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“Pluses and Minuses”

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Ranked #39 of 335 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
111 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Pluses and Minuses”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2013

Pluses - This is one of the Disney resorts everyone should stay at once. We had the Savanna view, Jamba House, with bunk beds. It is absolutely amazing to wake up, go on the balcony and see animals roaming close by. The pool area is very nice. There are tons of activities for kids on the premises. My wife commented that even though we were at Disney we probably didn't need to leave the property. The staff is very friendly. The fitness center is unheard of for a center inside somewhere you stay.

Minuses - The room was very very small. The lighting in the room was very dim. The shower/bath was small. I expected a much larger room given what it costs. I had the same problem as the previous reviewer in that the in-room Wi-Fi disconnected after about two minutes every time I tried to use it which basically rendered it useless. We were testing the Fast Pass + so it was pretty important we be able to get online, and also wanted to book another trip before we left and I could do very little online in that regards with the Wi-Fi. The room was "musky" - it seemed very humid and damp no matter where we set the temperature.

Overall, I enjoyed this stay despite the minuses. I would not stay here again however, mostly because there are so many other options to choose from, whether its a Disney resort or another property. I would highly recommend staying here at least once though, if only for the experience.

Room Tip: Savanna view!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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1 Thank wesleybean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2013

My family of four stayed here for two weeks last October (very late review!). We are from the UK and as our children were 7 and 4. We chose a Disney hotel as we had decided we wanted to really 'do disney' as the kids were younger and make the most of what Disney has to offer. We chose a delux hotel as I wanted a balcony and decided upon AKL as I loved animal kingdom park when my husband and I visited orlando years ago - life before kids!

We arrived very tired and were disappointed with our first room which overlooked one of the animal night cages at the back of the hotel. This wasn't particularly asthetically pleasant and the overall view pretty dull! One of the sinks in the bathroom was cracked right through, so we informed reception and they upgraded us to an Arusha View room free of charge. It had a fabulous view of Arusha rock and we obviously saw lots of animals all day and evening, which was wonderful. Unless you are prepared to pay for the Arusha View, I don't think it would be worth staying here if you particularly want to watch the animals.

The pool area is really beautiful and we enjoyed several afternoons enjoying it, the kids really loved the activities each afternoon and I was very impressed with the vigilant lifeguards.

The hotel is beautifully done, but I have to admit I did doubt my choice the first day or so, as it is VERY dark with all the wood etc. My only ongoing concern was that the food is authentically African (my stupidity I guess as never having stayed at a Disney hotel), even the breakfast was pretty spicy and did not have many alternative options. Not many vegetables either, which as a family we missed. The main restaurant was nice but pretty crowded, noisy and again very dark. The quick-service restaurant near the pool offered good food and it was nice to just opt for a burger meal and chill by the pool, instead of the noise and business of the main restaurant.

My only other comment on the hotel is that it isn't very Disney, which was actually quite nice to get away from the parks in all their Disney glory and return somewhere a bit more chilled.

The shuttles were excellent, drivers always pleasant and we enjoyed not having to drive ANYWHERE in Disney. We always seemed to have to wait quite a long time for the buses to Hollywood Studios, but all the others were frequent.

We opted for the delux dining plan as we hadn't stayed at a Disney hotel before and I wasn't sure about portions etc - Ha Ha! This plan entitled each person to three sit down (table service), or fast service meals a day, PLUS 2 snacks - OMG, we came back the size of our house. The dining plans are brilliant, I had prepared a very thorough itinerary which broke down the parks into their 'lands' and then chose a park restaurant within that that land, or the nearest Hotel restaurant instead. This worked really well for smaller kids but we were there for 2 weeks.

The food was simply staggeringly good, excellent service, everything is just so organised and it is a great way to meet the characters without queuing in the parks. It is also a fantastic way of experiencing all the other hotels and sampling their restaurants.

Tusker House and the Yak N Yeti restaurants in Animal Kingdom were lovely, really good, Asian food. The character dining breakfasts at Grand Floridian were also good fun with lots of characters. We went to the Hawiian Lau at the Polynesian which was a very nice evening (two meal tokens required for this and other 'signature dining restaurants', one of which is Narcoosees, again at Grand Flo - The most amazing Steak & Lobster meal, beautiful view of seven seas lake, our Bill came to $278.00 dollars and we didn't have to pay a penny, amazing.

All of the restaurants are very good, excellent service and normally with lovely locations. The only one which wasn't so great in my opinion was the Royal Table at the Castle, MK; it is probably their most popular character dining location and was the only place where I did feel a bit rushed, the food was OK but overall not worth the $$$$ or the two meal tokens per person required for this character dining. There were plenty of princesses at Akersush Hall, Epcot, so try that instead!

I would definitely recommend the mid-range dining plan, which entitles each person to one table service and one fast food meal per day and 1 snack. This would give you the opportunity to enjoy the character dining at no additional cost and enjoy the many restaurants throughout Disney, without returning home the size of a house!! Considering the cost of the food, particularly if you want a table service meal, the dining plan is very good value. At AK hotel, the buffet meals there were $35.99 per person - ouch! But you must pre-book your tables as they are popular, I booked ours in the allotted time of 180 days before your arrival and some were booked at times I would have preferred.

I can't wait to return and the children are always talking about our Disney holiday,we hope to get back in 2015 and would definitely stay at Disney again and definitely do the dining plan. The holiday was just wonderful, Disney did not disappoint and now its just a matter of deciding which Hotel/Villa resort it will be!!!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: Do try to book an Arusha View room, or I think you may be disappointed.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank KirstenW655
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2013

The Lodge has some good points and bad points that one should consider before deciding to pay a premium for this hotel. On the plus side, the grounds are lovely, with animal viewing areas, a nice pool, and a nice fitness center. The lobby is grand. The counter service food was good and convenient. The staff were friendly and helpful. However, we stayed in a standard pool-view room, and it was small--no better than a Holiday Inn. The bathroom was tiny, with insufficient light. The tub was scrunchy too--don't plan on taking a bath if you are more than average size. The in-room Wi-Fi disconnected me after about two minutes every time I tried to use it; I had better luck in the public space. The biggest disadvantage of the property, however, was the distance from the parks and attractions. We went to Downtown Disney three times, and each time the trip took at least an hour. It was a long way from the Magic Kingdom as well. (On the plus side, it's very close to the Animal Kingdom). This is a nice hotel in many respects, but overall, I think I'd rather stay at one of the hotels closer to the parks to eliminate the long bus rides.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BoscoNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
McKinleyville, California
Level Contributor
71 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2013

We took our son here for his 5th birthday....and...WOW! the hotel is nice and upscale, but its the animals outside your balcony that make it worth the trip. Our son is a animal lover, so on the day of his birthday, there was a giraffe at our balcony, just staring....as if he was wating to wish our son a Happy Birthday. They stared at each other for 30 minutes! It was magical! He will never forget that. The rooms are a bit small, and the bathrooms are real small. But the decor is very nice.And our son LOVED the bunk bed. I loved the lobby and the roasting of marshmellow's in the evening, The pool is wonderful, and has a fun waterslide. I would do this again!!! Thanks Disney for the wonderful memories!

Room Tip: We had a room on the end, and it just faced a fence. We were dissapointed, so the moved us to the mi...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank cocoabeachshark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2013

I've stayed at this resort twice and I enjoyed it a lot. That being said, I think I'll try a different resort next time. If you have young kids this place is amazing for the views of the animals, activities and the pool area. Definitely get the Savannah View, I didn't the first time and I'm glad I did when we came back.

If you are the type that likes to spend as much time as possible at the parks and you are very rarely at the Lodge or in your room, then you might want to consider a different place.

My only complaint would be that the rooms can be quite a walk from the lobby area.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank maddogmadsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
denver
Level Contributor
55 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2013

We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge in May for 3 nights in a savannah view room club level. We absolutely loved everything about this resort! It was so beautiful, something we were not prepared for. Housekeeping service kept our room immaculate, something we notice is very lacking at other WDW resorts. The pool area was very nice and well-maintained, the grounds are beautiful and add to the theming, and the animals on the savannah are such a great perk! The views from our balcony onto the Arusha savannah were always interesting, filled with animals, and breathtaking at times. We saw tons of animals and loved the feel of being away from it all. We had a wonderful dinner at Sanaa, which I highly recommend. The club lounge was nice and provided sufficient snacks as well as a full breakfast for us during our stay.

If anything could be improved, it would be the system of getting onto the Disney busses to go to the parks. Each morning, there was an aggressive staff member there shouting at all of us under the guise of "crowd control." I'm sure we Disney park goers would have managed to get on those busses just fine without her, but her presence created a lot of pressure and frankly she was just rude to everyone.

Aside from that, we arrived very very late for check-in, having taken a late flight into Orlando. I think it was about midnight, and along with us on the Magical Express were several other tired looking people. There was only one person working to check guests in at that hour, so it took a very long time to get checked in, not what you want when you arrive in the middle of the night, have paid full price for your room and just want to get to bed. The first group of us off the bus checking in had an issue with their room and/or reservation, so the cast member working with them ended up spending a good 15-20 minutes trying to work out that situation. Because of that, those of us with easier check-in waited and waited...finally another cast member came out to begin getting the rest of checked in. My question would be...if that cast member was back there the whole time, why didn't he come out a lot quicker to try to expedite things? The other frustrating part is that when you book and pay for club level, you are supposed to get expedited check-in, but they only offer this during daytime hours. This means that for people who can't help but arrive to town late, that benefit of the club level is gone. Because everything else was just so perfect during our stay, the room was spotless, and we had such an excellent time, the memory of how annoying check-in was doesn't overwhelm my mostly positive memories!

We can't wait to stay at this hotel again. I hope that if we stay club level and are arriving very late, though, they will figure out a way to expedite our check-in so that we don't have to wait in the long line of others who come in on the same bus.

Room Tip: The Arusha savannah view rooms are worth it!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank theslant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stirling, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2013

We've been really lucky to stay here seven times since 2001 and every time it has been wonderful. It is a completely immersive experience: it has all the sights, sounds, textures, aromas and flavours of Africa. Each time we have had a Savannah view room and it is wonderful to watch the animals. I can spend hours on the balcony just watching the different animals: I have found it very relaxing and really contributes to my enjoyment of my holiday. There are three restaurants: Mara, Boma and Jiko. We love them all. Mara is self service; Boma an African themed buffet and Jiko fine dining. The beds are comfortable. Wi Fi was free last time we were there in 2012. The pool is beautiful and surrounded by beautiful planting. Zawadi marketplace is the name of the shop which has a nice selection of gifts and some groceries. The staff have always been really welcoming and the service great. There are lots of unusual activities for adults and children. It is simply amazing! Cannot recommend it highly enough. The Disney bus service was better prior to the opening of the villas at Kidani village as, on our last visit, some buses to the parks arrived already full from Kidani which was disappointing. Hopefully they have that sorted now. We have wonderful family memories of holidays here!

Room Tip: Rooms near the lobby are great if you have young children tired after a day at the parks
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jean_Mad_Wife
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

Property: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Address: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830-8410
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:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#12 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#17 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#34 Family Hotel in Orlando
#42 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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