This is really late (we stayed in August 2010)! Apologies! But as a new DVC member I thought it only right that I (eventually!) write a review!
Check in: after a warm "welcome home" at the entrance (always makes me smile!) whilst staff were playing the bongos (!), check in was smooth, professional and quick. We waited no more than a minute or so. The lobby is incredible. It's vast, detailled and the sight of the atrium is inspiring. It really does feel like you have just walked into another world and this feeling doesn't leave you until your last day. Some reviewers have complained that the hotel is not lit well enough. Well, it's not supposed to be! The lighting is to resemble natural lighting. The fire pit (in and outside) and lanterns make for a beautiful atmosphere and I wouldn't want it any other way. This is a part of what gives you the contrast between the other resort hotels. If you are looking for light and airy, try the Grand Floridian or the Beach Club. Both are also beautiful, they just schieve it in a different way.
Room: We had a 2 bedroom suite on the 4th floor overlooking the main savannah and first impressions were overwhelming. The main door leads into the kitchen area (with all the mod cons...you will want for nothing), and then the lounge area. Either side are the bedrooms and bathrooms (the whirlpool tub comes with the master bedroom...make sure you beg that one before the family get their paws on it!). A balcony stretches the length of the appartment; that means you have plenty of room outside to watch the animals while having a glass of wine :) Bliss. Obviously the "villas" are a part of my DVC points, but anyone can choose to stay in these. It is a real treat being able to make scrambled eggs in the morning for the family to all eat together before hitting the parks; no queues for breakfast, no need to move far, and good value for money. Bearing in mind we stayed for 17 nights in total (we are from the UK, wanted our money's worth!!), the added luxury of cooking the odd breakfast or dinner was much appreciated. I can't recommend these "villa" rooms enough. They have such a family, homely feel about them. Some reviewers mentioned that they could smel the animals which made their experience a poor one. I never experienced this and if I had, I would have thought "well, it's called Animal Kingdom Lodge and I opted for a view of the animals"! What a ridiculous comment for someone to make.
The restaurants: Boma, the buffet restaurant, is fantastic. There is more choice than you will ever want or need, although you can't help but try to get around every station! You MUST have a breakfast here and a dinner. Book ahead! Jiko is out of this world, with prices reflecting this, but well worth the experience. The kenyan coffee rubbed short ribs was sublime, the flatbreads delicious and the wine list longer than queues for Soarin'. Don't miss it. Again, book ahead! Room service uses part of the Jiko menu so is also great. Nice for a night in. My only comment is that some of the other resorts offer a pizza service...now, for a longer stay, it would have been nice to have this option, but it's a very minor point! The self serve resturant is also fine for chicken, burgers, flatbreads etc and you can take this back to your room if you wish. If you are staying for some time, I recommend getting a Disney re-fill mug.
Transport: some people have complained that AKL is far from everywhere and a real inconvenience. Not true. It's closer to Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach than the other resort hotels (5 mins bus ride using the Disney transportation system). To reach Magic Kingdom will take 20 minutes and this is the furthest of the parks from AKL. I don't think this is excessive do you?? And considering you don't have to worry about parking by using the buses (regular, well air conditioned, clean, more than acceptable), even better. People staying in the Magic Kingdom resorts have the same issue when they want to get to Animal Kingdom or Blizzard Beach....swings and roundabouts and no need to complain!
Pool: lovely, large, clean, with a slide and a poolisde bar. Jacuzzi tubs are scattered amongst the trees (you might need to explore a little to find these!) and you have direct access to another of the savannahs. There are more than enough loungers for everyone. We tend to use the pool area on our last day and use the well appointed shower rooms to freshen up / change before leaving in the afternoon.
All in all, I really can't imagine how anyone could not be impressed by the resort. Sometimes certain things happen, admittedly, but nothing is too much trouble for staff at this resort. I am always amazed by how many reviewers complain about details which are pointed out on the Disney website or on trip advisor...do your homework and you aren't going to be disappointed. If you choose to stay at AKL, I hope you enjoy it as much as I always do! Can't wait until August to go "home" again.
- Also Known As:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Hotel
- Animal Kingdom Resort
- Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Florida
- Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney Animal Kingdom Resort
- Disney Animal Kingdom Hotel
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Orlando
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is an African lodge-style resort amidst a 43-acre wildlife preserve. The Resort offers authentic African-inspired architecture and the kraal African-village landscape design—a semi-circle design popular in Africa which offers expansive views of the surrounding savanna and its many animal inhabitants. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Tingo, Amex, Expedia, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com, Hotels.com and Venere so you can book your Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.