Jambo! Do you love visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Is Kilimanjaro Safaris one of your favorites? Does seeing a giraffe from your hotel room balcony sound like an experience of a lifetime? If so, a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge might be in your future! Read on to see my (Maggie) complete guide to this wonderful resort.
Animal Kingdom Lodge opened its doors in 2001. It is the only Disney resort that has views of animals from its guestrooms! On a typical day, guests might see zebras, giraffes, Ankole cattle, and okapi just to name a few.
Not only does the resort house over 200 animals and birds, its architecture and theming are also incredibly impressive.
Once you step into the resort, guests are immediately immersed in African culture and artwork.
I have had the pleasure of staying at this beautiful resort a couple of times, with the most recent trip being in February.
At this time, only the Kilimanjaro Club Concierge rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House are available for booking.
We are hopeful that the rest of Jambo House will open up to guests soon because in my opinion, it is one of the most unique and beautiful Disney resorts on property.
Animal Kingdom Lodge has some of the most wonderful dining experiences! The dining locations serve African-inspired dishes along with traditional favorites, like Mickey waffles.
Guests have a choice of having breakfast, lunch and dinner and can often times get a glimpse of some animals while dining!
Currently, only four out of nine dining locations are open at this time. We are hopeful that more locations will open real soon. Though a number of them are not open now, let’s take a look at all of the locations that are normally available to guests.
Jiko – The Cooking Place
Jiko is a fine dining option which offers traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. It features an open air kitchen, and guests can watch the chefs prepare their meals.
Since this dining option requires a certain dress code and is considered to be a fine dining option, we did not eat here during our stay. I love the decor of the restaurant with all of the abstract flying birds hanging from the ceiling.
This restaurant is not available at this time.
Boma – Flavors of Africa
Boma is one of my favorite places to go! My family had a wonderful breakfast here. This dining option is an all you can eat buffet and serves breakfast and dinner. For a great review of Boma, read here.
Like Jaime says in her review, I would also agree that this is one of the best breakfast buffets at Disney World.
Unfortunately, Boma is not available at this time. I would love to see this reopen as possibly a family style option in the future if the buffet is not possible.
Sanaa is located in Kidani Village, which is just a shuttle ride away from Animal Kingdom Lodge. Can you visit now? Yes! It is currently offering a quick service breakfast option in the morning and lunch and dinner later.
Lunch and dinner are the main reasons to visit, and Sanaa is one of the most coveted dining reservations. Famous for its exquisite bread service and scenic animal views, this is the place to truly take in everything this resort has to offer.
Read KtP Writer Susan’s review of Sanaa here. One of the best reasons to go here is to see the animals during sunset.
For a great view and dining experience, make a reservation about 30 minutes before sunset.
Why do you want to go at this time? This is when the animals eat! Watch them eat while you enjoy a delicious dinner of your own.
Here you can grab a cocktail or other drink and take in some views of the wildlife. If you are looking to just have some light appetizers to eat, hello bread service! You can have them here. The lounge is currently open.
The Mara is a quick service location in Animal Kingdom Lodge, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and also has late dining available. Traditional breakfast items are served along with other traditional favorites, like burgers, sandwiches and flatbreads.
The Mara is open from 7:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Maji Pool Bar
Maji is Swahili for “water”, so naturally, it’s by the pool. Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village, guests can enjoy a drink and choose from a selection of sandwiches, salads and other snacks.
Maji Pool Bar is open to guests at this time.
Uzima Springs Pool Bar
This location is the quick service location by the pool of Animal Kingdom Lodge. Guests can choose from a selection of various drinks, snacks and salads.
Uzima Springs Pool Bar is open and available to guests at this time.
Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar
Wine lovers might enjoy this spot near Jiko. Guests can sample South African wines and enjoy various appetizers. The full Jiko menu is also available to guests if they would prefer to dine at the bar.
Unfortunately, this location is not available at this time.
Victoria Falls Lounge
This lounge is located right above Boma. Guests here can enjoy a selection of light appetizers and fine wines and cocktails.
The lounge is not available at this time.
If there are any complaints about this resort, it is usually because of its lack of transportation options. Guests frequently complain about how far away the resort is from all of the other parks. Also, with bus transportation being your only option of transportation other than a taxi or car, some guests are turned off by this.
However, it’s probably closer than you think. Look at the approximate bus times below.
- Animal Kingdom – approximately 5 minute drive via bus
- Magic Kingdom – approximately 10 minute drive via bus
- Hollywood Studios – approximately 5 minute drive via bus
- Epcot – approximately 10 minute drive via bus
During our stay, we had no trouble or delay with the bus transportation. Bus transportation was frequent and a new bus would arrive every 10-15 minutes.
I had expected worse, so this was actually a pleasant surprise. It is important to keep in mind the above times are only estimates and when you do go, you always have to take traffic into consideration. My best advice is to have a plan and always leave early. I think a certain pirate always recommends that!
In my opinion, the rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge are one of the things that make this resort truly unique. It’s not because of the rooms themselves, but because you can see animals right outside your window!
Guests have a choice of staying in a Savanna View, Pool View, Standard View room along with various club level rooms.
If you want to have a chance of seeing some animals, book a Savanna View.
My family and I stayed in a club level suite during our last stay and we had a view of the Savannas. For my complete review of our club level stay, you can read about it here.
While club level amenities are not available at this time to guests, the Kilimanjaro Club Concierge rooms at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House are available for booking.
Guests booking a Savanna View have a choice of 2 Queen Beds or 1 King Bed. The bathrooms and overall room are actually quite large and many of the rooms here have recently been refurbished.
What will stand out to you is the view! All you have to do is look outside your window or step outside on the balcony and you might see some giraffes or zebras walk by or wake up to any of the many tropical birds that call Animal Kingdom Lodge their home.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of those resorts that you could spend just a few days at the resort itself and be happy. I feel like the resort itself is an experience.
Our family only stayed here a few days and I was wishing we had stayed for longer because there were so many activities that we did not get to participate in.
There are two pools available to guests. Uzima Springs Pool is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is probably one of the largest pools of the Disney resorts- 11,000 square feet!
The pool features zero-depth entry and a waterslide.
Samawati Springs Pool is located over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani. Guests can walk over to Kidani or take a shuttle to take a dip in this pool that features a waterslide and zero-depth entry.
Complimentary towels are available at each pool.
In addition to the pools, Hakuna Matata Playground and an arcade is available to guests. However, I would not be surprised if neither of these are available currently or in the near future.
During a recent stay in the summer, playgrounds and arcades were closed at many resorts.
I love staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The resort is a stay in itself. Days can be spent just watching the wildlife that surrounds you. Cast Members go out of their way to tell you about animal facts and can make your stay so much more enjoyable.
The theming of the resort is breathtaking and I could spend an entire day just looking at all of the fun architecture and history behind it all.
During our stay, there were so many extra activities to do, such as nighttime safaris, storytimes and fun activities to do during the day.
If you do have a future stay planned, be sure to check with the front desk to see what activities are available and open at this time.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge? How was your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below or on our Facebook page! Do you have any questions about the resort?