 5th floor is the least attractive in terms of seeing animals ... you are looking down on them, and the tree tops obstruct your view. You also see the miles of chain link fencing that keeps the animals close to the lodge, which ruins the experience.

Our room was also at the end of the Kudu Trail, a full 390 paces from the lobby. There is one elevator serving the entire wing of the hotel, located about a third of the way down from the lobby. We were told we could not change rooms to another savannah view room, which is unfortunate. We saw one eland and two marabou storks below our end of the hotel during our entire stay.

If you go to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, try to get the savannah view rooms on the second or third floor, closer to the lobby. The guests we talked to who had those rooms were pretty happy with them.

There are three more negatives to be aware of, but these apply only to some people.

One, the walking is extensive. From the lobby, it is a full 200 steps to the bus stop, and all rooms have to come back to the lobby to access the front of the resort where the stops are.

Two, the decor is so dark ... dark wood, tan walls, dark carpet, dark granite vanity tops ... that you have to turn on every light in the room to try and get enough illumination to see. The whole hotel is this dark; even the elevator lights are dim enough that we observed people missing the elevator "up" light on several occasions. I'm sure Africa has some white paint somewhere in it, and I expect to see the re-decorating in a few years to include some brighter colors.

Three, the resturants are always booked, and reservations are absolutely required, even for the buffet. The food in the "grab and go" place, The Mara, is good enough, but if you are like me ... and hate to have to rush against time to get back for a dinner reservation ... this is a big problem.

Disney fans often gush over the rooms at Disney hotels, but really, they are about on a par with a Marriott Courtyard room (in any of the resorts we've stayed in!) The difference is the theming, access to the Disney transportation service, and the usual high standard of service you get from Disney hotel employees. In that regard, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is certainly a good choice, as are the others we have stayed at. But for our money, Port Orleans, Coronado Springs, and Old Key West are just as good.
 
28 out of 34 people found this review helpful
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