5 Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Is this official Disney resort a hotel or a zoo? Maybe it’s both? Is such a thing even possible? Yes, as you know, all things are possible once Imagineers get involved. Here are six reasons to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge…including the obvious one!
During the mid-1990s, the Decade of Disney included an emphasis on architecture. One of the high points of this era was the construction of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, a rustic setting with a majestic lobby. The designer for this gorgeous project was Peter Dominick of Urban Design Group.
When Disney chose to add a companion resort to their new theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they re-hired Dominick. He again emphasized a gorgeous group setting as part of the project. The output is the lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, arguably the most serene place at Walt Disney World.
Seriously, this lobby is my happy place. Even when I’m not staying at this resort, I’ll sometimes take the bus over there just to relax in one of the many fabulous sitting areas in the lobby. The couches and chairs here are all so comfy, and it’s that much better know that I can walk roughly 100 feet out the back door to the most famous of amenities here. Of course I’m talking about…
My admiration for The Walt Disney Company is unmistakable. Even I tend to take their greatness for granted on occasion, though. They’ve done the impossible so many times that customers expect it of them. At this area of Walt Disney World, however, Disney’s greatest achievement is on display.
At Animal Kingdom, Imagineers have done something that Walt Disney himself had desired. They have combined a theme park with a zoo. As I always say, the animals are the residents while the park guests are the visitors.
Not content with their sublime accomplishment, park officials chose to extend the premise. They built an entire resort around the same concept. When you stay in certain rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you get an inimitable view as a special bonus. Gazelles, giraffes, ostriches, wildebeests, and zebras are among the different species that wander the hotel grounds.
Simply stated, the animals at this resort are more than enough reason to book a hotel room here. You’ll never experience anything like it again in your life. The idea is that the hotel mimics an African savannah, where your living quarters are in the natural habitat of several different species. It’s…the absolute best.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is something of an oddity in the Disney resort lineup. This campus features two distinct hotels, Jambo House and Kidani Village. Each of these hotels is standalone, with 300 villas at Kidani Village and 1,007 rooms and villas at Jambo House. You can’t go wrong with either hotel, as they have their own distinct amenities.
At Kidani Village, Samawati Spring Pool is a phenomenal, kid-friendly pool with a massive waterslide. You can watch video of it here. I would describe the pool as somewhere between a main resort pool and a quiet pool in terms of size and guest traffic. I will add that I find Kidani a bit noisier and more active than Jambo House, although I’ve had others tell me exactly the opposite. So, it’s a matter of opinion.
The point is that Samawati Springs Pool is plenty nice enough to use as a home base when you want to spend the afternoon at the pool. It’s just not as good as the one at Jambo House.
I’ve previously named Uzima Springs Pool as one of the best three pools at Walt Disney World. It’s certainly among the most spacious at 234,980 gallons of water. The only knock on it is that it’s a haven for children, meaning that the chlorine has to work overtime. Then again, it’s Walt Disney World. What could you possibly expect?
Both of these pools are good enough that you’ll enjoy all of your hotel days, those times when you can’t be bothered to head out to the parks. You’ll have plenty of fun swimming, tanning, and splashing around. Afterward, you will get hungry, though…
The one that most Disney fans agree is true involves Animal Kingdom’s cuisine. It’s a destination location for foodies due to the exotic flavors available in the various themed lands. Whether you love Asian, African, or Pandoran (?) food, you’re golden at Animal Kingdom.
By extension, the same is true at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Legitimately several of the best Disney resort restaurants are hosted here. Declaring one of them as the best is likely to start a riot among Disney fans, so I’ll just group them together.
I’ve pointed out that The Mara offers one of the best resort breakfasts at Walt Disney World. I’m also an evangelist about the food at Boma, starting with the breads and finishing with the glorious Zebra Domes, quite possibly the tastiest of all Disney treats. Sanaa is Kidani Village’s answer to Boma, with both restaurants having their admirers. Finally, Jiko – The Cooking Place is the Signature Dining experience at the resort, signifying that’s the most exquisite of all possible meals.
Folks, when you’re hungry, Animal Kingdom Lodge is the place to go. I’m not just saying that for people staying at the resort. My family visits here every trip, even when we’re guests at a different Disney resort. The food is otherworldly.
Beyond the animals, the best part of a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge is its location. Given the name, you’ve sussed out that it’s close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the newest themed gate at Walt Disney World. This park opened in 1998, and the nearby resort opened to the public in 2001.
For many years, the logistics of Animal Kingdom Lodge were nice but not hugely beneficial. After all, Animal Kingdom was always neck-and-neck with Disney’s Hollywood Studios as the least trafficked of the four Disney parks. The two newest additions fell far behind the originals, Magic Kingdom and Epcot, in terms of daily traffic.
In 2017, the situation changed. Disney introduced the public to Pandora – The World of Avatar. Park traffic immediately increased 25 percent, an almost incomprehensible surge in attendance. Animal Kingdom not only soared ahead of Hollywood Studios but even surpassed Epcot, too!
Yes, Epcot’s 2017 attendance increased from 11.7 million to 12.2 million. Despite the impressive growth, it got passed by Animal Kingdom. That park gained 1.7 million from 10.8 million to 12.5 million. All of that traffic is due to Pandora, currently the most technologically advanced and immersive theme park in the world.
Guests at Animal Kingdom Lodge are only a five-minute drive away from the park, which means that they’re always 15 minutes away from Pandora! Who wouldn’t want to stay close to the best themed land in the world right now?
And staying here is simple! Simply speak to an authorized Disney agent at MickeyTravels to book your next trip! They’ll find you the best possible deal for an affordable stay at one of the best hotels in the entire world.