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“Great Vacation at Disney's AKL” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #29 of 326 Hotels in Orlando
Denver
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great Vacation at Disney's AKL”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

Thoroughly enjoyed this resort. Club Level check in was fast and they took really good care of us. Enjoyed the personal attention. We also loved having the animals outside of our room and access to the Kilimanjaro club.
The only thing that didn’t go perfectly was the housekeeping. They tended to only come to clean the room during our 6 year olds nap time in the afternoon. Would have preferred them to service the room earlier in the day.
Enjoyed Dinner at Boma and over at Kidani Village, Sanaa.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,190 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,034)
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Kissimmee, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013 via mobile

Granted I only checked in a few hours ago but so far I am definitely not impessed. The room seems clean but very small. I am staying in a concierge level room . At check in they wisk you away from the normal registration process for this level of room. They take you to a private area that only had one working check in computer today so the process took longer than normal. Even after a few hours they are unable to get my room key to work so they have to escort me and open the door.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, USA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

We just returned from a vacation to Disney World staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I was very pleased with the overall experience. Both my wife and I had previously been on safaris in Africa, and while we want to go again, bringing a two year old all the way to Africa would be very challenging. In it's place we choose to stay at this resort and were both impressed by the authentic experience. Disney is the master of the details, and they get them right here. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is like a attraction onto itself and thrilled my two year old, while making my wife and I nostalgic about our past safari experiences.

The hotel: The facility is gorgeous with an impressive main lobby area. Every facet of the design and architecture seems to echo the African safari theme (even the smallest details). The rooms are pleasant (not opulent, but the right mix of modern Disney while giving the subtle impression of a classic safari). We received a Savannah view room, and it was so enjoyable to sit on our balcony deck and watch animals roam throughout the day. If you do not choose a Savannah view room, there are still multiple areas with public decks with seating to watch the animals, or several outside areas to walk out and get close to the Savannah areas. In addition, they had multiple fire pits to sit and enjoy stories at night with other guests.

Pool: I was also extremely impressed with the heated pool (great size, design, and layout). They constantly seem to have employees encouraging poolside games for the kids, and there was a pool bar with drinks for the adults.

Restaurants: We only experienced 2, but the hotel offers 4 (3 at the Jambo House, and 1 at the Kitani House). The Mara is the quick service restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the classics (burgers, chicken fingers, salads), but also offers some of the unique but simpler African dishes. Dining is either inside or outside on a patio. Boma is a full buffet experience that offers breakfast or dinner. We tried the dinner and found the food to be both authentic and delicious. I'm seldom a fan of buffets, but this impressed with its offerings range from African dishes to Indian cuisine to more Americanized classics. The other two restaurants are more formal sit-down experiences (not a good option with a 2-year old).

Service: Disney is probably the best at high quality consistent service, and this hotel did not disappoint. From the moment we arrived, everyone working greeted us with the saying "Welcome home" and went out of their way to talk to us. Check-in was a rather long experience to run through everything about the resort, but I was impressed that Joan our attendant ran through our room view options and even gave us a better room. Throughout the resort, Disney appears to hire people only with the job of smiling, giving children attention, and making sure they are enhancing your experience. For example, every time we walked down the hallways we ran into employees that gave our 2 year old Disney stickers, or while we were outside in one of the animal viewing areas, a employee from South Africa came over to tell us all about the animals we were looking at.

Overall, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is an attraction that we wished we had spent more time experiencing. The vibe is very laid back and relaxed and its a nice change from the rush of the Disney Parks. I'm also impressed with the re-creation of an African experience, and I feel like it gives a great preview to anyone that's always wanted to go, but never had the opportunity.

A few tips:
- The Animal Kingdom Lodge is the LAST stop on the Disney Magical Express Bus. It can take 1 to 1.5 hours once you get off your plane and onto the bus until you get to the resort (not a fun experience when you have a starving child).
- The Animal Kingdom Lodge is also the furthest Disney Resort from most of the Theme Parks (with the exception of the Animal Kingdom Park). The Disney bus transport system is fairly good, but it takes 20 minutes to get to the Magic Kingdom and the busy only comes every 20 minutes (so, if you just miss a bus, it could take 40 minutes for the total transport).
- Ask the front desk about the activities for the day. They offered an African drumming class/show one evening that my 2 year old absolutely loved. They also seem to have activities for all ages.
- Bring water bottles. The temp in Orlando is normally hot and everyone gets thirsty, so this shouldn't come as a smart tip. However, I found the water all around Disney to taste peculiar, so I would suggest bringing your own to keep in the room frig if that bothers you.
- The Magic Kingdom sells Pineapple Dole Whip Ice Cream (the 80's throw-back treat) in Adventureland. It's amazing.
- Extra Magic Hours are great, but keep in mind that everyone else is going to them. Try to avoid the park that is having the Extra Magic Hours and you will find the other parks less crowded.
- If you purchase a toy or item for your child at one of the parks and it breaks while you are staying at Disney, they will exchange it for a new one with no questions asked. Even if said child broke it by playing too rough with it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Overall we had an incredible time at Walt Disney World. This is the best WDW hotel choice if you enjoy observing animals. Disney really has created an awesome environment for the animals to roam freely. Watching the animals was surprisingly calming/relaxing. Service is exemplary and food (Boma) better than expected.
Just some advice before investing a small fortune in your WDW vacation: consider how much of your vacation you want to spend waiting and on the shuttle buses. To clarify, my issue was with shuttle service between parks and resorts - the shuttle to and from the airport was fantastic! And use those tags Disney sends you to bypass baggage claim.
If you plan to spend most of your time at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, I would advise staying at one of the hotels with Monorail service. Morning bus service to the Magic Kingdom was insufficient from Animal Kingdom in my opinion - one morning we barely made it on and others had to wait nearly an hour at the bus stop. Shuttles to parks stop at Kidani first - those at Jambo/Lodge often have to wait for multiple buses in the mornings.
Other things that might be helpful: dining plan in my view is over-priced, unless you plan to
eat at the best restaurants frequently. We found with a 4-year old it was difficult to plan meal times and coordinate reservations. Also, for parents with young children, find the time to go on some of the adult rides too: Test Track, Soarin' and Star Tours were 3 I would highly recommend.

Room Tip: If you do stay at AKL, make sure to choose a room with Savannah view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whyalla, Australia
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013 via mobile

Arrived on the magical express to the animal kingdom lodge. It was an easy bus trip. Check in was a bit confusing making sure we had all our tickets and meal plans.
One thing we weren't explained was not evey elevator goes to every level so make sure you know the route.
We had a savannah view room. Rooms feel small and worn out. It was pretty cool. Lots of zebras, giraffes, antelope, ostrich.
Our room was ages away but it was nice and quiet and right on the end of a hall.
The pool was awesome nice and big. And there was a spa which was nice at night. The gym was pretty good, way better than I expected!
Being a Disney resort it makes it so much easier to get to the parks. Catch the bus at the hotel and then home all included!
We had the dining plan. It was good as you could use it at any Disney restaurant.
A good lot of food is included so we didn't pay for any thing (except cocktails). Would like to see what the other Disney resorts are like, but would stay here again.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

We recently stayed here for a week on a family vacation. The surroundings, including the animals, were wonderful and the whole resort is well done. Great pool, lovely lobby--we stayed at Jambo House--helpful staff. Being able to see zebras, giraffes, etc. is a delight for all ages, and our young child certainly enjoyed it. The onsite restaurants are good, I especially loved Sanaa over at Kidani. A shuttle runs between the two parts of the resort very frequently. During times when we needed a break from the parks, there was plenty to do at the resort. Pools are well done with excellent lifeguarding.

Two things needed improvement: the bathroom and the quality of housekeeping. Bathroom lighting is very dim and there is insufficient ventilation. There was a musty smell there and in the room from that. Even with the fan running for a long time after showers, it took a while to clear out the moisture. There was a single dim shower light for the entire shower room and it was inadequate. Housekeeping was very uneven. The day we checked in, we walked in and strewn on the carpet in the bathroom was used dental floss. Twice during that week our trash/recycling weren't taken out as part of housekeeping. There was a lot of standing dust on the open shelves of the armoire. On the plus side, a few times we had our privacy request up during normal cleaning times and when we were ready and requested housekeeping, they came and did a nice job.

Frankly, given the nightly rate, I expect a better room--higher quality linens, a better bathroom, and good housekeeping. However, it's a large resort and the rate goes towards the entire experience, including extensive grounds and animal upkeep. We got a good rate (off-season) and it was justified.

Being new to Disney, we didn't realize how long it took to get from AKL to Magic Kingdom. It's a long haul and if you are with very young children and plan to return for naps, it's inconvenient. Between driving/parking/taking tram/taking monorail, it was almost an hour really from door to door. The drive wasn't more than 20 min but parking, tram, etc. add up. Much more convenient to other parks, especially Animal Kingdom.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

We arrived at the hotel checked in was told how to get to our rooms not shown. arrived in room with 2 bunk beds we are two adults on a romantic get away not exactly what i had in mind. called up and complained they moved us to two queen beds. i called up and requested a king bed the operator told me they do not offer king beds to "standard room" guests i checked their website and then phoned back as he had lied to me. suddenly a king bedroom had opened up what a suprise!!!!! very annoyed with the start to our holiday i didnt pay all this money and fly 12 hours to be lied to over something petty!!!!!!! anyway situation resolved and a 50 dollar credit added to our account.

we had room 3216 which was on lobby level and had a view of he kudu trial by the pond i was very happy with this room we where told its a partial view room however we saw antelope ostrich zebra pelicans and giraffes which where eating directly under my balcony this was amazing so close could hear him crunching lol.

the hotel has two restaurants and a casual take away place. the take away place needs to do more options if you have had a long day at the park wanna grab something quick to eat its the same options EVERYNIGHT burger, chicken nuggets, stew and pizza. they have cold salads in the fridge also.

the rooms are kept very clean but could be a bit more luxurious for the price your paying. beds are quite hard but we didnt mind this,

with the king bedroom you get a sofa bed which is nice not just two small chairs n a table.

we ordered room service which was lovely but again very limited menu only ordered once and for the price of it you may aswel go downstairs to the buffet! we never tried the buffet but the atmosphere looked fantastic

the waterfall bar is lovely and has a great list of cocktails.

the resort cups are a great idea especially for children 16 dollars and you can refill between 6am and 11pm sodas tea coffe hot chocolate.

would i stay here again? yes with savannah view i wouldnt bother without!!!

i have rated the spa terrible as they have hardly ANYTHING there!!!!

the pool is supposed to be heated its flipping freezing!! but the hot tub is lovely. the week we where there the pool was closed for 2-3 days and we where told to hike down to kidani village which we did not want to do so didnt bother
if anybody has any questions feel free to message me

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Address: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#10 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#15 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#32 Family Hotel in Orlando
#66 Business Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 972
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 
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Also Known As:
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
Animal Kingdom Hotel Disney
Disneys Animal Kingdom Hotel
Animal Kingdom Hotel Florida

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