Jambo, next up in our Look at the Resorts series is Animal Kingdom Lodge. Animal Kingdom Lodge is nestled on
the far west side of the property near; you guessed it, Animal Kingdom. It is a Deluxe resort and sports an African theme. It was designed by the same people who designed the Wilderness Lodge and the Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort and opened on April 16, 2001. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has 1307 rooms and many different options for room type. The resort is famous for breathtaking views of the African Savanna that is literally out your window in the Savanna view rooms. Ever wanted to wake up and look out the window to picture perfect landscape and a Giraffe grazing mere yards away from you? At Animal Kingdom they make your stay an adventure unlike any other.
As soon as you step foot inside of the lobby you’re left in amazement. At the far end of the lobby is an awe
inspiring 5 story window overlooking the savannah and you should immediately know you are in for a real treat. Like I said before some of the rooms sport a view of one of 3 Savannas; the Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima. The Sunset Savannah features Male Giraffe, Bongo, Impala, Thompsons Gazelles, Ostrich, Ankole Cattle, Waterbuck, African Crown Cranes, Stork and Blue Cranes. The Arusha Savanna features Pelicans, Geese, Giraffe, Ankole Cattle, Zebra, Wildebeest, Eland, and Gemsbok. Finally, the Uzima Savanna features Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Bongo, Blesbok, and Thompsons Gazelles. If you are not staying in one of the Savanna View rooms or want to check out one of the other Savannas have no fear there are multiple viewing areas around the resort and they are open 24/7. Where else can you experience waking up among the animals of the African Savanna?!
The architecture of the lodge is truly spectacular as well. The design of the lodge is modeled after a Kraal
African Village, which is all semi circular. This design allows more of the rooms to have great and unique views of the Savannas. The Lodge is also filled with authentic African artwork and styles which makes for a very unique feel in the resort. Finally maybe the most amazing part of the design of the building is the authentic thatched roofing that covers the entire lodge. The second you pull up to the resort you will feel like you are pulling into a lodge out in the African Savanna because of the authentic thatched roofing.
Animal Kingdom also sports an incredible pool that is open 24 hours. The Uzima Springs pool is an astounding 11,000 square feet and is a zero-entry pool as well! The pool also sports a 67-foot slide, however it closes at 10 PM when the lifeguards go off duty.
Finally maybe the best aspect of Animal Kingdom is the amazing dining experiences offered at the resort. Lets start with Boma Flavors of Africa, which may be the best breakfast on property and has an amazing dinner as well. The restaurant feels like an African Market and has an open kitchen. The breakfast buffet is one of the most popular in Disney and it isn’t without reason. The restaurant puts an African flair on their dishes somewhat easing guests into African flavors and they are known for their authentic African soups and amazing meats.
Next up is Sanaa, which is located at the Kidani Village (the DVC side of the resort). “Sanaa” is Swahili for art and it shows, the decor is amazing with pieces of art hanging from the ceilings and covering the walls. At the center of the dining room the ceiling is designed to make you feel like you are sitting underneath a huge tree and is a very nice touch. The restaurant also offers amazing views of the Savanna at Kidani Village. Lunch and Dinner are two very different menus at Sanaa with lunch being a more traditional American menu and dinner being much more African with dishes like Spicy Durban Chicken.
Finally we can cover Animal Kingdom Lodge’s signature restaurant, Jiko the Cooking Place. Jiko is considered by many to be the best restaurant on property this side of Victoria and Alberts. When you walk in you will notice the vibrant colors and bird-like fixtures hanging from the ceiling. The menu at this restaurant is second to none and always being altered in some way so don’t worry about getting the same thing over and over again. Jiko provides the opportunity to try some wild African dishes like Wild Boar or
grabbing an Oak Grilled Filet Mignon over Rice Pilaf or substitute for the famous Mac and Cheese. This restaurant is a must do for anyone looking to try a signature meal at Disney.
The resort also features 2 amazing lounges Victoria Falls Lounge and the Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar where you can actually order off of the Jiko menu. The Mara is also available as a quick service option and is one of the better quick service options in any resort. The Mara offers traditional American food as well as some African favorites.
The only pitfall for Animal Kingdom Lodge is that if you are looking to spend a lot of times in the parks, you better be ready for some bus rides because you are pretty isolated and it actually the only Deluxe Resort that isn’t within walking distance or special transportation from any park.
A stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge will be unlike any other you have at Disney world, but it very well be your most memorable. So next time you are looking to have a wild stay at Disney book a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Thank you for reading and please share your favorite things about Animal Kingdom Lodge or what you look forward to trying the most on your next stay here.
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