Ten Reasons to Stay and Play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Stay and play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) for an exotic escape from the stresses of the real world. With a unique setting, the resort is perfect for a weekend or week-long visit.
The immersive experience begins the moment you turn into the driveway of the safari themed lodge.
Landscaping at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
One of the ways that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge transporting guests to the Great Continent is through the exotic and lush landscaping painstakingly taken care of by Disney horticulturists. From pampas grass to yellow flame trees, the vegetation is reminiscent of Africa for an immersive experience.
I adore the tropical pool areas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Both Jambo House and Kidani Village have plenty of outdoor seating, including shade from the canopy of green trees! Uzima Springs at Jambo House is an over 200,000 gallon, zero-entry pool with a gentle water slide hidden within the Floridian palms.
Uzima Springs Pool.
Shady spots are easy to find!
If your room isn’t ready upon arrival, begin your stay with some poolside fun!
Banana Cabana. Cheers!
Cultural Representatives feature talks on their homeland — an informative session that takes guests on a journey through Africa. Look at the Recreation Calendar at your resort for times. These chats are held at Kidani Village’s Palace Library and Jambo House’s Sunset Lounge.
Go on a Cultural Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Fun activities are offered throughout the resort.
Watch for fun activities.
Campfires are always relaxing and cozy. Sit around the outdoor firepit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to unwind in tropical surroundings. Watch for scheduled campfire activities once the current burn ban is lifted. African folktales are still being told at the Arusha Savanna Overlook.
Firepit with cozy rocking chairs.
You’ll find both quick service and table service restaurants within the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. For fine dining, reserve a table at Jiko!
The Mara boasts a menu with some unique counter service offerings. I’m always hungry for a peanut butter brownie when staying at the Lodge.
More peanut butter!
AKL is also home to my favorite breakfast at Walt Disney World. With beautiful decor resembling an African marketplace and a scrumptious buffet, Boma with its wood-burning grill has remained consistently memorable throughout the years.
Breakfast at Boma is a must!
Don’t forget to try the Frunch. It’s included in your all-you-care-to-eat buffet.
Jungle Juice at Boma
While you can save money with a standard or pool view, the magic here is in the views of the savanna. However, if you won’t be spending a lot of time at the resort, go easier on your budget but allow time to view the animals from the public overlooks.
One of the best ways to stretch your budget is to play around with your vacation dates. If you can be flexible, you may find some great cost-savings. Try using Undercover Tourist to check room availability and pricing today: Save up to $660 on stays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Featuring handcrafted furniture, standard rooms are 344 square feet evoking a cozy safari lodge atmosphere.
Exotic decor in room.
Splurge on a Savanna View!
If you love animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge affords tremendous opportunities to view over 30 species day and night from public overlooks and private room balconies. We love to watch the animals (giraffe!!) roam on this 33-acre savanna!
Yes, Wanyama Safari is now open to all guests of Walt Disney World. However, it’s a definite advantage in convenience and time to stay at a resort with so many unique amenities. While the Wanyama Safari costs extra, it’s an amazing adventure that includes an afternoon safari followed by dinner at Jiko – The Cooking Place.
Architecture and Artwork
Don’t rush by the African artwork at this resort. You’ll find displays of beautiful, handcarved items throughout the hotel. Pair the decor with the impressive architecture and you have a place that makes jaws drop. It’s a truly unique destination right here in the United States.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby
Look up at the bridge!
Fun for Kids
Look for games, activities, the Hakuna Matata playground, a kiddie pool, and more at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. For a fun evening at the resort, take in a Movie Under the Stars.
Kids 2-12 years of age are welcome to play!
I hope you’ll find at least one reason to stop by or stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since opening in 2001, we’ve been repeat guests and will continue to return to this thatched-roof oasis!
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Disney Arrival Day: Things to Do on Your First Day at Walt Disney World
Congratulations, it’s your Disney Arrival Day! After the stresses of traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth, you are finally on Walt Disney World property. And you’ve likely taken a picture of this welcome sign:
Always a welcoming sight!
While Annual Passholders can certainly head straight to the parks, even these guests may need some down time from early morning flights or long road trips.
After you check in to your hotel, it’s time to embrace your first day at Disney.
Have some fun checking into your resort.
And I have some suggestions on how to decompress from the real world. Breathe in, let it out, and start soaking in the magic of a WDW vacation.
Make Your Hotel Home
Settle into your Disney resort room. I like to at least get our luggage or carry-on gear situated, phones charging, etc.
Standard Room at All-Star Music Resort
Get your refillable resort mugs, then take a walk around the resort.
Take a walk around your Disney Resort.
Become familiar with the locations of the food court, shop, pool, and transportation depot(s).
Explore your Disney Resort.
You’ll want to know where the boat/bus/monorail stop is before you head to your first park.
This is also a great time to relax by the pool.
Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort
Let the kids swim away their energy that has bottled up from your flight or drive.
Priceless vacation moment!
Soaking in the hot tub is another way to let your worries whisk away. If you are so inclined, the pool bar will offer libations for over-21 guests as well as kiddie cocktails (for the young and young-at-heart).
Banana Cabana. Cheers!
Swim or take a bike ride, enjoy dinner at your hotel, then have the kids go to bed early or watch the resort’s outdoor movie. Attending the hotel’s campfire offerings is also a carefree pastime for your first evening.
Rent a bike at Wilderness Lodge.
Get a great night’s rest before your first park day!
Dine and Shop at Disney Springs
Shopping and dining at Disney Springs is another fun option. Our teen son likes to head to Earl of Sandwich for one of his favorite counter-service meals.
Bite into a delicious sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.
Walk off your travel jitters and share a counter-service or table-service meal with your loved ones at Disney Springs.
Note that this location will be very crowded if it’s a weekend afternoon and/or evening, so plan accordingly.
Resort Dining and Shopping
Traveling to another resort at Walt Disney World to dine and shop can also be rejuvenating. I find hooting and hollering at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge or Hoop-Dee-Doo at Fort Wilderness to be a complete stress-reliever. For comfort food in a quieter atmosphere, make a reservation at Trail’s End Restaurant.
Comfort foods are on the buffet at Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness.
Another favorite first night meal is Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. You’ll get a home-style buffet meal plus meeting Mickey all done in one outing. This place is noisy but you simply can not walk out of here without feeling a little more light-hearted.
Chef Mickey’s is extra fun when traveling with extended family!
Visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach
If you arrive early in the day, take advantage of your free time for a water-filled adventure at one of these gorgeous water parks.
Escape to Blizzard Beach Water Park.
Impressively themed, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach offer attractions for all ages. I just love floating down the lazy river!
Attend a Magic Kingdom Holiday Party
If you’ve got energy (especially if arriving from a different time zone that has you wired not tired), purchase tickets for an after-hours party at the Magic Kingdom. We highly recommend both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Main Street, U.S.A. is spooktacular!
And hey, if you decide to just crash and take a nap on your Disney Arrival Day, it’s all good. It’s YOUR vacation. We used to plan every second of our Disney vacations and now we have more fun just winging it. I love to get to our resort, check into our hotel, and park myself in a pool lounge chair (preferably in the shade). LOL! 😉
Kim enjoys the shade at The Dig Site pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs.
What’s your family tradition for your first day at Walt Disney World? Or tell us what you’re planning to do on your first trip! We love to hear from our readers.