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“Great Disney Hotel” 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   |  
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Ranked #27 of 327 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Winnipeg, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great Disney Hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2010

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.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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4,558 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
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Fortingall, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2010

This hotel is an extraordinary building: beautiful, unique and inspiring. However,.....that's about all you get from it - because it is very poorly run. The staff are very helpful and friendly and try hard - but this still doesn't hide the fact that little works as it should: a true African experience, you might say. The building is everything, the rest is below-par.

Like the other posts below, housekeeping isn't quite on the ball and it took 7 consecutive visits by amiable, smiling staff just to get 2 teabags (which should have been there anyway). By the 4th tap on the door, I was wishing I hadn't asked!

The deluxe rooms are a bit cramped - and quite frankly the views of the savannah are a bit irrelevant if you have just visited Animal Kingdom where you see many more of the same animals right up close, should you take the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. The views of animals from your balcony are usually at some distance and after the first 5 minutes, you probably couldn't care less. Even my 8-year old had no interest and she loves animals.

You can't get a table for breakfast or dinner unless you book well in advance: the desk staff say this is because it's such a huge hotel (which it is) and also it's a popular dining venue - which is cold comfort when it's 8am or pm and you're starving.

Forget about dining in Jiko unless you reserved last week - and when you do get a table let's hope you are more impressed than we were. Good, yes. Special, no. More of an up-market canteen, really.

The acid-test of how poorly-organised this place is manifests itself at the front-desk. Trying to get someone to talk to you is a fight of the fittest - and you have to be patient, very. The poor staff are visibly harassed and hiding from people because everything is a direct or veiled complaint - just spend a few minutes listening if you have the misfortune to stay there.

I loved the decor and the cathedral-like atmosphere of the lobby but who wants to stay in a cathedral? For somewhere so beautiful, it really is quite soulless.

We stayed for our first week in a budget hotel before moving to the AKL where one night cost more than the week in the previous hotel. How I wish we hadn't moved! The first hotel was better all-round and near I-Drive instead of in the middle of nowhere.

Visit AKL by all means, to see the fabulous concept in the flesh, even stay for dinner - but spend your money on staying in an hotel where people are the central focus, not the building.

Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
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Seattle, WA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2010

We stayed at AKL - Jambo House 1/24/10 - 2/2/10. We'd booked a standard view room but were kindly upgraded upon arrival to a Savannah view, room #3452.

The good:

This resort has incredible decor. Lots of art and artifacts, with plaques telling the story or describing what you're seeing.

Many of the Cast Members are from Africa, in an exchange program Disney has set up with African Tourism and Animal preserve organizations. The Cast Members are very knowledgeable about the animals on the property, and the art and decor in the lodge, and are happy to tell you about their life in Africa.

While waiting for the bus to the parks in the morning, there were often Cast Members out there with animal parts (teeth, antlers, etc) and educational games for the children.

The gift shop, Zawadi marketplace, was immense, and had a generous selection of gifts as well as food and toiletry items.

The not so good:

The room was a lot smaller than we anticipated for a Deluxe resort. We were glad to have 2 queen beds (instead of doubles, which are too small for us), but there was a tiny table with only 2 chairs, so the four of us could never all sit down together. Mousekeeping had done a quick job preparing the room -- we found gummy candy on the carpet and the exterior of the fridge was covered with sticky hand prints. Also one sink did not drain (the plug was stuck in the down position), the clock and phone were covered with sticky residue, and the i-home clock was set 10 minutes too fast, and we couldn't figure out how to reset it without instructions.

We enjoyed seeing a few animals from our balcony, but were disappointed that there wasn't a quidebook or pamphlet to tell us what we were seeing. When we asked for one, we were told they weren't available anymore. We also had to ask to receive a tip sheet with the daily activities for the resort -- we were not given one when we checked in, and there was not one in the room, so we had no idea about all the activities until our visit was almost over.

The pool was closed, and the "shuttle" to Kidani village was actually just using regular bus transportation, so the one time we made the trek to go swimming, we ended up walking 10 minutes instead of waiting 20 minutes for a bus. We were told there would be a shuttle, which we assumed would be a van or mini bus between the two.

The quick service restaurant is downstairs, in the basement, so refilling those resort mugs can take a long walk. Often we'd go get a drink to take back to our room, and by the time we actually got back to the room the cup was empty! There should be "refill stations" in other parts of the hotel, like at the ends of each wing!

The soundproofing between rooms is very minimal. We could clearly hear the family in the next room each night as they struggled to get their kids to sleep, one night as late as 2:00am! We also could hear the plumbing noise of toilets flushing and showers running in the rooms above, below, and beside us. Not what you'd expect from a "Deluxe" resort.

Overall:

We enjoyed or stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge/Jambo House, but didn't really have time (or the information sheet until the 2nd to last day) to partake of all the activities it offered. It was a one-time splurge, and we won't likely stay there again.

I'd recommend this hotel if you love Africa and observing wild animals. Also if you are up for the walking (the place is really spread out) and stairs/elevators (restaurants on basement level).

I would NOT recommend this hotel if you have small children. The rooms are too small, there's a lot of walking/up & down involved, and you're going to be a LONG bus ride away from 3 of the 4 parks.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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OKLAHOMA
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2010

Yes, I would diffently say it was smooth sailing, the hotel ran in a orderly manner, clean, very friendly staff, never once did we have to ask the front desk for anything. It was a they came and went in the calmness of night, never seen them, so respectful of peoples vacations what more could you ask for.
We loved the pool nice and hugh,, so there was no over-crowding, and always a life guard on duty,
all in all this was a very clean, beautiful Hotel, with perfect staff, I've been on many vacations and this hotel was SMOOTH SAILING!

Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
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Norway
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2010

In short: The hotel was great! We lived there a whole week (got a great stay 7 for 4 nights deal). The best thing is that we found the hotel so much quieter than the regular Disney fuzz - so it gave us real mental relaxation between the theme park battles. The constant African music in the background created a mind-soothing ambiance. And yes, the staff were as nice as they come. Too bad they couldn't mend the weather, though, as we visited them during the coldest week in like 40 years.
The pool was closed for maintenance, but with temperatures in the 30's nobody really cared...

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2010

Room size and cleanliness was no problem at all. I thought the room relatively large though we did have a corner room. The small refrigerator was very handy, too. It was the favorite hotel "ever" for both my kids and my wife loved it, too. We had a Savannah view which they loved the most. My two concerns. Our room was one of the farthest from the hotel. This was just chance. The biggest concern was that we left the Magic Kingdom an hour before closing one night. We had to wait 45 minutes or more for the bus. All of the other bus lines were mostly empty and Animal Kingdom lodge line was full plus trailing out of the marked waiting area. It was still this way when we left at which point there was almost no one in any of the other wait areas, just stragglers. I felt sorry for the people at the end of our line. To add insult to injury once you get to the Animal Kingdom you pass the regular lodge and drop off the Kidani Village condo people first which adds 15 minutes when you're already standing and tired.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Ohio
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2010

Nice atmosphere and great views at least from the room we had. Jiko's is a world class dining experiance and Boma's has a great buffet with unusual varieties.
Sub standard room though for a Deluxe Disney Resort. Small, very little storage, noisey ( did they forget the sound proofing?), ran out of hot water in the morning and for the first time in my stays at Disney we had average to below average housekeeping. By the third day I stopped the tips because they evidently were not helping. Some stuffed animals were lost a in the laundry I guess and the front desk worked with us to replace them.
Good location, off the path enough so traffic was never a problem. Been there once now but will probably not again.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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
Phone Number:
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:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#8 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#14 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#29 Family Hotel in Orlando
#45 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):
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

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