July 31, 2012

Call of the Wild: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Welcome to those of you joining me from Focused on the Magic and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Welcome, or as they say at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, jambo. The Animal Kingdom Lodge (or the AKL, if you're fancy) is arguably the most unique of the Disney Deluxe Resorts - it has all the conveniences and comfort you'd expect from a Disney Deluxe Resort, set in a 43 acre wildlife preserve. It's what I always imagined going on safari would be, but with indoor plumbing. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is actually two buildings - the main lodge, Jambo House, and the newer Kidani Village. Both areas boast the same fantastic views of the "savannah," detailed African decor, and access to some of the best restaurants on WDW property. When you cross the threshold into Jambo House, you are immediately transported to a another world, filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of Africa. This is Disney detail at its finest:

Inside Jambo House
Inside a room off the main lobby

The guest rooms have a lovely African theme, with subtle Lion King touches:


Inside the shower

Bathroom tile

Bathroom tile

And the animals? You'll see them - everywhere, and often. Each room comes with a private balcony - a nice place to enjoy breakfast (we usually buy breakfast at the Main Street Bakery or various Epcot pavilions as we're leaving the parks each night). It's an open savannah, so the animals come and go as they please. You never know what will be waiting for you when you look out your windows!

Savannah view 
Giraffes and cattle
Zebra (taken from the lobby level)

Animal Kingdom Lodge also has a fitness center, family activities, bike rentals, a jogging trail, an arcade, a playground, and two pools. Toss in two of the best restaurants WDW has to offer - Boma, home of the legendary breakfast buffet (and the fruit juice cocktail I've been craving for months), and Jiko, home of the famous filet-and-mac-and-cheese entree, and you've got a true all-in-one resort. Sanaa, located at Kidani Village, falls somewhat short, in my opinion, and the Mara offers more budget-friendly cafeteria style dining. Mara is a step above some of the cafeteria offerings at the other WDW resorts, serving African-style dishes like African stew in bread bowls and African-spiced chicken. And for the adults, there is a lounge that serves cocktails and small bites well into the night. 

If there is a drawback to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it's the location. Not surprisingly, it's located by Disney's Animal Kingdom, but it's a hike to get to the other parks. As in, about a 20 minute bus ride. This can be a little rough in the morning, when the buses are crowded (and maybe this is just my own impatience, but it seems like the buses don't run as frequently as they should, considering the travel time). But that's a small price to pay for such a unique, immersive, unforgettable hotel experience. If you're looking to try something new on your next trip, I definitely suggest heeding the call of the wild and booking a stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. 

Thank you for joining our special edition Magical Blogorail loop this month. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney news, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make astop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Disney's Contemporary Resort
2nd Stop ~ Disney's Polynesian Resort
3rd Stop ~ Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
4th Stop ~ Disney's Yacht & Beach Club
5th Stop ~ Disney's Wilderness Lodge
6th Stop ~ Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Final Stop ~ Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge


Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

I have never even walked into AKL but I keep saying we are going to. But like you said, it is the distance from everything. I know if we ever stayed here, my five year old would never want to leave the Savannah viewing area! I think I am going to make a point to at least visit the resort next trip.

Heidi said...

We've enjoyed visiting this resort with friends, and just relaxing in the lobby, shopping in the gift shop, and walking the paths and seeing all the animals. It's definitely an experience!

Mary at Capturing Magical Memories said...

This is my favorite resort!!! I can spend the entire day sitting on my porch watching the animals. And Bomas butternut squash soup is to die for.

Jennifer Lissak said...

We've been there twice for meals- Jiko and Sanaa. I hope to someday stay there - it's gorgeous!

DebºoºS said...

Great post! I am so looking forward to staying here in September, in Jambo House! I've eaten at Boma and loved it. Doing the happy dance reading your post:)

CurlyKale said...

I quite like that the akl is far from the parks, give it a lovely oasis feel, like being at disney, but calmer :-) First time at Kidani this Sept!!

:DISTherapy said...

I confess! This is the only Deluxe on the list where we have not stayed. :( BUT, after recent meals at Sanaa and Jiko, we were blown away by its beauty. Your description seals the deal- we must stay here one day!