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Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: Everything You Need to Know

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Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a stunning African-themed resort located in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Lodge is divided into two buildings, Jambo House and Kidani Village, and offers a truly immersive African safari experience to its guests. The resort is surrounded by breathtaking savannas and is home to over 200 animals, including zebras, giraffes, and gazelles. Continue reading for our full Animal Kingdom Lodge review.

Accommodations at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a range of accommodation options to suit a variety of budgets and preferences. Jambo House (the main Animal Kingdom Lodge area) offers both standard and deluxe rooms, as well as club-level rooms and suites. Kidani Village offers one, two, and three-bedroom villas that are ideal for families or groups. All the rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated, and if selected, offer stunning views of the savannahs.

The rooms are decorated in warm African colors and feature handcrafted furnishings, such as carved wood headboards and tribal art. The savanna view rooms have balconies or patios, where guests can sit and watch the animals grazing on the savannas.

Rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village

Kidani Village is a unique part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge located within Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. One of the highlights of Kidani Village for our family is its spacious and luxurious rooms, which are perfect for families or groups traveling together. The rooms are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from standard studios to three-bedroom grand villas. We stayed in a 2 bedroom savanna view room and it was perfect for our family of 4. We would have had enough room for 2-3 more people as well.

bedroom and bathroom in 2 bedroom villa at kidani village

All rooms are elegantly decorated with African-inspired artwork and feature modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and in-room safes. My favorite feature of the room was how unique the furnishings are. From the tile work in the master bathroom (pictured above) to the table legs that were made to look like giraffe legs, you can tell that every single detail was thought through carefully.

Guests can also enjoy the comfort of a private balcony or patio, with savanna view rooms offering stunning views of the resort’s savannas and exotic wildlife. If you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, I highly recommend a savanna view room if it is in your budget. For our family, this was absolutely the highlight of our stay!

Children watching animals on savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge

I will note that the hallways at AKL are very long, so if you are booked in one of the villas, I would highly recommend requesting a room near the lobby. Our room was considered near the lobby and it took us a good 7 minutes, walking at a quick pace to make it to the lobby. If you are driving to the resort, the parking is conveniently located under Kidani Village so you can park fairly close to your room.

The 1 bedroom and larger villas are equipped with fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms, and separate bedrooms, providing ample space for families to spread out and relax. This was a nice change for our family as we typically stay in a resort studio that doesn’t have the space these villas do.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Room

Overall, the rooms at Kidani Village offer a unique blend of African decor and modern comforts, making it a great home away from home for families visiting Walt Disney World.

Dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge:

Animal Kingdom Lodge has several dining options, each offering a unique culinary experience.

The resort’s signature restaurant, Jiko – The Cooking Place, serves African-inspired cuisine, such as maize-crusted fish and Cape Malay lamb. The restaurant has an open kitchen, where guests can watch the chefs at work and a wine list that features over 150 South African wines. We enjoyed Jiko very much and would absolutely eat there again! I highly recommend trying the filet mignon paired with one of the signature African wines while you are there.

Filet mignon, brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese on plate at Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House

Boma – Flavors of Africa is a buffet-style restaurant that offers a variety of African dishes, such as soups, stews, and grilled meats. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with a thatched roof and colorful decorations that evoke the feeling of an African marketplace.

Sanaa is located in Kidani Village and offers a fusion of African and Indian cuisine. The restaurant has a stunning view of the savannahs and serves dishes such as tandoori chicken and butter chicken.

The Mara is a quick-service restaurant that offers a variety of African-inspired dishes, such as chicken curry, grilled vegetables, and salads. The restaurant also has a selection of pastries and desserts.

Family Activities and Things to Do at Animal Kingdom Lodge:

Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a range of activities for guests to enjoy, including cultural tours, animal encounters, and recreational activities. The resort’s cultural representatives, known as “cultural ambassadors,” provide guests with a glimpse into African culture through storytelling, music, and dance.

Guests can also participate in the resort’s African-inspired art activities, such as making their own beaded jewelry or painting a traditional African mask.

Animal Kingdom Lodge also has three swimming pools, including a zero-entry pool, a children’s pool, and a whirlpool spa. The resort’s fitness center is equipped with cardio machines, weights, and free weights, and offers classes such as yoga and Pilates.

waterslide and lounge chairs at Kidani Village pool

We have stayed at several Disney deluxe resorts and out of all of them, the pool area at Kidani is our absolute favorite. The waterslide was a huge hit with our kids!

pool area at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village

Animal Kingdom Lodge Transportation

Animal Kingdom Lodge offers several transportation options to guests, making it easy for them to explore Walt Disney World and its surrounding areas. The resort offers complimentary bus transportation to all the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Buses run approximately every 20 minutes and are available from early morning until late at night.

In addition to the buses, Animal Kingdom Lodge also offers a complimentary shuttle service between Jambo and Kidani. The shuttle service runs continuously throughout the day. We used this service to and from dinner one night and it worked well for us. I will note that the transportation is a van so you may have to wait 1-2 trips if you are there during a busy time. Alternatively, there is a walking path between the two places.

For those who prefer a more convenient and personalized transportation option, Animal Kingdom Lodge also offers a private car service. Guests can book a private car through the resort’s concierge service and enjoy door-to-door transportation to any location within Walt Disney World or the surrounding areas.

Our personal favorite method of transportation inside of the Walt Disney World Resort is the Minnie Van service. It is very easy to use (you book it through the Lyft app), reliable, safe, quick and private. We used Minnie Vans more than any other resort at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We took the bus to and from Animal Kingdom Park and that worked well but to get to other areas of the Walt Disney World Resort, we preferred the Minnie Van service. Yes, it is a bit costly but the time you save using the Minnie Van service is worth it for us.

Overall, the transportation options at Animal Kingdom Lodge are convenient and reliable, making it easy for guests to explore all that Walt Disney World has to offer.

Should you stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge?

The short answer is yes. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a unique and unforgettable experience that transports guests to the heart of Africa. From the stunning decor to the breathtaking views of the savannas, every aspect of the resort is designed to create an immersive experience. The resort’s dining options are some of the best in Walt Disney World, offering a range of African-inspired cuisine that will delight the taste buds.

The activities at Animal Kingdom Lodge are diverse and cater to all age groups. Whether it’s cultural tours or animal encounters, guests will find something to keep them entertained. The resort’s swimming pools and fitness center are perfect for those who want to relax or stay active during their stay.

If you are planning a short trip and plan to spend most of your time in parks, then AKL might not be the place for you due to the transportation times and distance from other things on the Walt Disney World Resort property.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

While we do have other resorts that we prefer over Animal Kingdom Lodge for a variety of reasons, I believe it is a place you should try to stay at least once if your budget allows. The view of the animals is unparalleled and the entire experience is one that we will never forget! We plan to visit again on a future ‘resort’ trip when we don’t plan to go to the parks much or at all but want to spend mostly ‘resort time’, Animal Kingdom Lodge is perfect for that!

Animal Kingdom Lodge FAQ

What is the address for Animal Kingdom Lodge?

2901 Osceola ParkwayLake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-8410

Can you walk to Animal Kingdom from Animal Kingdom Lodge?

No, while the two are very close to each other there is no walking path from one to the other. You will need to take transportation from one to the other. Busses run frequently between the two and we found this a very reliable means of getting between the two places.

What is the best time of day to see animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge?

The best time of day to see the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge is either mid-morning (9-11 am) or late afternoon (5-8 pm). We found the animals to be very active during both times. We did however see many animals frequently throughout the rest of the day.

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