Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: Resort Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 1/24/2008
If you've been keeping an eye on recent Disney developments, you'll be aware that the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is expanding at an amazing rate. The last year has seen announcements about new resorts, which will include DVC villas at Disneyland California and in Hawaii, and has also seen the debut of the latest addition to the offering to DVC members -- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas.
This new addition has included a number of firsts for a DVC resort. For starters, the rooms are being split between two locations. Currently the only ones open are those in the existing main building at Animal Kingdom Lodge, now being referred to as Jambo House. By sometime in 2009, the remainder of the rooms will be open at a new location at the resort that will be known as Kidani Village. By the time work is finished, there will be 134 new villas in Jambo House and 324 in Kidani Village, which will be surrounded by a brand new wild animal savanah. Kidani Village will also be home to a new table service restaurant, feature pool, and interactive water play area.
But let's stop there. I'm getting ahead of myself. Right now, the only way DVC members are going to be able to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas is by booking a room in the main building, as Kidani Village is currently just a mass of cranes (and I don't mean the birds!) in the distance. Well, that's exactly what we did. We booked on June 6, 2007, which was the day bookings opened to those who hadn't already purchased points at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Understandably, the new resort was exceptionally popular with members and all I could get for our dates was a one bedroom villa with a standard view. Sure, it's a shame we couldn't get a savannah view, but I wanted to see what the new addition was like, so I took what I could get.
Well, the verdict is that we are really impressed with what they've created. I guess it helps when your room is literally only three doors away from the main elevators and is overlooking the main Uzima pool. Somehow, once we saw that, the lack of a savannah view didn't bother us that much, as we still had some beautiful scenery to admire outside.
The first thing that struck us as we opened the door to our one bedroom villa was the size of it. For those who don't know, you can book a studio, which is essentially very similar to the usual hotel rooms you're used to at Disney, albeit with a kitchenette that includes a fridge, coffee maker and microwave. Then you can also go for the one bedroom or two bedroom villas, the main difference being how many people each will sleep. Both boast full size kitchens - and boy do I mean full size! We couldn't think of anything that was missing from our kitchen, with a stove, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave and more storage space than I think anyone could ever use on a Disney vacation! The other bonuses with the villas are the washers and dryers you get, which make doing laundry so much easier and the wonderful whirlpool baths.
With our room, we walked straight into the kitchen and entrance area, which immediately opened out into the living room, complete with flat screen TV, which is guaranteed to impress anyone who enjoys new technology! The furniture is African in feel, as you'd expect, and we loved the little touches, such as Simba designs on the back of the chairs and elephants and zebras appearing on the storage units.
Turn left and you're in a hallway that leads to the bathroom on the left and the main bedroom on the right. I don't think I've ever seen such a huge bathroom area before at Disney! The floor space in it was incredible, with my favorite spa bath sitting there, under a beautiful tiled design of the African savannah at night. There were two sinks, a separate toilet and even more storage space. I really came away impressed with how much space they give you to put everything away and I really want to meet the family who can fill up all that space!
Across the hallway is the main bedroom, with its brightly colored bedding, closet and set of drawers, along with another flat screen TV and a table and chair, and the patio doors leading out on to the balcony beyond.
The colors vary throughout the villa, from a fairly bright orange in the bathroom to beiges elsewhere. The colors of the walls need to be light, as all the furniture, without exception, is made of dark wood, which does darken the rooms somewhat. That was really our only complaint during our stay -- not only does this make the rooms appear dark, but there is a lack of lighting in the rooms, particularly at night.
The place seemed huge for the two of us and perhaps that's because these are the first one bedroom DVC villas that will sleep up to five people. I could see that, even with five, there would probably still be more than enough space to move around without treading on each other's toes.
Despite the fact that we were overlooking the pool and, with the doors to the balcony open, it was noisy at times, once they were shut, we never heard a thing, which just goes to show how good the soundproofing is in these rooms.
I'll be honest here. I wasn't a huge fan of the Animal Kingdom Lodge before our most recent trip. I was certainly keen to see what the new DVC rooms were like, but I wasn't expecting to be so impressed by them. They're a great addition to the DVC range of resorts. Disney Vacation Club members should definitely try out the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas at some point, as they don't disappoint [Ed.- and they're a great choice for anyone interested in booking villa-style acommodations at Walt Disney World]. Now I can't wait for 2009 to see how the new Kidani Village looks. Perhaps that's the time to return for another stay there. That's something I certainly wouldn't rule out in the future.
Read more reviews of the Animal Kingdom Lodge in PassPorter's Reviews & Ratings area.
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
Recent Walt Disney World Articles:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas: A Disney Vacation Club Resort Review
The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: Size Matters
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: The Joys of Animal Trekking
Sanaa: A Restaurant Dining Review
Boma: A Restaurant Dining Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: The Perfect Resort for Teenagers
We have stayed many times at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. In fact, it is our favorite resort to stay at
Our first trip to AKL was in May 2004, followed by December 2004, April 2005, December 2005, and August 2006!
The one thing I love most about the Animal Kingdom Lodge is walking into the grand lobby, and the smell of incense burning! It just calms me, and to look thru the huge panes of window at the back of the lobby, it's just so comforting. I feel like I've been transplanted to Africa, never mind that I'm in central Florida! We also enjoy walking down the various trails (both inside the Lodge and outside) to see all the different animals. Seeing a baby giraffe just a few weeks after it has been born and watching it from not too far away was thrilling.
On our first trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge, we reserved a regular room, and were happily upgraded to a savanna room, overlooking the Sunset savanna. Magical! We've also had rooms overlooking Arusha Rock (my favorite area), and we've had a pool view room on the Zebra trail as well. While we did miss the view of the animals from our balcony, there were many opportunities to watch them in other areas of the resort. However there's nothing more great that waking up, opening up the blinds, and watching the animals right outside your door! If you can afford the savanna room, I'd highly recommend it at least once!
I can't say enough good things about the pool at the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. Having the zero entry with small children is a godsend. They could just walk in and out at their own leisure (and power). The pool is quite large, not too deep, and has a great water slide that we've spent many hours going down! My kids have also enjoyed the playground here. While not large by any means, it was big enough to keep them entertained (and to help them burn off some energy)!
The kids have also found many things to do at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We've participated in decorating animal cookies at Boma (in the afternoon). They've made animal Christmas ornaments in the lobby, and done animal rubbings as well (putting paper over "stamps" in the floor and rubbing with a crayon). Traversing the trails looking for animals is also a favorite of theirs, as well as rocking in the big rocking chairs on some of the overlooks. Don't forget the night vision goggles as well out on Arusha Rock - another fun experience!
The food options at the Animal Kingdom Lodge are varied and should suit everyone's needs. We love Mara for it's great selection (including Zebra Domes :yummy: ) and having cartoons playing in the back to keep the children entertained. Boma is a fantastic restaurant for both breakfast and dinner (we've done both). Don't forget to ask for the "frunch" at breakfast....a delicious juice drink. Dinner had a variety of both traditional and African offerings, and even this picky meat and potatos girl had no problem finding plenty to eat! We finally made it to Jiko on our last trip, and had an outstanding meal. The food was delicious, and again, quite a varied selection from which to choose. Even the kids enjoyed their meal here, especially the desserts.
A big selling point for me on the Animal Kingdom Lodge is not having to share a bus with another resort. While the location of the Lodge is somewhat remote, we've been lucky enough to have great bus experiences, and things aren't really that far when you're not making 3 of 4 stops along the way.
I'd highly recommend the Animal Kingdom Lodge .... It's our favorite :love:
Watching animals outside your balcony or from anywhere in the resort
Varied food offerings - something for everyone
A large pool with a great water slide
The majestic lobby - with a great store (Zawadi Marketplace)
Not having to share a bus with another resort
A remote location - it's like a separate vacation within a vacation
A remote location - while some people enjoy this (like us), others do not
The rooms are on the smaller size for a deluxe resort
No jogging trails
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is by far the most unique hotel on property. You WILL feel like you are in Africa as soon as you see the entrance sign surrounded tall grasses that you might see in a Savannah.
As we drove in I felt like we were very separate from the rest of the property and I didn't really like that. Of course you are 5 minute bus ride to Animal Kingdom but all the parks are a bit of a hike. The lobby was very similar in height and look to Wilderness Lodge but that is where the similarities end. Lots of interesting artwork and such to look at. The gift shop is just off the right of the lobby and down from that is the staircase down to the sit down restaurants.
We had a Savannah view room and it did not disappointment. The zebras were just below us and I could hear them ripping up the grass to munch on! The room was a bit darker than I like but it was just fine for this trip. Bathrooms had all the usual things in it, nothing unusual.
One thing that did bother me but probably only because I was just starting to have morning sickness was the constant wood smoke smell. As soon as you step off the bus it hits you. Like I said it was probably due to morning sickness and nothing else.
The animal look out areas were great. And I wish we had gone to fire pit but we didn't have time.
The pool was great. I really enjoyed walking in and out of the pool rather than climbing up the ladder. It's a zero entry pool which was kind of looks like a lake surrounded by rocks. Right near the pool is the quick service food court. It was convenient as you could just run in to fill your mug up while we were relaxing by the pool.
- Most unique hotel on property
- Wild life surrounds you
- Zero entry pool
- Price wasn't that bad compared to other Deluxe resorts
- How far away you are from the rest of the "world"
- Wood smoke smell (well if you are pregnant it might bother you :crazy
I've stayed at the AKL three times (twice in concierge.)
The hotel wraps itself around your heart the moment you walk in from the portico. The vaulted ceiling in the lobby makes you draw in your breath -- and that gives you the opportunity to smell the wonderful spices in the air.
The staff is extremely helpful and very warm. We've had some of the best conversations with the Cast Members, many of whom are from Africa and love to talk about their homeland with joy and animation that makes me want to visit.
The rooms are spacious and have lovely carved furnishings. The double-sink is a blessing and the large closet is great.
The beds are firm and really helped my back and legs relax after a long day in the parks.
The savannah view is worth the money -- there's nothing like watching the sun rise over the animals grazing at your feet. You can even hear them crunching as they eat!
The pool has a zero entry area that's wonderful for little kids. It's worth bringing goggles just to see how well the imagineers have made the bottom of the pool look like a natural watering hole. The hot tubs are great too!
The Mara is a very nice quick service food spot with great grab-n-go options and a unique menu. Boma is hands-down one of our favorite places to eat -- don't forget to ask for the Frunch (a fantastic fruit juice!) I haven't tried Jiko yet, but people rave about it.
One tip, try to walk around and see as much of the authentic African art, textiles and artifacts as you can. Also notice the amazing light fixtures of the whole resort -- from the bathrooms, to the elevators, hallways, lobby, and restaurants.
Concierge is amazing and the Sunrise Safari is worth every penny for concierge.
Love, love, love this resort!
I stayed here once at a travel agents learning seminar and I LOVED it, but I was alone, with only another agent (who I didn't know sharing the room)
The quality was amazing everything was perfect from the entrance in the lobby to the view from the window. I could not find a problem there at all, even if I wanted to.
Acessibility is by bus ONLY and it is quite a distance away from everything except the AK. I personally think that for the price of a Luxury Resort, there should be some other form of transportation to and from the parks. AND the waits were long between buses
I wasn't paying for the trip that I was on, but I checked on the price they would have charged and found it to be high in comparison, although you ARE staying in a VERY unique situation so it IS understandable.
The Theme is unbeaten by any restort ever made Disney or Non.
The Amenities...top notch Disney, as far as things go but I marked them down to a 9 because of two points...the first is the distance between the lobby and my room. I found it to take away from the experience of the day at the parks to then have to walk all that distance when I got off the bus. The other point is minor but the lighting throughout the entire inside of the resort seemed to be too dim. I guess that it is part of the themeing, but I found it a little to dim in the common areas.
As for Magic, once again Disney hits the mark, I would go even higher if the rating would allow it. Where else could you enjoy your morning cup of coffee on the balconey to you room as you watch giraffe waltz by ??
Over All just an '8' but this resort is a definite "MUST-SEE" even if you decide NOT to stay there.
THIS is Disney Magic at its best....there is nothing like looking out your window and seeing wild animals casually walking around. Plus, Boma is one of my favorite restaurants and Jiko isn't bad either!!
We stayed in June of 2004 for our anniversary. We booked a standard view room but were upgraded complimentary at check in to a savannah view room. We loved this resort!!! We have stayed at GF, Poly, and CR and had good experiences at all of them, but AKL is our favorite. We found this resort to be a completely transporting experience.
The smells that fill the lobby, the huge window and bridge overlooking the savannah, and the warm decor are beautiful. We loved coming back from the parks every day just to walk through the lobby. The rooms were lovely as well and had lots of beautiful furnishings and touches, such as the mosquito netting canopy and the hand carved armiore and headboards. And what can beat sitting on your balcony with your morning coffee and watching the giraffes have breakfast on the savannah.
We didn't mind the busses since AKL was the only stop it seemed not to take as long as the resorts that have to share routes with each other. The gift shop was amazing.
We enjoyed Boma for breakfast, but not for dinner (too exotic for us during dinner).
We loved it so much we bought DVC here so we can keep coming back!
Resort is large and walks to your room can be very long!
It is more distant from all the other parks except AK. Some don't like the bus only transportation.
I'm in the not quite a fan club for Animal Kingdom.
We stayed for a couple of nights in Oct. 2005 for my daughter's 10th b-day.
It is so far removed from the other places and of course bus is the only transfer option unless you want to rent a car. That doesn't bother me too bad though.
I guess I'm not too much into all the animals, it's like having a zoo outside your balcony.
I had reserved and paid for a deluxe pool view but was upgraded to a savannah view.
The room itself is nicely decorated, we did really enjoy that.
Boma is a pretty good buffet and we like to eat there nearly every trip.
But there's just something about the resort that doesn't exactly thrill me. It might be the wood burning in the lobby.
I'd originally stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge in August, 2003. My only complaint about AKL at the time was the rudeness and lack of knowedge on the part of some of the front desk staff.
This time around, I did not encounter any rudeness whatsoever but I did find the staff to still be less than knowledgable in important areas. For example, perhaps because AKL is new to the DVC family, the staff are not still fully aware of how DVC works. Whatever the reason, there was a tremendous amount of confusion regarding my room reservation when I checked in and it took a VERY long time to get it sorted out. Also, apparently Disney is having trouble with some of the new furniture they purchased for the DVC accommodations. For example, our sofa bed was broken and the only way they could get it to work for the night was to have someone from maintenance come up with a crowbar and actually pry it out of the frame. All of this was happening late at night and it took three separate Disney cast members coming one at a time to our room before the issue was eventually resolved. And they did change our room to a different one the next day so that ended our room woes. In my opinion, a lot of the problems with the staff at AKL and Villas stem from a lack of communication between their various departments. As a result of this, things get overlooked. For example, we didn't get our trash and towel service or full room cleanings on the appropriate days and each time, I had to phone in order to get any service at all. Perhaps the biggest complaint I have about AKL at the moment is the placement of one of their designated smoking areas. It is located just to the left of the front entrance as you exit the doors. The problem with this is that EVERYONE has to walk right through this area on the way to and from the buses. It is a highly unpleasant experience and could prove to be a health and safety issue for those guests with health problems such as asthma or guests with children who don't want to expose their kiddies to second-hand smoke.
Those glitches being said, everything else about Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas was as magical as it could possibly be. The bus service was the best I've experienced on property. Yes, the resort is a little farther away from most of the parks but I didn't find the travelling time to be even as long as the buses from other hotels mainly because of not having to share with any other resort or not having to make multiple stops within the resort itself.
The decor in the new villa rooms is stunning and there is a ton of room for clothing. We had a full size closet plus an armoire and tons more space in the drawers below the television unit. The flatscreen TV and DVD player are also welcome additions to the studio accommodations. From our room overlooking the Arusha savanna, animals were visible pretty much 24/7 and we spent a great deal of time on our balcony ooh-ing and aah-ing over them.
I was amazed by the wealth of activities available for folks of all ages. I tried their culinary tour and found it to be fantastic - much better than I had anticipated.
As always, their restaurants didn't disappoint, the pool and hot tub were wonderful and the grounds were as gorgeous as ever.
I will definitely stay here again but not until they resolve the issue concerning the placement of the designated smoking area.
We stayed at the AKL 6 months ago from today and i miss every aspect of it. Everyone always had a smile on there face we loved. Everything about I will just give each section a review
My Overall Rating- My overall rating was a 10 everything was wonderful only thing that could of made the trip better was cooler weather but why am I talking about that as we were there in June and June is like only the hottest time of the year especially coming from Washington where it rains all year long
Quality- Everything was up to standard I believe our room had been recently renovated as there were plasma tv in our room everything was there that we needed and this made our trip quite enjoyable. We also knew about construction before we had arrived thanks to disboards.com but decided not to switch resorts as we had wanted to stay at AKL for quite some time and we didnt know the next time we would be back as we are from Washington it isnt like we can make a day trip to WDW happen in a heart beat and Disneyland is more covient so we knew we would probally be down there a few more times before we got back to WDW
Accesibility- Everything was very accesable they have the zero entry pool which is great and plenty of elevators so I think it was very accesable for anyone
Affordability- The cost for our room was quite spendy at least in my opinon we spent about $350 a night on hotel room alone we had a Savannah view room with bunk bed which i knew was going to be more expensive than a standard room with out bunk beds and also we went during the Summer season so it made it even more spendy but all in all we would be happy to pay the price again with all things considered
Theme- The theme at AKL was amazing we really felt like we were in Africa as I had read mousesavers.com foward and backward in my sleep and also disboards.com foward and backward in my sleep I knew many things and tricks to make the most out of our vacation even before i had heard of the Passporter we knew what to expect and many of the little details down to the bedding. Everything was amazing and if you would have not told me i wasnt in Africa but in Florida i may have never known
Ammeities- The amenities at AKL are quite nice as it is deluxe there were 3 restraunts i bar/lounge and a pool bar all at AKL. Also there was a arcade, a gift shop, a wonderfully themed pool with a waterslide, animals, night vision goggles, ect. and many other fun things to do well here at AKL we were not bored for one single moment
Magic- The magic here at AKL was amazing there were alot of disney touches from the hidden mickeys across the hotel, the mickey carpet in the hotel hallway, the hidden mickeys were everywhere. Also the Cast Members made this trip very magical the Cast Members at Zawaidi get a honorable mention, there was this one cast member there(I'm bad and forgot her name) that got to know our family since there seemed to be one family in Zawaidi 24/7 which said we love to shop and love to spend money lol they learned where we were from and by the end of our trip we would talk to them lots.
Disney and AKL is a place that brings tears to my eyes I hope you see how much I loved AKL hope you have enjoyed reading my review of one of the greatest hotels around AKL
We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge back in December 2005. We had a savannah view room. We received all our requests, we were on the third floor, in the Zebra Trail section, in room 3463. First, the theming of the animals and the savannah were amazing. It was truly magical waking up every morning and see the animals outside your door. The rooms were spacious and themed so well. I think that's what stood out to us the most. The theming and the ambiance. Just walking through the lobby was magical. The smells, the sounds, the sights. We also did the storytelling around the firepit one night. Since it was Dec. it was a bit chilly that night and it was nice to be sitting around the cozy fire. That same night we ate at Boma. Not really one of our favorites, but we're glad we tried it. We also did the nighttime viewing that they provide. That was a really neat experience.
This is from my trip report:
Our room was on the Uzima Savannah, to the right off the lobby. When we walked in it was overwhelming. We had our king bed which was another request. And then we opened the curtains and looked out. WOW It was surreal to see the animals right there! The ankole cattle was one of the first things we spotted. Then some bongos and some gazelle. The thing I found the funniest was that by leaving the door open you would hear "mmoooooooooo" every few minutes :rofl2: This place has what I call a view!
On the down side, Andy made a point to bring up the out of the way location. It is furthur from all the parks except the AK. But we really didn't have a lot of problems with WDW transportation. It just took a little longer to get where you were going.
It is a deluxe so the price is a lot, but it is one of the cheaper of the deluxes. You do have to pay a good bit to stay savannah view, but I think it's worth it!
We definitely can't wait to stay here again! When I think of choosing a special place to stay for a special occasion, this is the place I think of
We stayed at this resort in October of 2006. It was myself (28 at the time) and my friend (also 28 at the time) and another friend joined in after a few days (27).
From the minute you walk in the lobby you know that this place is going to be nice. We loved the lobby area and couldnt stop staring at everything it was so beautiful and so much detail put into everything. We had a great room. I dont remember the name of the location but it was to your left immediately after walking in the lobby doors. It was only a few rooms down that hall but it was nice and quiet and had a nice balcolny. The room was very spacious and we loved the decorating and details in the rooms.
The views from all over the hotel of the animals were amazing. I didnt even feel like i was in florida at times you felt like you were on a safari. The pool is amazing and absolutely large in size. We loved it! The food court was a bit small and hard to find at first. We loved the store and the lobby area was fun to lay in a chair and relax at times. We did go to the bar in the hotel one night which was nice with a few tv's and nice little conversational setups to drink your drinks. We did eat at Boma which i thought was great. It was fun to try something different and maybe something I wouldnt choose anywhere else.
The room maids were great. However no towel animals. Come to think of it, i have never seen any towel animals. The beds were nice and comfy and we liked the coffee and tea nook they had set up on top of the mini fridge. It was a very nice room.
The shop was conviently located right next to the bus stop which made it easy to pick up your packages on your way back to the room.
Pros: The resturants, the views of the animals and savannah, the service was great, the amenities were great.
Cons; The price. When you only have a few people splitting the cost its pricey BUT WELL WORTH THE MONEY!!!! Honestly I have no cons about this place really.
Overall: It was an amazing resort. I wish I could stay there again. I highly reccommend this place to animal lovers!!
We stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, December 9-16, 2008, 2nd floor savannah view. We had 2 rooms, one with a bunkbed, that connected us with my in-laws. It was our first stay at a deluxe resort, since we are normally "as long as it's clean and the bed's comfy" people. We had previously stayed at ASS and ASM, but that was 10 years prior.
Overall, it was a great experience. However, it lost a few points (avoiding a perfect 10) for a few reasons:
- Location, location, location: sure it's close to the AK, however, the bus ride to anywhere else is quite long.
- Luxury is nice if you take advantage of it, but we didn't stay in our rooms during the day, therefore we did not experience as much of it, nor did we want to.
- The rooms aren't so regally appointed that I felt a moderate hotel could cover our needs just as well.
The reason to stay at AK is the animals. It was really wonderful to step out on the balcony in the morning, as the fog was burning away, and watch a gazelle and zebra play a game of chase. The kids loved it and we frequently had to "shush" them because they would get so worked up over seeing them.
However, now that we've done that, we most likely won't worry about staying there again. So while it's a great place, it wasn't compelling enough to get a repeat stay out of us.
We stayed here last year, Sept 2007 and just loved it. Had a savanna room AND free dining. My kids both loved the theme (well we all did) and the pool especially. It was so nice to get up in the morning and sit out on the balcony watching the animals roam about. The CMs went out of their way with anything we asked. My DD9 was asked to participate in an African drum line snaking throughout the lobby. At first it was just her (she's definitely not shy) and as they went through the hotel they would pick up more and more people. It was just wonderful!
I marked accessibility as a 10 which some might find strange but I have never considered its location or the fact the you have to use buses as a negative against it. I really don't understand why having to take a bus is difficult - at least you don't have to drive. You walk on, you sit, you arrive - no problem. The longest I waited for ANY bus was 5 minutes, I always got a seat and it was never crowded. I can't say the same for the monorail. Heck, the way I look at it, if someone else is doing the driving I quite happy to come along. Also the time it took to get to any park was not inordinately long - my commute to work on the other hand, now THAT's long.
Wonderful theming - it exudes atmosphere. I can't go to Africa but I sure feel like I'm there in this resort.
Great activities for the kids
Location - yes, that's right, I said location. It's a resort afterall and I want it to be a little removed from everything to feel like I've really gotten away.
Price - it is high but I think it's worth it.
I loved AKL. The only things I didn't like about it were the remoteness and the rooms were kind of dark. Everything else is superb
WE JUST LOVED THE ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE! WE WERE UPGRADED TO A SAVANNAH VIEW DUE TO THE CONSTRUCTION AT THE TIME WE WERE STAYING. THE ROOM WAS SPOTLESS AND SPACIOUS! WE WALKED OUT ONTO OUR BALCONY AND WE WERE GREETED BY A GIRAFFE! OUR CHILDREN AGE 5 AND 10 WERE JUST THRILLED. WE SAW MANY DIFFERENT ANIMALS DURING OUR STAY. THE ROOM WAS JUST THE RIGHT SIZE FOR OUR FAMILY. THE BUS TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM WAS EXCELLENT. NEVER DID WE WAIT LONG TO BE TAKEN TO A DISNEY PARK! THE FOOD WAS GREAT. WE ATE AT THE MARA FOR BREAKFAST EACH DAY BEFORE GOING TO THE PARKS. THE MARA WAS ALWAYS CLEAN AND ALWAYS A SPOT TO SIT AND DINE. THE LODGE ITSELF WAS BEAUTIFUL AS WE WERE THERE DURING THE HOLIDAYS AND THE TREE AND DECOR WAS SO FESTIVE! WE WOULD RECOMMEND THIS RESORT TO ALL WHO WANT A SAFARI TYPE ADVENTURE AND WHO ARE LOOKING FOR A WELL APPOINTED ROOM WITH MANY AMENITIES. WE HOPE YOU HAVE AS MUCH FUN AND AS MAGICAL OF A TIME AS WE DID.
Recently came back from a four night stay at AKL. We were in a pool view room. There are plenty of spots to view the animals from if you do not have a savannah view room.
Very nice resort and would stay again!
We have stayed at AKL twice. Both trips were amazing. The first time we got upgraded from a regular savannah view to a deluxe room. It was awesome!!! Both trips we have had savannah views but I think you could have just as awesome a trip with a regular view, if price is an issue. There are so many overlooks and areas to observe the animals and the interaction with the people there from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia is amazing. In fact, we were so inspired from our talks with them that we traveled to South Africa and Botswana for a month earlier this summer. The information we gleaned from talking to people at the AKL helped us tremendously in planning our trip. One other thing I would like to note too, is what an accurate job Disney does at capturing the feel of the real Africa both at AKL and in the AK itself. I was amazed how much the real thing was like Disney. While on safari (especially in Botswana), I just kept telling my husband how amazing it was that Disney had captured it on KS and in the marketplace just outside the attraction.....from the baobab trees, termite mounds, sausage trees, acacia trees, buildings, roads, safari vehicles and, of course, the animals!! Disney really is amazing!!!!!
As far as activities in the hotel, we have enjoyed several different presentations on different topics on Africa. I particularly remember one presentation on animal night sounds in the bush. That is especially meaningful now after having camped for 10 days in Botswana, and hearing the real thing.
We also love the restaurants, especially Jiko. Their impressive SA wine list, turned me onto a love of SA wine the first time we ate there (before SA wine really started becoming more popular in the US). The bartender in the restaurant let me sample several different ones and I found the perfect bottle for our dinner. On our trip this past June, we toured the cape winelands in SA and we made a point to visit the wine estate, Warwick, where our first bottle of SA wine came from.
I can't wait to stay in the Animal Kingdom lodge it will be awesome for my mom and dad and I!
We just got back from the AKL it was wonderful. To be able to look outside and see giraffe, zebra and other animals was wonderful. The staff was friendly, our room was clean and comfortable. Mouse keeping arranged my kids stuffed animals ( this was a big hit). The buses were great, never too crowded and we never had to wait to long for a bus to come. The Mara was good, Boma was great we did the breakfast and dinner both were wonderful. Everything about this place was magical
We already had the CBR booked when I decided to upgrade to a standard room at the AKL. My DH is "deluxe snob" and my brother was coming to visit for Dive Quest so I wanted to show Disney off to him and the AKL was the most affordable deluxe available. I tried and tried and tried for the WL, but availability never opened, but my DH told me to never fear, that we had already stayed at the WL, it was time to try someplace new.
The resort is as gorgeous as all have previously mentioned. Check-in was easy, the package I pre-mailed was waiting for me, and when I went back to the front desk to tell them that I haaaaaated my room on the Ostrich Trail (small, bunk beds, first floor close-up valet/parking lot view....ugh, not magical!) and asked if I could have something on a higher floor and with 2 queens, the CM returned after a few moments in the back room with new keys to our new room, which was quite the hike down the Kudu Trail and had a bit of a construction view, 2 queens, and something she hadn't mentioned...a Sunset Savannah view! :thewave: WOW! The room was decently sized, the toilet/shower room was a wee tight but the shower pressure and temps were excellent. The shampoo/conditioner were nice, but it was difficult getting them out of the bottles. Mousekeeping was great, decor was great, but with a 18-month-old climber extraordinaire we were a bit nervous of the balcony railing and both kept picturing him becoming Eland food. We appreciated the sliding door would double lock from the inside.
The Christmas decorations were gorgeous and we really enjoyed that there was a Photopass photog in the lobby each night, we were able to get some good Christmas photos of DS for his grandma. DS preferred the homey aspect of the resort and enjoyed being there over anywhere else in the parks. The nooks and crannies are endless, and of course, *night vision goggles* at Arusha rock can't be beat. I believe AKL had the most active lobby of any resort I'd ever been in...anywhere I'd ever stayed, including outside WDW. I liked the action and the low lighting, it's just my speed.
Since we had to cancel many dining plans I had booked 6 months in advance due to DS's wellbeing (he couldn't be in the parks/outside the AKL too long) the Front Desk concierge CMs were most helpful snagging me last-minute ADRs (and many of those we still had to cancel due to DS....but that's another story....)
The Mara was sort of bad. Bad service, bad options, bad food, and DH was disappointed that the refillable mug wasn't an AKL print but a generic Disney one. We had one Boma breakfast...I felt that I had better ones in the past. I ordered one drink at Victoria Falls, an $11 glass of Merlot which is something I would normally never pay for, but after one sip I realized why I spent $11 plus tip on it. Whoooooo!!!! That wine was strong! My face went flush very quickly and I enjoyed the glow. :toast: Alas, we were not able to complete our beverages in the lounge as DS was growing antsy, but I was able to tote it around with me as we explored the resort. There were also reasonably priced bottles of wine at the Mara and Zawadi Marketplace that I was happy to enjoy on our balcony as DS slept inside.
Beyond those wonderful aspects, things fell apart. My DH simply was not happy with the transportation system and felt that Walt would never allow a Deluxe resort be so difficult to reach, he felt no connection to the rest of WDW and labeled it the "red headed stepchild of the deluxes" due to it being so inaccessible, so reliant on unreliable bus transportation (there was one night Jimmy and I were nearly trampled since the crowd was so crazed for a Magic Kingdom bus. They had been waiting a looooooooooong time) and he was especially disappointed that the Epcot bus stop back to the AKL seemed to be the farthest one to walk to. He wished there was an old refurbed train available to ride instead of busses, busses, busses. I kept reminding him that the AKL is so revered by so many on the boards and the ambiance and the animals made up for the location and the transportation, but he just wasn't seeing it. :no: It really was a real shame and we have agreed that unless new transportation options arise that it was our final visit to the AKL. He doesn't even want to go back to Boma or Jiko, he just didn't feel the magic there at all. Normally his lack of enjoyment would have yanked me down with it, but I genuinely did enjoy the resort (mainly because it kept my DS calm!) and my brother was completely swept away by the giraffes outside our room, so to me it was but I do admit to painful longings for the WL and its location.
We stayed in a Standard View Studio for three nights December 2-5. There were 2 adults, no children on this trip. I found the room EXCEPTIONALLY clean! ONE surprise was the newspaper outside the door everyday. We were not expecting this, and though it was a nice surprise, we really did not have time to sit and read the paper. The view we had was overlooking the pool. Though it was not a savannah view room, I was very pleased. It was relaxing and a very pleasant view, especially in the early morning. Perhaps due to the time of year, we were never bothered by noise and there were times when people were using the pool. Here are a couple views from our room:
The staff was friendly and very helpful. The store was full of lots of great stuff but I found the layout a bit difficult and it was often busy and felt there could have been more staff on duty every time we were in there. We sat in the lounge one night for a drink which was ok. I give it average marks, but I don't go to lounges very often, so I don't have much to compare it to. My biggest problem I had with the lounge was the seating was made for giants! I am short and none of the seating in there was comfortable for a short person!
We found several areas to look at the savannah and never felt like having the standard view detracted from our stay! The only complaint I have over all is the bit of confusion with the lay out of the entire resort. It takes a bit of getting used to and having stayed such a short time, by the time I figured out how to get from our room to where we needed to go (for example Mara - I'd get lost every time!) it was time to go home! No fault of AKV, I'm just directionally challenged!
Overall I give the resort an A! I will definitely stay here again!
Animal Kingdom Lodge is an incredible lodge!!!!!!!!!! I'd go back any day!!
This was our first stay at AKL. The resort sure has the "wow factor" from the minute you walk thru the doors into the stunning lobby. It's a beautiful resort. We were on the Kudu Trail, with a view of Sunset Savanna. A free upgrade from the standard room I booked! We loved sitting on the balcony looking out at the giraffe, wilder-beasts, ostriches, and whatever else was out there! My only complaint was that sound seems to echo from the balconies, so if someone is talking loudly, you hear it as if it's next door. I don't know why some people feel they have to be so loud :confused: Not very considerate!
The pool is very nice, and the hot tubs are secluded so you feel like you're in your own little grotto. The night viewing with those night binoculars was really cool. We also enjoyed the evening cultural exchange in the little living room near the entrance to the Kudu Trail off the lobby. We were there 2 nights during the time they have them & well worth it to listen. We went on the Culinary Tour of Boma & Jiko. Also loved strolling around Arushka Rock. So many places to explore around the resort. It was magical.
Our room was great. Newly refirb. with flat screen t.v. and looked like new carpet. Beds were comfy, beautiful headboards with gauze draping behind them. Marble counters around the sinks. Lots of room for toiletries. And love the H2O products soaps, shampoo, conditioner and esp. the body lotion. Great mousekeeping. Bus service was pretty good. Only one day did we have a longish wait. I think every park had 2 busses go by before our bus came. But it can happen at any resort (& has). The Mara had all the usual offerings plus some different ones, like African Stew, and Zebra Domes my personal fav! And ample seating. The bus from AKL to MK was only a 20 min. ride.
At first I was hesitant about staying at AKL because I thought it was too far from the parks, but that's not the case. It's no more than 15 - 20 min to any of the parks.
This is a great resort that just wows you at every turn. Love it!
Just got back from a week at AKL. This is a very lovely and beautiful hotel. We had a savannah view and it was truly magical waking up and walking out onto your balcony and seeing the animals. It is a very special resort. You really feel like you are in a different world when you are there. Very peaceful after the parks.
I was concerned about the distance from the parks but that was totally unnecessary. We never waited more than 15 minutes for a bus during peak season. And it's nice not sharing a bus with another resort.
Boma is delicious and a must try!
My only complaint would be mousekeeping. I have stayed at value and moderate both of which did a better job cleaning and leaving little touches of magic!
WE too loved AKL. The Savannah view con not be beat. Kind of isolated though
This is the most magical experience my family and I have experienced. From the customer servce, to the superb restaurants, we were treated like first class all the way!
The Savanah rooms were spacious for our family of 4, both children under 7, and the views were to die for. Every day we would spend time warching the animals graze. It was beautiful and one of the highlights of our trip. The pool was fantastic and the life guards are quick! (But that's another story.)
We loved the restaurants so much that we will be dining there again on our next trip. We love the choices and the exotic flavors which we did not find over-powering.
Only downside is transportation to any place other than Animal Kingdom Park took a while. The hotel was definately worth the one minor downside!
AKL is my new favorite resort. It was pure magic from arrival to departure. If I ever buy into the DVC it will be AKL villas for sure.
My family stayed at AKL in Dec of 2008. We were "upgraded" to a Savannah View Zebra Trail upon arrival. This upgrade added so much walking to our day, I thought it was a joke. The quick service food was horrendous. Not even a simple breakfast waffle or egg was edible. The bus stop was very very far from our room. And the bus ride to anywhere but AK was 25 minutes long.There was some sort of flood or leak and the hall leading to our room was stinky, damp, and had huge fans as obstacles for strollers and wheelchairs. The theming was very pretty. We did love the crafts and info sessions with the CMs in the lobby. My kids made ornaments for the christmas tree out of ostrich eggs shells for $5 each - the craft could have been better for $5 but they loved doing it. We enjoyed Boma, and the buffet selections, very much. The pool was amazing, but there didn't seem to be enough places to sit at the pools edge - seating was tucked into crannies and I have young children. The kiddies love the playground. I'm glad we tried it, but I won't be going back. For the same money, I'll take WL every time.
My family and I ( DH 2 girls 13 and 7) stayed at AKL August 17-22nd 2009. We like trying different resorts and got a great deal so we decided to try a deluxe resort for the first time. I am glad we did not pay full price. While it is beautiful and the animals are amazing it just did not have a Disney feel. We have previously stayed at Carribean Beach, Ft. Wilderness, POP and All Star Movies, so that is what we had to compare AKL to.
Check-in was wonderful. We had requested a 3rd floor room , savannah view close to the elevators. We were assigned room 3527.
Animals: It was amazing to have the animals outside your door 24/7. We enjoyed viewing them from our balcony, but we can do this at any zoo and felt it did not justify the price ( thank goodness we got a discount).
pool: themed very well and tons of fun for kids and adults. The Spa is beautiful!
Cost: We are glad we got a discount to stay here. Had we paid full price we would have been very disappointed
Size and getting around: this resort is large and we felt the walk especially from the bus to the room was quite a hike compared to other resorts we had stayed at.
Mousekeeping: only did a nominal job each day. They did clean but it did not compare to the other resorts we have stayed in.
Noise: this was the only time on Disney property that I have heard my neighbors on both sides. I could tell you when they showered, went to the bathroom , opened their balcony door etc...it was ridiculous. I expected more from a deluxe resort.
Overall: we liked the animals and the pool but other than that we really just did not feel at home here as we do at other resorts.
Noise: this was the only time on Disney property that I have heard my neighbors on both sides. I could tell you when they showered, went to the bathroom , opened their balcony door etc...it was ridiculous. I expected more from a deluxe resort.
This was a problem for our room as well. Except we heard the people above us plus the next door neighbors hoity toity.
Knew as soon as the room above us had people check in. Could hear their sliding glass door everytime they opened/closed it.
They also had small children who loved to run and jump off the furniture (this is what it sounded like to us) and go in and out of the room onto the balcony from about 6:30 am til about 8am every morning.
We stayed in a 2BR Villa at Kidani Village. We spent 9 nights. There was 7 of us. My DH,Myself and our 5 boys ages 2-13. I wouldnt stay here again. I did enjoy the room and the animals. But the animals were never out in the morning which really bummed me out - for months I day dreamed about sitting on our balcony drinking my morning coffee and watching the animals. Well this NEVER happened. The CMs told me they bring them in to check around 8 am for about 2 hours. I was up everyday by 6 and never saw anything that early - I would guess they all hang out by where they go in. I did see the animals in the afternoon which I loved!! But we spent most of our afternoons in the parks. I was disappointed to find out that Kidani doesnt offer the night vision glasses - those are only at Jambo.
Also Kidani not having a Quick Service place to eat was terrible for us there were a few nights that we just wanted to hang in and grab a bite but we couldnt. We walked over to Jambo (which was a journey in itself!!) we asked how to get over to Jambo house and the CM told us to go to the end of the lot and walk - well we thought he meant the end of the lot by the street - we had a looonng walk down a super busy street and I feared for our saftey - lol. Once we got to Jambo house I asked a CM their if there is a easier way and Yes they do have a walkway that leads you there but it isnt marked anywhere that it takes you there. That was only a 5-10 minute walk but do it with a bunch of cranky,hungry,tired kids - lol. Anyway we ate at The Mara - it was way crowded and my burger was terrible!! None of us enjoy it.
The pool was nice but we had a long walk to it and had to walk through the lobby to get to it which was odd. Here I am prancing throught the lobby with my suit on dripping wet..
Housekeeping was fine except for the day they....LEFT OUR DOOR OPENED!!! I was horrified to come back from the parks to find our door jarred open - what happend was they have that little metal door locker flipped open so the door couldnt shut!! Yikes!!!
All in All yes it was a nice resort but I wouldnt stay there again I dont think.
Oh I should also say the as a pro - the bus service was Great!! We never waited more then 5 minutes to get a bus no matter what time of day we went.
AKL is one of my all time favorite resorts!
Whenever I walk into the lobby of this resort, I just get that WOW feeling!
The Disney Imagineers got this one very right as far as the theme is concerned!
I thoroughly enjoy sitting on my balcony and watching the beautiful animals at all different times of the day or night!
The food options at the resort are very good. Boma is one of my favorite places to eat on property. But, I enjoy eating at Mara as well.
The pool is beautiful. It can get crowded on a hot day!
The only thing about this resort is the transportation. You have to take the bus everywhere! And the resort is pretty far from every park except AK. So your ride times are long. You really have to plan for extra time to get anywhere.
My family stayed at the Kilimanjaro Club level in Jambo house November 7-14th, 2009. We had a "savannah-view" studio. At this level - fifth floor - there is really no savannah view, except the tree tops. The amenities were nice each day and we enjoyed the private lounge. Mousekeeping was also very nice and courteous.
Our biggest complaints were the noise between the rooms (which reached ridiculous levels) and the transportation. The buses go to Kidani Village first and were always full when they reached Jambo. Plus, the bus ride to Magic Kingdom was very long (about 25 minutes).
We love the theming at AKV. We love the animals and animal viewing from the overlooks and Arusha Rock. We aren't crazy about food options here, and don't really care for the Mara counter service.
The games and activities for children were also wonderful and provided nice down time away from parks.
I have stayed at the AKL twice now and every single time that my family, DH's family, or some other group goes down to the World, I make sure to visit this place because it feels like home.
You walk into the grand lobby and immediately your breath is taken away by the vastness and beauty of the room. Look through the wonderful lobby area and you will see the enormous window that looks over the savannah. Take a deep breath and smile because by stepping through the doors, you have been transported to Africa.
The restaurants here are wonderful. If I could eat at Boma every trip, I sure would. There is a lot of variety and you can also sample some unique dishes. Plus, the zebra domes are so yum! The Mara offers a nice variety for CS in a very kid friendly environment. The zero entry pools and various hot tubs add to the wonderful amenities (though who needs more amenities than the savannah!?). Of course, there is the savannah. What is more magestic than a tall giraffe bending over the watering hole to take a drink or the ankole cattle basking in the sunlight. Watching these beautiful creatures from the viewing points and the room is just magical. My other favourite part of this resort is the fact that they have native African Cast Members out on the Savannah to answer questions about the glorious animals.
Every time I walk up the the front door of the AKL, my breath catches and my heart rate speeds up a bit in anticipation of the beauty that awaits. As I leave, I make sure to touch the carved wooden to make sure I have a blessed day, as is tradition. :-)
I have stayed twice at AKL and I truly do love it! I love the dark woods, the smoky aroma that hits you when you walk in the front doors, the bright colored fabrics, the animals, the restaurants, and the staff, well most of them.
The only draw backs are the length of time it takes you to get somewhere from this resort, and that as a family of five, it would cost a small fortune to stay here. I enjoyed the club lounge during our stay this year in Feb. They had nice offerings throughout the day and evening and would replenish snacks and drinks as they got low.
Our room for the most part was in good order. We were missing a few of the advertised Club Level room offerings, but no biggie. Our closet was broken upon check in, but maint. come up and fixed it right away.
Our room was quite a hike from the lounge which I disliked. Too far to go and bring back our breakfast to the room.
The atmosphere of this hotel is truly magical. It is nice to come home to this resort each evening. It just makes me feel calm and happy. If they had rooms for 5, I would stay here every visit to WDW.
The buses ran fairly well, though, I did notice a difference in transport times and lines since they added the DVC Villas.
I enjoyed the Mara and Jiko, and some of the offerings at Boma. I prefer Boma for breakfast though. Evening was too crowded. As my DD5 and I were traveling alone I couldn't stand in the Meat pod line for 20 minutes with her wanting to eat, so I didn't get to try those offerings. I also visited Sanaa and found it to be nice, especially my appetizer and dessert.
Stayed at Kidani Village 8/15/10-8/23/10.
Wasn't real impressed with Kidani though we really like Jambo House.
The concierge staff were not helpful. The room was so far away from the lobby we rarely were able to fill the mugs. Had to drive to the busstop.
Bus Service was bad, drivers just left as you were walking to their bus, and there was always a long wait for another one.
The pool is way to small for a resort this large. You basically found an open spot and just stayed there as you couldn't move around and the kids area was closed.
The gift shop is small and you can't get anything but sodas for the drinks: no brewed iced tea. The staff were not friendly or helpful.
Its a beautiful resort with a lot of things to look at, though not as many animals as Jambo House.
We stayed for one night in a Savanna View room. There were two queen beds, TV, bathroom, table and chairs, and a closet. The balcony had two chairs and a small table. We were located a 3-4 minute walk from the lobby in a secluded corner with only one other room, so it was nice and quiet - although if we have to walk for 3-4 minutes we like to see a little more , but the animal viewing stations along the way helped keep us occupied!!
We arrived to our room late in the day (early evening), and were able to catch a few grazing animals (giraffes in particular). The next morning we didn't see too many animals, but we were busy packing. We had expected to see more animals, that said it's unfair for us to review this aspect considering we were there for only one night, not even 24 hours!
We dined at Boma and were VERY impressed with both the food and the service!! The staff were very helpful and very magical, it was Disney service at it's best!! The food was delicious and we tried a little bit of everything. It was nice to also have the option of traditional American fare, and the traditional African food!! We would eat here again even if we weren't staying here!
We visited the pool here and were quite impressed, it was a nice sized pool, but didn't feel it was the most incredible. That said we didn't have the time to really enjoy it (just like the animals) so we aren't good judges of this amenity.
One thing we really enjoyed were some of the activities they had in the evening. There were lectures and drummers. There was also a nice area located outside the lobby with a fire pit and comfy lounge chairs.
We would stay here again, after trying out other Deluxe Resorts. We would book the Savanna View room again, even though we didnt have too much time to enjoy it. If you know you'll be in your room during animal peak times, its a great thing. If not, you may want to save the money and view the animals from the various places around the resort. Overall, an excellent stay!
I think I might be the odd person out in this but I really did not enjoy AKL. While we went in knowing that we were not really by any parks I thought it would not bother me but it did!
We stayed Club level and I was not impressed. The food was very plain, not like GF club level at all. The CM there were not helpful at all, each time I came to them with a question not only did they not know the answer but they were not interested in helping me find them!!
The most annoying thing was the AC in my room. We were in Jambo house on the 5th floor. For whatever reason our room was ALWAYS hot. We stayed in September and while it is not as hot as July it still was sticky outside. Even the hallway would be cooler then our room. I finally got fed up after the second day of waking up sweating in our room (despite turning the AC on and putting it to a cooler temp) and went to complain. A worker came in and told me it was because it was on a sensor and that it would not turn on if no one was there. I then argued that it was turning itself off at night and that we were clearly there. He had no answer and I only let us sweat one more day before I changed hotels!
While looking at the animals was wonderful that was the only nice thing about this hotel. I would definately not spend the money to stay there again.
We loved it, but it was very far out. Even to walk from our room to the lobby or other main areas it was an annoying hike.
I do think that it is slightly overpriced, but it is nice.
When we got there, we were given a king bed which was fine, but were told that the King rooms only had showers, no tubs. This was an issue because we have a 3 year old DD and we were there for 2 weeks! 2 weeks with no bath was not an option, so they graciously moved us to a room with 2 queens and a bath tub. We lucked out because it was the last one they had. Was a little annoyed that the descriptions did not indicate this ahead of time.
We were so glad that we paid the extra to be in the club level. It was not much more for a standard club level than a regular standard room. Same room layouts, just the added amenities of the concierge level. We're not big breakfast people, but do need a little something to tide us over so the concierge lounge was perfect to get a little breakfast for free and then snacks throughout the day. It's totally worth it not to have to pay an arm and a leg for a muffin in the quick service area.
All and all, great hotel. Would we go again, yes, but we are planning to try some of the other hotels first.
Animal Kingdom lodge is one of those places where you are just transported. It is tucked away from many of the other resort areas but for us that is a big plus. It is one of the most peaceful and relaxing experiences on property. There is nothing like sipping a glass of wine in the evening, or a cup of coffee in the morning and looking out at your balcony.
Yes, it is pretty far from MK, but it is not too far from EPCOT, HS, or AK so the location really is not as bad as others make it out to be. We have stayed at all the other deluxes on property, and although there is no boat or monorail, the bus service is far superior to say the monorail resorts, where two or three share a bus, or the EPCOT resorts where there could be up to five stops! The resort could be a long walk from the room to the lobby, but it is inside, in the ac, out of the rain. This is a plus as opposed to the GF or Poly where you have to walk outside.
I also feel that this is one of the more adult hotels on property, and is saved from some the crowd madness of a few of the other resorts.We have stayed there close to ten times, and never had any noise issues. Although this is a sophisticated hotel, there are so many activities for kids like bead making activities and story time around the fire.
We stayed here from 2/5 to 2/12, 2011. All I can say is WOW. At first I was kind of afraid I'd feel a "disconnect" with it being so far away from everything, but that wasn't at all the case. I never felt "out of the action". The longest bus ride was to the MK, and I never felt like it was too long.
When we walked into the lobby, I just felt at home. It's gorgeous. We had a magical (free) upgrade from a standard view room to a Savannah view... and it will never be an option to do anything but that again when we stay here again (and we will). Holy cow. There is NOTHING like stepping onto the balcony and seeing a giraffe or some zebras. Wow, just wow.
All of the CM's were friendly - I did not have one unpleasant, or even "mediocre" encounter. I had some interesting conversations with a few, and everyone was so accommodating. We couldn't walk five feet without someone handing my daughter a handful of stickers, lol!
My only "complaint" is that the quick service place, Mara, is very small with a limited menu. It is meant to serve both Jambo House and Kidani Village, and I don't find it to be particularly well-thought-out in that area. I get that they likely want you to eat at Boma, Jiko or Sanaa, however, I think that for a deluxe, the counter service place should be a bit larger, with more options.
We didn't eat at Jiko this time around, but Boma was, as always, wonderful. And Sanaa... I cannot say enough about this place. It will be on our "must do" list for every single future vacation, regardless of where we stay. I can't say enough about it. Wow. Just wow.
Our room (on the Kudu Trail) was very clean, and mousekeeping was friendly and thorough. The rooms are a nice size and the furnishings are lovely. I might wish for a little more drawer space, since there were only two drawers... but it worked out fine for us.
All in all I give this place a 10, even given the counter service place being just mediocre. It's amazing there. I think it is my favorite so far of all of the places I've stayed at Disney...
We just love AKL. The only inconvenience I agree was the bussing. It seemed to take a long time to get anywhere and that we waited for bussing a lot more. It is a truly beautiful resort!!! I loved laying on my bed and looking out the windows at the giraffes eating
We stayed in a 1 bedroom savanna view villa at Kidani Village June 5-11, 2011. DH has always complained about AKL, but he loved it. We fixed coffee every morning and sat on the balcony to watch the animals eat.
The living room was very cramped once the sofa and chair were made into beds and DD ended up hurting her foot on a bar stool on the way to the restroom.
Kidani has two restrooms in the 1 bedroom villa, which worked out well with 2 teenage DD's.
The bus service was excellent while we were there. We didn't have to wait long for a bus at the resort or at the parks. The bus picked up our resort before Jambo House on the way to the parks so we always got to sit down with our toddler granddaughter.
The only complaint I have is the hike to the bus stop. At the end of a tiring day at the parks the last thing I wanted to do was walk another quarter mile to my room.
I just got back from this resort late last week. We stayed on the 2nd floor about 4 rooms from the middle of the Arusha Savanna. I loved it. I am a pretty cheap person but I actually felt the view was worth it. You can get the same view from the Arusha Rock Firepit\Overlook but you can't sit on your balcony and eat dinner like I did.
I did not care for the menus at the expensive restaurants but I thought the cafeteria restaurant was very good. The chicken pita was good. They also had a Cheese Flatbread pizza. That seemed sort of plain so I asked them to put grilled chicken, mushrooms, green\red sweet peppers and onions. They had to go to Boma to get some of those ingredients but they made it. It was really good and I am a picky eater partial to NY City pizza.
The pool was only 3 ft or so deep but it is very nice looking and my kids thought it was fine. The entertainment staff around the pool was great. They made my very shy 12yr old want to play pool side games which never happens. There are 2 hot tubs that are under shade and a small water side. It also has a small playground.
Lastly, the lobby is visually stunning. The also hold information stations during the day to learn about Africa. The employees that hosted these, as well as all the other employees, were very friendly and helpful.
I would love to stay here again.
We just returned from a Five nght stay at the AKL. We were on the 4th floor
SavannaView. When we arrived, everyone was so welcoming and felt right at
home. The staff was amazing and the views were just REMARKABLE. The animals
were soo cute.We saw a Giraffe family, some zebras, wildebeasts, and some hogs.
The food at JIKO was amazing and it was a Unique experience. The came out
with Desserts and they had Candles in them for our Honeymoon.
We plan to stay there again, if we get the deal we got this time with Free
Dining. If not our next trip, it will b when we have kids.
We love AKL! Everything about it. Whenever possible, we choose to stay here. We've had two stays this year - summer and fall. The theming of the entire resort is beautiful. Watching the animals is always a highlight. Breakfast and dinner at Boma or dinner at Jiko or any meal/snack at Mara is always welcome. And the pool is my favorite.
The only drawback is price. But by saving and watching for deals, that can even be worked out. That being said, AKL is worth the money!
Wish I could go back soon!
Heading to our first visit here in 6 days! Cannot wait!!
I am sure I am in the minority but I don't think I would stay here with my whole family again. I picked Kidani because my kids (19 & 15) were getting tired of Old Key West. Points were right, zero entry pool for the 4 year old plus splash area, animals...all good.
The room was smaller than we are used to but I knew this going in. It was just so dark. I'm not talking about the woodwork but the lighting-it is terrible. Low wattage CFLs plus amber lampshades equals terrible lighting. The room was clean, the shower was fantastic. The food situation is similar to OKW in that there is not a lot but OKW has more to offer. We had to walk over to Jambo to eat lunch on our pool day. It is also far from everything and the bus rides took forever to everywhere but Animal Kingdom park. We also prefer not having an internal hallway. My husband felt like it was just a hotel room with a kitchen rather than the DVC room we are used to. I am staying her with my oldest in January but strictly for points value. It was nice for one family trip but we are going back to OKW next summer.
We stayed at AKL Jambo House on 2 different trips and have been in love with this resort since the moment we stepped inside the first time!
We stayed in a one BR Villa on both trips and will never stay in anything different if I can help it! I love having a full kitchen to have breakfast in before hitting the parks. Our last trip we had a savanna view and it was so amazing! Waking up every morning and sitting on the balcony with my coffee and watching so many gorgeous animals grazing below!
The staff at AKL Jambo House is phenomenal! Our first trip was for our DS's 6th birthday. Every single member of the staff we encountered treated him like a prince! As a Mom, I couldn't have been happier. Anything and everything we asked for or needed was taken care of.
The restaurants are exceptional. DH and I have dined at Jiko's on our last 2 trips for our "date night". Love it! And Boma's has become a family "must"!
We absolutely love the pool and fitness center too. No complaints whatsoever!
The bus service is fantastic as well - we never waited longer than 10 minutes for a bus. Even if we walked up just as one was pulling away.
I really cannot say enough great things about this resort. The only downside is that it isn't in the "spur of the moment" affordable range. In order for our family to stay at AKL for a week or longer (we stayed 6 nights or first trip and 11 nights our 2nd trip) it requires a good year of savings to stay in the one BR villa. But that's okay given that we don't have any opportunities for "spur of the moment" Disney trips. So, the only way we ever go is to plan at least a year in advance and save accordingly
We adored our stay at Jambo House Nov. 14-21. It was lovely seeing the Christmas tree and decorations go up during that time. We booked standard view rooms but were upgraded to Uzima Savannah. I guess I can understand why people say the resort is dark, but I found the subdued lighting to be relaxing after a day in the parks. The resort is exotic but very welcoming. I love the wonderful smells that waft through lobby level!
We had multiple problems with our magic bands at check-in. A manager apologized and offered us fastpasses in any park, (think Wishes from the rose garden!) and all was quickly forgiven. We all agreed that we should have brought our own binoculars. I wish we could afford to stay at AKL every trip.
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Updated 1/24/2008 - Article #193
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