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“Everything and everyone was wonderful”

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Ranked #33 of 340 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 8, 2004

I can't say enough great things about our very first trip to Disney World and our stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The staff went out of their way to make my children feel so very special. Our rooms were more than we expected. We woke up to giraffe's eating outside our balcony. The food was excellent from Mara. We didn't make it to Jiko but it smelled delicious every night. Like I mentioned before everyone from Jeane (from Newport, KY too) in the gift shop to housekeeping went above and beyond to make our stay magical. Thank you so very much.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank disney4girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,459 - 6,465 of 7,209 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 7, 2004

We just got back from a wonderful vacation at Disney. Everything about this place was wonderful! This resort is very large and requires walking. We stayed in a pool view room which was the best choice as it is close to everything you will visit on a regular basis (pool, Mara, Simba's Cubhouse, laundry, etc.) Checking in was very easy. They gave us an animal guide and things needed for Disney. This is also when you need to request everything you need. (coffee pot, fridge, etc.) Our bellman was very very nice. We ate at all the restaurants there. At Boma, the chef came to our table to discuss what my daugther (food allergies) could eat or not eat. They had a wide selection of foods American and African. They have the normal pancakes and eggs on the buffet for the non-adventurous. The Mara was not impressive except for the service. The food is mediocre. They feature made-to-order "grill" items and grab-to-go items. The have typical foods like pizza, hamburgers, chicken fingers or you can order specialty items like the tandori chicken pizza or the African stew. Nothing was spectacular. The refillable mug was a very nice touch, but if you have stayed on property before, you know this is offered at all resorts. Jiko was a lovely experience. We met with one of the chefs at the Cooking Place as well, just for fun. He took the time to explain what he was cooking and what ingredients they use. Prior to our reservation we visited the Victoria Falls Lounge whcih was a typical bar/lounge. There are two spas, one large pool with slide, one kiddie pool. There is also a pool side bar. Our room was well appointed. Housekeeping was there everyday.
The lighting is not as bad as everyone says it is. But we had a bunk bed room which had a couple more lights, I think. We were a little cramped in the room, but it was very liveable for a week. The only difficult time we had was finding a good place for the crib. It would either block a part of the doorway or you couldn't reach the nightstand. My daugther loved Simba's Cubhouse. She made some crafts and watched a couple Disney movies. They offered her dinner and snacks.
The laundry could be a tad bigger. It gets really crowded. There are only about 6 washers for all the resort. There are vending machines all around the resort. I am not sure I would spend the money for a Savannah view room. They seem so far away from everything. There are many observation areas to see the animals up close. I would, however, pay extra for the pool view simply for the location. In closing, I would like to just point out the overall ambience of this resort. You are always surrounded by rich smells, exotic African music, and exotic animals. The sights of the lobby are breath taking. Activities are always going on within the resort. We will be going again for sure!

  • Stayed: February 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
grand rapids mich.
Reviewed February 7, 2004

I sent my wife and 6 year old child to the Disney Animal kingdom Resort on Christmas morning as a huge suprise for my little angel. She was just so excited she cried! I was proud to be able to do this for her. My daughter now is permently scarred from the horroble way they were treated and the lack of available reservations for all (ALL!!!) the events that Disney brags of to sucker people into this money making, child hurting fake world of dispair. The staff was rude. The hotel was compleatly overbooked. They could not get in any of the special events they promise children. They could not get one dinner reservation, anywhere!!!!!in the Disney area. They were stuck eating room service every night. In the park area my daughter was nearly trampled. She was ripped from her mothers arms from the exiting crowd. If not for the help from a huge man yelling and pushing them back she would have been injured worse than she was. Not enough security to handle the crowd! At the end of this wasted vacation my wife asked to have a late checkout (only 30 minutes)NO! They were rude. Not just rude very rude about this request. All they needed to do is say I'm sorry but you can not. So my daughter still asks to this day why she did not get to eat with the princeses or why this dream became such a nightmare. I tell her I love her everyday and try to explain why I told her all the apparent lies about this dream world. We still play on the Disney web page. Now that is pretty nice. I tried and tried to get something done about this but Disney is just to big and busy to make this right. I have never recieved any answer to my complaints. They make it impossible to make a complaint. I am not done. I will get results or at the least an apology to my little girl.WARN YOUR FRIENDS. If you were ripped off by Disney feel free to write me.

12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Upstate New York
Reviewed February 3, 2004

We spent a week in mid Januray at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. What a treat for everyone involved. Although the walk to our room was long it was like walking through a museum. We had a savannah view room which I would recommend. Also, the pool was great, and the restaraunts were wonderful. Jiko was a little expensive but my children were paid extra attention to and the staff was excellent. (Come on, you're in Disney!
What doesn't cost a lot?) Boma's breakfast buffet is unbelieveable, and the Mara was perfect for when we returned late from the parks. Shuttle service to all the parks was on time, about 20 minutes between runs for Disney, the farthest park. Everyone was great, I wanted to book next year as we left. However financially that won't happen for about 5 more years. When I return, however, I will stay nowhere else.

3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
McKinney, TX
Reviewed February 1, 2004

We recently returned from a one week stay at the Animal Kingdon Lodge.
As just about everyone has mentioned, the lobby is breathtaking. The works of art are museum quality and the representatives from Africa are happy to talk about their homeland and culture. The resort is quite large and some rooms are a significant distance from the lobby and bus stop to the parks. Rooms closer to the lobby suffer from (usually noisy) traffic passing by constantly. We were assigned a room in one of the buildings jutting off of the main arc of buildings facing the Sunset savannah. This did offer a good combination of proximity to the lobby yet being off of the main traffic flow. We were given a "complimantary" upgrade to a deluxe room. This translates into a few extra square feeet in the room and not much else. The downside is the deluxe rooms are on the 5th floor, so you are somewhat farther from the animals. I would have preferred a 2nd or 3rd floor room. The rooms are nicely decorated, a bit dark, with comfortable beds. The bathroom is too small and the door to the toilet awkward to close. And watch out when flushing the toilet...it scared the heck out of my little girl it's so loud and forceful. House keeping was adequate. If you would like a coffee maker you need to call housekeeping to have one delivered and it only includes the first day's supply of coffee. Kind of skimpy for a hotel that charges more than $250 a night. Refrigerators are available for rent for a $10 per day fee. We rented one and found it to be very worthwhile for having breakfast, snacks and drinks in the room.
Food at the resort is EXPENSIVE. It is well worth it to stop at a grocery store on the way to the hotel and stock up on drinks, bottled water, coffee and snacks. And Disney doesn't seem to care if you do this, no one gave us a second look when we checked in with grocery bags from Publix. The restaurants at the hotel include Jiko which is only open for dinner, Boma, a buffet open for breakfast and dinner and the Mara which is fast food serving all day. Jiko is an excellent dining experience, but rather expensive. We never did try Boma, so I can't comment on the quality. The Mara is decent, especially the "grab and go" fruit plates and wraps. Unfortunately, it's your only option for lunch if you stay at the resort. The pool area is quite large with sloped zero entry section and a small slide. The water is heated to the mid 80's so it's comfortable to swim even on cooler days. There are two hot tubs as well. There are many observation places scattered throughout the hotel to observe the animals and helpful guides at most places. Storytelling is done every evening around the fire just off of the lobby. I was disappointed in that they told the SAME story every night. Come on, isn't there more than one African story?? Activities are available for the children at scheduled times during the day including music, games, animal information, and night vision. Children can earn a bead for some activities and make a necklace or bracelet.
The gift shop has a wide variety of unique African handicrafts as well as the usual Disney souveniers. Beer and wine are also sold and are much less expensive than from the restaurants or room service.
Transportation to the parks is by bus. The buses run about every 15 - 20 minutes. Commute time varies from 5 minutes to the Animal Kingdom to almost 20 minutes to the Magic Kingdom. If you are going to another resort, your best bet is to rent a car and drive. Otherwise you have to switch buses at Downtown Disney. Guests staying at the resort park free at any other resort or park. Overall, it is a sophisticated resort which is still family friendly. The setting is it's best feature, it's remote location and lack of food service options is it's worst feature.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2004

We were so excited to see what the hotel was like and we were not disappointed. It was a few days after Christmas and this huge, tall, African themed Christmas tree was the center of attention when you walked in the lobby. Beautifully decorated at every turn, we were in love with the place. Our room was a Savana View room on the 5th floor and it was also decorated with beautiful African accents including floor to ceiling netting that was dressed above each headboard and rich wooden furniture pieces that made you feel like you were living in style. The beds were very comfortable. From the balcony we seen Giraffes, wildebeasts, and some animals I couldn't name. The pool was very spacious with a very fun slide. They offered activities for the kids to join in at the pool. (Tube races,etc. My 11 year old never wanted to leave.) We also took advantage of the Uaima Springs pool bar for adult and kiddy cocktails. Very yummy and reasonable for Disney ($6.75 each). We also ate at The Mara for 3 of our meals which was very tasty and also reasonably priced. (The Pizza is great!) They always have activities through out the day for the kids to take part of but we only made it to the Animal sight seeing with Night Vision Goggles and the ostridge egg shell craft. Both were very cool. The best part of our stay was when we got back from Epcot (where we had no luck getting our 5 year old's picture taken with Minnie) and in the lobby there was a handfull of characters (including Minnie) for picture taking. My daughter's eyes lit up just like the commercials. The Zawadi Marketplace was a fun place to shop. I bought a 12" wooden carved giraffe for $12.00 + tx. and there was a wide variety of gifts here to choose from. We really liked the setting and I have to disagree with the review that mentioned the animals didn't have enough room to roam.
At the flamingo outlook it seemed like there was endless miles of land that were full of trees and grass. The entire stay at Animal Kindom Lodge was wonderful. Happy travels to you and your family. Enjoy this hotel if you ever get a chance to occupy it's beautiful grounds.

The Andrews Family

7  Thank Gonecuttinghair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2004

I booked my stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge through Expedia after reading the (mostly) excellent reviews here. We had nothing but problems from start to finish with this resort. Upon check-in I was told they had a "system problem" and couldn't locate my payment. The clerk advised me to call the desk in 30 minutes to check on my payment. When I called down to the desk, I was told that they couldn't find my payment. I was treated as if I hadn't paid and I was trying to dodge the bill!
Thoroughly insulting. Needless to say, they DID find my payment, but not after causing me endless aggravation.

As if this wasn't enough when we decided to go to bed and turned down the covers, there were black hairs in both of the sheets. Not a single person in my family even comes close to having black hair. I was disgusted! When I called down to the front desk the manager did not sound very apologetic. She did send someone up to change the bedding.
That was the least she could do. I felt I should have been comped something small for all the aggravation, but nothing was offered. Bad customer service!

Also be forewarned that the "Savannah" these poor animals are forced to live on is too small. The animals barely have any room to roam. I think Disney made it so small so the animals would stay close enough so people could stare at them. I found the whole situation sad. That these majestic animals should have to live in such a small place isn't right.

I do not recommend a room with a view. Save your money.

The lobby was beautiful. The decor of the hotel is awe inspiring.
Unfortunately the beauty of the lobby did not make up for the negative experience.

We also ate at Boma. If you aren't into spicy, strange food, skip it.
It wasn't worth the money. I love all types of ethnic food, so I decided to try this restaurant. The food wasn't good. Even the hummus didn't taste good. How can you mess that up? Well, their chef seemed to think that hummus requires tons of salt. I found the food mediocre at best. Try Jiko, or go out for food.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank SweetFirefly
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 32830-8410
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
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:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#11 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#17 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#34 Family Hotel in Orlando
#42 Business Hotel in Orlando
Price Range: $323 - $751 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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