By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist to Disney Destinations and beyond
Today I’m highlighting a Deluxe resort that sits alone in its uniqueness: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Animal Kingdom Lodge is perhaps one of Disney World’s most stunning resorts, featuring a fabulous African theme. From the moment you step into its massive lobby, you’re transported to another world.
But what makes it unique? Let’s talk about some of its highlights:
An African Savanna: That’s right—Animal Kingdom Lodge features its own African savanna, with wild animals ‘roaming free.’ If you upgrade to one of AKL’s Savanna View rooms, you can watch wildlife from the privacy of your own balcony. While room view upgrades aren’t usually my thing, this is one exception I’ll ALWAYS make. Because of the lodge’s unique horseshoe shape, all savanna view rooms have a fantastic view.
If a Savanna View room isn’t in the cards for you, there are plenty of public viewing spots where any resort guests can spot animals. An insider tip: at night, the resort will provide you with night-vision goggles.
Exceptional dining:AKL’s signature dining Jiko—The Cooking Place is not only its best restaurant, it’s arguably one of the best restaurants on Disney property. Featuring unusual fare that you won’t find on most menus, Jiko is an adventurous eater’s paradise. Because of its somewhat remote location away from the other resorts, it’s usually not too difficult to score a last-minute reservation.
AKL’s Boma—Flavors of Africa buffet is no slouch either. It features adventurous African and Asian fare along with more traditional American dishes. In particular, Boma’s breakfast buffet is not to be missed.
A quieter lodging option: Animal Kingdom Lodge is divided into two sections: the main building (Jambo House), and the Kidani Village building a short walk away. For a quieter experience, consider booking a Kidani room. You’ll have access to all of the amenities of the resort, but be in a smaller, quieter building. It’s a particularly good option if you have a car, as parking is located directly underneath section of the building so you’ll always be a short walk from your car. Kidani features its own pool and restaurant as well.
…and so much more: There’s so much more that makes Animal Kingdom Lodge great—multi-bedroom suites, a fantastic pool, and unique activities not available at other resorts (like the Sense of Africa tour). You could almost make Animal Kingdom Lodge a destination unto itself and never set foot in a theme park.
Are there any drawbacks?: Sure. As with any resort, it has its quirks. Because it’s located in a remote corner of the Disney World property near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, bus transportation times can be a bit long to get to the other parks. For most AKL fans, the utter beauty of the resort makes that a trade-off they’re willing to make.
Some guests may find the resort a bit dark—artificial lighting is kept to a minimum outside to enhance the African savanna experience and encourage animals’ normal rest cycles.
I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.