Where you stay can be a big deal. Or not. Depending on how much time you will be spending in your room, you might not be super worried about where you stay. Even though we are go, go, go, I really do care about where we stay. We’ve never stayed at a value resort. I’m sure they’re fine, but I just don’t think it’s for us. Our first visit to Disney, we sprang for a Deluxe resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was lovely. It wasn’t cheap, but it was lovely. And we think you’d like it, too.
Honest to goodness, this is how our morning routine went during our week at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Joshua would go down to The Mara (on site quick service restaurant) and get a muffin, coffee, and tea. We’d sit out on the (small) balcony of our room, eat our breakfast, and watch the giraffes have their breakfast. Or the zebras. Or whoever was being fed on our side of the resort this morning. And we did that every morning. It was amazing.
If that wasn’t enough to get you booking Animal Kingdom Lodge, don’t worry, there’s more. We’re not pool people, but the pool area was really nice. Lots of deck chairs, and there’s a snack bar and a waterslide. Yes, you heard me, a waterslide. And if food is more your thing, there is no shortage of amazing dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’ll be doing an entire post about our favorite Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurant, Sanaa, and Boma and Jiko are located here, too. We also appreciated that the gift shop at Jambo House is huge. If there’s something you need, they probably have it. I think it’s the best gift shop I’ve seen at any Disney resort.
But obviously the big draw to Animal Kingdom Lodge is the animals. Besides watching them from the balcony of your room, there are also larger viewing areas complete with comfy rocking chairs all around the resort. You’ll even see the animals while you walk to your room through the huge windows that look out on the savanna. There are rooms on the property that don’t have a savanna view. They’re slightly cheaper, but I really think it’s worth it to splurge on the savanna view rooms.
Jambo House, where we stayed, is located right next to Kidani Village, a Disney Vacation Club property. Kidani Village has a separate savanna, but you don’t have to be a vacation club member to visit Kidani Village and enjoy the savanna or Sanaa. We’ve only stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge once, but we always eat at Sanaa and spend time watching the animals.
Alright, so why do I think it’s particularly good for couples? Besides the food and the food and the food, oh, and the animals having breakfast right outside your room. There are a couple of reasons. First, the rooms are fairly big with a well equipped bathroom. They’re tastefully decorated and very comfortable. We had a room with two queen beds, and it worked out very well for us. It was great to be able to spread out our maps and plans and papers and things on the spare bed. The rooms can be a little dark, so if you need light for makeup, I’d bring a lighted makeup mirror. I also think that the Animal Kingdom rooms offer great privacy. We never heard noises from the rooms around ours, something I can’t say for other resorts.
Transportation to and from the parks is limited to busses. The ride to the parks other than Animal Kingdom can be a bit longer than they are from other resorts, but it didn’t bother us. What’s an extra five minutes when you’re heading to a Disney park? I’ve read reviews from others that mentioned very long wait times for busses. There were a few times that it felt like we’d seen three Epcot busses and no Hollywood Studios busses, but I don’t think wait times are any different from other resorts. And again, what’s an extra five minutes? I find the time waiting for the bus to be a great opportunity to chat with other families.
Why haven’t we stayed there again, then? Well, the biggest reason is cost. It isn’t super cheap to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. And for whatever reason, we got a really great deal that first year. It’s been considerably more expensive since then. But if it’s ever in the budget again, you can bet you’ll find us on the balcony with a muffin watching the giraffes, because you can’t beat it.
AllEars has a great fact sheet on Animal Kingdom Lodge that will give you all the details about this amazing resort!
Have you stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Are you considering it for a future visit? Do you have a favorite resort?