The most important consideration for us was the resort we were going to stay at. We typically like to stay at a Moderate Resort (Port Orleans Riverside is our current favorite) or Pop Century, but we’ve been known to splurge on a Deluxe Resort when we can get a good pass holder rate. For this trip we were spending 2 nights – a Saturday and a Sunday. We wanted to experience a Deluxe Resort because we knew we would have the time to explore and relax at the resort. After seeing which hotel offered the best passholder rate, we decided on the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We had stayed there once before and knew it would be the perfect spot. Of course, if Animal Kingdom Lodge is not in your budget, you can still visit and explore the resort.
The theming at Animal Kingdom Lodge is incredible. Stepping into the towering lobby which overlooks the Savannah is breathtaking.
Because of pixie dust, we were upgraded to a Savannah view room, so from the moment we opened our door to the balcony we had a view of animals. It was interesting to see how the animals rotate in and out of the various areas. We were able to see giraffes, zebras, ostriches, different types of antelope, and ankole cattle right from our balcony.The first thing Emily did was take a seat and enjoy the view of the giraffes. She’s usually dropping her bags and rushing off to the parks, so it was quite a change for Molly to see. Side note: even if you don’t have a Savannah view room, there are several beautiful vistas to explore around the resort.
This was the view from our room:
In our room was a schedule of the various activities that go on throughout the day. There are many interactive and educational activities. You could literally spend all day participating in the various cultural and wildlife activities, most of which are free or for a small fee. Some examples are helping with animal enrichment, cookie decorating at Boma, folktales, drumming, a tour of Animal Kingdom Lodge, a tour of Sanaa, campfire stories, and night vision goggles to view the Savannah after dark. There is also a night safari you can take that costs $70.
We spent quite a bit of time hanging at the pools at both the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village. It’s about a 10 minute walk between AKL and Kidani Village. The pool at Kidani Village is a bit smaller, but it is in a beautiful spot and the kids’ area is more extensive and there is a ping pong table. Lush landscape surrounds the pool areas, and both pools are zero entry.
Video of the pool in the morning – so wonderfully quiet. Look for the cameo of the duck swimming in the pool.
The cast members at Animal Kingdom Lodge are phenomenal, many of which are from Africa. They love to share knowledge about the animals and their countries and are some of the friendliest people we’ve met on property. There are also some popular restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge/Kidani Village – Jiko, Sanaa, and Boma. We dined at elsewhere on this trip, but they are excellent dining options.
The thing we loved most about staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge for our park-free trip was that we really felt like we were in another world. We spent the morning and early afternoon on our second day without going anywhere else nor did we feel the need to leave because there was so much to do and we were really relaxed!
Relaxing and Disney? We didn’t think those two things went together either…!