Are you looking for reviews of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge?
This Disney World resort is one of the most unique hotels at WDW. From the moment you walk into the lobby at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can tell that this deluxe resort is something special!
In this post, I will discuss the activities, restaurants, rooms, and more that are available at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I will also include reviews based on my most recent visit to the hotel with my toddler.
Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Where is Animal Kingdom Lodge located?
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Pools
- Specialty Dining
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
- Toddler Tips
Where is Animal Kingdom Lodge located?
If you are looking at a map of Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom Lodge is located in the southern part of the property. You will find it just west of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
You can determine from the WDW map that Animal Kingdom Lodge looks to be a somewhat secluded resort. Because it is kind of in a world of its own, it is not serviced by the monorail, ferries, or Skyliner like some of the other deluxe resorts.
Instead, Animal Kingdom Lodge provides Disney bus service as its main form of transportation.
Is it too far away?
Since Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is tucked away in a more quiet section of WDW, you may be wondering if this makes it too far away from places like Epcot and Disney Springs.
If you utilize the free Disney bus service for transportation to the parks, you will find that you can reach Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs each within approximately 20 minutes.
This is actually pretty standard for Disney World travel time unless you are staying at a resort that has walking paths or monorail access to a park.
What is it close to?
Although you will need to take an approximately 20 minute bus ride to most of the Disney World theme parks, you can access Disney’s Animal Kingdom park by bus within about 10 minutes.
If you choose to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge with your family, I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy the different things to do at the hotel. Many of the activities listed below are completely free of charge for resort guests.
Pumbaa’s Fun and Games Arcade is a great place to spend time with kids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you are looking to kill time or escape rainy weather, this arcade is a really convenient option!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers evening campfire activities where kids can roast marshmallows over the fire. This activity is free of charge.
After roasting marshmallows by the fire, you can enjoy a Disney movie right outside the hotel. This activity is also free of charge!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to Hakuna Matata Playground. If you are looking for things to do at the hotel for free, this is a great option! Kids love this fun play area located near the pool.
For a fee, visitors to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge can experience Wild About Painting. Located near the hotel lobby, this activity allows you to overlook the savannah while painting. Guests who are 21 and older will be served a complimentary adult beverage. Guests must be 12 years old or older to participate in the painting activity.
If you are looking for additional options of things to do for free, you can take a tour of the resort grounds to search for different types of animals. Some of the wildlife you may see include:
*Insider Tip- If you are searching for animals while it is dark outside, ask to borrow the resort’s night vision goggles for a better view!
Animal Kingdom Lodge Pools
One of the most fun ways to spend time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to enjoy one of the resort pools. If you are planning to swim, note that towels are available for free right beside the pool.
Uzima Springs Pool
Uzima Springs Pool is located at the main resort: Animal Kingdom Lodge. It includes a zero entry zone perfect for toddlers and little ones. You will also find a 67 foot water slide that a big hit for both kids and adults.
Note that Disney World does not have height requirements for the pool slides. However, you are NOT permitted to slide with your child. If you have a little one who is interested in sliding, you can utilize the free safety vests near the pool.
Samawati Springs Pool
Samawati Springs Pool is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village. This resort is right next to Animal Kingdom Lodge, and guests are free to use each pool during their stay.
*Insider Tip- This pool is often mentioned as being a “short walk” away from Animal Kingdom Lodge, but my family and I find it to be quite a hike. You can take a Disney bus from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Villas for a much faster option.
Samawati Springs Pool features a zero-entry section, a 128 foot long pool slide, and a small kiddie slide.
Uwanja Camp is located near Samawati Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Village-Kidani. This climbing zone is designated for smaller kids and includes fountains and other fun water features.
If you are wondering about dining options at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the resort provides many restaurants that offer both unique food and kid friendly favorites.
Sanaa is an African inspired restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani, and provides views of the Sunset Savannah while you dine.
Because Sanaa offers such amazing views of the animals, it can book up quickly. Therefore, reservations are highly recommended for lunch and dinner.
Reservations are not required at breakfast as Sanaa becomes a quick service retaurant during morning hours. If you start your day at Sanaa, you will find options like eggs, bacon, fruit, oats, and other family friendly favorites.
The lunch and dinner menus at Sanaa are full of unique foods with African and Indian flavors; however, they also provide a kid’s menu with favorites like cheeseburgers, pizza, and macaroni and cheese.
Maji Pool Bar
Maji Pool Bar is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani near Samawati Springs Pool. This restaurant offers mostly beverages; however, it does have a few snacks and sandwiches on the menu. Kids can choose from a hot dog, turkey sandwich, or uncrustables sandwich.
Uzima Springs Pool Bar
Uzima Springs Pool Bar is located near the pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It serves mostly beverages, but Uzima Springs Pool Bar also offers a few options for salads and sandwiches on the menu.
If you are wanting more food options near Uzima Springs Pool, you can visit The Mara. This quick service restaurant sits right beside the entrance to the pool and offers lots of snacks and entrees.
The Mara has a grab and go section with pre-made salads and sandwiches. You can also order off of the menu at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy your food indoors, outside on the patio, or even by the pool.
This quick service restaurant is a family favorite of ours because it provides so many delicious options at reasonable prices!
Boma is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and is currently open for breakfast and dinner. Since this is a really popular restaurant, reservations are highly recommended.
The food at Boma is served buffet style and includes African inspired dishes along with some kid friendly favorites like macaroni and cheese, pasta, and chicken.
Jiko- The Cooking Place
Jiko- The Cooking Place is a signature restaurant located at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This restaurant serves African, Indian, and Mediterranean inspired food for dinner guests,
The kid’s menu offers items like macaroni and cheese, grilled steak or chicken, fish, and cheese pizza. Since this is a really popular restaurant, reservations are highly recommended.
Also note that Jiko- The Cooking Place is a signature dining venue and visitors must adhere to the dress code policy.
Victoria Falls Lounge
Victoria Falls Lounge is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge and serves appetizers and beverages.
Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar
Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge and serves lots of adult beverage options, including a vast assortment of wines.
In Room Dining
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers in room dining for its guests. You will find a room service menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night dining in your hotel room at check in.
The in room dining menu offers a variety of foods that meet the needs of even your pickiest kids. You can even schedule your breakfast the night before so that your family’s meal is delivered at a specific time in the morning. This is a great way to eat a nutritious breakfast while you get ready for the theme parks!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas offer several opportunities for specialty dining experiences.
Dine with Animal Specialists
You can reserve a 4 course lunch at Sanaa where you dine with an animal specialist. Those in attendance can learn all about the animals located in the savannah outside. After your meal, the animal specialist takes the group to an encounter with the radiated tortoises.
Note that only those guests 8 years of age or older are permitted to attend this dining experience.
Wanyama Safari is a 90 minute tour of the savannas at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Guests board a vehicle with a tour guide who gives information on the wildlife and history of the resort.
Guests can view animals such as giraffes, antelopes, ostriches, and zebras before enjoying a multi-course meal at Jiko- The Cooking Place. Note that safari guests must still follow the Jiko dress code.
Reservations are highly recommended for this dining experience. Children under 10 years of age are not permitted to attend the Wanyama Safari and Dinner.
We have stayed in all different types of rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge from the standard category to a one bedroom suite.
The hotel rooms do seem smaller than those at some of the other Disney deluxe resorts; however, this probably wouldn’t be a huge deal unless you were traveling with extra baby/toddler items like a pack-n-play. It would definitely still be doable; just tight.
We love that the deluxe resorts have balconies regardless of their views. My husband and I like the option of putting the kids to bed and enjoying the balcony without having to sit silently in the dark trying not to wake them.
The standard view rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offer views of the hotel rooftop or parking area. These rooms offer either 2 queen sized beds or 1 king bed.
Note that a mini refrigerator is one of the room amenities in all hotel rooms regardless of view.
The pool view rooms overlook Uzima Springs Pool. Although this is not a scenic savanna view, the pool grounds at Animal Kingdom Lodge are actually quite lovely.
These rooms offer 2 queen beds or 1 king bed.
Similar to the room types listed above, the savanna view rooms offer 2 queen beds or 1 king bed. The difference is that these upgraded rooms provide views of one of the savannas at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
This means that you can see giraffes, zebras, and other amazing wildlife right from your balcony. While not the clearest image, the photo below shows the view of the savanna from our hotel room.
If the price of a savanna view room is not in your budget, don’t fret. You can still enjoy amazing views of the animals in other areas of the hotel!
If you are traveling with a larger group or if you just want more space, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers 1 bedroom suites and a Presidential Suite that sleep up to 6 adults.
If you really want to splurge, you can reserve a savanna view room WITH club level access. Guests who book a room with club level access receive special amenities including concierge services and a club lounge with complimentary snacks and refreshments.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
Visitors to Disney World who are looking to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge may also want to look into the Deluxe Villas that are located on the same property.
The Animal Kingdom Villas are divided into two separate sections: Kidani Village and Jambo House. Jambo House is actually part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge building, which can be confusing when you are booking your stay.
If you make a reservation through Disney, you will reserve a room specifically at the Lodge, Jambo House, or Kidani Village.
Jambo House vs Kidani Village
If you are trying to decide between Jambo House or Kidani Village, you really can’t go wrong with either. Guests of both resorts are welcome to use the restaurants and amenities at each of the properties.
As mentioned above, the Disney bus will transfer you from the Lodge/Jambo House to Kidani Village. You are also able to walk to the neighboring resort; however, we find the walk to be quite strenuous. Maybe it’s because we have little kids with us, but my family prefers to take the bus when going from one resort to the other.
The room options and savanna views at Jambo House and Kidani Village are pretty similar, so I wouldn’t base my decision on them. If the pricing is the same for the room option you want at both resorts, I suggest trying to figure out where you would be spending more of your time.
If you have a toddler who enjoys swimming, you may prefer Kidani Village since the pool has a kiddie slide and a water play area. Others like to stay near The Mara since this quick service restaurant is so convenient.
When you are planning a trip to WDW, there are many tricks to saving money on your Disney hotel. One of the BEST ways to find Disney hotel rooms for cheap is by using David’s Vacation Club Rentals. If you are set on staying at a deluxe style hotel, you can rent vacation points through David’s site for a HUGE discount on your room.
Whenever I book a trip to Walt Disney World, I look into David’s website first. People who own timeshare points at the deluxe villas will often rent out their points.
David’s Vacation Club Rentals buys these points and will then rent them to you! This is by far the best way I have found to stay in an amazing resort at Disney World for a MUCH lower price.
You can visit David’s Vacation Club Rentals to check out their amazing deals! (Affiliate Link).
Just use the cost calculator on David’s website to easily price out your vacation prior to booking. The savings are usually quite significant if you can find availability for the dates you want.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas are some of the best priced options of all the vacation club rentals too!
My toddler LOVES staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for so many reasons. These are our top 10 reasons why Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great resort for toddlers!
- Animals– Toddlers tend to adore animals, so you really can’t beat the enjoyment of watching the wildlife at AKL.
- Pools– The pools at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village both offer zero entry areas that are great for toddlers.
- Pool Slides– Kidani Village has a great kiddie slide, and the pool slide at Animal Kingdom Lodge is mild enough for toddlers as well.
- Splash Pad– The water playground at Kidani Village is a super fun place for toddlers to splash and play.
- Prices– The prices of the rooms at AKL tend to be a lot cheaper than at some of the other deluxe resorts. Since we have a toddler, we tend to spend more time at the resort. Therefore we appreciate having access to deluxe dining and amenities at affordable prices.
- Balcony– The balconies at AKL allow you to have a separate space from your toddlers. This way, you can sit outside while your toddler naps or sleeps at night. The balcony is also a great place to hang out if your toddler wakes up super early.
- Playground– The playground at Animal Kingdom Lodge is a fun place for toddlers and kids to climb and slide.
- Transportation– We find the bus transportation at AKL to be really well organized. You rarely have to wait long for a bus to pick you up at the resort or to take you back to the hotel after a long day in the parks.
- Location– Toddlers love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and AKL is located a short 10 minutes away!
- Food– Animal Kingdom Lodge offers really unique dining experiences, and the restaurants do a great job of providing kid friendly food options.
Final Review of Animal Kingdom Lodge
Overall, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a wonderful place to stay with kids.
The pools are incredibly fun, and you can’t beat the presence of animals wandering through the savannas around you.
Since it is usually the least expensive option for deluxe hotels at Disney World, the Animal Kingdom Lodge won’t break the bank either!
If you are still debating on where to stay at Disney World, check out this article on my other top pick:
What is your favorite tip for visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Let me know by commenting below!