Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Animal Kingdom Lodge - a Review

As a travel agent, I am often asked if I have a favorite resort.  It's like asking me to pick a favorite child.  I love them all - in their own way - for various reasons.  But.  If you ask my children which is their favorite resort - Animal Kingdom Lodge wins hands down every time.

Why is it their favorite?  Because whenever they want, they can go out on the balcony and see this:

I'll tell you that it was a great motivator to get out of bed in the morning to see what they could see!

And now I am going to tell you a secret.  There are a number of views you can reserve at AKL.  There is standard (which gives you a rooftop or parking lot view), pool view, savanna view, or the very best - Arusha savanna view.  And now the secret - our view that you see above - it's a standard view!  Let me try and explain this lucky circumstance.

Here is a map of Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Our room was on the Zebra trail - facing the Uzima savanna.  And our room - well, it was 27 miles from the lobby to our room.  Down, down the zebra trail.  All the way to that fourth pod of rooms - and we were in the corner.  And that corner is how we got the standard room view - because the savanna is partially obstructed by the building.

Now, these savanna view standard rooms - there are very few of them - but if you book standard view - it's worth asking about when you check in!

Let's talk money for a moment.  Another well kept secret - Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the least expensive deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World (Wilderness Lodge is the other).  And if you want a deluxe, but a savanna view is not in your budget - there are still LOTS of places to view the animals from around the resort.  There are huge windows as you walk down the halls that overlook the Arusha savanna.  There are even "porches" on several floors where you can go out and look - some even have night vision goggles!

And there is the overlook - a place where even visitors to the lodge can go and see the animals.  And not only can you walk out - but there are guides from different parts of Africa there to answer your questions.

Another big draw to AKL is the pool.  It's a zero entry pool with a slide - hot tub - pool bar -and lots of shady spots to park yourself to read your book.  And not only do you have this fabulous pool, but you can go next door to the Kidani Village and use their pool, too.

1.  animals, animals, animals
2.  Two beautifully themed pools
3.  Gorgeous lobby and resort grounds
4.  Restaurants - counter service near the pool - the Mara, a table service location - Boma (and Sanaa next door at Kidani Village), and a signature dining experience - Jiko.
5.  large balconies
6.  If you stay club level, you have access to a special tour - the Sunrise safari at the Animal Kingdom park.
7.  Beautiful rooms - gorgeous carvings on the headboards and dresser.  Granite in the bathrooms.  African art on the walls. 
8.  Really unique offerings - like the night vision goggles or African story tellers by the fire pit.  Or even in the gift shop, there are African items - and even a large selection of African wines.
9.  Offers the option to have a room with a bunk bed.
10.  childcare onsite (Simba's Clubhouse)

1.  Location - as a resort near Animal Kingdom, it's really far from all the other parks
2.  Another resort that offers those thick, heavy, stiff comforters
3.  Potentially a really long walk from the bus/lobby to your room
4.  The rooms are the smallest of the deluxe resorts. 

So...what about you?  Is a stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in your future?  If you've stayed there - what was your favorite thing?



  1. We just bought into the DVC on our last stay and AKL is our home resort. We are going the 16-23 of December and it will be our first time at the lodge. We are super excited! We would like to go out downtown for a bit on our own to do some shopping for the kids and were thinking about Simba's clubhouse. Have you ever used it?

  2. We loved AKL! My 2 favorite perks were walking out onto the balcony and seeing animals at any given time of day/night and the fabulous firepit in the lobby.


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