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“Perfect, Amazing, 100% Disney Magic” 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
Surrey, UK
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Perfect, Amazing, 100% Disney Magic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2010

We stayed at AKL from October 1st-15th 2010 and booked a Standard View room for 14 nights on the special offer “14 nights for the price of 10”. (We had originally booked to stay at Port Orleans French Quarter, but I checked the rates frequently and one day it was only an extra £300 odd for the upgrade so I couldn’t resist!

We had a very long journey as we got a connecting flight (with Delta who were amazing) and used Disney’s Magical Express service from MCO and we arrived at AKL at around 8.30pm. When we were checking in I mentioned it was a special trip for us (wedding planning) and cheekily asked if there was any possibility of upgrading to a Savannah View room. The check in lady looked at me a little confused and said we already had a Savannah View – result!

We had the most amazing room location, if they had given us a map of the resort and said ‘choose your room’ it would have been very close by! We were less than a minute from the lobby overlooking the main (Arusha) savannah. And close enough to the Arusha overlook that if we opened our balcony door we could hear the African music that they play from the back of the lobby. Magical!

Our room was the best Disney Resort room we’ve had (also stayed at Disneyland Paris resorts – Hotel New York, Disneyland Hotel and Sequoia Lodge) and mousekeeping were amazing. We had lovely towel animals and an awesome congratulations card from Mickey and Minnie. Everyday we saw loads of animals, and there was a cow/antelope guy who would come within 2 feet of our balcony as he was smart enough to get past the fence so he could eat and sleep in a certain bush he liked.

Before our trip I was a little worried about the bus service to the parks (we didn’t rent a car) as on a map the Resort is far out from the rest of WDW but we never waited long (except for Downtown Disney/Typhoon Lagoon buses which were sometimes 20 minutes) and the longest journey to the Magic Kingdom was only around 15 minutes.

We ate at all 3 restaurants, we thought the Mara (quick service) was great, and offered a good selection, we had breakfast and dinner at Boma (buffet) we really enjoyed dinner but weren’t too impressed with breakfast. The best meal of our trip was in Jiko (Signature restaurant) the service was amazing and food was fresh and delicious, we’ll definitely be back.

The staff (like in all of Disneyworld) were second to none, on our arrival night my fiancé had a bad headache, so I ventured out on my own to find the restaurant and buy us some drinks and snacks, as I got to the lobby I saw a Cast Member and asked him the way to the Mara, he walked me the whole way and we had a great conversation. On another occasion we asked the concierge desk if there was any possibility of seeing the suites as we were considering staying there again for our wedding trip, they were so helpful and showed us the beautiful vice presidential suite and also advised us to go over to Kidani Village to see the 1 bedroom villas. Kidani is a short 10 minute walk away and is definitely worth visiting, the lobby is like a small version of Jambo house and is beautifully done.

We loved everything about Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the question is “will we be back?”....

We’ve rebooked already!

This time we have opted to pay the extra for a Savannah view as it was so amazing looking over the main savannah that we wanted to benefit of being able to request an Arusha view room. This is for the first 5 nights of our wedding and honeymoon trip and we have raved about AKL so much that our family and friends have also booked to stay at the resort. We can’t wait to be back! Jambo!

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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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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Indiana
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
65 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2010

We've been to Disney at least half dozen times and would not consider not staying on Disney property due to its convenience. Magical Express is a fantastic idea and if you plan to only visit Disney during your stay you won't need to rent a car. We only had one other hotel stop before our drop-off and only 2 pick-ups on our return to the airport so our experience was different than other reviewers. Note the pick-up time at your hotel for return to airport will be about 3 hours before your flight. If that extra hour or so of sleep is important you could opt for a cab on the return leg.
We have stayed at main lodge about 7 years ago. This time we opted for a 1 bedroom villa. We have young children and wanted a separate master bedroom. Getting adjoining rooms would have been about $700 per night vs $550 per night we paid for 1 bedroom villa. There are villas in Jambo house(main lodge) that weren't available so we opted for 1 bedroom villa in Kidani Village which is the newest addition to Animal Kingdom Lodge and just opened in the past year.
The villa was spacious(more so than Beach Club villa we stayed in first night of trip). It had a moderate size living room and the master bedroom was standard hotel size. The villas have dining table and full kitchen. I wish Disney had more options for parents who want separate sleeping quarters from their kids(I believe Universal has some family suites)-very expensive to get 2 adjoining rooms and villas are still pricey for those who don't intend to use the kitchen to save costs(I have no interest in cooking when I'm on vacation). The unit had a nice stackable washer/dryer. The master bathroom was very large with a big whirlpool tub, separate toilet area with a door that closed and a separate shower(visible/adjacent to whirlpool tub). the unit also had a small but full bathroom off the living room so lots of available bathroom space.
Cleanliness was ok but housekeeping was very spotty. First day we had to call 3 times throughout the day and when finally did come it was a haphazard job. The rest of our stay was just a little better-didn't always restock toiletries,etc. We've usually had good housekeeping at Disney before so not sure what the problem was. These are villas that I think are sometimes timeshares and those people get housekeeping only every 4 days or so-perhaps the staff has that relaxed mindset.
Biggest disappointment was that the common properties at the Kidani part of the lodge are all scaled down. We were paying same price as would have for a villa at the main lodge and yet the entrance/lobby was much less dramatic. The gift store was smaller. The pool was smaller and not as nicely landscaped. There was no counter service restaurant(main lodge has Mara). Overall I found this a bit disappointing. We had a savannah view and it didn't seem as impressive as what I remembered in staying at the lodge years ago. We have opted for savannah views both times we stayed here but agree that there are many common areas for viewing and if you aren't going to spend much time at the lodge it would be a waste to pay for this. To our disappointment they also had the animals out of the area in front of our room every day when we had hoped to eat breakfast on our balcony and enjoy views of the animals(they were cleaning the area at this time of day). Agree that the cultural representatives from the African countries were interesting and informative and Kidani seemed to have as many activities planned for guests as the main lodge did.
One advantage to Kidani is that bus stops here first. Those at the main lodge were left to stand or wait for the next bus at peak times(including trying to make it to the magic hours in the am).
Restaurants on site are excellent. Had a huge and outstanding African buffet at Boma and our meal at Sanaa was one of the best of our stay. Boma was mobbed but looked like you might get into Sanaa without a reservation. Keep in mind that if you are going to main lodge to eat you just hop on any bus because they all make a stop at the main lodge. However, coming back you are left to traipse 10 minutes plus through a variety of parking lots. Surely Disney could spring for an attractively landscaped walking path between the 2 properties.
Other peeve was that if you are trying to book a vacation package(ie with Disney dining plan and tickets to park included) you can only stay at one property. We wanted to split our time between 2 hotels but wound up only able to spend one night at Beach Club and no tickets or meal plan for that day.
Agree too that Lodge is a bit of a haul to other parks except Animal Kingdom. I think this property is best for those who want the African ambiance and/or want to feel a bit removed from the whole Mickey scene. The Lodge even had a few programs targeted to adults only.
If we return to Disney again we'll stick with Beach Club/Yacht Club for its location near EPCOT international restaurant area and for its incredible pool complex.
Can't quite put my finger on it but just feel like the trademark Disney super service/perfect standards are slipping a bit-maybe they are cutting corners with the economy. Their high end properties need to step it up a notch if they want to be in the realm of a 4 Seasons or the like(spent less money last summer for a suite at a 4 Seasons and everything from room to service was absolutely impeccable)

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto, Ontario
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
167 helpful votes 167 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2010

I have stayed at Disney properties in the past (Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans, Fort Wilderness) and I can honestly say that the consistency I have experienced at all these properties is worth it in my opinion to spend a few extra dollars and stay in Disney. Regardless of the level of accommodation you choose, you will truly enjoy your "Disney Experience". This time around at the Animal Kingdom, Disney did not fail to disappoint.

Rooms: Spacious, clean, comfortable beds/pillows! The balcony and views of the animals was a truly unique experience that could be enjoyed by guests of all ages. The property was quite large and we had one of the rooms at the very end of the property so it was a bit of a hike (especially after full days of walking) but it was very quiet and private!

Staff: I would love to attend an orientation for Disney employees, they are all so friendly and welcoming regardless of their position. Their Disney personality shines through and makes the experience enjoyable.

Activities: It was cool to see how many activities they had for children at the resort, just when you felt you had too much to do, Disney throws a few more things your way.

Food: Did not eat at the resort for dinner, had a snack - I'm a picky eater and do not like spicy food, I had a pizza with spices on it that I could not handle, but me knowing my eating habits I should have just ordered a cheese pizza - ha, ha!

Loved the shampoo and soap - and you can even buy it at the gift shop (I guess they got wise to people grabbing a few extra souvenirs off of the maids carts - they are now locked up :)).

Free transportation anywhere on the property and the Disney Magical Express is yet another added value option, frequent buses coming to and from the hotel - rarely had to wait longer than 5 minutes, and we were there on off season.

Make sure you check out the night vision goggles and explore the hotel as they have a mini museum scattered throughout the property.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
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Penarth, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2010

We stayed at the Animal Kingdom lodge for 4 nights as part of our Disney Wedding package back in April 2008. In total we were a group of 24 guests and every single one of us thought that the hotel was fantastic. The theming is great, the staff are friendly and attentive, the Boma buffet restuarant was superb and the rooms were very spacious. We had a Savannah room which gave us the added benefit a being able to view the animals in what seems to be a comfortable and roomy environment. Its worth noting that the best time to view the largest variety of animals is before 10am as it tends to get too hot for them after that.
The free Disney shuttle service is also something that should be taken advantage of. They pick up from outside the main entrance and drop you at most locations within the resort. The seemed to be running very frquently and late into the night which is great if you are watching one of the firework shows etc.
The only slightly negative comment that I would have is that the pool area can get very overcrowed and the pool itself isn't that big considering the overall size of the hotel.
Other than that is an absolutely fantastic hotel to stay in!

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Houston, Texas
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2010

We (2 adults and 11 and 13-year-old sons)just got back from our 9 days vacation. We had our reservation at the Wilderness Lodge for 8 nights, but after visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge on our second day (we had a dinner reservation there at Boma restaurant), we decided to switch over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. ( So we ended up with staying at WL for 4 nights and Animal Kingdom Lodge for 4 nights. We are very thankful they let us.) The Wilderness Lodge was not that bad, but we all felt like it was not a deluxe hotel at all; room was dark and filthy, no music, staff was not very friendly, and it just did not give us the feeling of being on vacation there.. On the contrary, the Animal Kingdom Lodge was much clearner and funner, staff was friendlier, and made us feel like we were welcomed and were on vacation! Every time we came back from the theme parks, the staff greeted us saying, "welcome home!" The food at Boma was excellent as well. I loved their desert!!!! This was my 4th time visiting WDW, and I must say, the Animal Kingdom Lodge was my favorite, and the Wilderness Lodge was my least favorite. The only complain I had about this hotel was the bed; the matress was way too soft and squakeeeeeeeeeeeey..

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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woodbridge
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2010

this place was great, very clean, great disney service, saw several animals through out the grounds, at night they provided night vision goggles to see the animals - food was good (only had breakfast there), and very reasonable in terms of price - yes its a bit further out, but i liked that - it made it quieter. i would go back tomorrow if i could

  • Stayed September 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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kolkata
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2010

the animal kindom lodge is amongst the most exhillerating experinces i've had in a hotel. we took the savannah view options, and next morning, there was a giraffe standing not even 10 mtrs away from my balcony. its was absolutely incredible.
the hotel is huge and magnificent. it would take us almost 10 mins to walk from the lobby area to our room inside the building, thats how big this hotel is.
the staf is definitely very courteous, helpful and very professional.
the lobby area is always full of activities ,and at no single point can a person get bored in this hotel, as there is so much to do over there.
despite being such a big hotel, we were surprised as to how quick the services could be to our rooms.
the rooms, were beautifully done, and designed. the balcony is very nice and the view incredible. worth every penny..:))

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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
#31 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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