Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is Disney deluxe resort located by the animal kingdom theme park. The animal kingdom lodge is also one of my favorites on the whole Disney property for various reasons. The resort ranks among the best of the Walt Disney World resort because of the outstanding restaurants and service that you receive and the savanna located on the grounds. These Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurants offer you two table service options, a buffet, 3 bars and a quick serve. There is so much to do on this resort that it has to take up an entire article because you need to know everything this fantastic resort offers.
So what are we going to be covering in this article? We will be going over the rooms at the lodge and the views that you can get from them. We will be covering the hotel staff and the service that you can expect based on my experiences at the hotel. This section offers a deep dive into the restaurants and other dining options that animal kingdom lodge offers guests a look at amenities like the pool and other services that the resort offers. Lastly, I will be going over the savanna and the animals that you can find there. This will be a detailed article, but it will help you understand what it is like to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
What is arrival like?
What is it like to arrive at the Animal Kingdom Lodge? One of the things that you may notice as you head into the resort is that it seems far from all of the parks, and it is. Animal Kingdom Lodge is the farthest resort from the parks because it is located right next to Animal Kingdom. Once past the gatehouse and on your way into Animal Kingdom Jambo house, you will pass the sign that announces the resort's name and will often have topiaries next to it. When you enter the Disney Safari Hotel resort itself, you will become aware of the African music playing in the background. Once you enter the final door, you are in the resort's lobby, which is a great hall that runs the length of the building. Once in the lobby of Animal Kingdom Jambo House, you are immersed in African culture with everything from the dark woods to the lobby's decorations.
Rooms with a view?
When you've checked in, you'll be assigned a room, or you will already be on your way with the digital check-in through the My Disney Experience App. There are a few different room types available with varying degrees of space and views. There are standard views like a pool view or a parking lot view. There are also standard rooms with either two queen beds or a king bed and a pull-out couch. There are also suites of various sizes based on your party's size and how much room you need for my money though the best room is any room with a savanna view at Animal Kingdom Jambo House.
From a savanna view room at the Disney Safari Hotel, you will see the animals that live right on the hotel grounds. You can see anything from giraffes to wildebeest and more right out of the window. The rooms also have balconies, and one of the fun things to do at the resort just sits out to watch the animals. The savanna is especially beautiful at dusk when the sun sets and fills the sky with colors.
I highly recommend staying in a savanna room at the Disney Safari Hotel because it does take your mind off the room sizes. While not the smallest rooms on Disney property, they are not the largest either. This isn't a big deal as the room is a good size, but if you are looking at animals, you are not bound to notice either. I will say that I think these rooms are plenty comfortable for a staycation where you never leave the hotel.
How's the staff?
Of all of the hotels that I have stayed at, I have never had an issue with the Animal Kindom Jambo house lodge staff. From the restaurants to check-in, they are a very friendly group of people who work hard to make sure that they have a great time. The only thing that may occur is that you may leave your room and return after heading to the parks or a restaurant and find that it hasn't been touched by housekeeping. This is because of just how large the hotel is, but they will offer to do your room once the room service arrives. This has only happened a few times in all the years that I have stayed there, but it was worth mentioning.
What are the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurants like in terms of quality and price.
Disney Animal kingdom lodge restaurants offer you a lot to choose from, ranging from formal sit down dining to quick-serve. The price for these restaurants is as varied as the restaurants themselves, so you will be able to find something here for yourself. The food here will, in general, be some form of African food, but the quick service will also be a bit more American fare than the rest of the resort. There are also two pool bars for this resort, but I won't be getting into those here because they are bars first and food comes second.
The Mara is the quick-serve for Jambo House restaurant Animal Kingdom, and you will find just about everything you would expect from a Disney resort quick serve. They have the various sections catering to different food, so you have a pasta area, a sandwich area, a bbq is, etc. The soda fountain for the resort refillable mugs is also here, which can be a bit of a hike depending on which side of the resort you are located on. The resort quick serves food is good if a little generic, but I highly recommend going to the refrigerator section and picking yourself up some zebra domes. These white chocolate domes are filled with an alcohol-based ganache that tastes fantastic.
Jiko and its bar, the Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar, are a sit-down restaurant and bar for the animal kingdom lodge. The restaurant itself is a signature restaurant Animal Kingdom Lodge that has both the dress code and the price to match. The food here is African with standard dishes with unique spins like Botswana-style beef short ribs and there Cape Malay Seafood Curry. The funny thing is that this is one of the most acclaimed restaurants on Disney property, but I have never eaten here. It is on the list for sure, but up until recently, the menu had not appealed to me, so I will be sure to have a review ready for you when I do.
Boma is a restaurant Animal Kingdom that I would highly recommend after having been here a few times. Boma is the Animal Kingdom Lodge's very own buffet. The buffet serves a variety of food, which incorporates a lot of spices and flavors from Africa. You can also get alcoholic drinks at this buffet, and I don't just mean beer and wine. Do you remember those zebra domes that I was telling you about earlier, well they have them on this buffet, and you can have as many of them as you want? We should have a full review for Boma coming out soon, so I will have that linked here.
Sanaa and its accompanying lounge are not actually in Jambo's house but are instead located over at Kidani village, the DVC Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sanaa is a sit-down restaurant, but it is not a signature, so things like a strict dress code are not a worry here. The food here is Africa/Indian style, and I have heard good things, but much like with Jiko, I haven't tried this restaurant. There is one feature of this DVC Animal Kingdom restaurant that puts it on my list to try. If you eat here during the day, then through the windows will see the animal roaming the savanna.
I have tried the room service at this resort, and it was fantastic every time I tried it. Whether it was for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, their service was always prompt, and the cast members who delivered were always bright and cheerful. The menu had a good selection of food and even some wines and beers. It is great if you just want to stay in the room and watch the animals roam the savanna.
Victoria Falls Lounge
Victoria Falls Lounge is the last restaurant that I will be talking about, and it isn't even a restaurant. Instead, it is a lounge. There are sets of chairs and couches spread out through the bar area, and all you have to do is sit down, look at the menu, and then order when a server comes over. Aside from the full bar, which makes some great drinks, there is also an appetizer menu when looking at the menu. I highly recommend the goat cheese dip, especially if you like feta dip. The chicken wings, flatbread, and charcuterie board are also highly recommended as they value good for both taste and value.
So that pretty much wraps up the restaurant section of this article. I hope that it gave you a good idea of the types of food you can expect from this resort. I also hope that it encourages you to be a bit more adventures with what you try after my recommendations.
What activities can you do at the resort?
Many activities are often offered at Disney resorts that many people don't seem to know about when they go on vacation. In this section, I'm hoping I can give you a better idea of what is available for you to do when you stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. These will vary from standard activities like Movies Under the Stars to more resort specific activities like dining with animal experts to learn more about wildlife and their care.
Movies Under The Stars
Watch a Disney movie by the pool in this fun nightly event. This event is great for families, especially if you love movies. This event is not resort specific and can be found at most of the Disney resorts.
Jambo House Campfire Activities
This is a fun activity where you get to toast marshmallows at the fire pits at the resort. I have seen this fireplace at night, and they are located in the back courtyard of the resort. This sounds like a fun activity if you like s' mores and campfires.
Wild about Painting at Animal Kingdom Lodge
This one sounds like a fun activity for the artists in the family. You get to it out in a balcony at the lodge and paint. If you are so inclined, an alcohol beverage is available with the event. This sounds like a nice and relaxing activity for those who want a good time looking at the animals and painting.
Dining with an animal expert
So the savanna is the centerpiece of this resort, one of the main draws, if not the main draw for the resort. So wouldn't it be great to be able to talk to somebody who knows all about the animals on the property? Someone who can give you a lot of the behind the scenes facts about the animals and their care. The dining with an animal expert event is something you may want to do then, and you can book it for your vacation.
I hope that this article helps you plan out your next Disney vacation, whether you are staying at the Animal Kingdom lodge or not. If you are looking for more advice for a Disney World trip or other Orlando theme parks, go ahead and look around the site. We have articles on rides, restaurants, and more to help give you ideas for your trip. If you like Animal Kingdom Lodge check out our Boma review here.
Animal Kingdom Lodge. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/animal-kingdom-lodge/recreation/
Animal Kingdom Lodge. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/animal-kingdom-lodge/dining/