We stayed at AKL Jan 26- Feb 2, 2010 and had a wonderful time. This was our 3rd time to Disney World and second time at a Disney hotel. Yes the rooms are on the smaller side- 344 sq ft. but all Disney rooms are small, Grand Floridian is only 400 sq ft. If you want lots of space check into a suite hotel off site, there are lots. We took advantage of the stay 7 pay 4 promo so it was a great deal. We had a room with bunk beds so our 2 kids each had their own beds. This is the only Disney hotel that has bunk beds and that was the main reason we selected AKL. The African theme throughout the hotel is amazing and yes it is dark but that is part of the ambiance. Here are my thoughts on some of the concerns that I read from previous guests:
The rooms are too far away- We stayed at the end of the Zebra trail and it was a 5 minute walk to the lobby but its not the end of the world. If you don't like walking don't do Disney because you won't last a day! If you are looking for animals here are some tips, most books suggest booking a savanah view on the inner savanah called Arusha, thats what we did but there are only 2 giraffes in that savanah, the Uzima savanah has 4 giraffes so if you want giraffes take note.
The rooms were noisy- If you don't like noise get a room at the end of the corridor like we did and wear earplugs and you will sleep like a baby. We had no complaints about noise but I know from personal experinece that if you have noisy neighbors it can be frustrating, try the earplugs!
The buses take forever- This was a concern for me because we went during spring break our first 2 visits and the buses can be slow. However this time we rarely waited more than 10 minutes for a bus. The longest ride was about 25 minutes to Downtown Disney and 20 to Magic Kingdom. Hollywood Studios was 15 minutes and Animal Kingdom 10 minutes. Disney World is 43 sq miles or about the size of Boston, you won't get anywhere in five minutes. I don't know what people are thinking when they are upset about spending 20-30 minutes on a bus. Its a huge property!
The rooms weren't clean- our room was immaculate, nothing was broken, bent or out of place. The maid did an excellent job and we left a very nice tip.
Some final thoughts-
- take a pair of binoculars!!!
-try Boma, like all Disney restaurants its not cheap, about $30 per person but it is one of the best at Disney World, you need to make reservations before you get there!!!
-Jiko is the upscale restaurant, its good but pricey, for my money Boma is better
- no comment on the pool, it was closed during our visit, we walke 10 minutes over to Kidani Village to use the pool and it was nice
-there is a small bar fridge in the room(no Microwave though) so you can take cold cereal with you and buy milk at the hotel store for breakfast, it gets you off to a quick start and saves $30 a day that you can spend on dinners
In summary the hotel is unique because of the animals on the property and the African Lodge theme. Would I pay rack rates, probably not, you can get a very nice suite at a great hotel offsite for the what you pay at AKL but if you get a discount, and right now there are still discounts available its a great experience.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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