1. The Animals
This has to be at the top of our list, because there’s nothing more exciting than waking up in the morning, looking out of your window and seeing real animals outside. This is something the big kids will love just as much as the little ones! At Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Hotel there are over 200 beautiful animals (more than 30 different species) including giraffes, zebras, gazelles and flamingos.
You’ll have a Wildlife Field Guide in your room, to help you identify the animals and learn more about them. There’s also a team of Animal Specialists on hand to answer any questions you might have. See how many exotic animals you can spot, and bring your camera along to capture the perfect shot. If you want to get up even closer, you can book in for a safari and dining experience at an extra cost, and explore the savannahs with a private guide.
2. Jiko- The Cooking Place
Jiko is the hotel’s signature restaurant, offering guests the opportunity to indulge in a spot of fine dining. The mouth-watering menu lets you sample rich flavours that are a blend of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. Dishes include a Moroccan Lamb Tagine, Oak-grilled Filet Mignon and Botswana Seswaa-style Beef Short Rib to name just a few. For dessert, we’d recommend the delicious ‘Kilimanjaro’- a Tanzanian chocolate mousse with pistachio, pink meringue, cacao nib crunch and sweet pineapples.
The beautiful setting makes this restaurant a great choice, for those who want to enjoy a relaxing and delicious meal after a long day exploring the Disney parks. Throughout dinner, you’ll notice that the lighting subtly changes from yellow, to orange and finally red to reflect the African sunset. The menu is more on the expensive side, as Jiko is a signature restaurant, but if you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to treat yourself, this is the perfect choice.
3. The Fantastic Theming
As soon as you walk into Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Hotel, you’ll be stunned by the impressive, welcoming lobby. The décor of the huge area, much like the rest of the hotel, is inspired by Africa. Stunning lanterns hang from the ceiling, there’s a roaring mud fire place and at the end of the lobby, there’s a huge window that offers a picture-perfect view of the lush savannah.
You’ll want to spend some time looking around the lobby so that you can admire the incredible collection of African artwork. The hotel actually has the largest collection of authentic African art in the United States! The theming of course runs throughout the entire hotel, including the cosy guest rooms. Again, the décor is African-inspired, with hanging drapes above the beds, African art on the walls and map-like wallpaper showing animals from the region and landmarks like Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria. Book a room with a savannah view to make your stay even more special.
4. The Pool
The best way to cool down from the Floridian heat is of course, with a dip in the pool. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Hotel has 2 pools to choose from. The main pool is the Uzima Springs Pool, which is surrounded by large canopy trees and Floridian palms. This tropical oasis is the perfect place to unwind. The 11,000-square-foot pool holds a staggering 234,980-gallons of water and features a fun 67-foot-long waterslide!
Or, prepare to make a splash at Samawati Springs Pool, on the exciting 128-foot waterslide! Little ones will love playing in the Uwanja Camp water playground, where they’ll find water cannons, bubbling geysers and lots of surprises. Don’t worry, adults can keep a close watch from nearby whilst staying splash-free!
5. The Jambo House Campfire
After a day of fun at the theme parks, you might want to just head back to your hotel and relax. If you’re not ready to go to bed just yet, the hotel has plenty to keep you entertained within the grounds. One of our favourite things to do is attend the Jambo House Campfire which takes place every night. As the sun goes down, gather round the campfire, and take part in the tradition of roasting marshmallows on the fire. This leads us on to our next point which comes straight after…
6. Movies Under the Stars
Once the campfire fun has finished, Movies Under the Stars begins! Hotel guests are invited to attend a complimentary outdoor movie screening. This takes place most nights of the week, and is a chance for fans to enjoy a mixture of classic and newer Disney movies. The films regularly change, but you can expect to see classics like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Frozen and Star Wars. The screening generally starts around 7pm, but be sure to check the schedule when you arrive, so you don’t miss out.
Of course, like with any Disney Resort Hotel, guests can enjoy a whole host of benefits, like Extra Magic Hours, complimentary transportation to and from the parks, airport pick up with Disney’s Magical Express, access to Disney’s FastPass+ service and much more!
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