One of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge is an immersive experience that encourages guests to spend time at the resort and take advantage of its many amenities, especially those related to its African-inspired theme and its location adjacent to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park (DAK).
Like all Walt Disney World Deluxe resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) offers a number of amenities and recreational activities to Disney guests. Some of the most memorable take advantage of the resort’s African theming, layout and location. These activities happen at Jambo House, the main lodge, and at Kidani Village, the DVC Villas.
Best of all, many of these activities are free or open to any Walt Disney World guest.
Watch the animals
Animal lovers will want to take advantage of the many places and opportunities to see the wildlife that is the resort’s highlight. More than 200 animals call the AKL savannas home.
In addition to select guest rooms, AKL offers several public viewing areas – indoor, balcony and outdoor – for the four savannas. Savanna areas have informational plaques and some have viewing guides. In addition, savanna guides are positioned at many outdoor locations throughout the day to answer questions. Balcony and indoor areas offer comfortable seating from which to enjoy the view.
And as dusk falls, AKL brings an extra-special viewing opportunity at Uzima Outlook. Guests may watch the animals using night-vision goggles. Night viewing generally takes place between 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. As with most of these activities, check with the resort’s monthly Guest Activity calendar or concierge for details. This activity is open to both resort guests and those visiting AKL.
See a sample AKL Activity calendar.
Tour AKL and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
For those who want to learn more about African culture and traditions, or about the resort’s design, ALK offers free guided tours with cultural representatives. The tours, lasting under an hour, take place several times a week. Jambo House offers a Cultural Safari in the Sunset Lounge the focuses on a virtual tour of Africa, while Kidana Village offers an “African-Inspired, Disney-Designed” look at AKL.
For a fee, AKL guests may also enjoy a Wanyama Safari Resort Tour or a Sunrise Safari at DAK.
Wanyama, open only to resort guests, takes small excursion of up to 12 guests on a personalized three-hour tour of the savanna followed by a dinner at Jiko. Guests must be 8 years or older to participate.
The Sunrise Safari, open to concierge-level AKL guests, takes guests on a leisurely, two-hour Kilimanjaro Safari that comes with an early wake-up call and a hearty breakfast. Available on Sundays and Thursday, Sunrise Safari does require reservations and DAK admission in addition to the safari’s fee.
Also for a fee, children between the ages of 5 and 14 can participate in the AKL Bush Camp, a two-hour experience that features games, activities, crafts, and food. Bush Camp requires reservation and payment at the time of booking.
Have fun with learning with AKL’s educational programs
In addition to watching the animals, AKL is filled with activities focusing on wildlife and African culture, art and storytelling.
Open to guests of all ages, children especially might enjoy such recreational activities as learning about the feeding habits of flamingos, using animal tracking equipment or identify wildlife vocalizations. Or they might enjoy immersing themselves in African activities, from face painting and medallion rubbings to drumming and playing musical instruments.
Enjoy the outdoors with campfire activities and movies
AKL’s cozy feel extends to the outdoors with campfire activities and outdoor movies. Campfire activities at both Jambo House and Kidani Village include African storytelling, communal singing and of course roasting marshmallows on a stick (complimentary.)
Both areas of AKL also offer movies at night, open to all Walt Disney World guests – not just those staying at the resort. Movies rotate, but include Disney and Pixar films, and start times vary with the season. (Note: most of Walt Disney World’s resorts offers outdoor movies.)
Get a taste of Africa through AKL’s restaurant tours and dining
Disney food lovers might want to pick one of the complementary culinary tours offered for Boma and Jiko, The Cooking Place in Jambo, and for Sanaa at Kidani Village. Free samples are only part of the delights, as the tour offers a close-up look at the restaurants. Cultural representatives lead the tours, which start at 4 p.m. and may be signed in for at the check-in areas of Jambo and Sanaa.
Children may enjoy the cookie decorating that happens at Boma or the stamping activity at The Mara, both happening in the early afternoon.
For a small fee, Jiko also offers a wine tasting. Every Wednesday, guests (ages 21 and older with ID) can sample South African wines paired with regional foods. Jiko also offers a wine dinner four times a year, featuring a six-to-eight course meal highlighting its cuisine and wine. For more information, call 407) WDW-DINE, or (407) 939-3463.
And for guests who want to learn more about the animals, Sanaa offers a Dine with an Animal Specialist lunch every Wednesday and Saturday. This family-friendly, four-course meal provides a view of the savanna and good conversation to go with the meal, and an up-close and personal encounter with the radiated tortoise after.
And these are just some of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s recreational activities, focusing on those that take advantage of the resort’s location and theming. The resort also offers the amenities associated with a Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort, including expansive pool and water play areas, outdoor recreational and fitness activities, bars and lounges, an arcade and a marketplace.
For more information on Animal Kingdom Lodge, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.
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