We recently got back from a wonderful (and dare I say “magical”) trip to Disney World with our son. The year before we visited Disneyland in California for a few days but we decided to go all out on this trip and stay for a week on the property. After checking out a bunch of hotels we decided to go with the Animal Kingdom Lodge. What follows is our Animal Kingdom Lodge Review!
Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: Location
If you’re hoping to stay in the middle of all the Disney action, then don’t stay at the AKL. The hotel is probably one of the furthest properties from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Although, when you think about it, this makes sense since you’re surrounded by giraffes, flamingos, ibexes and zebras.
Many of the other Disney hotels offer multiple ways of getting to the parks – boat, monorail etc. Due to the distance from the other parks, the only Disney transportation from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the parks is shuttle bus. There are stops outside the property and the buses come quite often but this can be a bit of a pain.
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On the other hand, you can drive to the parks and park your car for free as a Disney hotel guest. This is what we did and it worked out very well. We stayed as long as we wanted at the parks, came back to the hotel for a mid afternoon rest and then went back for the evening.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: Grounds
In my opinion, this hotel wins hands down the most beautiful grounds of any Disney property. It is amazing to look outside your window and see animals walking by, eating grass and hanging out. The property is huge, with so many different areas to explore.
The pool is a great size and we never felt squished or had too much trouble finding space in the shade. There’s a water slide for the kids and a wading pool area for the little ones.
The staff is incredibly friendly – I’m sure this is across all Disney properties, but there are a number of staff members from Africa who provide mini lectures on their particular countries, the animals etc. It’s wonderful to stay at a hotel where there’s so much to learn.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: The Rooms
The rooms are ok. They are comfortable and clean but a bit on the small side. Ok for a family of three but if you had two or more kids in there it may feel a bit tight.
The layout of the bathrooms is also a bit odd. The sink is on the outside with the toilet and shower in a very small dark space in the back. I appreciate the extra privacy but the toilet/shower room was so dark (at least in our room).
We were really lucky and had a savanna view room overlooking the flamingos and part of the beautiful savanna with wandering zebras, kudus and gazelles. This view was one of the things that made the hotel stay so amazing for us.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: Kids Activities
I think most of the Disney property hotels have similar kids activities ranging from poolside movies to arts and crafts. These activities are great for those times when you find yourself (and your kids) Disney’d out.
One activity that is likely unique to AKL is the safari explorer booklet that comes with each room. Kids (and adults) can go around the property checking off all of the different animals. R loved this activity and it’s educational as well.
Just remember that some of the activities are free while others are paid.
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Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: Food
We didn’t eat at any of the nicer restaurants on the property because we were often at a park around dinnertime. The fancier restaurants look lovely and feature unique African inspired dishes.
We did eat at the cafe/buffet for breakfast every morning. Honestly, the food was expensive and the options were only mediocre. I know, it’s just breakfast and it’s a quick meal but I still think there could be better value for the money.
Which Disney World property is your favourite? Please let me know in the comments.
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