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Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge is closely tied to the Animal Kingdom park, and kind of provides the experience you'd expect if allowed to spend the night on the Kilamanjaro Safari ride. Designed by Peter Dominick (who also designed Wilderness Lodge and Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland) the hotel is meant to evoke an African village (a posh one, with all the amenities). The resort is surrounded on three sides by "savannahs" that make Animal Kingdom Lodge the unique resort on property. Each savannah is home to dozens of African animals, which can be viewed from several special locations and the balconies of most of the guest rooms. Great hidden touches abound and it is definitely a resort to visit even if not a guest. Boma, an African-cuisine buffet, isn't for everybody but has an extremely loyal following.

General Information - Hide Section
  • Address: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830
  • Resort Phone #: 407-938-3000
  • Resort Fax #: 407-938-4799
  • Reservation #: 407-934-7639
  • Date Opened: April 16, 2001
  • Resort Category: Deluxe
  • Room Information
  • # of Buildings: 1 very large building
  • # of Rooms: 762 (originally 1,293 before the top two floors were converted to be part of Animal Kingdom Villas)
  • Room Rates: There are two basic room types: standard (floors 1-4) and deluxe (floors 5 and 6). Standard rooms have three available views (the worst face the parking lot instead of the savannahs) while the deluxe rooms all face the savannah. Additionally, there are several suites available. See the official Disney page for Animal Kingdom Lodge for current room rates.
  • Services Information
  • Concierge Service: Yes, 55 of the deluxe savannah view rooms
  • Valet Parking: Yes ($12/day)
  • Room Service:
  • Internet: Wired in-room ethernet port. $9.95 for 24-hours
  • Laundry: There is a single on-property self-service laundry room. A laundry service is also available.
  • Pools and swimming: One large pool area. The Uzima Pool features a children's area, a water slide, two Jacuzzis and a sloped entry at one end. The pool is open 24 hours, though lifeguards are unavailable at 10 p.m.
  • Gym and Exercise: The Zahanati Fitness Center is open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is available free to all guests and for an additional charge to other on-property guests.
  • Spa: Yes, the fitness center also provides massage and body treatments by appointment.
  • Turndown service: No
  • Smoking:
  • Owner's Locker
  • MousePlanet partner Owner's Locker provides a highly useful service for repeat Walt Disney World visitors. It will allow you to to store a large amount of your "only-in-Florida" belongings on-site between your visits. Owner's Locker will deliver your locker to your resort early on the morning of your arrival and pick it up the day that you leave. Your locker will stay in climate-controlled storage until you return on your next visit. Owner's Locker delivers to resorts throughout the Orlando area, not just to Walt Disney World. Some of the many things that Owner's Lockers have been used to store are full-sized liquid containers to avoid the TSA hassle, clothing, holiday decorations for annual visits, pool playthings, and more. Visit their site and check them out for yourself, or order now!
  • Transportation Information
  • On foot:
  • Bus: The bus stop is to the left as you exit the main entrance. Animal Kingdom Lodge is well removed from any other on-property location so plenty of time should be allocated when using the bus to get around.
  • Monorail: Not directly available
  • Ferries: None
 
Dining - Hide Section
  • Boma— Located in Jambo House, African-inspired cuisine served in a buffet style that allows sampling. Selections change daily on a weekly cycle and the soups are particularly noteworthy.
  • Jiko: The Cooking Place— A table service restaurant in Jambo House serving African-fusion cuisine. This restaurant also has an extensive wine list.
  • Other dining — Mara is the resorts self-service fast food counter with decent sandwich, salad, and burger options. Uzima Springs is a poolside bar that also offers some light snacks. Victoria Falls Lounge is a bar located on the mezzanine above Boma and Jiko.
Entertainment and Shows - Hide Section
  • Mnyama (Sunset) Safari — A 90-minute van tour of the lodge's savannah areas, allowing close up views of the animals as well as backstage access to the animal care areas. Followed by dinner at Jiko. Available only to concierge-level guests and only by reservation. Available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; $150/person.
  • Night viewing — On most nights a cast member can be found at Arusha Rock (Jambo House) with a low-light viewing scope to allow viewing of nocturnal animals. Check posted schedules.
  • Pumbaa's Arcade — A video game arcade near the pool at Jambo House.
  • Savannah Trails — Trails for all three savannah areas are open to everybody.
  • Simba's Clubhouse — An evening (4:30-midnight) activity center for children 4-12 and requires reservations.
  • Storytelling — Storytelling, for both adults and children, happens every night at the Arusha Rock fire pit. Check posted schedules.
  • Sunrise Safari Breakfast Adventure — A 45-minute early morning tour of safari area at the Animal Kingdom park followed by breakfast at Tusker House. Available only to concierge-level guests, reservations required. Available Sundays and Thursdays; $39.95/person.
Stores and Shopping - Hide Section
  • Zawadi Marketplace— Jambo House may have only one store, but it is a big one, one of the largest retail spaces at Walt Disney World outside of Downtown Disney. In addition to the standard Disney merchandise and souvenirs, are a wide selection of African crafts and merchandise. Located in the Jambo House lobby.
Reader Reviews - Hide Section

The following are recent reviews for the Animal Kingdom Lodge from our Reader Review system. Click the Show All Reviews link to see every review for this location. To browse all reviews in the system, please see this page.


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 Animal Kingdom Lodge Reviews: 40
Show All Reviews
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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Links of Interest - Hide Section

MousePlanet Links

  • Photo Tour — Brian Bennett shows you around the resort (circa 2002).


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