In this blog, I’ll talk about the Savannahs.
The most unique aspect of Animal Kingdom Lodge are the animals and their savannahs. There are 3 savannahs encompassing a total of 11 acres, each with it’s own look and feel. As you look out from the lodge they are from left to right: Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima! More than 200 birds and animals populate the savannahs — a different group of birds and animals are on each of the savannahs. Only the reticulated giraffes can be found on all three.
There are several public viewing areas, both inside and outside where you can see the animals. If you have a savannah view room, you can watch the birds and animals from your balcony! The hallways inside the resort along the “trails” (aka wings) have areas of windows where you can view animals also! You will also find a few outside “balcony” viewing locations. Don’t forget there are several exterior stairwells that also provide animal viewing opportunities. For the Arusha and Uzima Savannahs, there are ground level viewing spots too.
Very important — Keep in mind the savannahs are the home for these birds and animals. Disney can not guarantee any animal sightings. I suggest that you inquire at check-in to see what time morning feeding time is because the animals know what that jeep is doing out there and they gather! (If the front desk doesn’t know, ask one of the animal guides in the outdoor viewing areas). In addition to morning feedings times, the animals tend to be out around dusk.
For folks who are up and out to the parks early and back late in the evening, you may not get to see many animals at all. While you may be in park commando mode, the animals have their own time schedule 🙂
Each day, each savannah closes for a couple hours. The animals are brought to the barns for training and health inspections. It also gives the keepers time for any special maintenance in the savannah itself. There is always at least one savannah open with animals.
The Sunset Savannah has an upper level viewing area that consists of a lounge and a balcony. From here you can see Ostrich, Red River Hogs, Waterbuck, Marabou Stork, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture and others. The Sunset Savannah Lounge is actually a very nice place to relax. Sometimes I’ll bring morning coffee in there or perhaps a before dinner beverage. The theming in this room is amazing. If a tour is offered during your stay, be sure to take it to learn more about the artifacts in the lounge!
The Arusha Savannah is probably the largest, or at least, appears that way and is the central area of the resort. There is a large rock formation that juts into the savannah, allowing for a variety of viewing spots. This Savannah becomes a huge horseshoe with the widest wings of the resort rooms bordering it. If you look at the resort map, you’ll see what I mean.
Animals found here include Zebra, Eland, White-Bearded Wildebeest, Ankole-Watusi Cattle, Pink-Backed Pelican, and others. Night vision animal viewing is available on this savannah. A guide will be out after dark and can show you how to use the night vision goggles to spot animals (many of which are nocturnal). Again, be sure to check at the Front Desk for times.
The Uzima Savannah is the furthest on the right if you look out from the Lodge. Its home to the Greater Kudu, Thompson’s Gazelle, Blesbok, flamingos, Stanley Crane, and more. The Uzima Savannah is behind the Uzima Pool. You can always take a look at the animals while you enjoy the pool. There is a flamingo area directly behind the pool as well.
The first 2 animals on the Lodge savannahs just happened to be the first 2 animals brought to the Animal Kingdom theme park – 2 reticulated giraffes!
Not all the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge were there for opening and some of the original Lodge animals have left. There were Gemsbok were on the Arusha Savannah in 2001, but they were found to be incompatible with the other animals and moved elsewhere. Also, in the last few years, the Red River Hogs were added to the Sunset Savannah.
As mentioned above, an important fact to remember when visiting or staying at the Lodge is that it is the home for these animals and birds — their safety and well-being is the priority! You may not attempt to feed, throw things or get into the animal areas. If caught doing so, you may be expelled from the lodge. Security cameras view room balconies as well as the public viewing areas to keep an eye on guests and make sure the rules are adhered to!
Lastly, what are those fenced areas on the savannahs? Ever seen those wooden “pens” in the Savannahs that are very close to the resort? These are actually contingency locations for guests to use in case the lodge must be evacuated.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Animal Kingdom Lodge – Resort Reflections