Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge was designed by Peter Dominick and opened in 2001. This deluxe resort is adjacent to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the theme of wildlife conservation has been portrayed for resort guests. The rooms were built with a semicircle concept that was derived from a Kraal African village. This allows easy, private viewing from the balcony of guest rooms.
The Savannas surround three sides of the resort and are home to approximately 100 grazing animals and 130 birds. The lodge was designed with concentrated architecture, landscape and interior designs that feel like a South African wildlife reserve.
The lobby is situated on the third floor of the six story building. Get the first glimpse of the 30 acres of Savannas through a large picture window located in the lobby. Accessible from the third floor is Arusha Rock which is open 24 hours a day. It is an elevated viewing area for everyone to enjoy the experiences of watching the roaming animals.
Examples of authentic architecture and design can be found throughout the rest of the lobby. Designers gave the feel of an African landscape by using golden tones, rich wood tones and thatched ceilings. A large mud fireplace and natural lighting accentuate the unforgettable sunrises and sunsets. The hallways are built with large alcoves that provide additional viewing of the Savannas.
Three separate Savannas that are approximately ten acres each were constructed. They are Sunset, Arusha and Uzima. Throughout the massive conservatory of exotic animals there are over one hundred Sand Live Oak trees and 35,000 shrubs. Seeds for many of these plants were supplied from Africa.
Each Savanna is open 24 hours a day, however closed daily for approximately two hours for routine care of the animals, feeding and cleaning. Although the Savannas do close for maintenance there will always be two of the three open for viewing. Even at night the Savannas are lit by artificial moonlight for viewing. Each Savanna has its own unique style, feel and own mix of animals. Giraffe are the only animals that can be found on all three.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn what animals are roaming the Savannas. Safari guides are outside the viewing areas and can answer any questions about the animals and birds. Animal viewing guides can be found in each guest room or you can pick one up at the front desk.
The animals sleep further back on the Savannas so you will not be able to view most of them sleeping. A few are nocturnal so there is a chance to see animals roaming around in the middle of the night. The first two animals to use the resort as their home were two giraffes. The other animals originated from Animal Kingdom or other accredited zoological facilities.
There are 1,293 rooms available at the resort and most have balconies for viewing the Savannas. The rooms are decorated in rich vibrant colors and feature hand carved furniture. There is also a Royal suite with a domed ceiling in the living room that a perfect fit for special guests.
There are six room types to choose from. The Standard view has a total of 135 rooms and overlooks the Resort grounds. The Pool view has 136 rooms and overlooks the swimming area. The Savanna view includes 724 rooms and looks onto one of the three savanna areas. The Deluxe Pool view has 33 rooms and the Deluxe Savanna view accommodates 191 rooms. There are also 55 concierge rooms that overlook the pool or savanna areas. The main difference between the Standard and Deluxe views is the size of the rooms.
Floors 1 to 4 house the standard rooms which are 344 square feet. Deluxe rooms are 381 square feet and are found on floors five and six. There are 79 rooms with king beds and 65 wheel chair accessible rooms with a king bed. There is also five one-bedroom suites, twelve two-bedroom parlor suites and a Vice Presidential and Presidential suite.
To understand the layout of the resort and which view best suits the guest, picture a theatre or stadium. The Savanna view rooms are like box seats where you have a close personal view of the animals. The Pool view rooms are similar to a club level where you still have good viewing, but you are not as close. Standard rooms can be compared the upper deck or the back of the highest balcony.
Room features include either a king size bed, two queen size beds, two queen size beds and one pull-out sofa, one queen size bed and bunk beds. There is also turndown service at night, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, make up mirror, coffee makers with complimentary coffee packs, a small safe, and a small refrigerator.
Room features of the Club Concierge level include the above as well as robes available in the room. Staff is available prior to and during your visit for reservations and vacation planning. Guests will have access to the exclusive Kilimanjaro Club featuring Continental breakfast, snacks and evening wine and cheese reception.
Guest will have the chance to participate in the Sunrise Safari Breakfast Adventure which is an exclusive early-morning tour of Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and is offered only to a limited number of Club Concierge-level Guests for an additional fee. Also offered to a limited number of Club Concierge level guests for an additional fee, is the ability to participate in the Wildlife Discovery Excursion which is an exclusive guided tour of Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
Services & Amenities:
- Room Service
- Concierge desk
- Health Club
- Babysitting and child services
- Pak-n-play crib available
- Room and facilities for guest with disabilities
- Self parking
- Valet parking available for a nominal fee
- Laundry facilities and services
Check-In & Check-Out:
Check-in is at 3 pm. It is possible your room may be available prior to that time, but it is not guaranteed. If it is not ready, you can leave your luggage with the Bell Services where it will be stored and then delivered when you are in the room. If you decide to wait around until your room is available, you are welcome to take a dip or relax by the main pool area. There are lockers, changing areas and public restrooms for you to use. You can also head out to a theme park and start enjoying the Disney World magic while your room is being prepared.
Check-out is at 11 am. When paying with a credit card, you will not have to go to the desk to check out. An itemized bill will be hung on your door by 8:30 am on your departure day. If the bill looks fine, you’re all set to depart. Your electronic room key will be deactivated at 11 am. Don’t forget to use Bell Services to help you with your luggage, filled with souvenirs, to your car. If you are taking a bus or taxi to the airport, or leaving later in the day, Bell services will keep your luggage until your transportation arrives.
Jiko - The Cooking Place is a casual restaurant, serving dinner, focusing on lighter, simpler cuisine. This restaurant, with twin wood-burning ovens as its icons, features a taste of Africa within the atmosphere of local traditions and customs.
Boma - Flavors of Africa, features a buffet setting which provides guests the chance to savor the African experience with multicultural influences. It is a very popular family restaurant that is open for breakfast and dinner. The décor captures the vibrant life in an African marketplace.
Mara, the quick-service restaurant offers great food and poolside dining and is open from morning to night.
Victoria Falls is a mezzanine lounge that 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 which serves beverages and food such as burgers and hotdogs.
The best beverage deal at the resorts are the refillable mugs. Available for approximately $13, these sturdy plastic mugs can be purchased through any food court vendors and pizza delivery. The mugs are refillable for the length of your resort stay at any self-serve beverage island found in the food court area. Beverages include soft drinks, coffee, tea, iced tea and coffee and hot chocolate. Milk, fruit juice and alcoholic beverages are not included. The mugs are not refillable at any of the theme parks. This is a very economical deal if you are an avid pop or coffee drinker.
The Uzima Springs pool is the largest on the Disney property at just over 11,000 square feet. Uzima means ‘clear water’ and there is plenty of it to enjoy, including a 67 foot long water slide and wading pool.
Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center
Facials, body treatments and various massages are available to pamper guests during their stay. Work out on weight-lifting machines, free weights and aerobic machines or make an appointment for a personal training session and take advantage of the dry saunas and steam rooms.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Animal Programs
Join a group for viewings and activities honoring the animals of the savannas. Go on a cultural safari, watch animals at play at dusk with night vision, try your hand as a junior researcher, or watch animal handlers feed the pelicans and flamingos.
Treat children ages 4-12 to an evening of supervised activities, computer games, Disney movies, dinner and snacks in an environment created just for them.
A variety of pinball and video games are available at Pumbaa's Fun & Games Arcade located next the Mara Restaurant and across from the wading pool.
Hakuna Matata Playground
Climb, slide and have fun with on this 24-hour playground located next to the pool, overlooking the flamingo area and savanna.
Zawadi Marketplace is among the largest retail shops at the Disney World Resorts at 6,000 square feet. Disney sent a team of researchers to Africa to locate amazing treasures to showcase for your shopping pleasure. Some items that are featured include beaded gourds, Zulu baskets and hand-carved chess sets. Zawadi also sells Disney merchandise
Sunrise Safari Breakfast Adventure is only available to concierge guests. The tour last approximately 45 minutes and includes multiple stops for photo opportunities and explanation of the animals. The Adventure is available on Sunday and Thursdays.
After the Safari, go to Tusker House for a breakfast buffet which includes both standard American and African items. Each person will also receive a FastPass to Kilimanjaro Safari. Admission is limited to eight guests and can be reserved 90 days in advanced. This is offered to Concierge Guests staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
There is also an afternoon safari tour which lasts approximately an hour and a half where you experience a recreation of a true African afternoon game drive. This is an opportunity to meet the members from the Lodge’s animal programs team in a very personal environment. Learn about the natural history and management of the animal collection. There are incredible photo opportunities of the animals and architecture of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge that can only be experienced from the savannas.
The safari will end with a true African dining experience at Jiko restaurant where a multi-course meal will await you. Experience a sampling of various appetizers, entrees, and desserts, and a wine pairing along with each course. Admission is limited to eight guests. Offered Monday, Wednesday, Friday, guests must be 16 years of age or older.
To get to any Disney Resort or theme park you can drive yourself, take a taxi or use the wonderful Disney Transportation System. Disney Transportation includes buses, boats, the monorail and the Magical Express Service.
Theme Parks, Water Parks, Disney Resorts and the Downtown Disney area are accessible by the bus system. Buses travel on routes throughout the Resorts but do not provide direct service between all destinations and require transfer from one bus to another.
Bus service to the Theme Parks begins approximately two hours before opening. Generally buses will run every 20 minutes throughout the day and continue to operate until two hours after park closing. During peak times, buses can get a little crowded, but there is usually another bus that arrives quickly after so guests are not waiting long periods of time. Magic Kingdom is not accessible by bus from the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Polynesian Resort. These Resorts provide monorail transportation to the park.
The Disney ferryboats connect the Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center, which is adjacent to the parking lot. Entering the park by ferryboat gives guests a chance to float by some of the Deluxe Resorts. This is also the best way to get the first glimpse of Cinderella Castle. If guests are staying at the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Polynesian Resort, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground or Wilderness Lodge, the Magic Kingdom is accessible by boat at their own water launches.
Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are accessible by boat from BoardWalk Inn and Villas Resort, the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels.
Downtown Disney is accessible by ferryboat from Disney's Port Orleans Resort and Disney's Old Key West Resort.
There are three loops to the monorail system. Loop A runs counterclockwise connecting Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center. Loop B runs clockwise along side Loop A and stops at the Ticket and Transportation Center, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort and back to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Loop C runs from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot including a quick tour inside the park around Spaceship Earth. Service generally starts an hour and a half before opening and ends two hours after closing.
If you bring or rent a car, there is plenty of free parking at the Resorts and parks. Depending on your room location, you may or may not be able to park close to your room. Ask when room selection is made.
Things to Know:
Don’t forget to bring binoculars, camera and tripod for the amazing photo opportunities.
There are cameras everywhere on the outside of the lodge, so close your room drapes for privacy.
The resort does not allow balloons inside. Any balloons brought to the resort from the theme parks, will have to be checked with bell services for the duration of the 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.