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Animal Kingdom Lodge
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Wildlife Spotting Guide
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a deluxe resort hotel adjacent to Disney's Animal Kingdom. It opened April 16, 2001. The Lodge itself is called the Jambo House. Designed by Peter Dominick, of Wilderness Lodge fame, AKL recreates the feel of a South African wildlife reserve lodge. Rooms follow the Kraal African village design, a semicircle concept, offering a view of close to 100 grazing animals and 130 birds on the property and in the private savannas.
Like Disney other resorts, AKL has a distinctive theme carried throughout its architecture, landscape and interior designs. As you drive up to the resort, all you see is a small gathering of huts. The incredible size of the resort is hidden from the front, so it will be like driving up to a small safari village.
Tell me more about the look and feel of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Lodge is 6 stories tall. You enter the expansive lobby on the 3rd floor of the resort. There is a huge picture window which looks out upon 30 acres of land. From here, you can walk out onto an elevated viewing area (Arusha Rock) and enjoy the roaming animals.
All three savannas are special areas built specifically for the AKL and are separate from Disney's Animal Kingdom. There are over 100 Sand Live Oak trees and 35,000 shrubs in the savannas. Seeds for many of the plants were supplied from Africa.
Throughout the rest of the lobby, there are examples of authentic architecture and design, from thatched ceilings to golden tones reflecting the richness and diversity of an African landscape. Rich wood tones surround a large mud fireplace and natural lighting will celebrate dawn and dusk with features that accentuate spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
In the hallways, there are alcoves with glass windows providing savanna overlooks.
Next to Animal Kingdom Lodge is Kidani Village (opened May 1, 2009) a Disney Vacation Club Resort. Kidani has it's own parking, restaurant, and pool. It shares the Sunset Savannah with Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House and has it's own savannah (opened fall 2009) called Pembe.
What types of accommodations are available?
The accommodations offered are finished in rich tapestries and vibrant colors. Guest rooms feature jewel tones and hand-carved furnishings. There is even a "Royal Suite" with a domed, hut-like living room fit for a king.
The following are the room types and numbers of rooms in each category: Standard View (facing the parking lot) 135 rooms; Pool View 136 rooms; savanna View 724 rooms; Deluxe Pool View 33 rooms; Deluxe savanna View 191 rooms and 55 Concierge rooms. The deluxe rooms are bigger than the standard rooms. There are also Presidential and Vice Presidential suites, as well as five one-bedroom suites and 12 two-bedroom parlor suites.
standard rooms are on floors 1-4 and are 344 square feet. Deluxe
rooms are on floors 5 and 6 and are 381 square feet. All
rooms have balconies.
Some rooms feature one queen-size bed and bunk beds. Some rooms feature an additional dresser. There are 79 king bed rooms, and there are 65 accessible rooms with king bed, roll-in shower, accessible seat for toilet, TDD kit and ADA guide maps.
Concierge rooms have either savanna or a pool view.
Each room that is not ground level, no matter what the category or view, has a balcony that is long and narrow.
The suites are located at the end of the animal trails. From the outside of the Lodge, they are the ones located within the rounded parts of the building, with the curved balconies, topped with thatch. They are located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. Even the ones below 5th floor still have concierge access.
In addition the Lodge also has some Disney Vacation Club villas. See that fact sheet for details.
Can you explain more about the different views and room types?
Floors 1-2-3-4 have Standard Rooms with one of 3 views: Standard, Pool or savanna. The rooms can be configured with 2 Queens; 1 Queen and Bunk Beds; King Bed with Daybed; Handicapped Accessible with King Bed and Daybed.
Floors 5-6 have Deluxe rooms. Concierge rooms are the same as the Deluxe rooms. These have one of 2 views: Pool or savanna. The rooms can be configured as either 2 Queens; 1 Queen and Bunk Beds; King Bed and Daybed; Handicapped Accessible with King Bed and Daybed. The 6th Floor is exclusively Concierge.
The best way to understand the various views is to compare them to the seating in a theater or stadium. For example, I would equate a savanna view room to the orchestra and box seats: you have a close and personal view of the event, in which you are totally immersed in the action and sometimes even feel like they are playing just for you. The pool view rooms are similar to the mezzanine or club level: you still have good seating, but you are not as close to the action and are much more aware of your surroundings. And standard view rooms? They would be akin to the upper, upper deck, or the back of the highest balcony. You are there and can enjoy the experience, but you are much further removed both emotionally and physically.
How much does it cost to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge ?
Walt Disney World Resort rates vary by season (there are nine seasons now), and also by day of the week. The holiday season is the most expensive time of the year. It runs from mid-December to early January as well as during Easter Week.
The rates for a:
-- Standard View Room range from $308 - $450 (Holidays up to $511)
-- Savanna View Bunk Bed range from $474 - $659 (Holidays up to $690)
-- Standard Club Level range from ($499 - $694) (Holidays up to $715)
What type of amenities are offered?
The rooms have a small safe in the closet to store valuables. It's big enough for your plane tickets, cash/travelers checks and maybe some jewelry, but not much more. For storing larger valuables inquire at the front desk. In addition, you'll also find a hairdryer, small coffee maker with packets of coffee and tea, iron and ironing board, a crib, and a small refrigerator. Valet parking, voice mail, and room service are also available.
Walt Disney World Resort made complimentary Wi-Fi service available in all of its hotels as of March 2012. See our Internet Access page for details.
I hear that there are no more room keys at Disney resort hotels. How do I get into my room?
Walt Disney World has converted their room keys and admission tickets from plastic cards to MagicBands, flexible plastic wristbands, resembling a watch or bracelet, that use Radio Frequency (RF) technology. Your MagicBand is linked to your My Disney Experience (MDE) account and acts as your Disney resort room key. Simply touch the Mickey symbol on your MagicBand to the RFID reader near your room door to gain entry. Read about using MagicBands for park admission, FastPass+ and more here.
How does check-in work?
Online Check-in is available 10 days prior to your stay. Look for the special Online Check-in line at the resort's front desk.
Check-in is at 3pm. Upon arrival head to the front desk to check-in. Rooms are generally not available until 3pm. Early check-in allows you to leave luggage with bell services, get your Magic Bands (if you don't already have them) and head off to the parks or relax around the resort. You will be given a phone number to call periodically to see if your room is ready. When you call in, answer a few questions. You will then be given your room number and your Magic Band will open your door! OR -- Text alerts are also available, just provide a cell phone number to the front desk cast member.
Check-out time is 11am. Express Check-out is available to all guests paying with a credit card, arrange for this service at check-in. A detailed hotel bill is delivered to your door by 7am. If the bill is correct you simply leave. Your Magic Band serves as a Disney souvenir. Late Check-out of noon can be requested without additional cost (very limited availability). If you need Late Check-out, request it at Check-In and as soon as possible the morning of check out (the number of eligible rooms are limited).
Resort Airline Check-In Service at your Disney resort is only available if you are flying domestically (includes Puerto Rico) on specific airlines It is a complimentary (free) service and allows you to check your luggage.
What kind of concierge service is available?
AKL's concierge guest rooms are located on part of floor 5 and all of 6. The actual lounge and staff are located on the 6th floor. The concierge rooms are identical to the deluxe rooms in terms of size and amenities (with a few extra). You can not book a specific concierge view... they are either a pool view or Sunset or Arusha savanna view. For some odd reason, the lounge was not built with a savanna view and instead opens to the lobby on the 6th floor.
The lounge is wonderful, large and the food quite good. You also have a selection of South African wines to try as well. The Cast Members can assist you in dining, entertainment or just about any Disney plans you might want to make.
AllEars.Net staff rates AKL's concierge lounge as one of the best at WDW.
What are the savannas like?
The Animal Kingdom Lodge has three separate savannas (approximately 10 acres each) that are open 24 hours a day. From left to right the savannas are named: Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima.
Each savanna has its own unique look and feel. Not all savannas have all the animals. For instance, ostriches can only be found on the Sunset savanna, zebras are only located on the Arusha savanna, kudu are only found on the Uzima savanna. Giraffes are the only animal found on all three savannas.
Each room has an animal viewing guide. You can also pick one up at the front desk.
At night, the savannas are illuminated by artificial moonlight as if a full moon were ever present.
"Safari Guides" are at the outside viewing areas and can answer your questions about the animals and birds.
Altogether, more than 200 mammals and birds of nearly three dozen species populate the 33-acre area. The savannas surround the lodge on three sides. You can view the birds and animals from resort balconies or from several viewing points -- including a landscaped rock outcropping called the Arusha Rock kopje -- 24 hours a day.
Are the animals and birds on the savannas 24 hours a day? Where do they sleep?
The savannas are the actual home for the animals and birds. All animals inhabiting the savanna return periodically to an on-site animal care facility for feeding and routine care. Many of the species browse, as well, on savanna plantings that are part of their everyday diet and are continually replenished by horticulturists.
The animals sleep on the savannas, although they are generally much further back and therefore you can't see them sleep. Each savanna is closed daily for approximately two hours for cleaning and handling animals, in shifts. There will always be at least two savannas open at all times. A number of the animals are nocturnal and so you may spot them in the middle of the night.
What animals and birds might I see on the savannas?
The following animals may be found on at least one of the three Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannas:
Anikole Cattle, Bongo, Blesbok, Eland, Grant's Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Reticulated Giraffe, Thomson's Gazelle, Waterbuck, Red River Hogs, and White-Bearded Wildebeest.
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Greater Flamingo, Marabou Stork, Ostrich, Pink-Backed Pelican, and Ruppel's Griffon Vulture.
did the animals come from?
The first two inhabitants of Disney's Animal Kingdom, two giraffes, became the first two inhabitants of AKL. The other animals either originated at Animal Kingdom or arrived from other accredited zoological facilities.
Will I be able to touch or feed the animals? What responsibilities do I have regarding the animals and birds?
NO, you may not touch or feed the animals. If you attempt to do so, you risk expulsion from the resort.
Safety of both the guests and the animals is very important. As an in-room notice states: "To assist the animal care staff in maintaining the health and safety of the animals, please do not feed them or drop items into the habitats. Also, please do not attempt to approach or cross the barriers designed for guest and animal safety. If any guest attempts to harm the animals or their habitats, they will be immediately asked to leave the resort. During your stay you may notice cameras in and around the savannas. These cameras are for the protection and safety of our animals. For privacy, please close your drapes."
Are there smoking and nonsmoking rooms?
As of June 1, 2007, all Disney resorts and guest rooms are now smoke-free. There are designated outdoor smoking areas. Check the resort map or with a Cast Member for locations.
What is the Sunset Safari?
The Sunset or Wanyama Safari is exclusively offered to Animal Kingdom Lodge Concierge Guests. It is approximately 1-1/2 hours long and takes place on the savannas of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is meant to be a re-creation of a true African afternoon game drive and is an opportunity to spend time with members from the animal programs team learning about the natural history and management of the animal collection at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Photo opportunities of the animals and architecture of Animal Kingdom Lodge that can only be experienced from our savannas. Your safari will conclude with a true African dining experience at Jiko, just like the lodges in Africa where a multi-course meal will await you.
For pricing and other details, visit the Wanyama Safari page.
Is it better to be out on the wings vs near the lobby area for views of the savanna? Does the configuration take into consideration sunrise and sunset angles for picture taking? Are views better as you go up in floors?
There is a Sunset savanna and also a Sunset savanna viewing room/balcony that is open to everyone. It was designed specifically for viewing at sunset. The balconies are all decent size so that a tripod will fit out there for photo taking.
On the lower floors you are closer to the animals, on the upper floors you have more of an expansive view...different people will prefer one over the other and it will differ.
The savannas are designed for viewing from a variety of locations. At any given time, one view may be better or worse than another. The Animal Staff are out several times during the day to leave food and treats for the animals. They scatter them all over so that the animals will visit lots of different areas in the savanna.
There are a very few rooms on each floor near the end of the hallway that offer a semi-obstructed view of the savanna You must look through/past timber building supports and palm trees. Initially these rooms were coded savanna view; I don't know if this has changed.
How do I get to...?
All Disney transportation to and from AKL is via bus. As you exit the main lobby, the bus station is down to the left. There are several stops to take you to the Theme Parks, Water Parks and Disney Springs. The buses that service AKL do not service other resorts.
You may walk or take bus over to Kidani Village, the Disney Vacation Club area next to Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Is morning coffee available?
All rooms should be equipped with a small coffee maker and a complimentary coffee packets. In addition, Mara, the quick service restaurant, serves coffee. Be sure to get a Rapid Fill mug if you drink lots of coffee and soda. Hours at Mara are usually 6:00am to 11:30pm.
Describe the restaurants that are at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The restaurants offer a blend of African, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and French cuisine with a dash of English served with a hint of classical flair. The menu reflects the perfect blend of sweet and savory international tastes.
- The Cooking Place -- a casual restaurant, serving dinner, that features
a taste of Africa in an atmosphere shaped by local traditions and
customs. Focusing on simpler, lighter cuisine, it retains the spirit
and refinement of a great restaurant while concentrating on the basics
of cooking, with an emphasis on the freshest of products. The design
represents an abstract view of Africa, with twin wood-burning ovens
as the restaurant's icon.
Boma - Flavors of Africa, a very popular family restaurant open for breakfast and dinner, captures the essence of vibrant life in the African marketplace. This buffet provides guests the ability to savor the African experience, which has multicultural influences. The restaurant showcases an exhibit kitchen, wood-burning grill and rotisserie. The dining areas are under thatched roofs. Reservations for dinner are highly recommended!
the quick-service restaurant, open morning to night, offers great
food and poolside dining.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant Menus HERE
Victoria Falls, a mezzanine lounge, serves specialty coffees and teas and a variety of beverages at night. This lounge overlooks Boma - Flavors of Africa.
Uzima Springs is the Poolside bar.
is located in Kidani Village and offers full service lunch and dinner
My 13 year old daughter, her 13 year old friend and I will be having dinner at Jiko. I forwarded the menu to them and they were less than enthusiastic -- I however, was thrilled! Can they order the kids' meal instead or is there an age restriction and if so, what would you recommend for two very unadventurous diners?
YES, I checked with the manager at Jiko and kids accompanying their parent(s) who do not wish to eat from the regular menu can order off the kids menu. Typically children's meals are for those under 10; however in cases like this, it's no problem at all. As he said to me, "This is Disney!"
I'm interested in hearing about the food options for vegetarians.
There are LOTS of vegetarian options available at Jiko, Boma, Sanaa and Mara! There were several items on the Jiko menu that would/could easily be adapted to vegetarian. The chefs are very tuned into special diets. At Boma -- ask the chefs at each of the pods and they will take care of you!
Vegans just showing up at Jiko or Boma will have a harder time, but if you CALL 24 hours ahead you will be well taken care of at either restaurant. If you are staying Concierge, ask the staff to assist you with your dietary concerns.
What is Zawadi Marketplace?
Zawadi Marketplace is the retail shop celebrating the romantic and adventuresome spirit of Africa through the stories and cultures represented in its merchandise. Disney sent a team of researchers to Africa to locate one-of-a-kind treasures to showcase amid the natural finishes, patterns and textiles featured throughout the marketplace. At nearly 6,000 square feet, Zawadi Marketplace will be among the largest retail shops at Walt Disney World Resort.
Featured marketplace items include: Zulu baskets, hand-loomed fabrics and textiles, hand-carved masks, beaded gourds, hand-carved chess sets and an assortment of authentic accents. The marketplace has items in store for the Disney collector as well, including distinctive headgear, T-shirts, picture frames and more featuring the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge logo.
What about Laundry facilities?
The laundry room is located on the first floor near Simba's Cubhouse. Washers and Dryers are $2.00 each. Soap is available for $1.00. There is a sitting room with TV for those choosing to wait for their clothes to finish.
Any special programs?
Yes, there are a number of special programs offered throughout the day at AKL. Be sure to ask for a list when you check-in to the hotel. A sampling of the recent programs offered at the resort (all programs subject to change without notice):
feedings at the Flamingo Pond
--animal tracking at Arusha Rock
--Music of the Savanna in the Sunset Lounge
--wildlife games in the Sunset Lounge
--African games and crafts on the Uzima Pool Deck
--cultural safari in the Sunset Lounge
--animal viewing with Night Vision
--Adventure Camp for children 6-14 that includes ostrich egg painting, private lodge tour and lunch overlooking the savanna.
--Cookie decorating at Boma
Outside, at the Arusha Rock, there is nightly African storytelling next to Ogun's Firepit. (Storytelling is held indoors in the event of inclement weather.) If you have the opportunity, take the time to speak with the storytellers.
What types of recreation are available?
AKL has a themed pool, a kids' wading pool, two outdoor spas ("hot tubs") and a fitness center. There is also a kid's playground.
The Uzima Springs pool is the largest on Disney property, over 11,000 square feet. It is also a "Zero-Depth Entry" pool, meaning there is an entrance without steps. I saw lots and lots of kids (young ones, too) enjoying the 67-foot long slide and kiddy wade pool area. There is no quiet pool at AKL.
The Uzima pool is open 24 hours, but the lifeguards go off duty at 10:00 PM and the slide also closes. The two spas close at midnight.
Zahanati Fitness Center is open from 6:00am to 9:00pm at no additional charge to Animal Kingdom Lodge guests 14 and over. Those 14-17 must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Guests of other resorts may use the fitness center for $12 per day, based on availability. The purchase of a spa treatment includes use of the adjacent fitness center for the day of treatment.
The Fitness Center spa treatment hours are 8:00am to 7:00pm, by appointment. Treatments include: Massage Therapy, Skin Care and Body Treatments.
All Disney World spas, salons and fitness centers are owned and operated by Disney.
The Fitness Center has a full line of Cybex equipment, including a Smith machine. The cardiovascular area has Life Fitness Treadmills, Stairmasters and Bicycles (regular and recumbent).
I am intrigued by your comment that the pool has 'zero-depth entry level'. I would love to go swimming, but have yet to find a pool where I can transfer in and out of my wheelchair. Is the entry truly 'zero depth' or is there a step? Will Disney have a suitable wheelchair on hand? Will Cast Members be permitted to push these wheelchairs?
Uzima pool really does has a zero depth entrance -- and that entrance has no steps. There are other entry/exit areas around the pool that do have steps.
The Zero-Depth entrance is concrete and goes right into the pool (like a ramp). The area is around 8-10 feet wide.
A special water wheelchair is available upon request (not guaranteed). You will be able transfer in and out of the wheelchair with the assistance of family/friends. Cast Members can help push the wheelchair, but may not transfer or lift people. (Same restriction as at the theme parks.)
Would you categorize this resort as more for older children and adults?
There are lots of children of all ages having a wonderful time and full of smiles. Many kids were all over the lodge with their animal check lists in hand. The storytelling in the evenings is geared to both children and adults. There is always the pool, and as time goes on, more more kids activities will be added.
There is an area in the lobby and also in Mara with a TV and VCR that plays Disney movies. Pumbaa's Arcade appeals to many kids.
The children's activity center is called Simba's Cubhouse. The tentative schedule for the Cubhouse is: 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. Check-in and free play; 6-8 p.m. Dinner; 8:30 p.m. Snack Time; 9 p.m. Creative Play; 10 p.m. Vote on a Disney Movie; 10:15 Movie time and quiet time. The Cubhouse is available for children 4-12 years old and closes at midnight. Reservations can be made as far as 120 days in advance through 407-WDW-DINE; for pricing and more information visit our Childcare FAQ.
If the rooms are so close to the animals, don't their "smells" wander over?
I didn't smell anything out of the ordinary. There are times you can smell the wood roaster from Boma (especially on the Sunset savanna) but no animal smells. Just like on the Kilimanjaro Safari, I don't believe it has ever smelled bad to me. The animal keepers seem to be in the savannas throughout the day and do a good job of cleaning up the areas (including the watering holes).
What else do I want to know?
Bring a tripod for your camera
in the rooms is low, you may want to consider a lighted make-up mirror.
There are cameras everywhere on the outside of the lodge. Be sure to close your room drapes for privacy.
There is no pathway to Animal Kingdom and there are no trams to Animal Kingdom either.
AKL does not allow balloons inside the resort. Any balloons brought to the resort (from the theme parks, for example) will have to be checked with bell services for the duration of the guest's stay. They will be returned upon departure. This information might be helpful to families with younger children, so there are no disappointments when returning to the resort.
Kingdom Lodge Address is: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Bay Lake, FL
32830 The main number is 407-938-3000 and the fax number is 407-938-4799.
The Zahanati Fitness Center phone number 407-938-4715.