My husband and I stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge for 5 nights. The only major downside to this hotel is it can be expensive depending on what room category you stay in. We were going to stay Arusha View and then realized for about $35 extra a night we could upgrade to a club level room. So we decided to splurge. Since "value" is subjective I am really basing the review on the hotel and services we experienced and can leave it up to each traveler to decide if the value is worth the experience.
We arrived to our hotel at 11:00 a.m. and were hoping we could get early check-in. As we were walking into the hotel we were greeted outside the front door. We were asked our name and welcomed. Since we were staying club level we were escorted upstairs to the concierge lounge and were seated and given mimosas. We were checked in and thankfully our room was ready.
Our room was a good size. We had requested a king bed and that's what we were given. We were on the 4th floor. To be honest, my biggest concern was that we'd pay for an Arusha view room and then not see animals. And when we checked in we didn't see anything on the Savannah...I started getting a little nervous. However, within the hour we saw giraffes, and all kinds of birds, zebra, and other animals. Throughout the trip we sat on the balcony and observed wildlife. At one point some giraffes didn't like that there was a wild boar (I think it was a boar) next to them and we got to see them interact where they chased it off. There was a baby giraffe and it roamed by the pond near our room.
There are a lot of good restaurant options at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Jiko was excellent! We ate breakfast at Boma but did so in a hurry. It was good but I would have liked to try it for lunch or dinner. We went to Sanaa at Kidani Village (you can walk from Jambo House to Kidani Village or take a shuttle that is a quick drive). Sanaa was also excellent. The service was fabulous and definitely try the banana sundae! It's not what you'd expect.
We didn't do anything at the pool but we popped into the Mara for snacks. There wasn't a ton of variety but it was good for a quick bite.
There are a lot of fun activities to do around the lodge. There is a campfire story time and you can go down to the pool area and use night vision goggles to look for animals on the safari. It'd be cool if you could take these to your room but I'm sure that's expensive to provide those to each guest. We didn't really see any animals but it was still neat to look.
There are also additional safaris you can purchase. Since we were staying club level we were able to do the sunrise safari. It was $70 a person and was amazing. They drive you back stage from the Lodge to the Animal Kingdom Park and then you do a semi-private (there were 14 of us on two of the trucks) tour of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. It lasted about an hour and we stopped by all of the animals and had great photo opps. The guide, Jennifer, was so knowledgeable about the animals - it was informative and fun.
There's also a nighttime safari (I think around $70?) and then a Wanyama Safari that's longer and includes a food and wine pairing dinner at Jiko but it's around $179 a person but we talked to other guests who said it was worth the cost.
I read bad reviews about the housekeeping at the hotel but we had good experiences. Our room was clean when we checked in and was always cleaned nicely every day.
Some minor issues - you could hear noises through the wall from other rooms. We never heard noise at night but in the mornings you could hear noises from other rooms as people were moving about. There was also a mustiness smell in the room but I think that's from people opening the doors a lot in hot, humid Florida. I notice that smell a lot in Florida and the Caribbean.
We also had problems with our TV service and had to call someone up when we were trying to relax at night and watch TV. They said someone would come in the next day while we were out but I don't know that it got fixed because we never did get the lower numbered channels.
Excellent hotel with just a few minor issues!!
- 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