Thursday, 28 December 2017

Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge // Walt Disney World 2017

Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge felt like an absolute dream from the moment we booked it. Whilst all of the resorts at Walt Disney World offer something completely different, Animal Kingdom Lodge is a one of a kind original experience that isn't replicated anywhere else. It's unique like no other Disney resort. As a family of animal lovers, I can't tell you how long we have wanted to stay here. It has most definitely been at the very top of my list of places I want to stay for many years!

Animal Kingdom Lodge is situated directly next to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. Stepping into the lobby, you are instantly transported right to the heart of Africa. I was blown away by the attention to detail and the authenticity of this resort; from the gorgeous scents in this hotel to the vast collection of genuine African art on display (apparently one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States!). Every detail was meticulously planned creating one of the most unique and special holiday experiences I have ever had. It was beyond magical. Literally a dream come true for me!  

Today I wanted to share some of my personal highlights from our stay here in 2017. Here are five of my top reasons that we loved Animal Kingdom Lodge:

Our bedroom

The number one reason we wanted to book a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge was the animals so for us, a room with a view of the Savanna was an absolute must. We stayed in room 2508 at Jambo House which was less than a couple of minutes walk away from the main lobby but had a view out on the Uzima Savanna

There was literally nothing like spending a busy day in the parks and coming back to the complete and utter serenity of our bedroom. Sitting on that balcony peacefully watching exotic animals of all kinds was incredible beyond words. A family of giraffes, Ankole cattle, antelope, addax and countless birds were regular sights for us. 

Let me tell you, waking up to a baby giraffe right outside your window is a special kind of magic that only Disney could create and it was absolute heaven!

Our actual bedroom was pristine complete with two queen size beds, a good size bathroom, vanity area and plenty of storage. Bold but detailed African theming and wonderfully welcoming to the point where you actually feel at home. Housekeeping (mousekeeping!) were incredible and each night we'd return to our room to cute displays of kiddo's toys or her dresses laid out on the bed, towel shapes and handwritten notes. So cute! 

I slept so, so well during our holiday due to a combination of busy fun-filled days and the comfiest beds. Bliss!


We purposely haven't visited any of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge before because I didn't want to visit the resort until we could actually *stay* there too so the food was something I was really excited about. And oh boy, it did not let me down. Worth the wait a million times over! We ate at all of the restaurants from their quick service option The Mara up to Jiko - The Cooking Place which is their signature dining restaurant.

I loved them all but I think for me, Boma Flavors of Africa was my absolute highlight. We dined there a lot during our stay and each meal was completely different. Boma is a buffet restaurant resembling a lively African martketplace and their authentic flavours and attention to detail really made it stand out for me. Breakfast was my favourite and I'm not usually a breakfast person so that's saying something! Endless tropical juice, full bodied Kenyan coffee, fresh fruit, sticky buns and bread pudding.... oh my goodness, I was in heaven! 
The dinner buffet has the most incredible selection of soups and stews. The bobotie, mashed potatoes and slow roasted-pork ribs were delicious and for dessert, well I could just cry thinking about their bread pudding and infamous Zebra Domes. Actual perfection. 

Sanaa and their magnificent bread service was a favourite for my husband whilst Miss E loved Jiko - The Cooking Place where our server treated her like a princess. At one point he handed her a phone with a personal call from Goofy which made her night. Also, her paint-your-own African shield brownie dessert there was so much fun! 

The Savannas

The beautiful savanna areas at both Jambo House and Kidani Village provide the most incredible opportunities to see a wild variety of hoofed animals and birds. Each savanna is different so we had the best time visiting all of them to see different creatures, from giraffes and zebras to animals we had never seen in real life before including the playful Northern Ground Hornbill and beautiful Blue Cranes who came to sleep right outside our bedroom window each evening.

The pool area was surrounded by animals including a flock of pink flamingos. Disney magic at its finest. 

The savanna areas were so peaceful and we loved the presence of animal specialists around the resort who were always on hand during the day to answer questions and spend time talking about the animals. 


You might be fooled into thinking that because Animal Kingdom Lodge is quite out of the way compared to other Disney resorts that relying on complimentary Disney transportation might be a bit of a nightmare. You'd be wrong though! 

We decided to go without car hire this year and getting around couldn't have been easier. Complimentary Disney bus transportation is offered just outside to the left of the lobby at Jambo House and we never had to wait long for a bus. I think there were only one or two occasions where we had to wait more than a few minutes and as each of the buses drop you off right at the entrance of each destination, we found it much better than using a car. Also, sometimes whilst waiting for a bus there would be a cast member doing activities with people in the queue. Kiddo loved the guess the animal poop game! 

We found that the buses were quite crowded, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This was no problem though as passengers were always super lovely, offering me a seat so kiddo could rest on me after a long day in the parks. People are so kind in America! 


There is so much to do and see at Animal Kingdom lodge that you could thoroughly entertain yourself without even having to step foot inside one of the theme parks. The pools were stunning and the hot tub areas were sublimely relaxing, especially at night!

Kiddo loved the Hakuna Matata playground and one of our favourite things to do was head out in the evening to watch one of their nightly movies outside under the stars by the Uzima Springs Pool. We snuggled up and watched everything from Moana to Cars 3. Sometimes we'd grab some quick service treats (usually Zebra Domes, i'll admit!) and a drink to enjoy too. A lovely end to the day!

Poolside recreation activities were plentiful and included the standard Disney bingo and super fun pool parties. What we loved most though was the cultural immersion, animal programs and wildlife discoveries.... the things that were really unique to this resort. Animal tracking, a flamingo talk, the drum cafe and the wildlife games were some of our favourite memories from our trip and kiddo loved completing the activities to receive beads in order to build up her 'string of memories' to take home.

What is your favourite Walt Disney World resort hotel? & have you ever visited Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge before? Let me know in a comment below! 


  1. This looks amazing. I'm not typically worried nor drawn to staying on site but if I were this would definitely be the resort I'd choose!

    Victoria x

    1. It was magical, honestly. If I had the choice of any Disney resort, i'd pick Animal Kingdom Lodge every time! Thanks for your comment lovely x

  2. This hotel looks incredible! Looks like you had an amazing experience. We usually stay outside the Park resorts as it's cheaper but I'm definitely looking into the Animal Kingdom Lodge next time :) x