Reviews of Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House (Deluxe Resort)
Reviewed by TeacherManJoe Review Date: 05/31/2022
Rating: (9) Recommended
Wowowowowow, Animal Kingdom Lodge is breathtaking in a host of ways.
Firstly, the obvious: Having a full-on Savannah on property is just mind-blowing. With many of the animals you get to see on the Kilimanjaro Safari in the park, BUT AT A FREAKING RESORT, you’re in for a treat whether you are staying here or just visiting. Add the fact that you have the option (if you’ve got the moolah) to have a Savannah-view room and wake up to Giraffes (my favorite) hanging out near your window and you’ve got a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. (We don’t personally have the moolah for this, but were given a VERY nice wedding gift of a stay here, and it was breathtaking). Pro-tip: There is a nighttime safari offered here at AKL that is AWESOME if you get the chance. We were gifted this by a cousin during our stay and you get to go around the Savannahs at the lodge with night vision goggles and learn more about the animals up close and personal in a safari vehicle and it was just DOPE!
Next, as if you needed more, the actual theming here is beautiful. From the insanely beautiful lobby, with African art, carvings, and cultural representations throughout (and that bridge!), to the theming inside of the rooms, the theming here is top-notch and up there as the best on property.
Then there is the dining! With two of the better restaurants in all of Disney World (Jiko and Sanaa), as well as a delicious option in Boma as well, the dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge is arguably unrivaled by most other resorts. Whether just coming here to dine at one of these or dining at one as part of a stay at the resort, you get lots of the greatest parts of the resort included in your dining experience.
Now, the ONE reason why I review AKL as a 9 instead of a 10 out of 10 is because of distance. When we stayed here, we were in a room that was quite far from the lobby. As such, to get to the buses each day and back to our room involved quite a long walk. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but after a long day of Disney walking, it definitely was not ideal. Additionally, AKL is pretty far from most of the parks, with the exception of Animal Kingdom of course, and so bud rides to and from the parks were typically 30 minutes or more. Again, not necessarily deal-breaking. However, this was a bit of a bother as people who like to spend as much time in the parks as possible.
All in all though, AKL is a resort that I would consider one of the most unique in Disney, and arguably one of the most unique you will find ANYWHERE. Between the top-notch amenities, the excellent dining, and the beautiful theming throughout, this is a resort well worth the Deluxe price tag if you can afford it (again, even though we cannot normally). The distance, both walking and transportation, does affect the experience just a bit. However, it is not enough to completely ruin what is otherwise a near-perfect resort experience.
As a sidebar: I experienced one of the most beautiful Cast Member “magic moments” in the gift shop here that I have ever seen in Disney or my life in general. I know that these happen every day and all around the parks and resorts, but the fact that I saw it here will always stick with me.
Pros:Simply breathtaking in theming, dining, and the inclusion of a Savannah AT THE RESORT Well worth the premium price tag Top-notch service
Cons:Distance from everything, both walking to the lobby, and bussing to the parks While worth it, this is an expensive resort
Reviewed by WaltDisneyWorldTraveler Review Date: 03/17/2022
Rating: (5) Not Recommended
AKL has hands down the most incredible lobby and unique food options in all of Disney World. Where else can you experience live Africa wildlife right outside your window? The downside is that this resort does not have much outside space where you can walk and enjoy getting close to the animals. Even with a savanna room view; you are still quite far from the animals. The lobby is impressive; but the rest of the resort appears to be an afterthought. Would recommended getting a dinner reservation for either Jiko or Boma; so that you can enjoy the lobby - but would not recommended staying the night.
Pros:Stellar lobby experience with incredible sit-down food options
Cons:Long-endless hallways make you fee trapped. No outdoor walking spaces. The quick-service dining is equivalent to a high school cafeteria. The pool is quite boring.
Reviewed by PattyMayonaise821 Review Date: 11/11/2021
Rating: (9) Recommended
My husband and I stayed at the Jambo House in a Savanna view king size bedroom for 4 days and 3 nights. First things first it needs to be said: when the animals are out, this is THE BEST view in ALL of Disney.
Jiko was closed when we stayed (Oct 2021), but breakfast at Boma was delicious and unique. Don't sleep on the french toast bread pudding! Also, Zebra Domes not only lived up to the hype, but they surpassed them.
The hotel lobby is amazing. The staff was friendly and helpful, and honestly the bus only transportation is totally fine as long as you're mentally prepared for it. We got to and from each park everyday without any issues, however we didn't plan to rope drop anything (though we did take advantage of two nights of after hours).
The only real negative about this resort might be that the pool is not AMAZING, but it's not bad either-- it's just an average hotel pool so if you plan on doing a resort day, you will probably do more animal watching than pool lounging-- though I think that's totally the point of the hotel!
Pros:Savanna View, Zebra Domes, Unique dining!
Reviewed by Jfarring513 Review Date: 05/01/2021
Rating: (10) Recommended
There is nothing better than staying at Jambo house for part of or your whole disney stay. Pre-pandemic staying here was always a dream of mine and my partner and I went down for a long trip and booked 4 nights here. We went to the parks for dinner and fireworks one or two nights- but every other moment was spent at the hotel and we left feeling like we had accomplished half of what we wanted- just at a hotel!!!
Jambo house offers gorgeous views of multiple savannahs and even those staying in a room with a standard view can go out to the various porches and verandas to look at the animals and relax or read a book etc.
One thing not offered at the moment (pandemic) but is a MUST DO when it comes back is the art tours. 4pm every other day a cultural representative offers these special tours and goes through a fraction of the insane amount of art in the lobby and throughout the hallways. It was one of the most educational and fun things i’ve ever done at WDW and i visit 3-4 weeks a year. People tend to skip this tour and i IMPLORE you to take it. You’ll be the only ones there and have a private tour with someone who really loves what they do. The real best part is that it’s totally free!! They even teach traditional drums and allow you to practice in a special area off of the lobby.
The Wanayama Safari is a splurge but absolutely the best money to be spent on a tour. You get up close and personal with the animals on the savannah- a giraffe popped her head into our truck to say hello!! And its followed up with a 5 course tasting meal at Jiko which is just out of this world. Victoria Falls Lounge is one of the best bar/lounges on property in my opinion. They have a cheese dip with garlic that is out of this world. I really hope the entire resort re-opens soon and can get back to how things were!
Pros:Everything! Best food on property everywhere All of the staff is so knowledgeable and always goes above and beyond for you Cultural representatives are so amazing and educate you on anything you would like to know Excellent tours and other activities you can do throughout the day Amazing pool with a gorgeous view
Cons:Only deluxe resort that requires busses to get to all 4 parks and disney springs Rooms at the ends of the hallways are FAR. Do your best to know the exits if you parked down below so you dont have to go to the lobby and back around. Bring your walking shoes for those hallways!
Reviewed by Lizard1515 Review Date: 04/25/2021
Rating: (6) Not Recommended
I thought I was going to LOVE this property, but it was just okay. We had some buses take a very long time to pick us up on multiple occasions. The food options were nice but just sort of a pain to get to. We loved the pool area and the animals were awesome of course! It is pretty far from everything other than AK. Overall, not sure if we'd stay there again for the price point. Unless you love animals and AK more than anything it just doesn't impress.
Pros:Animals on property, well themed, nice new rooms, great pool
Cons:buses take a while, no other transportation options, dining is all over the place
Reviewed by Anonymous Review Date: 12/31/2020
Rating: (2) Not Recommended
Stayed at all the deluxes...will never stay at this one again!
Pros:Nice lobby, good food, animal view
Cons:Unpleasant staff, no coffee in the morning, too far from everything (always a bus), rooms are small and inconsistent, unfortunately not as clean as it should be
Reviewed by DisFan14 Review Date: 12/09/2020
Rating: (7) Recommended
If you’re looking for a place where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of a disney vacation, this is it. While the lobby, food, and views are unbeatable, you’re going to spend a lot of time on the bus. 20+ minute rides to magic kingdom. If you decide you’re okay with that then go ahead and pay the extra money for a savannah view room. Other views are just not worth the money/long bus rides.
Pros:Beautiful resort with great food
Cons:Long bus rides and not worth the money if not savannah view
Reviewed by Merwolf Review Date: 11/18/2020
Rating: (10) Recommended
Totally love this resort, and have stayed here a number of times because I love animals and by gosh they have them here. Favorite way to spend the morning was get some breakfast (best buffet on property, miss it now due to Covid) and then walk around to all the viewing areas to take pictures of the range of animals that live there. Bonus last time - baby zebras. The lobby is big and gorgeous, they have a good sized shop, and I agree with others here to spring for a savannah view room if you can. The restaurants, especially Jiko, are amazing. You do need a bit of an adventurous palate but adventure. It's delicious and worth every dime. A nice touch is the firepits inside and out, and the beautiful artwork on display.
Pros:Animals. Lobby. Immersive. You can easily spend resort days here and not miss the parks (at least, I don't)
Cons:Depending on where your room is, you could be in for a long, long, walk to the bus station, or anywhere really. Only transportation option is bus, and AKL is near AK, and far away from the other three parks because animals.
Reviewed by goblues38 Review Date: 11/17/2020
Rating: (7) Recommended
Nice and quiet. A bit dark in the color pallet, but that is ok. The pool at Jambo house is one of the better pools on property. Plenty of spaces to get lost in in here. go find a bench and relax and people or animal watch.
In regards to a Savanah View Room. meh.....it is nice...but not a must have. We end up making jokes about it. the 1st time you see a zebra it is cool...but the 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 9th time loses its luster very fast. Skip the Savanah View and save some cash. One time we had a view of the front porch where people would load and unload cars. We sat for what seemed like hours just laughing at people losing their mind trying to load a car full of way too many bags for the ride home.
Pros:Very consistent experience. We have stayed her 4 times over the past 15 years and it is always what we expect. Good food service, great drink service.
Cons:It is a little farther out but you only notice it on the bus ride to MK or possibly Disney Springs. Everything else is just fine in regards to the busses.
Reviewed by Anonymous Review Date: 09/20/2020
Rating: (9) Recommended
We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in November 2019 for 2 nights. Unfortunately they were doing renovations at the time so I will put that aside and just say the room needed to be refreshed and that’s what they were doing. I just wish I had known before I booked it. We would definitely go back again because the resort is amazing. The lobby and the decor and the animals and the trees are just beautiful. We have visited the resort several times. I absolutely love going there. The food is unique and delicious but not so adventurous that you can’t find something if you’re picky. The location is a little further so you need more time to travel but it’s not that bad. Disney Springs is probably the longest trip and Animal Kingdom is really close.
On the first night of our stay, I spiked a fever so I basically stayed in the room both days. I spent a lot of time on the balcony of the room overlooking a stream and the pool area and it was so peaceful and beautiful. All I wanted was soup and they have the best soup I’ve ever had. If you have to be sick on a Disney trip, this was definitely the best place to be. Animal Kingdom is my favorite park and AKL is like having a room there.