The countdown has begun!
In 27 days (but who is counting) we will be returning to one of my favorite places in all of Walt Disney World! Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Animal Kingdom Lodge Sign (Photo credit: rustyalaska)
As you pull up in front of the resort, you can tell that something is different about this place. Not only is it the size of the place, it just has a different feel to it. You can’t quite put your finger on it though. When you step out of the car (or usually in our case, the Disney Magical Express bus), you feel so completely enveloped by the sights and sounds. (If you listen carefully, you can hear African-themed music playing in the background.) You don’t know quite what to expect. You walk up to the front doors, and as they open, you start to get a real appreciation for the size and scale of this resort.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby (Photo credit: obfusciatrist)
The Amazing Lobby
As you step through the front doors, you will most likely hear a collective, “Wow!” coming from those who walk through the door with you.
Animal Kingdom Lodge, an African-themed deluxe resort at Walt Disney World, opened in 2001 and hosts more than 1,300 rooms. The resort boasts thatched ceilings, large beams and showcases many real African artifacts. The lodge is situated in a way to allow for an expansive view of the 43-acre African Wildlife Preserve.
If you pass through the lobby, you will step into an area called Arusha Rock. It is a rock platform that gets you up close and personal with the wildlife roaming the savanna. Animal Kingdom Lodge wouldn’t be called that without the animals!
More than 30 different species of wildlife roam 4 different savannas. Among the animals that call this place home are, Reticulated Giraffe, Zebra, Antelope, Okapi, Thompson’s Gazelle, Ostrich, and White-Bearded Wildebeest.
Giraffe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the greatest things about the savanna, however, is the fact that many of the rooms come with views of the savanna. It’s a wonderful thing to be sitting on your balcony and see a Giraffe wander by. Sometimes they feel close enough to touch! The last time we stayed there, we had the pleasure of two giraffe coming over just under our balcony and bedding down for the night. It was a breathtaking sight.
And, if you are really ready for an up-close view of the animals, you may choose to reserve a spot for a tour of the Wanyama Safari. This is an adventurous guided drive through one of the safaris that offers the opportunity to spend some time with the members of the Animal Kingdom Lodge animal program team. You will enjoy wonderful photo opportunities of the animals and architecture of Animal Kingdom Lodge. After the safari, you will return to Jiko (one of a few restaurants at the resort) for an amazing dinner.
Speaking of restaurants, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers two award-winning restaurants, Jiko-The Cooking Place and Boma-Flavors of Africa, as well as a The Mara, a counter service restaurant.
Other Activities / Amenities
If the adventure with the animals is too much for you, or you are just looking to kick back, you could also choose to relax at the resort’s 11,000 square foot zero-depth entry pool. Uzima pool also offers a 67 foot long slide.
With all of this and more to offer, Animal Kingdom Lodge is an amazing place to stay, and would be a wonderful choice for a family stay at Walt Disney World.