Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Review

Lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge resort hotel, Walt Disney World, Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a Walt Disney World resort inspired by traditional African savanna lodges and brilliantly themed with the adjacent Animal Kingdom theme park. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for our first visit to Disney World and thoroughly enjoyed the unique experience at this deluxe resort. Learn more about our experience and stay in this Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge review.

Savanna room view at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

2021 Update: Have a look at the Disney Resort Hotels updates page for the most up-to-date information and specific details about Covid-19 health and safety protocols at the Walt Disney World resort hotels before planning your visit. Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) in all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll find family-friendly facilities, outstanding cultural activities and animal programs, and rooms overlooking four savannas with over 200 animals and birds.

The resort’s lobby has been designed to capture the look of an African savanna lodge. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has one of the largest collections of African art in the United States, with traditional decor, tapestries and artwork displayed throughout the resort.

Bridge over the lobby area, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

African art in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando FL

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Savanna View Rooms

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is arranged in a horseshoe design, with rooms and public areas that overlook the 33 acre wildlife preserve where over 30 species of African species graze and roam about. In these photos, you can have an idea of the amazing views from a Savannah View Room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Savanna View Room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

It’s worth booking a Savanna View Room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the unique experience enjoying the view of the animals from your balcony. During our stay, we’d see giraffes, zebras, cattle, gazelles, cranes and more. Each Savanna View Room has a guidebook to help with identifying the animals and birds.

Savanna View Room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

We stayed in a standard Savanna View Room, which is 344 square feet, with two queen beds. Other options at the Animal Kingdom Lodge are to have one king size bed, or one queen size bed and a bunk bed.

Check Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge room rates and latest reviews at Tripadvisor.com

Savanna View Room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

The Savanna View Room also included a small table with chairs, a flat screen TV, a dresser with three drawers, a small refrigerator, coffee machine and a wardrobe with an iron, ironing board and small safe.

The bathroom has a split design, with the vanity and two sinks outside the small room that consists of a toilet and shower with a bathtub. Complimentary Disney toiletries (shampoo, lotion and shower gel) were provided, but only enough for one person.

Savanna View Room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Check Disney’s Animal Kingdom room rates and latest reviews at Tripadvisor.com

Overall, the standard Savanna View Room was a comfortable size for the three of us and we enjoyed our stay, especially the great view watching the animals from our balcony.

Disney Resort Benefits

There are more than 25 resorts at Walt Disney World that cater to all budgets, from value to moderate to deluxe, all offering the following benefits for staying on-site. Due to Covid-19, some benefits, such as Disney dining plans, are currently unavailable. Check the most up-to-date list of Disney resort benefits on the Walt Disney World Disney Resorts Collection page.

  • Early Theme Park entry 30 minutes before opening (more details)
  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel have the option to purchase MagicBands at special pre-arrival prices up to 6 days before arrival.
  • Complimentary bus, boat and monorail services throughout Walt Disney World Resort
  • Complimentary parking at Disney theme parks, Disney water parks and the Disney Springs area
  • Complimentary transportation between Orlando International Airport and the Disney resorts*
  • Delivery of purchases, from the Disney theme parks or Disney Springs, to your hotel gift shop

Note: Disney’s Magical Express, the complimentary coach transportation service between Orlando International Airport and the Disney resorts, will no longer be offered starting with arrivals on 1 January, 2022.

Magic Bands

The Magic Bands are worn as a bracelet and are used to unlock your hotel room, enter theme parks, charge food and merchandise purchases and connect Disney PhotoPass images to your Disney account. I found the Magic Bands very handy throughout the trip especially at the parks.

Disney Magic Bands

At the time of our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Magic Bands were complimentary, however this has changed and Magic Bands are no longer provided complimentary to Disney Resort hotel guests. Guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel that reside in the United States and Canada have the option to purchase their MagicBands – and personalise them with different themes, favourite Disney characters and your name – up to 10 days prior to arrival. Magic Bands can also be purchased when you arrive.

Family-Friendly Facilities

The Animal Kingdom Lodge has two areas: Jambo House, the original resort and main section, and Kidani Village, a Disney Vacation Club resort. Resort guests can use the facilities, i.e swimming pools and fitness centers, throughout both areas and a shuttle van goes back and forth between the two every 8 minutes. In this part of the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Review, I will show the top-notch family-friendly facilities at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Uzima Springs Pool, Jambo House

At the center of Jambo House’s recreational area is its main swimming pool, featuring a zero-depth entry point, a 67-foot-long waterslide and nearby beach bar. A small wading pool, perfect for toddlers, is located in an enclosed area to the side, near the restrooms and showers.

Swimming Pool at Jambo House, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Swimming Pool and Water Playground, Kidani Village

2022 update: From January 2022 through April 2022, the Samawati Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village will be closed for refurbishment. During this time, Guests staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village may enjoy the Uzima Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House (shown above).

The Samawati Springs Pool and Uwanja Camp water playground at Kidani Village is great swimming pool and water play area for young children. The swimming pool features zero-depth-entry and two waterslides – a small one and a 128-foot one.

Zero Entry Swimming Pool, Kidani Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge

Uwanja Camp consists of three zones for children of all ages. Base Camp has a water slide, water cannons and sloshing buckets.

Water playground at Kidani Village Swimming Pool, Animal Kingdom Lodge

At Departure Zone, water shoots from all directions, leaking from the water tower and spraying from the flowers.

Water playground at Kidani Village Swimming Pool, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

And Observation Station is designed for children 4 and under, with a shallow wading pool, bubbling geysers and a play area. It all makes for a great little water park at the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort that Little T loved!

Water playground at Kidani Village Swimming Pool, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Hakuna Matata Playground, Jambo House

Back at Jambo House, children will also love the Hakuna Matata playground that overlooks the flamingo pond and savanna.

Playground at Jambo House, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Pumbaa’s Fun and Games Arcade, Jambo House

The arcade is open from 7am and full of classic arcade games and popular video games. You can use your credit card to receive an arcade card and purchase play points, which start from $1.00 for 50 play points.

Arcade at Jambo House, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Zahanati Massage and Fitness Center, Jambo House

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge resort has a fitness center which, though small, has all the basic equipment – cardio machines, some free weights and weight machines – to get a good workout during your stay. There’s a spa that offers a range of massages and facials.

Laundry Room

There are a few laundry rooms around the resort that are efficient and easy to use. You select a washer and/or dryer then pay $3 per each load using your credit or debit card (not the Magic Band or cash).

Award-Winning Restaurants

The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers several dining options, from award-winning, African fine dining to quick service restaurants serving class American favorites. In this part of the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Review, I’ll share our highlights of dining at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants, which were the breakfast buffet at Boma and the African cooking with Indian flavors at Sanaa.

Boma – Flavors of Africa

Boma – Flavors of Africa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge offers family-friendly buffets with a great selection of food from over 50 African countries along with typical American classics. Here’s a look at what was served at the breakfast buffet during our visit;

Selection of muffins, scones and banana bread, along with bagels, breads and croissants

Check latest restaurant reviews and book a table at Tripadvisor.com

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Bread pudding and sticky buns with caramel sauce and pecans

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

The classic Mickey – and Simba – waffles

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Chocolate chip pancakes and plenty of syrup

Pancakes at Boma Breakfast Buffet, Animal Kingdom Lodge

Selection of cold cuts and cheese, smoked salmon, capers, egg whites, egg yolks and a tray of sliced vegetables

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

West African plantains (my favourite), roasted potatoes, pork sausages and bacon

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Scrambled eggs and biscuits with gravy, in addition to a create your own omelette station

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Carving station with meats spit-roasted over a blazing wood fire: roasted turkey breast or ham, with African-spiced corned beef hash

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Side dishes such as grilled tomatoes and asparagus, pap (similar to grits) and chakalaka, a tomato stew

Breakfast Buffet at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, FL

Sanaa Restaurant

We ate very well at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is described as an East African-inspired eatery serving African cooking with Indian flavors.

The Indian-style bread service came highly recommended – it comes with 9 accompaniments that include mango chutney, roasted red pepper hummus, spicy jalapeno-lime pickle and red chile sambal.

Check latest restaurant reviews and book a table at Tripadvisor.com

Indian-style bread service at Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

The kid’s menu at the Sanaa Restaurant has a good selection. For Little T, we ordered the butter chicken (which was delicious) with green beans and rice.

Dinner at Sanaa Restaurant, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

I ordered the Berbere braised lamb shank, which was served with hominy mash, scented greens and tandoor vegetables.

Dinner at Sanaa Restaurant, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Mr. G enjoyed the Braaivleis – South African Braai sample plate which consisted of a trio of grilled meats – lamb and pork – with seasonal vegetables.

Dinner at Sanaa Restaurant, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Little T’s meal came with a dessert, and he chose the chocolate brownie, which was served on a plate with colored icing and a paintbrush – a nice touch!

Dinner at Sanaa Restaurant, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Animal and Cultural Programs

2021 Update: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, special classes and programs at Disney Resorts, including culinary, cultural and animal programs, are currently unavailable.

During our pre-Covid stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, I was impressed with the resort’s calendar of activities, which included African culture immersion, poolside games, wine tasting, cookie decorating, music sessions and animal programs. Currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of these activities are unavailable, however, hopefully they will be able to run these activities again in the coming months. The cultural ambassadors and animal experts were all very informative, friendly and did a fantastic job engaging the guests in each activity.

In this part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge review, I will share our experience participating in several of the resort’s activities that were available at the time. We took part in three activities: helping to prepare food for the savanna birds, learning about the feeding strategies of pelicans and flamingos, and playing musical instruments and participating in the evening “Primal Parade”.

Animal Enrichment Activity

The Animal Enrichment activity we participated in involves helping animal experts as they prepare and present interactive objects to the animals and birds on the savanna.

Animal Interaction Activity, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Little T helped the experts prepare a stimulating way for the savanna birds, such as cranes, to catch their food. The children were given trays and bamboo sticks with holes to fill with hay then mealworms. We then watched as an animal expert brought the bamboo sticks and trays into the savanna for the birds to peck at and catch the worms.

Animal Enrichment Activity, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Flamingo Activity

Every morning, by the flamingo pond, the animal experts demonstrate the feeding strategies of pelicans and flamingos in a fun, educational activity. Here, the children use combs to represent flamingos that feed by filtering shrimp from the water, while pelicans are represented with pouches to demonstrate how they dip their large beaks into the water to scoop out fish.

Activity at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Part of the activity also educated about the importance of protecting the environment, and how birds are endangered by pollution when rubbish ends up in the waterways and is accidentally eaten.

Flamingos at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge review

I hope you enjoyed reading this Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge review and found this helpful in planning your own holiday at Walt Disney World. I would recommend the Animal Kingdom Lodge for a unique Disney World resort experience with family-friendly facilities, great restaurants and an excellent activity program with fantastic cultural ambassadors. My only complaint would be the occasionally disappointing customer service, particularly at reception. Otherwise, we were very pleased with our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and miss those views watching the giraffes and zebras from the balcony!

Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Address

Address: Walt Disney World Resort, 2901 Osceola Parkway, Orlando, FL 32821

Telephone: +1 (407) 938-3000

Website: https://www.disneyworld.co.uk/resorts/animal-kingdom-lodge/

This post was updated on 07 October 2021 with current information and contact details.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, so if you do click through and make a purchase I may receive a small amount at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

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18 Comments

  1. This looks like so much fun! I’d have a blast here with all of the animals and activities. Were there people staying there without kids? Because I’m a little lacking in that department. #CityTripping

  2. Oh wow, that breakfast buffet has got my mouth watering…And I have to say, I’ve never stayed in a hotel with a view of giraffes and zebras!

  3. This looks an incredible place. Those views of the animals. Shame about housekeeping and customer service. Like the sound of the cultural ambassadors though! I’ll have to bear this in mind for when we eventually go. #citytripping xx

  4. I never made it to Animal Kingdom when visiting the parks in Orlando. Looks great!

  5. This place looks incredible. I like the fact that it combines fun, free play with educational activities like helping to feed the animals. I’ve loved seeing all your pics on Instagram! #citytripping

  6. I love that Animal Kingdom Lodge has educational activities for the kids. Disney does such a great job with the theming of its resorts. It seems like every one has a fun, consistent theme. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the resorts that I really want to stay at. #FarawayFiles

  7. I really enjoyed reading this as we very nearly stayed at Animal Kingdom, it was the pool at the Beach Club that swung it for us. I can see we would all have absolutely loved it and I have heard that the food is excellent as well so if we ever go back I can see this being our choice! Thanks for such a detailed review with so much useful information. #FarawayFiles

    1. Thank you! It was actually between the Beach Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge for us too. We had breakfast at the Beach Club to meet Minnie etc and I loved the pool, resort design and that it’s walking distance to Epcot, so we’re actually considering staying there next time we go to WDW to try somewhere new. So many great resorts to choose from!

  8. They do know how to do it right at Disney, don’t they. I love how you are really transported into the experience at Disney hotels. Also the little touches make it special — LOVE the desserts that little ones can “paint” themselves before eating. #farawayfiles

  9. I know a couple of small people who would love to visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge! I think it’s great that Disney have extended the experience creation to include elements of African food culture and environmental education. Pity the service didnt match the experience design. Do you think it is a one off? I’ve stayed at the Beach Club there for a work conference and the service was fantastic. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  10. WOW Cindy, this place has it all! I would have trouble getting my son out of the pools, but then there is always something else to explore. The African themed rooms and safari experiences would be amazing. I also love that they offer babysitting services, but it doesn’t sound like a great idea to stay out very late because there is no where for kids to rest. The food and other activities that you participated in all seem amazing. This place is a full-on destination in itself! #FarawayFiles

  11. Disney does know how to create a magical experience! I haven’t been to Orlando in about 20 years, and didn’t know about this resort, thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

  12. WOW. Great review and photos! I loved Animal Kingdom (just came back from vacation) and seeing a resort on site is great insight for a future trip. I hope you and your family had an incredible time!

  13. would you recommend staying at Jambo or Kidani.. I’m travellign with my 3 year old, my husband and his parents. 3 days, 4 nights. Thank you!

    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for your message. I think Kidani Village only offers villas for Disney Vacation Club members, might need to double check that. I’d recommend Jambo House – it’s also the main area, with most of the restaurants, facilities and activities. Your son will love the swimming pool at Kidani Village, however, and you can take the shuttle between the two areas. Enjoy your stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! And definitely make some time for the cultural activities, the evening parade playing musical instruments by the entrance is great for young ones!

      1. Thanks so much!

        1. You’re welcome! And sorry meant to put son “or daughter”! Good luck with planning your trip!

  14. Awesome review! We will make it a priority to do the animal feeding activity. I think my daughter will love it! The flamingo game looks really fun too. Can’t wait to be in 10 days… eek!

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