As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as each of us shares what we think are the Best Disney Resorts for various things. I’m going to kick things off this month by sharing what I think is the Best Disney Resort for Animal Lovers. Why? Because, in less than a week, I’ll be staying at this resort for the first time ever – celebrating my daughter’s 21st birthday with her! Yay!
So, let’s talk details on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge . . .
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Disney’s Deluxe resorts. It first opened its doors on April 16, 2001. The theme of the resort is African. It’s surrounded by 33 acres of savannah land. 200 different kinds of animals call the savannah home! That’s why I say this resort is definitely the best for animal lovers! There is also a section of this resort devoted to the Disney Vacation Club (but, for the sake of this post, we’ll be focusing on the resort itself, not the DVC.)
We’ve never stayed at the Lodge before, but it’s one of my family’s favorite resorts to visit. We’re always so amazed by the sheer size of the lobby area and all the amazing African items that are on exhibit throughout. Plus, there are great animal viewing areas located right off the lobby area. I could spend hours just hanging out in the lobby at this resort and I wouldn’t get bored!
Located right off the lobby is the Zawadi Marketplace – AKL’s gift shop. Here you will find your typical Disney souvenirs. But, in addition, you’ll also find authentic African goodies including baskets, masks, and lots of hand-carved items. Kids especially enjoy the musical instruments.
Again, we have yet to actually stay here, so I haven’t seen the guest rooms up close and personal. (I can’t wait!) I’ve seen so many pictures of the rooms, and they look so warm and inviting.
There are 1,293 guest rooms, each with a private balcony, and available with Standard, Pool, or Savannah views. The rooms are located on one of four “trails” (hallways) off the main lobby – Giraffe, Kudo, Ostrich, and Zebra. Most rooms contain 2 queen beds (but there are also King rooms available, as well as rooms with one queen and a set of bunks – or maybe you’d like to upgrade to a suite!) All rooms contain in-room safes, iron & ironing board, hair dryer, coffee maker, free wi-fi, and a refrigerator. The average room rate is currently $361/night.
Two favored WDW restaurants are located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge – Boma and Jiko. Boma is open for both breakfast and dinner and features a buffet filled with lots of African-inspired cuisine. Jiko (The Cooking Place) is open only for dinner and is an establishment where you order from a menu. African and Mediterranean flavors are found here.
My daughter, friend, and I weren’t sure if we wanted to try breakfast or dinner at Boma, so we ended up making reservations for both! We’ll be enjoying a nice relaxing dinner here on our first night, and will be ending our trip with breakfast. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and post food reviews when I get home!
The Mara is AKL’s quick-service dining option. A variety of delicious foods are available, including take-out zebra domes!
Disney’s website says:
Discover over 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu and flamingos. Identify each species with a Wildlife Field Guide (found in your Guest Room, with extras available from the Lobby Concierge), and learn more about African animals and ecosystems during fun programs led by Animal Specialists.
Guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas can also enjoy the Wanyama Safari and Dinner for up-close animal encounters followed by a delectable, multi-course feast.
Just the few times we have visited, we’ve enjoyed walking the trails throughout the resort and seeing the animals, as well as viewing them from the observations decks located around the resort.
And that’s just the animals! There is so much else to see and do at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, including swimming in the zero-entry pool, and playing in the great playground, just to name a few. And when you’re worn out after a long day in the parks, you can even take a nap on the great lounge chairs (which is exactly what my hubby and friend did a few years ago)!
I’m no expert on this resort – YET! – so if you’d like to learn more, be sure to check these sites:
- The Magical Blogorail – Beginner’s Guide to Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- All Ears Animal Kingdom Lodge Overview
- The Unofficial Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort site
Have YOU stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Share your must-do and must-see advice with me in the comment, please!
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Heidi’s Head – YOU ARE HERE!
2nd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney – Best Resort for Fireworks
3rd Stop ~ In the Mouse House – Best Resort for a No-Parks Disney Vacation
4th Stop ~ Love Our Disney – Best On-Site Resort at Disneyland
Final Stop ~ Dad for Disney – Best Disney Resort for Transportation