I stayed here for five nights with my family while vacationing at Disney. For our last Disney trip, we chose Port Orleans French Quarter and enjoyed it (I wrote a review of that property as well if you want to check it out). We chose AKL for this trip because we were traveling with my in-laws and they are Disney Vacation Club owners; also, because I had heard wonderful things about the property. I was also curious to compare the difference between moderate and deluxe classes of resorts at Disney.
In my opinion, you can really see the difference between deluxe and moderate. There is nothing wrong with moderate - you will get clean, well-maintained grounds and rooms and access to the Disney shuttles. I think that the difference between the two categories is that you get a higher level of comfort and luxury with the upgrade from moderate to deluxe. And of course, the theming is great. Not nearly as over-the-top as some of the other resorts, but very detailed and consistent throughout the property. I think that the difference can be described quite well with the check-in process. When we stayed at POR, we arrived and queued up to check in. When we stayed at AKL, there was someone to greet us as we stepped off the shuttle. She showed us a seat in the lobby and took care of everything. We never even went to the counter.
The hotel and rooms are dark and, in keeping with the theme, faux rustic. This dark peacefulness was a nice contrast to the hot sunshine and hustle and bustle of the parks. We got bunk bed rooms and the kids just loved them. The rooms were a bit on the small side, and I think that the bunk beds made them seem even smaller, but we did not mind this. My in-laws had a suite that was absolutely spectacular. It was basically an apartment located on the resort property.
We ate at Boma and Mara (the counter serve option) and found the food at both to be exceptional. We also enjoyed the pool and hot tubs, which are beautiful and well-maintained. I kind of wish that we had carved out more pool time during our stay, but the time just flew by. Also, we had quite a bit of rain on our trip, which also limited the pool time.
The only serious drawback we encountered on our trip was that one day we came back from the parks and the glass slider door of our ground-level room was wide open. After checking to confirm that there were no intruders lurking in the shower or closet, we called the front desk to complain. They told us that housekeeping opens the sliders when they clean and that they must have forgotten to close it when we left. Fortunately, nothing was missing and it turned out to be a non-event. But that is definitely NOT ok. This is why I rated the room service as "average"; our rooms were cleaned every day and we had not other issues with housekeeping. The other drawback was that the A/C was a bit out of date - it seemed to have two temperatures: hot or cold. So if it was set at 74 and you turned it down to 72, you would be blasted with cold air. But if you turned it to 75, suddenly the heat was on. This was a minor inconvenience and hopefully one that will be corrected the next time the hotel is rennovated.
I have heard that the location of this hotel feels remote and far away. We used the shuttle service and had no problem accessing any of the parks. We never had a shuttle that was insanely full or crowded, even though we were there during peak weeks for Disney (the first week of July).
All in all, we really enjoyed this hotel and would stay here again. It is a comfortable, relaxing, family friendly environment with good food and service. And of course, the animals are cool.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States as you experience your own African safari adventure with a touch of Disney magic. ... 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